Down on the farm just the way it used to be

Last week I was invited to a traditional gathering in of the harvest in a remote corner of Norfolk.

I was to see farming practices just as they were immediately after the Second World War. Horses? – no! this was the age of mechanisation with traction engines and even tractors – the sort that you could repair with spare parts when they went wrong.

Cutting, reaping binding – they all happened – producing stooks as even I remember them.

These were then collected in by manually heaving them up on to the hay cart. At first sight this does not seem a strenuous action, but it all depends on how many one has already lifted and how high up they have to be pitched.

To be honest it resembled harvest time as I remember it when I was very young. Clattery machinery without a thought for health and safety. Pretty girls always ready to pose for a photograph without asking why it was being taken – or had permission been given by the farmer? (What’s a model release form?)

At lunch time there was a good old fashioned picnic, eaten sitting in the grass field without a sanitiser in sight! Wonderful.

Terrific to see the girls driving the tractors, as I suspect many had to do during the war. It must only have changed when the troops came home and as the men grew concerned about job security, the poor lasses were pushed back into their undeserved seclusion.

I think it was life on the farm – as it used to be with all the family involved.