June 2010 - Posts
Reared back up in jerky chair, feet back on the floor,
Blood runs back into me toes, me bulging eyes back in once more.
This is a copy of a letter/email to a friend of mine down the road who is recovering at home from a serious operation.
As you may have gathered, we haven't got much on at the moment, and a bit of time to bgguer about writing. As you must know when I had my op on my knees they for some mysterious reason they insisted I see a dentist, somatt ta do with a rotten tooth could make the metal in the joint reject. But John you must have been told this for what op's you've been throooo.
Before my op, I had never in me life sat in a dentist chair, or had anyone fiddle with me teeth, so I booked in at Castlefields Surgery dentist, pay a monthly standing order ca-chinnnnnnng, (their cash till) , and pay them a visit every six months. I have been there now twenty times in the last ten years and still they have done nothing other than scrape and polish. I have cleaned (brushed is what they call it) my teeth once before each visit on the morning of the visit (Nothing to be proud of according to Eileen, but then I call it sour grapes as she cleans her teeth two time a day every day and almost always has to have something done ca---chinnnnnnnng)
So I am getting to know my dentist quite well, for they know they only have to count them and poke round them, and find time to fill in the ten minuet slot allotted to me. She asked me (the dentist), as I think they are asking every customer, what is my experience or my views while in the dentists. (She will wish she hadn't). However when Eileen has to go back next week for TREATMENT on her teeth ca-chinnnnnnnng, I will send the following.
Are you Sitting Comfortably
Sit looking through dark goggles, up into a light,
Shining from a wobbly arm, just a tad off white,
Hovering just above ya head, no sun tan will you get,
Just a beam of light to shine, think it's my sunset.
A two inch square to tissue, n' a cup weak bilberry juice,
Open up me north and south, now there's no excuse,
They always seem to work behind, where you cannot see,
And speak in muffled tones aloud, casual and carefree.
The high-tech chair jumps down a step, head below me feet,
A clink of tools are gathered up, dentist adjusts her seat
Forelocked head of curls appear, eyes behind a shield,
A tool gripped in big knuckled fingers, now begin to wield.
A rear view mirror push down me throat, see my teeth all round,
Couple of inches further down, me tonsils will be crowned,
Only counting what I've got, choking on me tongue,
Call themselves a dentist, hope they won't take long.
A hook appears before my eyes, gripped tight in dentist's fist,
"Open wide and move ya tongue, see what's on my checklist",
Hoover pipe switched on too high, clean me mouth outright,
Wunder what's found in the bag, when they clean it out at night.
The foundation of each tooth is cleaned, n' fertilize the roots,
With gritty paste they brush right in, just like cleaning boots,
Reared back up in jerky chair, feet back on the floor,
Blood runs back into me toes, me bulging eyes back in once more.
They've no idea what we go through, the trauma and the stress,
Quaking in our shoes they ask, have we got your right address,
Your medication up to date, just got to tick the box,
N' sign it at the bottom, "Oh I see you've had small pox".
New appointment six months time, ring you day before,
Make sure were live and kickin, and brushed me teeth once more,
Got to have them checked again, keep the rot at bay,
A healthy head of teeth's the aim, is what I should portray.
Countryman (Owd Fred)
I think I should be charging them for ten minuets of entertainment and filling ten minutes of their day, there aint much wear and tare on their equipment when I go.
When you hear about the horror stories of people's visits to the dentist, it crosses my mind as what could happen if you really upset your dentist and what revenge they could inflict. So John I closed my eyes and this is what I envisaged.
I'd Hate to Upset my Dentist
I'd hate to upset my dentist, the revenge they could inflict,
You cannot see their face at all, but their eyes you can depict,
A knee upon my chest to hold, me down while they inject,
Now I know what mole grips are, from my tool box nicked,
To grip and pull and twist with glee, a sound tooth they would eject,
With pain and blood and sweat and tears, I know that I've been tricked,
Touch of a button on the chair, and upright I am flicked,
To sway and stumble for my coat, this I should predict,
Tooth ache still there I am aware, no strength have I object,
May be better next time round, think this was why I panicked.
I wake up from my nightmare; on the calendar I've ticked,
When next to see the dentist, their appointment time is strict,
"Be here at ten, you know the rules", then with her finger clicked,
Computers will not bend the time, and cannot be unpicked,
So to Nicola and her crew I beg, your boots they will be licked,
I will tell all those I know, you are the best in this district,
And please don't bare a grudge with me, my age it does restrict,
I'm old and grey, come what may, so please let's change this subject.
Countryman (Owd Fred)
Dentist, n.: A Prestidigitator who, putting metal in one's mouth, pulls coins out of one's pocket.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Each cow that went through the gate stumbled onto their knees, scramble back onto their feet and panicked, and fled down to the far end of the yard
It happened one fine summer afternoon, when I went to bring the cows in for milking, they all get strung out when the cows decide, as usual, to all walk single file over the foot bridge over the ford in the back lane. To make the job slower, some of them stop to rub an itch on their nose on the bridge side rails,
very few liked to walk through the ford itself because of the round cobbles stones in the bottom.
They turn into the farmyard off the lane between the farm house and the double cowshed where they would normally amble through the doors and find their own stalls. But on this one day each cow that went through the gate stumbled onto their knees, scramble back onto their feet and panicked and fled down to the far end of the yard. It affected some cows worse than others, and with them arriving all spread out in single file from around a corner it caught each one by surprise. Not knowing what was happening way back at the rear of the herd I realise something was wrong when the last of the cows in front of me collapsed then scrambled with hooves slipping on the concrete and race off to the others standing startled in the far corner of the farm yard.
As I walked through the gate I too felt a tingle through my boots, a shock, a currant of electricity, my feet had boots on that part insulated me from what all the cows had just experienced, it was quite clear it was not going to be a normal pleasant afternoons milking.
We investigated what could be making the yard "live", but it came inconclusive, we turned all mains electric boxes to the off position, but still the yard was "live", so the Midlands Electricity Board (MEB) was called. It was a mystery to them at first, as they found nothing amiss on our premises. They started to follow the main wires out to the first pole out on the roadside, then up to the next farm, then to a group of cottages, at each stage they disconnected and re-connected to eliminate them as the cause of the leakage. The village school connection then another farm, then the blacksmiths shop, then on to the village pub. Here they found that electricity was being fed down the neutral wire for some reason and on down to our cowsheds and running to earth through our earth wires, which in turn was clipped to the underground water pipes leading from the house to the cowsheds. Once the pub was disconnected from the mains everything returned to normal, and we had the job of coaxing the cows back up the yard and into the shed to be tied up. We were some two or three hours late milking that day, and the cows had had time to clam down and stood chewing their cud wandering why they had not been milked.
On deeper investigation it turned out that the publican had just bought himself a new second hand cooker that he had wired in himself, and made the wrong connections when he installed it. I have no doubt that the MEB would have had a few sharp words to say to him, and the danger he had posed to other villagers and livestock.
Had the connection been made an hour or so later, when all the cows would have been tied in the shed by metal chains, to metal stalls, attached to metal water pipes, connected to all the water bowls, it could have killed the lot. It seems that as low as thirty or forty volts will kill a cow, where as us with wearing boot or wellingtons and we have the ability to run out of the sheds are more likely to have survived the situation.
I was surprised the following day to hear back from someone who was in the pub that night how the publican was laughing and bragging how he had nearly killed off a herd of cows when he turn on his cooker, fried beef and all that, but then I suppose it made a good talking point at the bar for quite a while, but it was no laughing matter at the time for us, it was before the time when earth trips were invented and became compulsory. Electricity is an invisible killer.
Faith is like electricity. You can't see it, but you can see the light.
Going back 150 years, if walls could talk. In twenty two years the family had eighteen children.
Its always a mystery how people lived years ago, particularly in the house that you live in. Our house in its present form was built around the first half of the 1800's.
But there is evidence of a previous house. It must have been taken down to door top height ( or did it burn down around then) as it has narrow two and half inch bricks on some of the outside walls, then when a larger foot print built it was with larger standard three inch bricks. When the house was extended, the "new" back kitchen where the washing and laundry was done was built over the old well, a well that served both the house and the farm and livestock. In dry summers it ran dry and another well was dug in the 1930's deeper about five yards just outside of the house.
The older section of the house is the wing that yo can see on the left at the back of the house, this picture is around 1950's
Under the floor boards of the older section we found they were supported on fir poles cut directly from the local spinney, cut to length and dropped in place with all the bark still on. The same up in the roof void, the joists and the perlins are ‘bark on' fir poles, then in one fairly long room where the joists wanted supporting half way along there is a pair of old bowed ships timbers part of which are exposed in the bedroom, these are of very old and very hard oak still with the evidence of sawn and chopped out joints with peg holes for fixing. These are likely to be part of the old timber frame from the previous house.
The family who I took over from had lived in the village for three generations, starting with William F-----e born in 1828, he did not marry until he was in his mid thirties, his wife being some fourteen years younger. Over the next twenty two years they had eighteen children. William, Edward, Ann & Mary twins, Cecilly, Earnest, The seventh child Charles (1872) was the one who took over the farm at the age of twenty three when his father died in 1895, then Ellen, John, Walter, William, Horace, Florence, Arthur, Eleanor, Dora, Arnold, and last one Frank.
One of the lads from this eighteen, eventually became a notable judge in the law courts of London, some went out farming to South Africa, and others spread out all over the world to make their fortune.
Over the years that we have lived here, we have had overseas visitors/relatives who are descendants of William (1828) wanting to look round the old house, and look where and how their grand parents lived and how they were brought up.
I know the family had a reunion a few years ago, with family members flying in from South Africa , Australia and all point of the globe, with, in the region of a hundred members turning up. On the family tree that I have to hand drawn up in 2009 by a descendant living in the north of England, a retired vet, there are over four hundred names of relatives stemming from William at this house and farm, it is thought that there are still some of whom have not traced.
As I said the seventh child Charles (1872) took over the farm on his fathers death and eventually married and they had five children. Marion who worked in the house and no one ever saw her, Ruth who worked in the farm dairy cleaning the dairy utensils, but if anyone came in the yard she would scurry round the back way and back into the house, Earnest who eventually took over the farm in the 1950's when his father died, and Frank who did go in the air force during the war, then worked on the farm. And Margaret who worked at the milking and rearing the calves, it was said the she did have an admirer at one stage in her younger days, but he was sent packing when her mother judged him to be "not good enough" for her.
None of these five ever married and so there were no grand children for Charles (1872).
Earnest was trained as a chemist in his younger days and then came back to the farm taking over from his father and stayed tenant until 1983 when he retired due to ill health, that is when I moved here and took the tenancy..
One interesting item we found in the garden was a huge pestle and mortar, we think it must have been the property of Earnest, it was in good condition and would hold I would think two gallons in capacity, the mortar was made of turned elm wood and starting to decay with age, but the stone/marble mortar or what ever its made of is as new and stand high on a shelf in our kitchen weighing a good quarter of a hundred weight (13.5 kg to them's who need to know).
Their mother Elizabeth, Charles's wife, was very dominating; the children went to school next door but were not allowed to play with the other village children. At play times every day, mornings and afternoons they had to return to their own front gate and wait for the bell to go, before returning to their studies. The children never got to handle money, and had not got any grasp of its value until their parents died. That was when the brothers started to buy machinery, after a short while they bought a David Brown Cropmaster which had two seats so the brothers could work it together. Then they went on to have two Ferguson Massy 35's, one each, and the matching equipment. The biggest snag for them was that they had no idea of maintaining or repairing machines, all repairs and adjustments were made by the local machinery dealers, they being more stock men.
One of Earnest's early purchases was a bunch of very fine Hereford cross steers for fattening off on grass, he had not been used to bidding at market and his excitement of the day, which was quickly picked up by the auctioneer and the seller of the cattle, he paid well over the odds. When the same bunch were sold some twelve months later they fetched less than when he had bought them. This trend of not knowing the value of money dogged them all the years the brothers farmed. The same went for the three sisters, it was said that they went into a milliners in town on what must have been their first ever shopping spree free from their mother's domination, and bought five splendid hats each. Not for any special occasion as they never ventured out very often, but just to feel the power of spending money.
The eldest daughter lived in her bedroom for the last twenty years of her life, no one in the village had seen her in all those years. The second daughter worked hard in the house and dairy and fell down the back stairs and broke bones, being old she had never been away from the house and was admitted to hospital, the shock of other people working round and on her killed her. The last sister and two brothers were not able to continue farming, as age was against them and they retired to a house in the next village. Margaret died partly from the stress over the previous few years, and partly from not being able to cope with a small house, the furniture they took with them filled the house as if it were warehouse and they could not move around. The two brothers could not cope on their own and went into a rest home together. This did not last long as they kept falling out, and one of them moved to another home, they visited each other on a regular basis when they too died after some years in care.
Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.
A few years ago, while ploughing in one of our furthest field, I had an encounter with an A10 Tank Buster, or should I say three of them.
It was the time of the Gulf War, and some American war planes were on training exercise in the UK before being sent on duty giving air cover the troops out in the Gulf. Each day around mid morning three of these aircraft came over at high speed at around a thousand feet, banking and turning so as not to fly directly over outlying villages or towns.
They were like nothing I had ever seen before, being a very distinctive shape and outline, it had twin fins one at each end of the rear wing, and two engines saddle bag fashion half way along the fuselage. They followed each other perhaps a half mile apart, the sudden noise from the first one, particularly if I was driving or looking the other way, it was enough to frighten anyone, then I knew to expect the next, and the third one.
It was the third day when I was working in that same field when I noticed them coming in the distance over the horizon, approaching very rapidly, then when about a mile or so away I realised that they were flying directly at me. Not over me, not round or down on side or the other, but directly at the tractor.
In my mind they had locked their radar, or sights, and aiming at me in the tractor as if it were an enemy tank. I stopped the tractor and in effect froze; it was no use me weaving at four miles an hour to avoid the rockets which could have been deployed in those last seconds. Then when about quarter mile away the pilot must have pulled back on his stick and swooping up from lower than normal, passed directly over the tractor, the following two did exactly the same. It must have given them great satisfaction to have had a "sitting duck" part way through their manoeuvres on which they could practice.
It left me sitting in the cab shaking like a jelly, and could not believe what I had witnessed; what with the noise of the jets over head and what might have happened if one of them had actually produced a friendly fire incident. On the main news that night it reported that A10's were being deployed to the Gulf from their base in Britain.
The exercises continued for another week then all of those aircraft must have flown off on their mission abroad. I have not ever seen another one of those aircraft since other than on the news programs, so if I in my small way had helped those pilots, good luck to them, they will never know me and I will never know them, but I thank them for keeping their fingers off those triggers, and left me to go home for my dinner, shaken but safe.
You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)