Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Ov worked all me life trying to earn an onnest crust-- 20

It must my age, or is it that I am wearing out almost a quick as the machinery, or is it that I'm getin ta be a tight old git, like we thought our father was when he tried to rein in expenditure when a neighbour had some new equipment, and we thought we should have the same.

Well it started again about six weeks ago, everything or it seemed like everything mechanical went wrong. My main tractor a Deutz Agrotron the clutch went, a new one was ordered and a week later it was fitted and back together a ready for work.

 On testing the steering after it had been apart, (getting the air out of the oil pipes) while sitting in the drivers seat with the engine running it seemed to work okay, but the mechanic who did the job noticed a groaning and grinding from one of the king pins and announced that we needed new king pin bearings.
New bearings were ordered and came another week hence,  and a few more days on they were fitted and the tractor up and running properly. The job it went on to was topping pastures, and somewhere around the hedge sides I must have caught up some barbed wire, which soon got cut and shredded but unknown to me a four inch piece of wire was fire straight through the rear tyre. After a few times around the field the tractor started to list only to realise the tyre was half down so headed fast back to the buildings, by this time it was totally flat.  Fortunately, if you can call it that, the damaged tyre was one that had been on the tractor from new (the only old original tyre) and had done twelve and a half thousand hours work, it had some damage over the years and was due to be replaced at some point, so now we ordered a new rear tyre.
As you can imagine, the repair and replacement bill was mounting, I have partially retired and intended to keep this tractor to do jobs about the village and hedge cutting for neighbours, and I imagined in my mind that it was good for another good many hour and not figured that such an expenses would rear up one after the other like they did.

The Land Rover Discovery is another item that suddenly needed attention, there are a pair of oil pipes that run down to the "active" suspension on the rear axle that rotted through and lost all the oil and had to be replaced, I think by the cost of  them that the end fittings must have been made of something rustless, like gold or sommatt.
Once that was sorted out an orange light on the dash board kept coming on after reverse gear had been used, and being an automatic gear box would not go out and right itself until the engine had been switched of the then started again.  The light warned of a problem, in that when you started off from a standstill, you would be in third gear, but as I said you could stop and start the engine to get it right again, and whilst going forwards it would go all day with no problem, until you wanted to reverse again.
On consulting a specialist 4x4 mechanic, he said it wanted a new gearbox control switch, I was absolutely staggered by the quote on the price of just a switch. They must have had to have one specially made just for my Land Rover possibly made in the Nasser Space Station, and imported via China. It was six weeks coming and it took ten minutes to fit and works perfectly again now.

When you've worked all ya life trying to earn an onnest crust, and saving,  ya don't like ta  flash the cash about. What I've saved I would like to have kept it "under the mattress" so to speak, but fa fear of intruders and thieves its in the bank, not that the bank are far off being thieves when it comes to the interest we're gettin right now.

But moaning aside, as long as health is okay, health is one thing ya conna buy. (and can't alway repair it)

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Everything is carried about and often back again

I know I jump about a bit on my subject matter,labelling, but this old chestnut has not been brought up lately, and I cannot for the life of me see that it has changed much since it was first aired.
Take the down turn in the price of beef cattle just recently, and what do you find in Tesco mingled in with the British beef, imported joints with almost identical packaging with no (very small) Union Jack. ???  

British food grown and packed

Food comes in from around the globe, then packed and labelled here,
All put into bubble packs, then Britain gets a cheer,
Stick on the labels, printed here, a union jack the lot,
It’s only the packaging, but the contents they are not.

Packaging’s the thing right now, it’s wrapped and wrapped again,
Keep the food clean and fresh, or that is what they claim,
Bin through many hands, and machines to wrap and pack,
Getting older by the minute, a use-by date on pack will slap.

Everything is carried about and often back again,
Out to distribution centres, finding jobs for men,
Wear and tear on tyres and roads, burning up the miles,
Costs all added onto their goods, customer pays up and smiles.

British food grown and packed, genuine through and through,
A clear label telling us, so we know on what we chew,
Local grown just down the road, fresh as the morning dew,
We need to know, it’s only fair, right now we haven’t a clue.

Owd Fred

It was like being stuck in Alcatraz

This a story/letter I wrote to my daughter, of what happened just before Christmas 2013 when there was about two inches of snow on the ground. My house central heating boiler was giving off fumes into the house, and my bill for all the mowing baling and wrapping had just been paid 10 days before.

 It was like being stuck in Alcatraz

Dear Jayne,

 As you may know, the boiler in the office has started to give off some fumes, neither ya mum nor I can smell anything, we can see smell if its smoke but this was clear.
Two of mums helpers complained this last day or two that the office was full of fumes when the door was shut, from the boiler, so I got Mr.M (our baler man come plumber) to come and have a look at it, he came last night, there nothing leaking as he could immediately see, he put a smoke bomb in it and none came back into the room, the only thing he did was to seal round the chimney and the front plate on the boiler.
This morning I am told there was hardly any fumes detectable at all. Make ya wonder if this has been affecting ya mum.
On the talk after the boiler was done, Paul M. asked me if I had had his bill for baling and straw supplied, I said yes and I had paid it 10 days ago. He said he would check with his wife if she had seen the cheque. phone call came this morning to say she had not seen it, must be lost in the post.
I wrote another cheque and took it down to Eccleshall at around 10am, and as I came in site of his house, the postman was just delivering and had opened the electric gates and walked through, I like a fool drove through and when I had put my cheque through his post box the bladdy gates had shut. Well I tried for twenty minutes to open these sodin gates,
I rang his house number and knocked on all the doors and nobody was in, I looked round the farm and all was quiet nobody there either. Then I stared to look for another way to get out with he landrover, that was if he had not locked his farm yard gate further down the road, no it was only latched. So I back tracked back to the house, and a very narrow bit between some bushes and the house, with a bit of luck if I rush, it it should get through.
The disco (land rover) was at the far end of his house ,so I drove over his lawn round the conservatory round some flower beds round some bushes and dived at the gap, and got through, the feeling was like getting out of Alcatraz, free at last down the farm yard round the buildings and undo the gate and home.
At lunch time I rang him and Mrs M answered the phone, I told her I had delivered the cheque and put it through the letter box, she said yes thank you she had picked it up and also with that same delivery the postman had dropped thirty seconds before me was my other original cheque 10 days late not franked but delivered at last.
All that impatient agro for nowt
As a foot note the M. family about eight of them are off to Florida on boxing day morning for 10 days and they were all out in different directions shopping just at 10 am this morning.
As you always say Jayne, It was hard shit, on my part.
Love Fred

Monday, 9 June 2014

Fathers Fingers

Fathers Fingers

After breakfast on a Sunday mornings, when all the essential farm work had been done, father would tell us tales of when he was young, and as with this one, the more blood and pain the more we enjoyed what he told us.  He lived and worked for his uncle Dan, a single man with a house keeper, he must have been around thirteen years old when this happened.
The mowing machine blades had to be very sharp, a blade that had gone dull would make it very heavy pulling for the pair of horses pulling it, one slip and the fingers were off.
This is my father in 1940 mowing grass for hay with his pair of shire horses. It was with the same sot of outfit that he lost two fingers as a school boy in the mid 1920's 

Fathers Fingers

Father lost two fingers, while mowing hay one day,
He was helping Uncle Dan on the meadows, not at all at play,
Only thirteen started working, horses in the shaft,
The mower blocked with grass, clearing it by hand (how daft)

He lifted blade and went round back, it was still in gear,
One horse did stamp his foot at flies, gave the blade two shithers,
This was just enough no doubt, cut two fingers in one go,
He never said how he stopped the blood, there must have been a flow,

The little finger it was off, above the lower joint,
The next was off above second, clean cut to a point,
Hospital took one off at knuckle, and stitch the flap of skin,
Tuther left half a stub, of finger what a sin.

No safety men to bother them, it was get him back to work,
They healed so slow, it was a blow, but not a time to shirk,
A motor bike he bought one day, to get about much quicker,
It had a belt to drive, hand clutch, and blow up tyre,

Mother he did find one day, while he was out on bike,
He gave a lift and she did find, how cold the bike could be,
Knit pair of gloves did she, to fit his fingers short,
Then regularly did see her out, and then began to court.

Round the table Sunday breakfast, father told us tales,
Of how he helped his uncle Dan, less fingers and no bales,
We had to always asked him, to tell us that again,
Of how he lost his fingers, and all about the pain.

Owd Fred

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Never in my life have I ever had time to look back

Never in my life have I ever had time to look back and reflect back on how things have changed, until now. We always have worked hard, the harder we work the more we seem to be chasing our own tails, trying to go faster and faster and no better off in the end.
It’s either that or get left behind, and now that I have jumped off the Merry-Go-Round, it’s become very clear that it is a job for the younger generation and time for them to show their metal.

In the distance on the right is the old farm house and farm where we  were brought up, we moved  in 1943 to there when I was five years old

On this land we love the best

We are watched from way up high, on how we treat our land,
This land that we are caring for, for generations stand,
To stand just where our fathers stood, see it through their eyes,
And how the fields and lanes have looked, neath the clear blue skies.

The misty foggy mornings, dew drops on all the leaves,
The sunrise on the meadows, the bird song in the trees,
Long shadows in the evening, as the sun sets in the west,
Trees and bushes in full bloom, on this land we love the best.

Owd Fred

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Mother’s Monday bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak, its the left over boiled potato's cabbage carrots and any other vegetables mashed together cold and fried up in a big frying pan until the underside is crisp and toasted, then turned and turned until its all piping hot then served up with cold sliced beef and pickled onions or almost any pickles.

I might add that a double portions of everything was prepared for the Sunday lunch time, only half used, then the deliberate left overs saved mother having to prepare Mondays lunch from scratch as Mondays were always her "washing day" when she was very busy.  

Is it, "bubble and squeak",  know as that all over the country/world I wonder, all I know it was always used round here, or is it just our local name for the meal?

Go on put me a reply on here I'd like to know? 

 On Mother’s washing day, she had not much time to prepare a meal and this was regular Monday fare. When it began to smoke it was time to turn it over in the pan, and heated in minuets.
Mother and father's wedding day 1930, they must have worked hard through the depression of the 1930's/40's to bring up us kids and on through the second world war.
They knew how to be self sufficient and live off the land, nothing was every wasted, they always said when they killed a pig we used everything except the squeal.

  Mother’s Monday bubble and squeak

At lunch time every Monday, mother made bubble and squeak,
Potatoes’ and cabbage and other veg, sometimes even a leek,
All ingredients left over’s from Sunday, put in big pan to fry,
Crisping on the bottom then turned, plenty of heat apply.
 Cold beef sliced and put on plates, contents of pan dealt out,
Pan was a big one, it had to be, six plates to fill no doubt,
Pickled onions and pickled red cabbage, went with this a treat,
All home made stored in big jars, made the meal complete,
Jug of gravy thick and hot , often a skin on top,
All of it devoured with relish, plates cleaned off the lot.

Owd Fred