River Wissey Lovell Fuller


December 2005

Les reflects on his youth with inevitable cpmparisons to the yout of today

Reading an article in one of our national newspapers made me think of my working days of years ago. Leaving school at 13 1 went straight to working on a farm for some 10 or so years, but then spent the next 40 years doing something entirely different.

And yet on reflection those 40 years doesn't seem to have left the lasting memories that working on the farm did. Which were the happiest, the most enjoyable? Well farm work in those days didn't come into those categories, the harsh working conditions saw to that.

Very often a wry smile cross my face when I read articles, often accompanied by photographs, in some of our local papers depicting life on the farm years ago. I just wonder if those writers ever had the somewhat dubious pleasure of doing such work over any length of time, if they did they would be less reluctant, as it appears they are, to somewhat glorify those days.

It wasn't just the harsh working conditions that prevailed on the farm, my Mother would be attending to work back home doing all that was involved in looking after a large family which were prevalent in those days.

Modem machinery hadn't arrived on the farm, or in the home, I can remember the days, (do we have to have this constant interruption by violin players?) when in our house we hadn't even got electricity. Look around your house today and discover how many items would be completely useless if the electric supply was cut off.

You wouldn't be able to watch, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, and if I can steady my hand long enough to write that horrible word, Eastenders, why, just why, do people watch all of that hog wash, haven't they heard of the pubs, after all if you go down to the pub you stand a fair chance of having a conversation with someone instead of being glued to that darn TV all the time, is it any wonder you hear people say in anyone of our villages, "I don't know half the people who live here now-a-days".

So I think we can safely say that the harsh working conditions of yesteryear have thankfully gone, and socially times they are a changing, but change never does happen over night it always take years but you get there in the end.

Pubs which years ago were the centre of village life, some of us older folk can remember most villages which had at least six or seven, today maybe only one. In those old days pubs were mainly the preserve of the male species with women left at home, but not any more, today there is hardy a pub that doesn't offer the choice of a reasonable price meal, and very often it's the dear lady who's first through the door, and why not having been at work all week what a change to leave the cooking and washing up to someone else.

When we think of the transformation that has taken place here at Methwold Social Club, part of which years ago, (will that violinist please leave the room) was built with one of Geoff Allen's prefabs, but today a modern brick built building, wall to wall carpets, oil fired central heating, and yes you've guess it, dining out at the Club on a Sunday lunch time.

Yes we have come a long way since the "good old days" but there's still a long way to go, but we shall get there.

Les Lawrence

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.