About me

I was born in the middle of the Midlands of the UK, and still even now live just a mile and half from where I was born.

I am second of four children, father was eldest of four, grandfather was one of eight, G. grandfather was youngest of seven, G.G. grandfather was youngest of eight, and my G.G.G. grandfather was born in 1753 all farmers.

Out of the six generations of farmers, I and my father were the only ones to benefit from the use of tractors, we have always milked cows, my father had to help with the hand milking when he was a lad before he went to school every morning, and started his own herd not long after leaving school. In fact he had a Sow with piglets and swapped it for his first cow, when he acquired his first fifteen acres.

After meeting and marrying my mother they moved to farm in the next village on the edge of town where the milk was sold the surplus turned into butter and cheese to sell. He had twenty six cows by then and it was at this farm through the depression of the 1930’s and on up to the World War 2. I was born there in 1938 just at the start of the war, I can just remember mother talking us under the kitchen table when we heard the air raid siren go off in town, it was the humming of a lost German bomber looking for the factory in town that was making and building Tanks for the war effort.

1942 we moved to a larger farm two miles distance, to where we were brought up, and where my youngest brother went on to farm to this day. I started farming on my own 1960 on a farm half a mile away, again milking cows for the next 26 years then I moved to where I am now on 250 acres, gave up milk in favour of a suckler herd and reared calves for beef, also grew wheat and barley for sale as cash crops.


From here on down this page is frequently added to


The Work it Wonna goo Away

When ya know youve got to work, and it wunna go away,
Put ya back into ya work, and ya hope its gonna pay,
You’re are the owner and the boss, and the only worker too,
The hours dunna matter, cuz ya work the night right through.

Ya worry bout the bills, and wonder how ya gonna pay,
The bills that come so regular, n’ put them out the way,
Till ya sell and get some money, it’s so hard to save at all,
As if a hole in ya pocket, n’ its empty every time I call.

Ya look back upon ya dreams, of how it all should have been
To build up on the business, and the forecast now unseen,
Expansion every year, and just getting in your stride,
N’ the tax man catches up with you, skins you of your hide.

Countryman  (Owd Fred)

Prostrate treatment report.  10th February 2012
Well I can now report that my series of radiotherapy zaps has now finished after almost two months of travelling up to the North Staffs Hospital.

 Gradually as my number of visits was going up, other men were finishing theirs much to the envy of all who were left, and new ones were being brought in to fill the appointments.
However it eventually came my turn to say goodbye to a lot of new friends I had made, nearly all with the same prostrate problem as me.
All of us had to arrive at least an hour before the appointment time, with one going into a machine every ten minutes, (two machines from our waiting room), so at any one time there could be around fifteen of us sitting sipping water talking and comparing notes on how the treatment was going. (Though more often it was about football or horse racing or a topical news item)
There is a continuous turn round of people, those who were towards the end of treatment, put the minds of the new comers to rest, the continuous chatter of the patients could be heard well before you get to the waiting room.

I do have a few side effects from the treatment, and have been told will continue for another month after the last zap. The follow up appointment now is in three months time.

Best of luck to those still on the treatment, it’ll soon go once your past the halfway mark, and its all for our own good and well being, so stick with it.

Fred  (Owd Fred)

Up to the North Staffs I Go    17.01.12

The first half of this story is here http://yewsfarm.blogspot.com/2011_10_16_archive.html called "That unsettled Feeling"

Well I’m half way through my radium treatment at the North Staffs Hospital and were half way through January now. It is a course of treatment that involves going to the hospital five days a week for seven or more weeks.

Now been twenty times so far (plus two more introductory sessions ) and well getting into the routine, leaving home about nine thirty in the morning and arriving home at twelve mid day. Of course before I go I have the cattle to feed, were just getting into winter propa, with three days of frost, although it coming mild again then turning cold next week.

 It seems that there has formed a little community in the hospital waiting room, as everyone there has the same appointment time every day, one goes in every ten minuets, and some arrive anything up to an hour or more before that just for a good old natter (and of course to drink the pint of water at least half to three quarter hour before the appointment) and compare notes on how the treatment is going, though in reality that seems the last thing they talk about. I think the early arrival is in fact the worry of finding a parking space in the car park near the doors of the Cancer Block, when in fact someone is leaving every ten minuets, if they arrived by car, and the longest I have waited was about fifteen minuets.

 The following is a few observations that I picked up in the last few weeks going for Radium treatment up at the North Staffs Hospital for prostrate cancer.

 I’m afraid it written in the North Staffs dialect, I do have a queens English version if you request it, or do not follow the flow of what’s written

Om off up North Staffs every dee
(Dialect version 27.December 2011)

Om off up North Staffs every dee, there to get a zap,
Up reet early get jobs done, n cornflakes fa me snap,
Get changed out me owd jeans, wesh me sen reet down,
Mustna smell of silage, in the hospital in me gown.

Get me body all prepared, empty bladder empty gut,
It conna stand starvation, or it’ll think me throats bin cut,
An hour before me appointment, water got to drink,
Soddin drink the well all dry, fa thirty seven  pints ar fink.

Me car park pass, me log book, and me hospital gown,
And me paint of weeter,  n the phone in case breakdown,
Maul owd body ta driving seat, strap me sen tight in,
Fifteen miles North West of ere, on the map r put a pin.

Way out me area, never bin,  dunt know what to expect,
Bout dozen sets traffic lights, on the D road I dissect,
Newcastle now, in me sights, last mile steady go,
Then on the right the hospital, n up the bank I goo.

Car park full, no we’re ta park, patience is a must,
Folk are gooin naa and then, jump in that space or bust,
Display me ticket find me bag, long strides to the door,
Big doors they are just like barn doors, wonder why there’s four.

Just along the draughty hall, to reception desk there in,
Two chairs two people sit, can only see there face n chins,
Must be code with that fresh air, keeps em wide awake,
A serious face he questions, n Sam’s smile would thaw a lake.
(Warm smile)

Give me name, book right in, directed we’re ta goo,
Through the doors, see the signs,  L3 L4  you follow,
Hear the chattering, in the waiting room, people up each side,
Great big windows at the far end,  no else where to hide.
(I’m shy ya see)

A dozen chaps, same age as me, they come every dee,
My fust time bewildered, dunt know what who ta say,
A friendly lot all chattering, to watch the time you must
They’ve got it on computer, they’ll call you, when ya bladders full to bust

Told the routine, every ten minutes, time they call you in,
Well before that, changing room, drop ya bags within,
Gown tied on, back with the gang, new friends now to make,
“Don’t worry you are following him,  ten past your time ta bake”.

Me name is called, I jump right up, me bladders takes a wobble,
Following a kindly nurse, with him/her  I dare not squabble,
Through the doors and down the passage, room is round the bend,
A bloomin great big robot, with arms and wings extend.

A table there, just like a plank, to lay ya body down,
Groove to drop your head n ankles, then ta open ya gown
The tattoo marks they must find, on each hip and belly too,
Line me up with a lazar beam, Ya laying all askew.

Shuffle up shuffle down, pull and prod me into line
Get the beam about just right, should tie me down with twine,
Lay still now n’ dunna move, target got to hit,
Five good zaps from all around, like shooting from the hip

Five minutes it took from walking in, to get me into line,
Two minutes it took fa the robot, ta zap while I recline,
Robot wings fold back in, table lowers down,
Can’t rear up, no sides to pull, they help, n ya feel as clown.
( Ever seen a tortoise on its back)

That’s it for now, head for the loo, relief it is so sweet,
Get dressed agen and with ya bag, head for freedom and the street,
Home agen see fields and trees, this green and pleasant land,
Till morning come and start agen, I think om on remand.

 Countryman  (Owd Fred)


My Six Monthly Dental Check

Well, Mid November is the time for my six monthly dental check, and went for it yesterday. It was when I had my knee replacement op on both knees that the surgen said I had got to have regular dental checks, (10 years ago) because a bad or septic tooth could cause the joint replacement to reject.

In the 60 years before that I had been in a dentist chair only once, and that was when I was 7years old at the primary school when the school dentist examinned all pupils teeth.

He found nowt wrong back then, and the dentist now do no more than count me teeth, then scrape and polish them. They give me stern advice about cleaning my teeth, in fact I now clean then twice a year, an hour before my six monthy appointment, and I tell them that.

Infact I did  a blog about the dentist last year, find it here  http://bit.ly/nIhrNg Even do a tongue in cheeck poem for them every year, this years are here and more on the above blog link.

Me teef  are looking better

 Me teef  are looking better , and I brush them every day,
New electric toof brush, and some paste that looks like clay,
Me misses getting onto me, n’ the dentist gives a hint,
Break a habit of a lifetime, to brush me teef I dint.

 Mornings are so busy, after breakfast rush right out,
Then think I anna brushed me teef, n’ rules I mustna flout,
But then I conna turn right round, cattle got to feed,
N’ I’ll do in the morning, n’ I’ll brush them till they bleed.

Conna see the point of it, once a week enough fa me,
Twice a year is what om used to, n’ the dentists got the key,
To count them every visit, and to scrape then there’s no need,
Cuz  I eat an apple every day, and my mum she (set that creed,)  (did breast feed.)

Please don’t put the pressure on, om not feelin very well,
The verbal and advice okay, but too much I will rebel,
So to the dentist I have a message, count me teef and clean,
N’ chat about the weather, n’ what ever else in-between.

 Countryman (Owd Fred)

And this one which is far from the truth, I don't worry about going, but don't tell them that, just do it to wind them up and try to make them justify the £12 a month that drag out of my bank by direct debit. 

I Worry Every Day

 I worry every day, bout appointment that I got,
Six months it’s on my mind, even when om in me cot,
It’s the dentist they are scary, every day it is the same,
Its on me mind day and night, then they call me name.

Reminder day before, that that dreaded day has come,
Me hair is falling out, and I conna eat a crumb,
A mere shadow of me sen, and it’s all of them to blame,
Shaking in the waiting room, o conna move om lame.

They offer me an easy chair, nother room with light,
Give me a pair of glasses, much to their delight,
Expressions on their faces, tip the chair down low,
Ya teeth is what were looking for, open up y,owd crow.

Me tongues held down pushed aside, counting’s now began,
Top and bottom front and back, record them on the plan,
Scrape and polish rinse and spit, rear me up agen,
Just a funny sort a routine, in their little den.

It’s over in couple a minuets, and I’m heading for the door,
Dint know what the worry was, might pan out on the floor,
Cannot see me ass fa dust, heading fast for home,
Back into me arm chair, in me mind, no more to roam.

 Countryman (Owd Fred)


Life slips by so quickly, particularly when your busy, then suddenly a bit of a hiccup comes along(see  http://bit.ly/u1rMpY  )and pulls you up by your goolies. Then you stop, and start to look back at your life, start reflecting back on your life and in my case started writing it down in these blogs.

                                 Lifes Time Clock You Cannot Beat

You wonder where the time, and all the years have gone,
They pass so quickly now, going one by one,
Season’s sequence come in turn, no control have we,
Wind and rain and sunshine, day and night decree.

Snow and frost in winter, new start for New Year,
Spring and summer showers, and then the sun appear,
Autumn fruits and berries, for the birds to eat,
Repeat with little change, life’s time clock cannot beat.

Countryman Owd Fred


I seem to have more time on my hands these days and part of that time is spent looking back on how we as lads were brought up. The respect you must show to others, we were always told you can only earn respect 

Memories of Olden Days

Memories of olden days, back then when I were a lad,
Of things we did and said and learnt, copied from me dad,
Of learning how to talk and walk, and manners got to learn,
Tell the truth and honest be, and respect you’ve got to earn.

Never cheek your elders, and address them with respect,
Speak only when you’re spoken to, and answer them direct,
Muttering and Laughing, in your hand it is the worst,
Hold it back don’t let it out, even if you fit to burst.

He taught us how to use his tools, and how to work real hard,
How to earn an honest crust, in the workshop cross the yard,
To make things useful on the farm, repair them if they broke,
Keep the place all tidy, he was a very fussy bloke.

He taught us how to plant the seeds, in garden and the fields,
And as they grow look after them, to grow and give good yields
Harvest time to bring it in, and store for winter use,
To feed the family, feed the stock, to run out’s no excuse.

To rear the calves and pigs and hens, and feed them every day,
Milk the cows and collect the eggs, and sell without delay,
Pigs to take to bacon weight, and sows to get in pig,
And start the job all over again, it’s always been that way.

Thinking back orr seventy years, the basic things the same,
Treat others how, you would like, others to treat you the aim,
Manners make’eth man were told, its only yourself to blame,
Rules of life are rules to keep, it’s always been the same.


They always used to say you're "Once an adult twice a child" well here goes, I'm harking back to me childhood and the things that have stuck in ya mind from way back 65 years ago

I Remember the Neck and Earhole Wash

Mother always told us, to wash behind our ears,
Neck and earhole what she called it, in our early years,
This is where she always looked, for grime not yet reached,
It’ll end up on the pillow, that is why she always preached.

At the sink with bar of carbolic, soap to those don’t know,
Lather on your hands and flannel, sleeves rolled to the elbow,
Watched that we made good job of it, never did she miss,
Must admit it felt so fresh, we went to sleep in bliss.



This was a meeting of the Farmers Weekly forum members February 2011,
The Owd mon is on the orange juice the lads on the Newcastle Brown.
15 attended and it was the first time we had all met, tho we conversed regularly on the FWi web site

A Good Old Way of Life
There are the wise and the old, and the young who want to learn,
There’s the hard working not so olds, their fortunes try to earn,
Farming’s got a grip on them, they know no other way,
Come hail or rain or sunshine, it’s just another day,
From early in the morning, till after dark at night,
For crops and stock their caring, they are their delight.
Working hard day by day, in a green and pleasant land,
Don’t have time to stand and stare, have a good look around,

Take in the beauty of where they work, the fields the trees and lanes,
All the years of care and sweat, well out weighs the pains.
It’s just a good old way of life, their families there to rear,
Health and hope and happiness, the harvest brings good cheer.



When I were 60 I had both knees replaced, the knees being thoroughly worn out, that sorted out the  arthritic pain that had dogged me for almost ten years, so once again was able to walk tall.

 Being a bit older I spend more time  sitting down, so for me 70th birthdee the family together bought me a new arm chair. (That was three years ago)

This Comfortable Chair of Mine

Now I’ve turned seventy years of age, the family bought a chair,
I had it for me birthday, I was consulted and aware,
Had to have a go try it out, to make sure it did the job,
High enough back n’ foot rest, n’ not too soft a squab.

Its huge when it stands there, and a cable from the plug,
A controller in ya right hand, and I fit in it nice and snug,
A button to lift ya feet up, and a button to lower the back,
And one to lift you up again,  was soon getting into the knack.

Now I fear a power cut, when me feet are up in the air,
Back is down and ya feel a clown, and conner git art o’ the chair,
Like blady big tortoise on its back, belly up swinging ya feet,
Shouting fa help come and get me, help me git art o’ this seat.

This hasn’t happened but I fear, could when I’m home alone,
Going to sleep that is easy, but then I shouldn’t moan,
If someone knocks at the door, takes a while to lift me right up,
They knock again and again,  I feel like a fly blown old tup.

I must tell you the cover is leather, cow hide has gone into that,
The cost of it was tremendous, the cow she must have been fat,
What we paid we got short changed, insides of the cow had gone,
Price of the chair, price of a cow, beef and steaks we had none.

Now I’ve got well used to it, my inhibitations flew out of the door,
Sit in it after my lunch and tea, go to sleep and have a good snore,
My appreciation what they bought, it suits me down to the ground,
Thank my family again and again, this comfortable chair they found.



Its taken a long while to get as old as me, but now the daze (days) pass quicker than ever, I also have learned from experience,  and always remember saying that father always said you’re only as good as your feet.

But then he was talking bout, horse’s cows and bullocks for meat.

As Old as What you Feel,

They always say that your, as old as what you feel,
Only now I like to have knap, after almost every meal,
And in the night get disturbed, got to water me hoss,
So now I think I must be old, me legs I cannot cross.

The old body that I’ve worked with, all my living years,
Getting tired and old as well, confirming all my fears,
Joints get stiff and muscles ache, cannot move so fast,
Stumble over rough ground, getting all harassed.

I cannot read the paper, until my glasses I must find,
Remember where I put them, must be getting blind,
The misses she has got them on, cannot find her own,
Each of us both as bad, but then we shouldn’t moan.

Feet I cannot reach right now, back won’t bend so much,
Got to have chiropodist, corns and toe nails to retouch,
Dad always said that, you’re only as good as your feet,
But then he was talking bout, horse’s cows and bullocks for meat.

Hair it has all gone grey, and very thin on top,
Need a hat in winter, the freezing cold wind to stop,
No insulation gainst the cold, a wig I got in mind,
But then its two lots of hair to comb, as well as going blind.

Ya mind is getting slower, reactions far too late,
The young ones like to drive, my driving they berate,
A dent or two I don’t mind, but it frightens them to death,
When they’re sitting in the back and cannot catch their breath.

So now I try to look relaxed, put me feet up on me chair
Central heating turned up, find me glasses and combed me hair,
Slippers on oh what bliss, the telly’s far too loud,
Lost the bloody controller now, good job were not too proud.



Starting to slow down these days, these are a few thoughts that start to cross ya mind every now and then.
Me Mind is Like an Old Computer

Me mind is like an old computer, memory getting full,
Takes a while to liven up, and the thinking’s getting dull,
Information’s going in, it’s difficult to recall,
Need a transplant right away, but it’s difficult to install.

Co-ordination’s not too bad, site and hearing too,
Legs are getting tired and old, and had two knees anew,
Arms they are just as long, but me back is getting bent,
Me waist is getting further round, of that I do lament.

So write it down while its fresh, just now I won’t recall,
Memory’s a funny thing, as through my mind I trawl,
Of things that happened years ago, eventually come back,
Think about the olden days, before they call the quack.

Countryman  (Owd Fred)

Early Years

These are my own memories of my younger days and the tales that used to be told around the kitchen table, of the hard times in the 1920`s and onwards.

Of how father was brought up, and how he met mother and of her school days. How he started farming with one sow and exchanged it for his first cow, then got the tenancy of Brook House Farm Doxey. How we moved to Beeches Farm Seighford in 1942.
Beeches Farm top left, where I was brought up, Yews Farm bottom left where I am now, middle right is the ford and follow the road down come to  Church Farm where I spent my first 25years farming . Also in the picture is Village Farm, Green Farm, and the Smallholding/ wheelwrights shop 

My own school days, with my three brothers, and the time we spent watching the blacksmith and the wheelwright on our way home from school. How we looked forward to the threshing machine coming pulled by a steamer.
This is the village Ford with its foot bridge, the cows always liked to go over that, it was a bit stoney in the ford itself.
This shows the north side of St Chads church, and just round the bend to the right is Church Farm

I try to describe some of the older people of Seighford and the houses they lived in. The old wells of Seighford and village pumps that were in regular use until mains water came into the village 
A pair of old thatched farm cottages
very close to the church that were
 knocked down in the 1950's,

The Country Side In Verse.

Poems and verses from my own life experiences. Centred round my home, the farm, the village and all the characters that lived and worked in the village when I was growing up. I have lived here all my life.
Born at Brook House Farm, Aston Doxey, reared from the age of four at Beeches Farm Seighford, Farmed at Church Farm from the age of twenty one to the age of forty, then moved to The Yews Farm, up to present day. All within the Parish of Seighford no more than a mile and half apart.