Sunday, 6 November 2011

Trotters pigs trotters


Pigs  trotters

We watched when we were kids, fingers in our ears,
Then bang the butcher shot him, cut its throat mid tears,

I never knew who owned the pig bench but it went round all the village to who ever had got a pig ready for killing. All the cottages had a pig sty and most would kill a pig at least once a year. During WW2 when food was short and everything on ration, pork bacon hams and lard was moved around the village and the surrounding district under cover, on the "black market" so to speak.

Never saw money change hands anywhere, for instance, we had some fields of corn (wheat and oats for those reading over the pond) down by the railway line, and at harvest time a gang of lengths men on the railway would hop over the fence and load the farm trailers in a few minuets, then over again  later when down for the next loads, these would be paid in kind, it could be a flitch of bacon, a ham, or some pork.

In the case of the Steam engine Driver who lived in the next village, he slowed down each morning and rolled off big lumps of "steam coal" along side our  fields and father was ready withe a farm cart to load it up for our own household use. for this he had a half a pig. (delivered in a coffin, but that's another story)

I Remember Killing the Pig

About once a year the butcher called, for to kill a pig,
Scrubbed off the pig bench, it was heavy and big,
Don't know whose it was, but around the village it went,
To lay the pig on when it's killed, four wooden legs all bent.

Starve the pig from day before, empty belly they need,
Then the butcher prepares his tools, then the pig to lead,
By a noose round his snout, mid squealing protest struggle,
Took three men to lift on bench, to hold it on n grapple.

We watched all this when we were kids, fingers in our ears,
Then bang the butcher shot him, and cut its throat mid tears,
It happened fast, the kids will learn; catch the blood in bucket,
Kicking stopped, and bucket full, into pantry put it.

Very hot water poured all over, and scrape the hair all off,
He scalded the hooves, with a hook ripped the hoof clean off,
This was the worst when he opened it up, all put into the barrow,
Save the heart, liver and kidneys, same sequence always follow.

Then with a "tree", like a big clothes hanger, lifted pig to beam,
Left to set almost week, butcher returns, to watch were keen,.
The head comes off to make the brawn, boiled in a great big pot,
The rest is quartered, for to salt down, onto the setlas brought.

Some fresh pork saved to use right now, take the neighbours some,
Other do the same as well, almost every month a treat become,
Two hams in muslin bags are hung, on hook in pantry cool,
The bacon too is done the same, enough to make you drool.

Mother makes the faggots and black puddings from the blood,
Nothings ever wasted, fat is rendered down, the scratching's good,
Lard for frying and cooking, stored all in big stone jars,
Lined up in the pantry, all the work done, by our poor old m'a.


Mother would not kill off a hen that was young and healthy, or an old one that was NOT laying, it was always a bare arsed one, that was almost spent out. They were never aloud to die, she would get them just before that get it plucked and in the pot never having gone cold.

I remember Mothers Mid Week Chicken Dinner

In mid week we often had, "chicken" for our dinner,
Tough old hen more soup than meat, always it was a winner,
So after breakfast mother went, to feed the laying hens,
On her way she would note, the one who's still in pens,

If it looked as if not laying, she would ring its neck,
Hang it in the coal shed, all flap and no more peck.
Pulling on the old tea cosy, well down over her ears,
And an old mac kept for this job, doesn't matter how it appears.

Feathers and the fluff do fly, and also mites do run,
This is why she's well covered up, as it is so often done,
With the news paper on the table, to be drawn it is now ready,
And out with good sharp knife, off with legs and neck all bloody

Nick below the parson's nose, with hand the guts she pulls the lot,
Saves the heart and gizzard, also neck to make the stock,
Into the pot this tough old hen, no time for it to go cold,
Steamed for a good two hours, till lid is hot to hold.

Into the pot goes all the veg, and a heap of part boiled taties,
Given another half hour simmering, before it hits the platters,
We all come in for dinner time, lunch to someone posh,
Plates piled up, our bellies to fill, we loved our chicken nosh.


In the kitchen at the Beeches the kitchen floor sloped from east to west, with the fire place range on the south side. (Get the picture)It was a blue brick floor the same as in the stable, and the walls were the bare bricks painted, one colour usually green half way up and a lighter colour round the top usually green, to the side of the chimney brest was mothers new Jackson electric cooker, where she cooked the bacon or porridge in a mornings before the range had properly got going.

I remember the porridge would lift the lid with cooking and spill down the sides welding the pan to the cooker, Porridge had to simmer for an hour just to cook, no instant heat and eat, like the two minuet porridge of today, they were rolled raw oats.

To the other side of the chimney brest was a built in cupboard with a half bottom door and half top door stable door style if you like to call it, there was some hot pipes running through this cupboard and the Kellogg Cornflakes were kept to keep dry, along with the sugar and flour. This was a cupboard that was often raided by mice but they disappeared up into the ceiling following the pipes.

To the north side was a large cupboard with four draws at the bottom, and two big opening doors on the top half, on the top shelf dad kept his pipe and bacca though he did not us it that regular, us kids tried it out one night with dried tea leaves, cus we could-na find any bacca. We all had one good drag and it literally spun us off our feet, and I never ever smoked again, perhaps a good lesson learned early.

Also on the top shelf was the shot gun cartridges, quite a few boxes, stacked as these were used to get our rabbit dinner once a week, and occasionally a poached pheasant. In the rest of the shelves were the bottles and jar that had been opened and part used like jams and pickles and that posh word for salt vinegar and pepper, a cruet.

The Kitchen Floor it sloped.

I remember when we were kids, kitchen floor it sloped,
Sat down at meal times, mother to top end coped,
Kitchen table vinyl cloth, also it did tilt,
Father down one side, safe from anything that spilt.

Always there is one, who's clumsy as a kid,
Put him at the lower end, own mess he is amid,
Tip the water over, or a cup of tea,
It runs down the table, straight into his knee.

Four of us took it in turns, not to be so clumsy,
Other three would laugh, all sitting dry and cosy,
A dam good lesson that it was, with instant results,
Chair at the lower end, reserved for bumble foots.


We had visiting mice in the house from time to time but mother was crafty, and they did not last long, She always had a couple of mouse traps and a lump of stale cheese pressed onto them, being thrifty the same piece of cheese would often catch more than one mouse.

A Mouse in the Cupboard

Sitting in the kitchen one night, by the kitchen fire,
Mother knitting father reading, us lads getting tired.
Then we heard a rustling, in the cupboard by chimney brest,
It was Kellogg's corn flakes trickling, a mouse the little pest.

He had sat and chewed a hole, right through cornflake box,
Found food for his little belly, where our mother keeps her stocks,
He disappeared up round some pipes, still the flakes they fell,
Keeping warm and well fed, if we find him give him hell.

Set the mouse trap on the shelf, loaded up with cheese,
For this it would attract him, one bite would make him sneeze,
Spring will slap him on the head, teach him not to steal,
Wasteful little blighter, to us it was our meal.


A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
Aesop (620BC-560BC)

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