Church warden for over fifty years.
I'm eight years old and I was born in Feltwell. We lived in the Square by the old tree, which is Basil Vincent's corner now. I went first to the infants' school, which was the WI Hall, where the teacher was Miss Knights, and then we crossed the road to the big school, which is now the engineering works. The Head there was Mr Fassnedge and the Deputy Mr Davis. They were very good, strict teachers and we had enjoyable days. I left school on the Friday and got a job at Grange Farm on the Saturday! It's not so easy for young people now.
My father was the horseman on the farm, and I went for ten shillings a week as the general knockabout. I went through all the processes of farming, when the farm was split up I went up to the aerodrome and did all kinds of building work. Then I worked for Mr Rice, and at the same time my father had about 10 allotments which we worked like a small holding. We grew sugar beet and vegetables then we bought the land in Paynes Lane by the playing field and we started chicken farming there. I married Mary in 1937 and we lived in the houses opposite the doctor's house. We applied for the tenancy of a Norfolk County Council small holding which is now Muriel's Farm.
I think I became Church Warden in about 1939, anyway, it was in the Reverend Cope's time. The first official job I had was when the Bishop of Ely came and Captain Hardy and I escorted the cross of sacrifice into the church. The church used to be full in those days, but it was in the war that it began to fall apart. I was warden with Captain Hardy and Major Swan and when he was ill, I took over. I was also with Miss Baker's brother and Basil Vincent. I think I got elected every year because I was the only one who applied! We had a team who used to keep the church yard tidy and cut the grass. I liked seeing it tidy. Farming had a big influence on my faith; watching the farm is like the resurrection all over again. You set the corn and you know it's going to grow.
It was hard work on the farm but we always enjoyed it and I used to feel I'd achieved something, particularly at Harvest time. It's easier work now, no cutting or stacking or bailing - it's all done by the combine. The most enjoyable thing I ever had was a herd of pigs. I always went to say goodnight to them every night and they always answered back. We would keep half a pig and put it in brine with salt petre and black sugar. Shooting? I think I'd better be a bit careful there! Everything off the record! I still work every day on the farm. I do what I like now and if it's a pouring wet day I don't do much!
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