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early days

Posted: 1 month ago - Jul 03, 2022

I lived , as I still do , in the United Kingdom in a very rural area. My father was a farm worker, the son of a small holder and related to a line of market gardeners. he was 42 when he got married to my mother, a butchers daughter. It took 3 years for me to happen during which time they lived with my mum's mother in the middle of a 4 acre woodland. Dad kept pigs and poultry at home and at that time worked on a dairy farm which was a 3 mile bike ride each way. I didn't see much of him in those early years he was at work for 6-00am and by the time he got home I was back in bed..We left my grandma's house when I was 3 i never knew either grandfather or remember my other grandmother. we moved to a big house with an acre of garden and access to an old mature orchard of similar size.

The lady who sold us the house left us her two cats, both females, having cats neutered in those days was un heard of so guess what, apparently my cot was a favourite place for them to kitten in, though I was totally unaware of ever them having kittens. one of the two started attacking me lying in wait and clawing and biting me until it was decided that they could not keep them and they were put to sleep. I was a timid child, slow to speak coherently and so shy. my parents bought a terrier because i was scared of dogs. he was a typical terrier, vocal, a great ratter well he would kill anything he could catch. he lived outside, as a pup chewed through his wire run so lived on a chain after he got into next door's poultry.

Although my father was one of the eldest of 13 children and my mother's 2 sisters lived near London we rarely saw family other than my grandma and i never interacted with my cousins, some I have never spoken with to this day. I think my mother may have been responsible for discouraging family visits. Needless to say when I started school at 5 I found it hard to mix but I did in the end. I had a couple of close friends one of whom moved away and I never heard of again. at 11 I went to an all boys grammar school, I had the choice of 2 one played rugby and one football, no questioning it , no way was I playing Rugby! I did reasonably well at school, was respected but didnt mix much, it was a 5 mile bike ride to school or the school bus, which I disliked. home life was uneventful,- no siblings, I kept poultry, pheasants, foreign finches, British birds, canaries and budgerigars and took over the family flower gardens, leaving Dad with the veg. By this time Dad had changed farms to a mixed arable and pig farm where he was the pigman, we acquired a sheepdog pup who I trained to work the hens, he was a natural and needed little guidance, one day i took him round the "bosses" sheep that had got out and he worked them brilliantly after that I was part time shepherd as well as school boy that dog was as near to a brother as anything i had. I was happy, I didn't need people. My mother was very strict and my grandad's leather strop used for sharpening his butchers knives was often used across my but, if she couldnt catch me it was a bucket of cold water. she was a good aim, where as my father was very mellow and never disciplined me at all. I suppose it worked between them.

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