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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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The night they dug up the Bude railway tracks…

Posted by on 8:50 pm in Article, Railway | 1 comment

The night they dug up the Bude railway tracks…

Story told to Dawn Robinson by John Going, 94,  of Widemouth Bay. Sadly, I understand this dear man is now in hospital. He was very ill when I chatted with him late last year, so I wish him and his family well. It was a privilege to meet John, and to hear his tales. Here’s the first part of his memories of Bude, where we are reminded that trains were also used for freight, not just passengers.  “When we came to live down here, they were building Hillhead estate. The railway was a blessed nuisance in some ways, mainly if you missed the train.  I first came down (from Hertfordshire) on the train. I used to come down on the 11.50 at night train from Paddington to Exeter St David’s, I think it was. If you knew about it, there was a bus/coach that took the newspapers round Exeter. The railway went into Bude but you could be stuck for ages in the middle of nowhere, sometimes as there’d be nothing there. It was a good service though. Everyone was happy because you got to know the trains. There were several a day (I’m not sure if John meant passenger or freight) to London and some interlinked, but it was a poor form of transport if travelling deeper into Cornwall. My stepdaughter lived for a time in Camborne and could not do a return journey in one day. She would have to come one day and return the next, changing at Launceston and somewhere else. Day old chicks would come in, stored in the guard’s van which was heated, goods came in bought from catalogues, as did cattle. Lots of stuff was sent from here by train, too, to Holsworthy market, and stuff from the slaughterhouses went out. It was a lifeline to the rest of the world, used a lot for transporting goods. The trains were infrequent, so if you missed the Atlantic Coast Express, you had a big wait. I used to like going from Stratton to Holsworthy on market days on the train. You could get to places even if the times weren’t great, but you just fitted in with the railway timetable. There was a lot of argument about shutting the station and cutting us off because there was a single line into Okehampton and Halwill Junction. There was all this Beeching thing. One of the arguments bude put forward to not have the railway shut was the tourists in the summer. when we used to pick up my mother-in-law who would come for a summer holiday, there would be a row of taxis backed up to the station. It was a good system but it all ground to a halt. They were going to leave the rails in situ. I’m sure that was on the cards at the time. I’m a bit hazy but I remember meetings and things. The idea was that Beeching would shut all these little stations, Beaworthy and places like that, and leave the rails and everything in situ. Then, if it didn’t make any difference to the tourists input, and traffic into Bude and Holsworthy, then they’d shut it, but it was a big drop in service with lots of complaints. I had a job where I was working out...

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