Climate Change, the hot topic (or cold depending what year it was),When the ice did break in the middle the tractor dropped about eighteen inches and had a job to get it out , then could not use that route for a few weeks due to the deep steps down off the ice at the sides of the ford.
I recall the winter of 1947 when we had a lot of deep snow which filled the roads and lanes level full to the top of the hedges in places as deep as ten foot. There was a continuous period of cold weather that the snow hung about for all of a month, and frost most nights freezing the water bowls in from of the cows tied in their stalls. The cows were loosed out each day for a couple of hours for exercise and if they had no water in the shed, we had to break the ice on the flowing brook. Nowadays we do get a bit of snow and often melted away by mid morning
That's me on the right in 1947 , when the roads were blocked for almost a week. In places the road was filled up to the top of the hedges eight or ten feet, almost walk on top of the fences and hedges.Picture was taken with the Beeches Farm in the back ground, and the original old beech trees. The tall chap with the leather jerkin was a bus driver,John Lowe, and the chap with his ass in the air was a cow man from Village Farm named George. My mum is the one in the light coloured coat at the back. On the left is John's daughter, and in the middle is Georges daughter.
I Remember Digging Snow 1947
I Remember digging snow, with my little spade,
I would be about eight years old, my friends and me we played
Little caps and scarves we wore, and wellinton boots as well,
Digging under snow drifts, till roof top down it fell.
All the men from in the village, started to dig the road,
Drifts for over a mile each way, they all toiled and strove,
To get the hay from barn to shed, out lying cattle to feed,
Even the tractors couldn't move, or get to hog of swede
The village it was totally cut off, for about two days,
Us kids we dug up to houses, digging out the pathways
For this we got a piece, of home made cake with jam,
Or a drink of Corona pop, just a little dram.
Bread man was the first, to venture in on foot,
Helped along the way, on our sledges bread he put,
The postman he was helped, slippery paths we ran up,
Paper lady old Violet, her papers did not turn-up.
Milk from the farms still their, to double in two days,
Take to Bridgeford Garage, across the fields on drays,
Bring back the empty churns, all clanging on the back,
To fill again them over night, and back along same track.
Third day we went to school, Miss Pye from Doxey walked, (our teacher)
Only six of us turned up, on board in front of fire she chalked,
Chairs and a table pulled to the fire, roaring up the chimney,
Compared our notes about, through snow we had to journey.
When the snow ventualy melted, lumps of drifts stayed put,
It took weeks for this to go, from under hedge and butt,
Floods came out all over low ground, silt and mud abound,
Pleased when the spring came along, thought the grass had drowned.
After mains water came to the village in the 1950's I remember one very hard frost, that went on for a week and it froze the mains water pipes which supposed to be three foot down. The week after water still would not run and they brought in a man with a big welding generator, and connected his live cable to one fire hydrant, and run a long cable to connect his earth to the next hydrant, and run a currant though the pipes for about twenty minuets or until the water run. It took him all day to do the half mile length of the village.
There had been a covering of snow off the road line and that seemed to prevent most house pipes freezing to the house, but those that did the man connected his cable to the tap under the sinks.
In that same year when I remember the ford in the village had frozen over that solid that it carried the tractor and trailer, for a two day muck carting spree without breaking through, When it did break in the middle the tractor dropped about eighteen inches and had a job to get it out , then could not use that route for a few weeks due to the deep steps down off the ice at the sides.
In the 1970's ( think it was 75 or 76) we had that very dry hot summer that burned off all the grass and I resorted to grazing my cows down the cow lane which is almost a mile long and stayed with then for an hour each morning for them to eat off the hedge banks and lane verges, then taking them onto the peaty meadows where the fields were green no grass but just green and down there for water. The wheat and barley had quite good heads considering but the straw was about six inches high, the combine was licking it off the ground. No straw to bale on most of the fields.
The Millian Brook that flowed through the ford stopped flowing for the first time in living memory, there were still deep pools of water along its length but the different herds of cattle drank more than what came from the springs that fed it.
Church Farm is just up the lane off the picture to the right This is the ford and the foot bridge where most of the cows would prefer to queue up and go over single file, although odd one would always go through even when it was in flood and almost four foot deep. When it froze over it was around two foot deep, some water would find its way over the top and freeze again at night giving and ever stronger icepack.
The Millian Brook
The Millian Brook from fields filtrate,
All the water from the Seighford estate,
Same steady contour for years gone by,
Nothing to stop it, even if you try.
Through pools and weirs all man made,
It burst its bank its time outstayed
Through drought and flood to the ford
Its waters gouge its path contoured.
It winds its way through fields and meadows,
Under dark shade beneath the willows,
Between the alders hold banks well rooted,
Foot bridge now once it was waded.
The brook alive with wildlife so shy,
Wade and nest and burrow rely,
From flies and fish to mammals and birds,
All can be found as it wends seawards.
Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and deeper it sinks into the mind.
Samual Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)