WARTIME MILKING AT EASTON ON THE HILL
My name is Richard Thomas Cox and I was born in the village of Easton on the Hill, Nr Stamford.
My memories are of my childhood when we played down the old Ironstone Quarry there. We would watch the Army doing there firing practise on the ranges and after they had gone back to the barracks we would go and look for empty shells. But that was only one of many things I remember and it was in hindsight a very silly thing to do as we could have picked up a live one and then who knows what would have happened.
I was the youngest child of Gertrude and John (deceased) Cox. My father died six months before I was born in Nov. 1935. I had 6 brothers and sisters and we all lived at the Old White Horse, this was an old public house in its day.
My mother remarried when I was about 2 yrs. old. Our stepfather whose name was George Smith worked on the farm in those days for Mr Fred Holmes. When he was ploughing the fields my mother would send me down to the fields with his lunch which consisted of a doorstep of bread a large piece of cheese or cold bacon and a bottle of cold tea.
We would sit under the hedge. The horses would have their nose bags on. Dad sat with an old sack over his shoulders to keep the wind off him and he would look at me and say, "do yar want some of this boy?" and I would look back at him and say "no thanks I've had mine" (but I didn't tell him it looked horrible!).
During the war we also had five or six evacuees living with us and I suppose looking back we all got on very well. I think they found us a bit boisterous really. Coming from London and the like some of them had never seen a cow or horse before. We soon altered that though.
Every morning before I went to school I had to milk 24 cows for Mr Harris whom I worked for and again when I came out of school, and some of the evacuee`s would come and watch me ( I was very lucky as Don had a milking machine which in those days was very modern). I would get them to clean out the cowshed as this was a very dirty job to do and I would reward them at the end of the week with a penny packet of sweet`s. I used to get 5 shillings (25p) a week for this) and it was a 7 day a week job up at 6 o-clock every morning. My mother would take 4/6 off of me and tell me not to spend my 6d all at once. Those were the days.
I haved lived in Oxfordshire for the past 50 years but to me there is no place like Easton and when ever I get the opportunity to go back. I still go over the Ironstone and dream as I look out over the Welland valley towards Ketton and Tinwell. It is one of God`s great gifts to man. Go and have a look, the place is called Top Hedges on the Tinwell Rd. or you can go right to the top of Ketton Drift, where ever you go you will surounded by lovely countryside.