Posted: 02/03/2017 at 11:08
I remember the winter of '63 Topbird. I was 11 years old in the January and we lived on a farm in a tiny hamlet in Mid Suffolk - we were cut off for what seemed like weeks - no snow ploughs or bulldozers - my Pa and the farm workers and the men who lived in the cottages around us used their garden spades, grain shovels and whatever there was to dig a single track into the next village 3 miles away. It took ages as Pa was a good six feet tall and couldn't see over the snowdrifts. The pond at the edge of the farmyard was frozen absolutely solid and we children were allowed to play on the ice without supervision!
It was fun for children, but so hard for my parents on the farm - tractors wouldn't work as the diesel in the engines had frozen, and of course all the farm animals and poultry needed their water troughs filled up at least twice a day - that had to be done by getting buckets full of water from the kitchen sink as all the pipes and taps in the farm buildings were frozen. No one had freezers full of food in those days, so we lived off of whatever there was in the cupboards, lots of soda bread was made, and soups from dried pulses, tinned peas and beans, and carrots and potatoes etc in stores and whatever could be salvaged from vegetable gardens. Pa would take his shotgun and go out for pigeons, pheasants, rabbits etc that were lurking around woodland and the thick hedges where the snow wasn't so deep, and Ma made sure that villagers had eggs. The other farm in the village had dairy cows, so they made sure everyone had milk to drink. Several chickens met their Maker a bit earlier than planned and provided meals for a few families.
The snow on the fields wasn't as deep in some places as on the roadways, as it had drifted in the wind, and a girl of 17 who worked at the bakery 8 miles away walked across the fields to get to work as she couldn't get there on her Lambretta scooter, and then stayed there until the thaw.
Eventually the roads were clear enough for the milk tankers to get through and collect the milk from the dairy farms - that was the most important thing - then the regular deliveries from butchers, bakers etc began to be resumed and life began to return to normal ............... oh, and eventually the headmistress of the village school was able to get through in her Morris Minor from her home 10 miles away, and the freedom and fun ended and we went back to school ............