My Dad achieved much in his life particularly in improving the Guernsey breed. When Royalty visited he would be there holding the rope of a Champion cow or bull. He loved children and his farm was like a social centre for kids all around the Bouet. He was a good father and a good workmate.
His skills were those of another age and he was the master of so many.
One memory is of the Great Drought of 1976 when we were living high on the borders of Exmoor. Dad, even though his health wasn’t good and he had suffered a few heart attacks by then, decided he wanted a vegetable garden. I ploughed him a big plot in the middle of a field and he worked the rough soil down by hand. He said there was a trick to using a spade. I asked him what that was. He answered “after you start digging just keep going”.
He worked tons of rotten manure into the soil and worked slowly but surely as much as his health would let him do at a time. He planted everything but strangely banked it all up like potatoes. Everything was planted in a ridge. Quite odd.
When he started the garden we didn’t know there was going to be a long drought. The garden flourished but then everything began to dry out. Our mains water had dried up just like the streams. The well was providing just enough to keep the cows watered. There was no water for the garden.
The grass dried out and was as dry and as brittle as hay. The garden continued to flourish. For the whole of the drought we were never without home-grown vegetables. I don’t know if the manure was holding in the moisture or the ridges were catching the dew to deliver the water the plants needed.
In my heart I think it was his magic touch.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. x