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A Stratton Smallholder

Posted by on 9:23 pm in Article, Stratton | 0 comments

A Stratton Smallholder

More from Dawn’s interview With John Going, aged 94: I sold my Stratton smallholding to a neighbour and then he split it up. It was in a ring fence, at the Town’s End side of Stratton. Stratton was a nice little place. That’s one of the things that attracted me to it. When I came here, the sun was shining, the grass was green, it was warm, and people were tearing about with tractors. I was in Stratton for 30 odd years. Stratton was good. All I had to do was walk from the end of the road and there was the town. Everything was still rationed. There were 4 grocers, 2 shoemakers, a chemist opposite the old surgery, an ironmonger’s, a self-contained unit, 2 butchers almost opposite each other, 3 pubs, a tailor’s. Fewer cars than we have now which was an advantage. I went to the shoe shop near the junction because he’d fought on the same battlefield as my uncle. Bissets? Stratton had a good cattle market but Holsworthy was rather better though the same auctioneer did both. In the early stages when I came here, government suppliers were buying beef for the army. There was good competition and prices. I left farming because I was bloody-minded. There was a lot of pressure from changes of government. They wanted loads and loads of cheap food, as much as they could get. People wanted it for nothing. There was a fresh lot of rules with each government from the Ministry of Agriculture. I got pushed into a corner and decided to get rid of it. I was sad to get rid of the cattle as I’d been breeding consistently. I was hot-headed at the time but I was married by then and we’d got three kids (I married a widow with 2 children) and they needed feeding. Very seldom did I go to Bude. Bude was a foreign country, really.  I had friends in Bude but it was very small then, 4000 or so people altogether. There was banter between Stratton and Bude, it was so intertwined. I’d walk across Broadclose Farm via Pathfields. I used to walk to Bude. There were always skylarks over Broadclose. The Holsworthy & Stratton Agricultural Association had their first postwar agricultural show on...

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The first cattle artificial insemination in Stratton…

Posted by on 3:08 pm in Article, Stratton | 0 comments

The first cattle artificial insemination in Stratton…

nickers103 / Pixabay More from my interview with John Going, 94, of Widemouth, who was the first smallholder in the area to use artificial insemination on his cows: The War changed things. When the War had finished, my father wasn’t in very good health  and we were looking for a change. We decided we’d like a smallholding and one of the places that turned up was in Stratton. Then my father died but by then the wheels were already in motion, so that’s where we ended up. Mother came (from Hertfordshire) to look after the house. Things followed a logical progression. We mainly kept dairy cows and one or two bullocks. In those days, you were told what you were going to do by civil servants. It worked alright. I’d been a farmer in Hertfordshire before the War. I was happy enough as, despite what people said, /i found everyone helpful and we all got on together. Cornwall was then a bit of an unknown quantity, one or two holidaymakers, but not that many. People said: “they won’t have anything to do with you” but I found it to the contrary and made some very good friends.  I didn’t really know what to do, as in Cornwall they are all small farms, and I’d  had charge of quite a large herd.  Once I started, I thought I’ve got to get these blessed things in calf. I’d always had a bull to work with, but here I was with half a dozen cows and it wasn’t worth keeping a bull. I asked around for what people did and they all went to larger farms that had a bull, so people would trail out there with a cow and hope she didn’t get fed up with it all before they arrived.  I was coming home from somewhere one day and i met our local vet. He was an ‘incomer’, too.  He asked where I was going. I told him I was looking for a bull. He said: “you can’t be pestered with all that, so why don’t you try artificial insemination?” I replied: “does it exist round here?” He said yes, and that they’d started a unit in Torrington. It was quite a new thing, so I rang up and asked if I could join the scheme. Did it require any particular breed? No, it didn’t and yes, I could. So, I signed up and it went very well. Everyone did it eventually. Milk cows needed the calf as a by-product. I had some lovely livestock as a result. This was in the 1950s. Specially trained people came round. We just provided hot water and soap. It was specialist then, with specialist operatives. It was interesting and successful, the choice of bulls was good and improved the livestock. It was very...

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Working at Bude Sea Pool

Posted by on 8:21 pm in Article, Swimming Pool | 0 comments

Working at Bude Sea Pool

Talking to John Going, 94, of Widemouth, Dawn Robinson was interested to hear of his work on the terraces of the Bude Sea Pool in the 1960s: “I worked on the walls and terraces of the sea pool. I was out of work at the time, so I asked what (work) was in. There was only one job available and that was it. I ended up there until it was all finished, the terraces and that, for several months. I was a general labourer. Everything had to be moved from one place to another and that was my job. It (the sea pool) was a good idea from an engineering standpoint. It does save the cliffs. By shoring it up, it keeps the sea off with concrete and mass infill. The sea pool was already there, but there were only cliffs behind it, so the building was an improvement and made it safer. This was in the 1960s. The work was paid for locally by the council, but the local surveyor had oversight of it. The alternative was to let the cliffs tumble until the erosion got to the end of the pavilion and  the picture...

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