Our Country Life

The Bakers from Skinners farm had the dairy behind what is now The Gearbox (this later became Express Dairies). When the weather was snowy, Mrs Baker remembers customers coming for untreated milk with every sort of container. One man came with a whisky bottle that still reeked of whisky, she filled it with milk for him and he was very happy. Ken Baker took his big tractor with a milk churn to the seafront to supply the hotels. Some farmers who lived in more isolated areas had to throw the milk away because no-one could get it.

My Uncle Walter also used to go round with a milk churn. He had the Belle Vue Dairy, the shop that was Monday’s Child and Madame Leavesley before that. There used to be pheasants and poultry hanging outside. My aunts and Grandmother had the Glen Hotel. They had to move out during the war because the Americans air force requisitioned it. When they moved back, my aunt married Harold Crane whose family still run it. In those days they had lots of residents who lived there all the time.

The rubbish in Beer used to be collected by horse and cart. On a Saturday my cousin and I used to take the horse through the lanes to the blacksmith in Branscombe. While he was being shod we went to the old bakery to get buns. Then we would take it turns to ride him home. He only had a sack on his back so if he stopped to crop the grass we slipped down his neck and over his head.

When we were teenagers we played on the Ham. Brian Bagwell had a boat on the river and we would ride up und down, running about, climbing trees. The boys played football and the girls chased the boys. We played hockey with walking sticks . In the summer we would be down on the beach until it was dark. I wasn’t allowed to go out in the boat. Angela used to row across to Chit rocks, and I used to lay in the bottom of the boat when we went past our hose in York Terrace in case my mother was looking out. We went to the youth club in the Unitarian Church. We also played at Gilchrist’s pond, people skated on it when it was frozen and we went tadpoling in the spring. At the weekend we go for long walks long bike rides.