The day I was born my brother Jim was already thirteen years old. By the time I can properly remember him he was sixteen years old and was already an accomplished hand milker, tractor driver, general farm hand and Dads right hand man!
I quickly realised that he was going to be a very hard act to follow, and although he quickly became my hero, understandably perhaps, a little brother to tote around the farm sometimes was not exactly top of his list of priorities!
Jim left school as I did on or just before his fifteenth birthday, he was already a fully trained farm worker as he had been Dad’s shadow since the first time he was allowed to follow in his footsteps.
By the time I was seven or eight he was already a Champion Hand Milker, leading light in the Young Farmers Club and serious dairy farmer. There was nothing on our farm he could not do, no wonder he and my Dad working as a team were the best farmers around here for miles, later to be proven by their success in dairy farming during the early days of milking machines.
I of course wanted to spend as much time as I could with my hero, and tagged on to him whenever I could keep up, as he could do so much at high speed during the days which were sometimes from six in the morning until nine at night and often seven days a week during the busy summer months.
I rode for miles behind him on the little tractors (like the one in the picture) sat on a folded hessian sack clinging on to the mud guards in front of the machine behind, an absolute nightmare from a safety point of view. More than once I almost slipped off but just managed to recover before disaster occurred. Sometimes over bumpy fields his big hand would grab the back of my little jumper to keep me on board!
Thinking back I’m so glad that health and safety regulations have been brought in to prevent this happening now as so many children and adults had major accidents and were lost on farms in those days, and I still shiver at the thought of my near misses!
All of these farm adventures and more as I grew older made me want to spend time on the farm with Dad and Jim, as they were already putting the hard work into building the dairy farming and cheese making business which Wyke Farms has become.
Later when I was sent off to boarding school in Glastonbury my mind was far too often at home on the farm with Dad and Jim on the farm and Mum in the cheese dairy!
I was told often by the lovely staff “Clothier you could probably succeed at something in this establishment if you would cease looking out of the window and concentrate!”
They were right of course but my heart was always in Wyke Champflower!
Next time a little more about early teen life on the farm and leaving school to roll up my sleeves!