- Written by John Clothier
As it’s summer now, or at least some days, this set me thinking about summers when I was young. Everyone knows they were much better back then, weren’t they?
Summer meant haymaking time, which was always a very busy time on the farm, however sometimes this brought a little difference of opinion between Mum and Dad about whether or not it was really necessary to take any time off. In those days farm workers did not receive paid holiday, so this gave farmer Tom an even better excuse to keep working! You can appreciate also that mother having made cheese on and off until quite late in her pregnancy with four children, she would have appreciated a nice little holiday! However unfortunately breaks were often only taken as individual journeys to the coast and then occasionally on wet days when haymaking wasn’t possible! As you can tell Dad was committed to his dream of building a business that would reflect his skills at so many things, as well as showcasing mothers cheesemaking.
As we got a bit older, he was persuaded to take a little more time off. The first trip I remember was a short break in Torquay when I was about eight and Margaret was four which we enjoyed immensely, the sun shone, and many sandcastles were built. With Mother and Father having never spent much time at the seaside, it was quite difficult for us all to get used to life on the beach, so they spent quite a bit of time on the cliff tops picnicking while Margaret and I played and paddled in the very chilly sea.
The problem with having a four-year-old sister is it was never easy to get her to play the games I wanted. One of my favourites was cricket, fortunately I usually found some other children to join in with me. Also, with my love of cowboys, I became quite good at Lasso, the art of roping calves and steers. Yes, you guessed it, poor Margaret drew the short straw and had to behave like a calf which I could Lasso and run around in circles with me in the centre of it, perfecting the art of Lassoing her!
As you can imagine she was quite difficult to persuade to do this for too long! However, as time went on and she and my friends got older she learned to like games like that… I wonder why that was?
After that Torquay became Mum and Dad’s favourite spot for several years, we could travel there in about four hours, and sometimes the weather there was a little better than Wyke Champflower. Unfortunately for me, later on when I was at boarding school Mum managed to persuade Dad to become a little more adventurous, with trips to Wales, and sometimes even the Lake
District took place. Mother was on a roll!
It was on one of these trips to the lakes that Father met a man who helped him and Jim greatly with building the dairy herd. Believe it or not when they were on a short break in the Lake District, he suggested to Mother that she might like to spend the day in Kendal cattle market, (fortunately I have no idea what Mother’s reaction was!) however off they went, and off course you won’t be surprised to hear that Father bought ten lovely freshly calved heifers. During the purchase, he quickly summed up who was who of the main purchasers, and a man called Henry Walton was one of the main buyers. Father and he immediately formed a relationship, which later was to last many years. ‘Big Henry’, as he was known in the locality, was a cattle dealer who travelled all over the north of England and southern Scotland buying the best stock available from farmers and then selling them on in the markets a little further south where there were more dairy farms.
Jim, and later myself, were sometimes able to visit the markets in Scotland and the north with Dad (Jim when he had time, and me when I was on school holiday), I was in heaven back in the markets!
Not so sure about mother, but she always accompanied father on these trips anyway!
Seriously, I know that mother became very fond of Scotland and the Lake District and therefore they naturally chose many of their breaks together there. This suited father down to the ground as he could combine his breaks with doing business, and mother could have a well earnt holiday! Everyone was happy!
Next time, The Pioneers.