Thanks Len,

This description refreshes my memory of when, during the war years in Belfast, our family would visit a friend's farm in Hillsborough - near the present-day Royal Estate - and assist in their harvest. The farm was well ordered, but chooks, geese, dogs and cats would roam just outside the kitchen door. The floor of which was tiled in rough-hewn slate, yet kept clean daily with a reed broom. Animals were actively discouraged from entering the kitchen which was the hub of the house, although some managed to be smuggled in by us kids. We slept in the barn, and I can vouch that straw can be very prickly! Water was collected daily from the hand pump in the yard and slops were fed to the penned pigs. The rustic smell was all-pervasive. The few cows were milked twice daily, but I was not taught how. I was, however, taught how to churn butter and to keep clear of the geese as ganders could be aggressive, and I couldn't tell the difference then. :-). For our services, we would be treated to somewhat more and varied food than the war-time ration allowed. All the children went barefoot which, being a townie, I found painful at times. Try walking across freshly cut stubble.

On arrival in Australia in '48 I stayed for a time with my Aunt and Uncle on a rural property in western Victoria. When school was out and on weekends I would assist uncle earn some money by digging potatoes or stripping tan-bark from acacias. I found it back-breaking work and also difficult to avoid spoiling the spud crop with the tangs of the fork - much to uncle's annoyance. (Maybe I was just trying to avoid be asked to help the next day ;-))

We now have cars apiece, a beautiful home, infrastructure galore, &c, &c, &c, and  more food than is good for us. How times have changed!!!


On 26/10/2018 10:32 AM, Len Swindley via CoTyroneList wrote:

Hello Listers;

There has been recent interest expressed in the lives of our Tyrone forbears (thanks to Elwyn) and here is an extract from the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of the 1820s-30s that offers some observations on living conditions in Clogher parish. Having read through many of the memoirs covering the parishes of Co. Tyrone, this report could be applied similarly to all parishes.

Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia

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