JESS, our granddaughter, has a new name. Lewis. As in Lewis Hamilton. As in racing cars. As in trying to go as fast as possible when behind the wheel.

Fortunately, as with Lewis Hamilton, none of this is on public roads. Apparently Lewis is meticulous at observing speed limits.

And Jess was driving off road, on the Gator, with John, who was trying very hard to persuade her not to drive at any more than 10mph.

The Gator has proved invaluable as a tool to take grain round to the ducks and pheasants on John’s shoot.

Driving the Land Rover through gates already muddy and churned up by cattle meant that he risked getting stuck. But the Gator is a low ground pressure vehicle and designed not to cause wheelings, or cause any damage to the soil structure.

That is, of course, if it is driven at a reasonably low speed. But put a 15-year-old behind the wheel with a heavy foot on the accelerator and John was left speaking, well shouting, at her to slow down.

Ahead of them pheasants scattered. Ducks took flight. Mud splattered all over John’s prized possession. Jess thrilled at the opportunity to get behind the wheel at what must seem to a 15-year-old, a real-life driving experience.

Children from farming families do get some unrivalled opportunities to drive off road, in safe surroundings. John was driving tractors at nine or 10. A little grey Fergie with a trailer behind.

His father was in the trailer feeding kale to the cattle in the field and John had to drive at a very steady pace so that his dad was not jolted out.

Leaving school at 16, John left to work on the farm but could not drive on the road, even with a tractor, until he had passed his driving test. First time, of course, and at 17 years and one week old. Unlike me who was nearly 18 and took three attempts.

In the meantime Jess has now claimed the Gator for her own when she is with us. With the shooting season for game now drawing to a close, there are only a few more opportunities for her to go out with John to feed round.

The shoot has been successful and plans are in had to plant more cover strips and increase the number of birds put down this year. As long as Jess doesn’t run any over when she is next out, or give her Pappa a heart attack, things look good.