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Wartime Farm



  • I take your point but with the way we are going we ain't going to feed the ever increasing population.We cant go back to the way we were but with fuel shortages and climate change we might have to think differently how we farm and in port goods to feed an ever hungry world.Anyhow hope you did enjoy the programme.image

  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,178

    Even in the 1960s the hangover from the war coloured farming.  It's easy with hindsight to criticise the widespread use of pesticides etc etc, but doing 'O' level and 'A' level Geography, we were still being taught about the "virtues" of intensive agriculture etc and as we learnt about other countries in, for example, the Mediterranean area, we pitied their "backward" farming.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  But the real fear for the immediate future as experienced by Frank must have been terrible.  I think this series may show some of the difficulties experienced by a country dependent on Commonwealth imports.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489

    Frank - I have enjoyed your posts so far, it's really good to hear the memories of someone that was actually there rather than relying on the programme to deliver anecdotal evidence of what war-time farming was like. I hope you continue to watch the series and that you carry on posting here as it progresses, giving us your real life insight in to a time I really hope no-one here has to experience again.

    Regards, Leigh.

  • Leigh, did actually enjoy the programme as it brought back so many pleasant memories of the farm our own smallholding and people long gone although immortal as long as they are remembered by some one.
    I think apart from five of us being thrust into a black cupboard under the stairs then wet towels thrown over us so we would not suffer from the gas??? my young sister having hysterics and us four boys not doing much better we thought our end had come.
    Some papers had said if Germany declared war they would send a mass of planes to bomb us flat and we were on the coast so to our parents first in line, as the sirens went they put it all together and panic set in. We now know why the sirens went  but at the time it all added up to armageddon, not just for us but most of the coastal towns.
    The wet towels as we sat there yelling, cold water dripping off us aparently saved you from breathing in gas if it was dropped, with hind sight that too was a myth, they had to find dry clothes for all of us when they finally calmed the five of us down, I do not think my sister ever got over it.
    I can say I was never that frightened again, ever.


  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489

    I can't imagine how frightening that must have been especially with speculation in the media about the German's capabilities. My family are largely from dockyard stock, all working and living around Chatham Dockyard at the out-break of war. Sadly though pretty much all of my relatives who lived through those times have since passed on, before I was old enough to ask any significant questions about what it was like or having any real understanding of what war actually was.

    It's interesting to hear how those times affected normal people in their everyday lives and how they coped with things that seem so alien to us today.




  • Yes, pretty humbling wasn't it, Leigh.....this is my parents generation and we do have to admire their pluck & determination.

    As for me, just had to put up with the lack of a few sweeties & a few hand-me- downs in my early years.

  • My step-daughter works at Manor Park and Country Farm where this is being filmed. She says there's also a website where you can get background information on the series, the presenters, a sneak preview of the book, and even share your own wartime stories...

  • A little taster of tonight's program:

    "The experiment continues by re-creating the challenges faced by British farmers as the Second World War continued into 1940. Ruth Goodman discovers the impact of rationing on the country's kitchens, learns about the black market, and takes part in a canning drive with the Women's Institute. Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn try their hands at making silage, a practice designed to provide alternative food sources for livestock. They also explore the work of the Women's Land Army, and discover how a farmer helped put a stop to racial prejudice during Land Girl recruitment."

  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,178

    Watched it and found it fascinating again. 

    I knew about hay-box cooking, but prefer the convenience of my slow cooker image.  But it all brings home to us just how tough things were - and this representation is at the beginning of the war, before things got even harder.

    And I have learnt just how the rationing of meat worked.  I'd never given it much thought - hadn't considered all the actual administration by the butcher, so it was a surprise to learn that it was done on price rather than weight.  It makes sense, really, but it had never occurred to me that that would be the mechanism for rationing. 

    Oh, and do I presume that they've just given farmers a way to remove the dye from red diesel so it can be used on the road???  Though maybe it's a different dye, and bread filtering doesn't work with modern diesel image 

  • Hello Posh, indeed it is fascinating to be taken back and the Army used hay boxes in the field even in modern times.  There was no need for the Paraffin cooker as the farmhouse kitchen range never went out and the side oven would be used for long cook one pot meals.
    Silage was not something done around us as we had plenty of hay and the whole village turned out to help to bring it in and stack it, the top would then be thatched..We never lost the sheep or pigs, picking the apple crop could be hazardous when the sheep and pigs were let in the orchard for the windfalls.
    Dad kept a couple of pigs for the pig club among our own, they did bring waste for me to boil in the pig boiler along with potato's root veg and anything else we had spare from the fields. Having the truck he also picked up the waste jam and curd from the jam factory and waste cake and bread from the local bakery, add to that an allowance of corn meal plus more from the farm and those pigs lived on the best. He would not have fish-meal which many used nor would he use bone or meat products. Part of my job was to sort what people brought and what we did not want went into a bin and off to the National waste recovery at Darlington, other pig owner got it after it had been boiled down into a sort of block.
    WI could get the sugar for bottling and jam making from hedge row fruits which we all picked in season although all the women who were not working in the village would join in, never saw one of those canners but now realise why everything came in seven pound cans in the army, that must have been the regular can size for the machine.
    Of course trading went on all the time we all did it you just did not talk to strangers about it, my Father could get all the petrol he needed having an "A" licence for the truck and he was asked and they got a very short answer usually ending in off. He was a dead straight bat that did not always go for his son.


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