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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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1 of 65  Thu 28th Jul 2016 10:32am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1984

BCPete, and do your remember how we wondered if it hurt the horses feet, and someone lifted you on to the horse's back as it was led away; and how we rode in the hay carts, the farmers sliding side panels onto the carts to hold the hay. Meadows full of wild flowers, grasses and herbs, completely organic, to feed to the cattle through winter. Big jugs of tea sent to the hay field. The smell of new mown hay, girls in daisy chains, a small stream, the sound of water trickling over pebbles, so soothing you could fall asleep and no one would disturb you. Fields full of primroses, ponds full of drumsticks and flags, the only sound was of insects, animals and children's laughter. And time trickled through your fingers like sand. When the last hay cart left the meadow, the amber light hung over the scene, then turned to a smouldering crimson thread and we weaved our way home. (this is my escape from my present woes). Edited by Midland Red, 5th Sep 2016 9:26 pm (Moved from "Old blacksmith, Tile Hill Village" to allow more general discussion)
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Heathite
Coventry
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2 of 65  Fri 29th Jul 2016 5:58pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2012  Total posts:403

Now, I'm not that well educated but I'm sure that would/could come under the heading of prose kaga. I enjoyed reading that and it was a delight.
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
dougie
from Wigan
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3 of 65  Fri 29th Jul 2016 8:55pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2010  Total posts:195

I too enjoyed reading all this thread as we lived across the road from a farm that had four horses, I can relate to everything in the thread as I almost lived on the farm
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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4 of 65  Mon 5th Sep 2016 6:39pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1984

Do you remember the waggons loaded with corn, and the gadfly goading the cattle madly around the fields, or the harsh guttural cry of the crow, or the skylark mounts into the sky in spirals, singing all the way, at its highest point attained it drops slowly earthwards singing all the while, then closes its wings and drops to earth like a stone. Small blue butterflies flying out across the fields. Down memory lane and I am a boy again and I feel all the glowing life the memory brings. Then every inch of the lanes, every leaf of the woods, every cottage chimney was more precious than such things can ever be again.
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Heathite
Coventry
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5 of 65  Mon 5th Sep 2016 9:05pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2012  Total posts:403

I remember the skylarks. That description reminds me very accurately. They used to be in and above the fields next to the metal and woodworking block at Binley Park School. Some kids also looked for and found partridge nests and eggs. There were many sunny days then and we were virtually in the countryside. Where is it now? Gone, and replaced with commercial concerns.
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Prof
Gloucester
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6 of 65  Tue 6th Sep 2016 6:05pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:282

I remember going on family cycle rides from Stoke to Coombe Ridings, opposite to the entrance to Coombe Abbey on the Brinklow Road My parents with my older brother, and I sat on a child saddle on the cross bar of my dad's bike with supporters for the feet. We collected pussy willow, and perhaps primroses so I suppose this would be Easter time. Wild flowers not protected during WW2 and after. We also had family picnics on 'Starley Fields' on the RH side of Binley Road, approaching Binley, probably what is Ernsford Grange Estate today. Wonder if the name had anything to do with James Starley trying out his new machines? The house I was born in had a name plate 'Starley House' but I imagine this was somewhat 'grandiose' for an end of terrace house on the Triumph Estate in Stoke! Edited by member, 6th Sep 2016 6:06 pm
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Pete-C
Coventry UK
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7 of 65  Tue 6th Sep 2016 8:36pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2014  Total posts:10

THE POND. By Aleck Johnson, 1900-1977. Profession - Signwriter. Had a studio above Pargetter's Funeral Directors, Bishop St. It brings a tear into my eye. In Summer:- When long forgotten cares assailed my youth. To the lush grass that met the nodding reeds. Aside your bank, I'd come and lay me down. To watch the tiny creatures in the shallow reach Skating, crawling, skimming, swimming. Hunting, fleeing, waiting, mating, In their water world..... my Eden ! Further round.... A willow lurched to trail its leaves upon the mere. Brambles hung their fruits and blossoms in perilous display. The weed-free depths, wind etched, white-flecked, With fallen may-bloom drifting to its rest, At boom of rush, like shabby swept confetti: The transient floral coral of the lake. First two verses from "THE POND". Link to complete poem. Edited by member, 6th Sep 2016 8:37 pm
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
coventry49
Devon
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8 of 65  Tue 6th Sep 2016 8:39pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2015  Total posts:159

Kaga, your words remind me of the book 'Lark Rise to Candleford' by Flora Thompson (not the drivel written into the TV series). I think you would enjoy the book. Its one of my favourites and a classic, describing country life and customs now sadly gone.
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Roger Turner
Torksey
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9 of 65  Tue 6th Sep 2016 11:49pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:493

Kaga, you started this thread so thank you for kicking off such a wonderful chain of memories for me. Also thanks to the others who have contributed such a brilliant follow up. Here`s my immediate 18 pennoth, I hope I won`t be castigated for not posting "out of Coventry" I, a Coventry kid, was an evacuee, who went to live on a farm in the country at Measham. My mother discovered a farm "steading" (if you are Scottish), anyway a disused farmhouse, with a yard, bounded by the house on one side, low farm outbuilding on another side (our use),a two storey barn (not our use) on the side opposite the house and a gated wall on the 4th side, up against the wall was a woodpile. A neighbour`s cat called Easter had overall 19 kittens in the woodpile - they were all but feral and you could never catch them. It was called Garner`s Barn Cottage, Measham, it was five fields from the road, approach was by 5 bar gated track across the fields. My brother and I went to school in Ashby de la Zouch and caught the Midland Red bus every morning, half way down "Bird Hill" (I love the pictures of those buses I have seen posted on the site - those old ones had a special sound) We were fully involved with the main farm life (Side Hollows Farm - Mr. Lovatt) which was close to the main road - we had to cross his farmyard to get to the start of our track and I often picked up a can of milk and hung it from the handlebars of my bike, which I left at the farm, I also often carried a loaf of bread (great big bloomer type - can`t think why it arrived home full of holes sometimes). Sometimes Mr. Lovatt stopped me and said "would your mother like a rabbit?", of course she would, and that went over the handlebars too, a piece of binder twine generally looped over its back legs. Oh dear, this is going on longer than I expected, I think I will have to break off and do a part 2, but before I forget, I must mention a wonderful memory of the 1970`s when I was working on a building site at the University of Warwick. It was the Computer Centre, if anybody knows it, it was the building opposite the boiler house, at the lower end of the site. Running in front of the Computer Centre is a small stream, by which we had a lone site hut, at the end of the contract, there was just me finishing off the accounts with the surveyors and I was sitting outside having my packed up lunch one day, looked across to the stream - and there was a kingfisher, it didn`t stay long, but I`m not sure there is any better bird to sight in this country for flashes of intense, brilliant colour.
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Roger Turner
Torksey
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10 of 65  Wed 7th Sep 2016 12:09am  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:493

Nearly midnight - too late now to get started on part 2, so if anybody is interested look out for the next thrilling episode of "The Perils of Roger in a country farmyard". Before I go though, must tell you of my best memory. Harvest time, we, all the farmers` children, the farmers` wives, the farmhands` wives, their children and any others from the area who could be press ganged into it turned out. The binder machine, began at the edge of course, and circled the field (no combines then), as it went round, it threw out sheaves of corn (wheat, oats or barley), all the helpers then picked them up and did what we called "shucking", actually it was placing them side by side and leaning towards each other with a tunnel through for air circulation and drying out called "stooks". As I say, it was pre-combine times and the fields weren't awfully large with all the lovely hedges grubbed out like they are these days. The binder would get closer and closer to the centre of the field, then the real fun would start, the rabbits that had been making their way quietly to the centre, would be running out of space and would break cover, then the binder driver and the tractor driver would get their shotguns out - it was like the wild west - we watchers often had to make ourselves scarce. Night-night all!
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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11 of 65  Wed 7th Sep 2016 5:08am  
Off-topic / chat  

Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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12 of 65  Wed 7th Sep 2016 9:55am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1984

Roger, everything you said was year after year for me, but do you remember when we took food out to the fields, we were taking the mens 'snap'. Walsgrave was one of those lovely little villages that abounded Coventry's suburbs. The church wall was of great blocks of stone that stood higher than me, next to was the forecourt of the Red Lion pub, behind was the hall, from there it was hedgerow running almost to the 'Pippin'. There was a poverty of trees as I believe I am correct in saying, the great woods lay south of Coventry but it did not spoil the beauty of the countryside. There was a black and white building, but what got me, there was a barn, a token of the faraway past, for many years it stood as a barn or grange, to passing motorists it was just a barn, but to me there was no sound of life, except birdsong and the rustle of the wind through the bramble bush, on one side there was a great opening that could have been for the threshing floor, and I would linger until the sun went down. But the centre of the village was, on the Ansty side of the village, the lane going up and beyond the church, on the other side, Woodway Lane side I believe there stood the memorial cross, along the main road towards Ansty stood a few old cottages, and beyond that the fields and farms. I think in those days the heaviest vehicle being a single decker Midland Red bus. But they had May and flower festivals that make today's shows dull and tawdry. The gardens of those cottages full of charm where roses predominate and full of interest.
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Roger Turner
Torksey
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13 of 65  Thu 8th Sep 2016 12:08am  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:493

Oh dear Kaga, what have we (I) started, your descriptive powers are so much better than mine. I hadn`t realised how retentive my memory has been of one period of my evacuation, but a love of country life has always come first with me and I am sure started "The day war broke out..... (Rob Wilton?) ..... well a little bit later than that, but it must have been quite soon, because I remember toddling off to Centaur Rd school and then the next thing I am in Napton, only to be brought back to Coventry with whooping cough - I think it must have been the blitz, because I can remember somebody coming to the door (Prince of Wales Rd.) and saying the Maudslay had been bombed. I was also evacuated to Polesworth, had a mastoid operation in Tamworth, spent 19 weeks in Bromsgrove hospital, so from 1940-47 I spent most of my formative years in the country - well away from the big city. Anyway, back to the tale of the harvest. All the carting of the corn sheaves was done with horses and "drays" - very large sided wagons with sides that shelved upwards and with a higher cradle-like restraining affair of woodwork at each end, they appeared quite ancient, slightly ornate and generally painted with a certain amount of red, perhaps with the name of the farm gilded on. The horses were always a pair but not together, one in front of the other, sometimes with their manes and tails knotted with ribbons, They had collars with horns, which were often hung with lengths of rope, used to tie the loads on. The sheaves were picked up on the end of pitch forks, generally sharp twin tined long wooden handles and as the load grew in height, flung, quite high, caught and placed by the chap on top, then there would be a few urgings of the horses to get moving, some groans from the cart and its axles and then off with a bit of a clatter, where the load was then offloaded into a rick, generally near a gate in the corner of a field or straight to a Dutch barn in the farmyard. The next step with the rick was it had to be thatched, here bundles of long straw were spread over the surfaces and sharpened elderberry sticks were thrust in at intervals and linked together with binder twine - a sort of anchored cat`s cradle. I looked out for the thatcher coming, as he allowed me to "help" him, at least I got a share of his cold tea that he brought in one of those lemonade bottles with the wired in stopper. Then came the real fun - threshing time. A large green Marshall`s tractor, hauling the threshing machine behind it, would roll into the yard and be set up opposite the Dutch barn. The tractor would be connected to the machine by a long belt stretched round two fly wheels, one on the tractor and one on the thresher. This tractor was "special", it wasn`t in the same class as the dirty old Fordson, with its spiked wheels which was the maid of all work, generally ploughing, scuffling and hauling the drill. The Marshall was a diesel that had a shaped exhaust and ran with quite a soothing pom-pom-pom sound, unlike the raucous tractor. There was also the starting up ceremony, a lit cartridge had to be screwed into the front of the engine, to enable it to "fire". Once it was running there would be a couple of men on top of the machine, cutting the strings and feeding the sheaves in, another tending the tractor, another attaching the sacks where the golden grain ran out and another collecting the chaff which had been detached from the corn ears and another dealing with the accumulation of used straw. Meanwhile, we kids, armed ourselves with sticks (the ones with sharpened ends used for ricking) and pitchforks and chased and killed the numerous rats that ran out of the corn stack or rick as it gradually depleted down to ground level, oh there were usually a few dogs enjoying the fun as well. Kaga - do you know, I don`t remember food, or drink for that matter, being brought or dished out at all. Isn`t it strange that I should end up in Lincolnshire, do part of my shopping in "Marshall`s Yard", the tractor factory is no longer, but they have been rejigged as quite showy retail outlets Dreamtime, thanks for your interest, I`ll try to find a happy ending just for you! But at this rate, it`ll be a few weeks yet and by then you`ll all have gone home probably. Cheers Mum used to make rabbit pie with a crust on top and an upturned pottery egg cup in the middle. It was fascinating to see her skinning the rabbit, we also had pigeon pies as well - we didn`t starve in the war, benefit of living in the country.
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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14 of 65  Thu 8th Sep 2016 6:50am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2984

Love reading your country memories too Roger. I loved the pie (the crust was the best part) as well as the stews, very popular in my younger days. Something you don't see these days - a row of furry rabbits in the butchers. Wave
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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15 of 65  Thu 8th Sep 2016 2:22pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1984

Roger, I find your posts very descriptive, but I'm afraid we may be curtailed with so much of our memories, some of those horses were loved by the carriers and.farmers alike, horses' coats shone like burnished gold wagons oiled, the old steam engine thresher, the men getting excited as the field dwindled and they spotted an old dog fox about to leave the small piece of uncut corn. The farmers always supplied great jugs of tea and cucumber sandwiches, housewives would come and glean the fields and everyone in such a jubilant mood. I remember once a worker lifted a sheaf of corn on a pitchfork, a mouse fell out and went straight down the inside of my shirt front and raced round my waist. I was about six at the time, my sister was more scared than I, but I remember it as if it was yesterday. Wish I could remember my hospital appointments as well! 'Ah well'
Non-Coventry - Countryside memories

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