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'The Arbury' - The Memories Of Mr Cardinal - Part Two

The second part of Mr Cardinal's memories finds the harvest beginning on the Arbury fields...

'The Arbury'

By Gordon Cardinal

Part Two

As my brother Bert was the eldest, he started to help my father on the milk round before me. That would be before he went to school in the morning (6am start), Saturdays and Sundays, and school holidays (our schools were then first to Milton Road Juniors then on to Chesterton Senior School in Gilbert Road).

The early round was for customers who liked their milk on the doorstep before they got up - mostly half pints. When that round was finished, Father would load up the milk float and set off on the main round. The 'extra' items carried in those days would be eggs and cardboard pots of cream at weekends.

As I got older, so it became my turn to help as well, but my interests were always elsewhere!

Sometimes I would go and help Grandfather Cardinal, who lived in Victoria Road. I would go with him to his 'allotment', which was a piece of land on the edge of one of the farm fields in Arbury Road.

One of the things he loved to do was to dig up wild briers from the hedgerows and 'bud them' with the garden rose. He taught me how to bud roses (perhaps that was my first taste of what was to become my life, horticulture).

There was no special rose bud sealer then, so after the bud eye was fixed into the cut on the brier, it would be firmly held by binding raffia around, then, over the raffia bandage, would go a plaster made up of fresh cow dung and clay.

Grandfather used to sell the grown roses to Mr Sale, who had the Manor Nurseries further back along Arbury Road.

After  Grandfather Cardinal died, I began to spend more time in the summer months on the Arbury fields rather than with Father on the milk round. Any excuse I could find and I was away. It was great fun - or so it seemed at the time.

At the start of the Harvest I would go with Len Taylor (who ran the farm side of the business for my aunt). He would let me sit on the seat at the back of the 'binder' and it was my job to watch the sheaves of corn as they came out at the back and make sure they were coming out tied. If the binding twine broke or ran out, I had to shout and signal by hand to Len on the tractor, which would be towing the binder.

If any of the parts broke, we would have to go to the blacksmith at Coton to get them repaired.

Len would cut the Manor Farm corn first as it became ready then anyone else on the Arbury as they needed.

Everyone would help during the Harvest. The sheaves would roll out at the back of the binder in neat rows, then we would go back and 'stook'. That would mean leaning two sheaves together in a set of six. It was a grand sight to see a field with its neat rows. They would stand like that for at least 'three Sundays' to dry and ripen. Then the carting would start.

Part three is here - the Harvest continues - and a sinking feeling at Boy's Pit...

Manor Farm field listings from the 1909 sales documents.


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