Clipping – A Social Event
All this took many weeks and as the gathering, penning and clipping was a continuing process so it took a great deal of sustained effort. We reciprocated the the help we received from the many coming to assist us at Marshaw. None of us could have done it on our own. One rather nice thing about it was that I got to visit and know other farms and those who farmed and worked there, and it was traditional for the farmer’s wife to ensure we were all well fed. While hard work it was also something of a social event, a welcome change, as much of farming is lonely work done within the boundaries of an isolated farm, of which there were many in the Trough.
A few weeks after clipping the sheep had to be dipped. This involved totally immersing the animal by means of poles into a deep concrete trench filled with “dip” that killed every kind of tick, louse and parasite, and gave the sheep a few weeks respite from the attention of flies. The dip used in my days is now banned for use because of its toxicity, and exposure to it was blamed for many farmer’s illnesses, depression and suicide. If it splashed on your skin it burnt and for that work I wore my oldest clothes, an oilskin hat and coveralls. It wasn’t a pleasant task, and the sheep didn’t enjoy it either. After all this the clipped and breeding ewes went back to grazing the fells.
Veronica at Marshaw
At about this time Veronica came to Marshaw for we had kept in touch, she was tired of Holt Hall Farm and wanted a change. So I had put it to Mr John and he accepted her, subject to proving satisfactory. On her arrival she shared my attic bedroom and bed. We did some tasks together, but not many as we were differently inclined; Veronica was happy with the arable work, and I with the animals, and Edward when possible would meet our preferences.
Trips to Market
But one thing we did do together was to take some of the sheep to market; this was at Quernmore, past Dolphinholme and now next to the M6. When I knew it, it was little more than a collection of houses, the market and a public house. Initially I went with Mr John and was made a great fuss of by all the men attending the sale as having a Land Girl present was something of a novelty. When Veronica arrived we went together and to get our sheep there drove them along the roads. They needed leading and driving, so one of us went ahead and the other followed behind with a dog.