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Wartime Farm



  • Posh I have the opposite I get the flag but cannot get the message, I will complain and see what happens when they wake up in the morning.


  • A taste of tonight's eppie:

    "The team discovers that Wartime Farmers could lose everything - their home and their land - if the government did not think they were productive enough. Over 2,000 farmers deemed 'not good enough' were thrown off their farms during the war.

    Ruth, Peter and Alex face a World War Two-style government inspection, meeting an expert who tells them to grow and to get their milking operation up and running.

    In the process they confront the wave of mechanisation that government regulation brought to wartime farming, grappling with a new tractor and getting to grips with a milking machine. Yet they are dealt a bitter blow with the loss of a prime dairy cow. Peter also launches a rabbit-breeding concern and they take in the latest release from the Ministry of Information, who made films urging farmers to use the very latest techniques in the fields.

    The team also discovers the chilling story of a local farmer who lost his life in a dramatic shoot-out with the police after the authorities tried to remove him from his farm for failing to meet his required targets.

    With their hard work completed the inspector returns to judge the state of the farm and award them their all-important official 'grade' - determining whether their efforts have been a success or a failure."


  • David, sounds a bit like one of those TV soaps.
    I have vague memory of lots of rules and regulations, we killed two pigs a year for our own use and butchered them at home, that would not be allowed now, we had to give two pigs to the government and some of the pig club also handed over pigs.
    As to being told about new machinery we still relied on the steam engine coming when needed for the big jobs, they had to prise me off the thing when it was time to go. There were a couple of single cylinder engines on big iron wheels used for chopping turnips or grinding down grain for cattle food, they took some starting though once away would rattle along all day.


  • Looking forward to tonight's programme.

    I must admit I am more interested in the views of the women as portrayed in the programme than the tractors, machinery etc. although some of the gadgets they had intrigues me. The way they ran the home, and tried to make ends met both with the food and general shortages was in a lot of cases miraculous. Children are always hungryimage

    I know if you lived in the country you could get your hands on more food, either by bartering or growing your own, but it must have been a nightmare for city dwellers who had no gardens.

    We take so much for granted these days, almost anything you want can be bought, and most people have a good standard of living,a lthough not all.

    I'm just please I didn't have to bring up my family like they did.



  • Chris, with so many men away it was mainly the women who had to manage.
    Even in our village there were little yards with some cramped one up one down no yard of their own or garden, I knew a couple of families brought up in those houses, now they bring eye watering sums as people want to retire in the village.
    I saw some of those children at the junior school suffer the indignity of having to be given the Lord Mayors boots, they were issued to the very poor children of the parish, massive leather boots full of segs and punched into the leather a code so the parents could not pawn them.
    There were only my sister and I so we often saw our old clothes on the backs of some of those poor kids as my mother sorted them and politely asked if Mrs so and so could make any use of these as Son-Daughter had grown out of them, they will come in for dusters?? Mother had to be very diplomatic as you could not be seen to offer charity they were still proud people.
    Dad would fill a small bag with coal, we had plenty as he hauled it on the truck to Steam boilers around the area, take that to Mrs H, who was bringing up two boys and a girl her husband in jail for poaching, tell her it is the sweepings off the truck and will just be thrown away. The kids passed the eleven plus as I did but my parents could afford the uniforms and kit needed so they missed out.
    The one that pulled every one together was a wedding, usually a soldier going away wanted to marry his sweetheart and every one put in for the meal, I saw my mother alter the same dress more than once, dad would send some bacon or ham, people would donate butter sugar tea, fruit for the cake and one of the local women would make the cake, always a fruit one, every one would bake something or make sandwiches with home made bread. The village would turn out for the wedding with small gifts and the men would be gone. A lady next door to us never saw her husband for five years and yet they grew old together as did so many after what must have been trauma to them.
    There would be dire poverty and want, the war pulled the people together and they helped each other, or most did, those that had the means helped where needed although great tact had to be shown whilst doing so, they had nothing but their windows gleamed pavement was washed and step holly stoned.
    I ask what would they do today?


  • I wish this programme had been made before dad died. It would have been great to have started some conversations about his experiences. He was in a childrens home somewhere up country - from here in Torquay almost everything is 'up'. His mother had run off with the coalman and his father couldn't look after children and work - he operated a steam engine - so dad, at two, was shipped off for years. Dad did fight but in Malaya as he turned 18 in 1946. My mother was 18 years younger than dad and my children say they we lived a whole generation behind. Frugal meals and make do and mend all our lives. I only knew about an inside loo and central heating when I joined the RAF in '84. I really should write a book about him but I just need the talent.

  • Muvs they do say everyone has a book in them, write your thoughts down and file them when enough memories are in the file start to join it all up. I have several thick files hidden away and if something suddenly comes back to me, like the vivid memory brought on by the evacuee part of the Wartime farm I write it down.
    Last nights Farm was not something I knew, the Lister pump and the milking machines yes but I am sure we stroked the teat with petroleum jelly so the sucker would slip on, the suction held it. The milk was filtered cooled and put in Churns which went to the farm gate and onto a platform so the collector could slide them onto his truck, They were big things I could handle an empty one but full was beyond me. A word of caution watching last night an angry cow can kick forward with her hind leg and it hurts as much as a kick from a horse, hence we stroked them and talked calmly when working at the back end.
    Never knew they grew Flax in this country, we are surrounded by Docks and at that time they were in the middle of Stockton so Flax came on boats and went to the rope makers around.
    We did hear stories although knew of no one put off their land, they say 2000 were put off so it must be right.
    My MIL had one of those washers for years, when we got our washer a Goblin which heated the water stirred the clothes but you had to wring with a hand wringer on the machine, MIL said hers was better, we went up through twin tubs and on to Modern machines before she finally relented.
    They were correct about the horses, more horses than tractors that was true for our area, we still had carters into the 1950's some would not give them up for those stink machines called trucks.
    Did not fancy Ruth's cheese, I have a feeling Renate was involved somewhere in the making of cheese?


  • I am 47 and remember my mother getting her first twin tub but before that my elder sister and I used to use the mangle, sheets were folded before you put them through and usually pinched your fingers. She even had a washboard. When she died - at 55 - she still had a top loading machine and my parents never did have a front loader. I even remember bathing in a tin tub because we didn't have a bathroom at all. One of the jobs was polishing around the edges of the carpet with lavendar floor polish and when the first fitted carpet went down we felt like kings. Colour TV was on full, full colour but my own children remember having a black and white tv when we came out of the RAF in '93, I couldn't afford a colour TV licence so that haven't had it so good either. They have never had a holiday, don't have iphones or anything like that and only have a laptop because its a government supplied one so not all kids have everything on tap. I'm sure they would manage just as well as previous generations did if push came to shove.

  • Hi Frank - I think the so-called "cottage cheese" in this last episode came about as a result of the programme-makers not knowing what to do with the milk once it had come out of the cow's udder!  They didn't mention the fact that it must be cooled promptly - not left in that milking-machine churn -  so my guess is that they found that soured milk a day or two later and decided to try to do something with it.  I noticed that the chaps didn't seem to enjoy their sandwiches!!  For "proper" cheese you certainly need rennet though, and for clean laundry you need to rinse it after you've put it through the mangle for the first time.................

    As usual, the programme's contents made me wince at times.  I can't be bothered to check via i-player, but did they actually harrow the field after they'd sown the flax?


  • Yes HFC they did indeed harrow the field, with horses, a couple of Percheron's, apparently there were lots of them around, well we had Cleveland's and Clydesdale's.
    The cooler also had filters which were put in fresh each milking and we had to empty the machine churn into the filter so we could milk the next cow there was not one for each cow as they have today.
    I watched them milking now with those raised stalls to make it easy for slipping the suckers on and think, well we got cow muck on our trousers they will get it head to foot from a great height.
    They are getting a lot of marginal things into the programme and not concentrating on the gut busting hard work that went into every day farming, as we walked up to bring the cows down in summer we knew they all had to be milked and back in the fields before we had breakfast, plus of course hosing everything down and cleaning churns cooler and the milking harness, that was just the start to the day.


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