Now this is almost, but not quite, real history. By that I mean it’s what I remember of what my Dad told me, and that depends on how he remembered things.
My dad was born in Askam and at the age of fourteen went into farm service because he didn’t want to go into the Yard or down the mines. He got £13 for his first half year. In 1939 he volunteered and went into the RAF. But when he reached Preston they realised he was a farm worker and therefore in a reserved occupation. So they sent him back. Until he got married and settled down he went to the hiring fairs every half year and so worked on farms from Workington down to Morecambe. Indeed he watched the bombing of Barrow from Morecambe while he was working there.
But one comment he made was about Point of Comfort at Goadsbarrow. He remembered that during the height of the Great Depression, there used to be a lot of lads camping there. Apparently if you were unemployed and lived at home with your parents, you got a shilling a week. If you lived out, you got one shilling and sixpence. So lads would make themselves a ‘tent’ out of a bit of canvas and a few bits of wood and live there. On the days they had to go in to collect their money, they’d go home, give their mum the shilling and the clothes they were standing up in. They’d put on clean clothes, collect a bag of food and go back to where they were camping.
My father remembers them camping on the seaward side of the road. Now you can still see the Scar of stones, but back then he remembered there being grass on it. It might be that they also camped on open land further along, as you can see from the picture, with the old road being so slow, nobody bothered to fence it.
The picture, an old Sankey postcard, is taken from further north up the coast. The Scar itself is beyond the house. To find it now, it’s where Long Lane comes down to the coast from Leece.
Apparently there were a couple of other places where lads would camp. They’d play a lot of football, and with sixpence in their pocket it was even possible to think of going to the flicks on a Saturday night and getting chips on the way back.
I did put together a collection of stories. Some about now, dogs, quads, sheep and quad bikes, whilst some tales I was told about my grandfather and farming round Barrow in the war.
They’re available on kindle, but you can read them on any phone or tablet if you download the free kindle app.
It’s called, ‘And sometimes I just sits?’
As a reviewer commented, “Excellent follow up to his first collection of bloggage – Sometimes I Sits and Thinks – this is another collection of gentle reflections on life on a small sheep farm in Cumbria. This could so easily be a rant about inconsiderate drivers on country lanes and an incessant moaning about the financial uncertainties of life on a farm. Instead, despite the rain, this is full of wise asides on modern living that will leave you feeling better about the world. Think Zen and the Art of Sheep Management (except he’s clearly CofE…) Highly recommended, and worth several times the asking price!”
yours for 99p