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Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Wartime Farm

Posted: 13/10/2012 at 18:38

Hi Chris - I don't think you're being too picky at all!   As you'll have read, my own comments are usually somewhat derogatory - it annoys me so much when the programme makers say and do things which I know are incorrect, because I think it's utterly wrong to make "historical" programmes with so many errors and then try to pass them off as a factual re-creation.

I thought I'd send off for the booklet which accompanies the series - I have a small collection of books about farming - but found that the Open University/BBC website doesn't seem to work when you try to place your order.  I got no further than being able to entering my postcode - then.....................nothing.   Must admit I wasn't too surprised - just a bit disappointed - as it's yet another let-down, which is what this series has turned out to be for me.  Whilst looking at the website I saw some comments which were along the same or similar lines to Frank's & mine, so I decided to watch the last episode again on i-player to see whether or not I still felt the same. I do! 



Wartime Farm

Posted: 12/10/2012 at 18:31

Hi Frank - I was wondering what you thought about last night's "offering".  As always you've told it like it REALLY was!   I thought the programme made a mess of trying to involve the children - gathering herbs etc maybe, but certainly not children using  pichforks (we call them pikels)  to rake the cut grass in that graveyard.  Even the "presenter" used one -   aaarrgh! - haven't they ever seen or heard of a wooden hay-rake?   We would set traps for rats too.  After the winter months - when the dairy cows were turned out to grass for the first time - a terrier or two (or sometimes a clonk with a shovel) was the way to get rid of those odd few rats which had managed to overwinter in the shippons.  There was always some hay & stuff which got left in that space in front of the actual stalls - we call it "the byng" - and when that was cleaned out the rats would emerge. I was really cross when they said that rats don't have a bladder.  WRONG.  They do - and they can climb.

They did get it right with Ruth's hairdo, however - my Ma was called Ruth and she had her hair done like that.  I remember those funny hair-clips, which were still in Ma's dressing-table drawer years after the war ended. Yes, they should by this stage have talked about the POWs who worked on farms.  It was mostly Germans who worked for us - the food they brought to work from their camp canteens was really awful, so my Ma and Aunt would give them whatever extra stuff was available from our own kitchen.   I can clearly remember two of them - one was called Walter and the other's name was Hans.  They were probably in their late 30s and - according to my Pa's reminiscences in later years - were thoroughly nice chaps who didn't seem at all "pro Nazi", as were the younger men.  They made toys and little presents for us - I remember one wooden toy which looked like a table tennis bat. Perched on the flat round surface were little carved & painted chickens which  nodded/pecked when you moved the bat in a sort of horizontal/gyratory fashion - the chickens's heads were connected by fine string to a weight beneath the bat.  Walter made a lovely wooden jewellery box for my Aunt - I still have that, and it still has the dedication/inscription  (inc. photo of a rather handsome man in uniform) inside the lid.

Wartime Farm

Posted: 28/09/2012 at 20:32

What was the problem with the cow, other than what looked like damaged udder ligaments?  If it was merely that, and not an infectious illness, I'd have thought that the slaughterhouse would have passed the carcase as suitable for human consumption - in the same way that they would have done if she'd broken a leg.

Wartime Farm

Posted: 28/09/2012 at 15:46

Hi Muvs - there are just a few of us oldies round here who can remember quite a bit about how things used to be "once upon a time".  What the programme makers clearly haven't taken into account - for this series, as well as the previous ones - is that there are some practices which would have been much the same over several generations, as regards farming methods and livestock handling in general. So, they could have checked --  e.g.  by asking for some input via today's farming press - whose readers are likely to know about these things or would know someone who does.

My own Pa eventually had three farms each with a dairy herd - and had a retail milk business which began with twice-daily deliveries using a pony & float (milk ladled from a churn into the customers' own milk jugs), and went on to have a bottling plant on the middle farm which supplied milk to most of the local town.  The cattle were fed with our own home-grown cereals, hay, kale, mangolds, beet etc and we ground the cereals into meal ourselves.  Before the l950s sileage was a relatively new-fangled concept in the part of the country where we lived - and the stuff they fed to the cattle in last night's programme didn't look as if it was the product of what they'd sileaged in an earlier programme!  more like modern-day "haylage" to me.............. and as for that "cattle trough" they put it in.......well................   I was surprised that although they had the usual Alfa Laval milking machine, they didn't have that same company's little cup gadget which we used for checking for mastitis - looked like a half-pint mug which had a flat inset black "lid" with a hole on one edge.  Any mastitis-affected milk showed up clearly on the black surface & you tilted the cup slightly to let the milk drain down into the cup itself before testing the next teat.

Although some of our land was rather clayey, we did use horses for lots of the general farm work - including some ploughing, especially on the land where we grew new potatoes, as this was where the soil was much lighter.  The three farms meant that at one time Pa had over twenty men working for him - some of the older ones were those who looked after the horses, and others took care of the cattle.  A few years ago I was sad to say goodbye to the table which used to be in what we called "the bottom kitchen" - a big room which wasn't used much except for things like harvest suppers.  The table - when it had its extra pairs of legs & extra leaves put in - would seat 28.  One of my earliest memories is of being just about tall enough to see what was actually on the table for one of those occasions!

Wartime Farm

Posted: 28/09/2012 at 13:34

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?


Wartime Farm

Posted: 14/09/2012 at 13:16

(In case Frank & DK think I've not seen any of the programmes!)  -   I finally got around to watching Episode 1 on i-player last night, after I'd seen the second episode.  As Frank says, it looks as though they've done a bit more research this time - though (to me at least) there are  still mistakes which make me want to throw something at the TV - part of the script last night seemed (I thought) to infer that barley had been more commonly used for bread-making than wheat.  I don't think that's the case.  The sileage-making attempt was dire..........people would have been much more likely to try to line a pit/clamp with the corrugated iron rather than stand it on top of the ground - and as for how they pitchforked the greenstuff into it - about passing the furniture in through a window whilst the front door's open.......................  I see that Ruth still can't find the nailbrush - and she hasn't looked at any of the ample film footage of the war years in order to learn how to tie & wear what we called "a turban".  I agree with Frank when he says that the kitchen range wouldn't have gone out, so there'd have been no need for the paraffin stove in a farm kitchen.  Portable paraffin room heaters for elsewhere in the house maybe....

I suppose they had fun trying to make that mole plough - but I'd like to have seen what the blacksmith's own version would have been.  Without some sort of brace + a whole lot more weight it was never going to work, was it?  Considering this was supposed to be the early part of the war and farmers wouldn't yet have got used to having The Land Army around (and therefore seeing women doing things on the farm that were always hitherto considered "Men's Work") I was surprised to see Ruth driving the tractor at this stage of the series. 

I suppose I'd have to say "improved, but could do better" if you asked me how I thought the two programmes so far compare with the previous series - but it does irritate me when I see things in the background that I know weren't around then - that coach-built pram was much later than 1940 I reckon, ditto the sort of hay-bale I saw one chap carrying. 

Frank's version of how things really were is, as always, well worth reading.  Thanks, Frank!

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 19/08/2012 at 23:04

Hi Frank!  Whenever I hear a weather forecast, I'm reminded of my ex (and now late) OH's versions of what we might expect .  As an airline pilot (ex R.A.F.) he used to say that the Met Office bods boasted that their forecasts were 40% accurate. .....................

I realise that that a simple 180 deg. version of that is too simple a formula  (in which case they'd be 60% accurate!)  but sometimes I think that I'd be better relying on a fircone/bunch of seaweed/achey bunion etc etc.................  Cheers!    Ma.

What a great series!

Posted: 19/08/2012 at 22:50

Norty DK!

Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 06/08/2012 at 18:37

Lovely photos!  Thanks for sharing.  


Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 06/08/2012 at 17:53

Hello again - so nice to hear about Rasta & Bonzo!  HCF was the only whippet I've ever had who liked water - most will tippy-toe round even the shallowest puddle, whereas HCF would run to & fro splashing like mad & loving it!  I still miss him dreadfully................

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