Posts Tagged ‘1979’

My first sheep

July 9, 2015

Back in 1979 I had a new neighbour. He married the girl next door and it was the parents who moved out and let the new couple have the home. The new neighbour was known to me. He was a young man into farming with knowledge and expertise. I was a bit older and had a field. Together we went in for sheep. He decided we should buy old ewes with a lamb at heel as a starter. That way we’d have some lambs to sell later and could make decisions about keeping some as future breeding stock.

Our fences weren’t sheep proof so I put up a temporary pen to hold the new arrivals. And here are my very first sheep. Of course, technically I should say ‘our’ because it was a joint venture.


So there we have the first sheep – and yet another photo taken on my little Canon Demi camera.

We can see it is still wintry for there’s a smidgen of snow on the ground within the pen and the tops of the downs look well covered.

I was a sheep keeper for about twenty years from then on and learnt to manage them ‘all by myself’. Those last three words were once a favourite expression of my grandson.

My former neighbour still keeps sheep on my field when it has grass for them to nibble but these days they are all his.

Mostly, sheep keeping was enjoyable and strangely one of the best experiences was always getting up in the middle of the night to check them during lambing time. In prospect it was awful, but once out there, alone with the sheep and nature, it was wonderful. Well actually, it can’t have been that wonderful because I don’t get up at three in the morning now!

Keeping sheep

June 14, 2014

Very early in 1979 I became a sheep keeper. Almost by chance we had bought a house with a field and something needed to be done with it. A neighbour, who worked in farming, suggested we could keep sheep together. He provided the knowhow. I provided land and we shared the costs.

His recommended cheap route in was to go to market and by an elderly ewe with a lamb at foot. And he did just that. So on a cold day, with snow still on the ground, we became sheep keepers. And here is that very first ewe and lamb.


Over the next few weeks the flock grew and we became a bit more skilled in the things that had to be done. We learned how to trim hooves, how to get drench medicine down the throats of animals, how to inject them and then how to shear them.

It really was quite a steep learning curve which stayed useful for the twenty plus years I was a sheep keeper.

In those days dipping sheep was a requirement and that was hard without proper facilities. Sometimes we manually hoiked the animals in and out of a big old water tank filled with chemicals. At other times we took them to a neighbouring real farm which had a dip – so much easier.

We soon came across the horror which was ‘strike’. The green bottle fly lays eggs in the wool of a sheep and when maggots hatch they start sucking and eating the sheep. We learned to watch out for any signs and to rapidly treat the animal. We never lost any to strike.

We acquired a ram so the following spring we faced lambing but had no particular problems. We learned to love getting up to check the sheep at three in the morning. The prospect was awful but the reality of being alone, out in the world at that time was really wonderful.

Over the years we faced the problems that sheep farmers face – difficult lambings and animals not surviving.  But doing the paper work was probably the worst problem. Movements books and medicine books all needed keeping and they were checked.

But I am glad to have been a sheep keeper. It provides happy memories.


Watching lichen grow

February 3, 2014

Many years ago a local historian asked me if I had any photos of Anns Farm. I searched through my collection and came up with this one.


Really, I had taken a photo of my son at our garden gate back in 1979. Anns Farm just happened to form the backdrop. Anyway, the photograph got added to the historian’s collection and then, in 2001, I decided I’d have a ‘now’ photo. I still live in the same house and still have the same view.


There are things to note. First of all, I no longer had a son at home and we no longer bothered with a gate. Ann’s Farm has been converted from a little cottage with a plethora of outbuildings into a large house. But what struck me was the growth of the brickwork lichen over 22 years. Of course, you’d never notice any change on a day to day basis but over that long period it was clear that the lichen had grown a great deal.

Now I am no expert on these odd little non flowering plants. I shan’t even try an identification.

Sad to say the lichen has gone. A reversing lorry managed to knock the whole wall down. It happened whilst we were out and we have no idea who did it. The lorry was blue and would have had a broken red rear light. That ended watching that particular lichen for me but there are plenty of others about.

Rye – Tourism and Genealogy

September 27, 2013

On a trip to Rye back in 1979 we were tourists on holiday. It was a cheap holiday. We stayed with Grandma and purchased a week’s worth of rail rover tickets for an area in Sussex. Rye was available on our tickets so we went.

Using the old Canon Demi camera we recorded a few tourist landmarks.


One of the town gates – I’m not sure which.


That’s a very youthful me on the left, pushing my even more youthful son in his pushchair. That was about his last push, for later in the day a wheel fell off the chair and from then on he had to walk. Oh, it’s the much photographed Mermaid Inn.

When we visited in 2006, we were still tourists, of course, but now we were genealogy tourists for I had discovered that a four greats grandfather had lived in Rye. His name was Henry Huggett and he was born in 1788 at nearby Peasmarsh. He was a carpenter and only moved into Rye in later life. He lived on a street which was called, delightfully, ‘Wish Ward’.


Henry lived at number 1 and here it is.


It’s the humble home with the blue door.

Henry’s son, also Henry who was the brother of my direct ancestor now ran the carpentry business and he lived nearby. This is his house.


It’s the second, white fronted house we see – the one getting a lick of paint. It’s on Ferry Road.

Being a genealogy tourist in Rye gave us a whole new perspective on the place as we trudged the back streets, away from Mermaid Street and the tourist areas – albeit barely 100 yards away. Like anywhere else, Rye’s origins were not in being a pretty tourist town. It was a working place, with access to the sea and where real people did real jobs.