Friday, 30 January 2015

The view from the window

Let’s linger in the kitchen a little longer as that’s where we spent time together, time listening  and talking as well as eating

The kitchen was quite dark and the only window over looked the crew yard where the animals were over-wintered.  My grandfather kept young cattle (known in Lincolnshire as beast) for fattening.  There were just a couple of dairy cows providing milk, cream and butter for the farm.  They also kept sheep and grew wheat and barley as well as root crops for animal feed.  That sort of mixed farming has all but disappeared now. 

I'm the little girl facing the foxhound.
My sister is the middle of the three girls behind.
 The other three are cousins
Between the kitchen window and the crew was a run where the latest foxhound puppy was kept.  My grandparents didn’t own their farm.  They were tenants of the Earl of Yarborough on the Brocklesby Estate.  The Brocklesby pack of foxhounds is the oldest in the country and it was a condition of tenancy that each farmer took a puppy each year and reared it for return to Brocklesby in the late autumn.  In the spring there would be a puppy show with the previous year’s best puppies winning silver prizes for the farms which had reared them.  I still have some of the silver which my grandparents won.

Foxhounds are singularly silly dogs.  The puppies are reared to live a fairly tough, unpampered life as part of a pack so they never came into the house. However, we children were allowed to play with them and take them out with us around the farm.  When we put them back in the run before lunch they would straight away go and watch us through the window.  To this day I have a very soft spot for foxhounds.

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