- Quote: ‘It was a different world back then. People grew their own vegetables and kept chickens. How things have changed. People go to the supermarket. The supermarkets ruined it’.
Andrew Atkinson looks at veteran racehorse trainer Mick Easterby who reflects back on his time at New House Farm, Sheriff Hutton, North Yorkshire, having trained horses for over 60 years.
I MOVED to New House Farm, Sheriff Hutton, in 1955. I had been looking out for a suitable property for a while and eventually I heard of a small farm that was about to come up for rent and which seemed to fit my requirements.
I contacted the owner and we negotiated a rent and I moved in. New House Farm had stables and a couple of fields, not enough land on which to train horses, but it was a start and would be an adequate place from which I could earn a modest income.
Moving to the Farm didn’t take very long because I didn’t actually own anything of any worth. But once I had the keys to the farmhouse in my hand and it was time to start work.
The furnishings in the farmhouse could at best be described as ‘basic’, with some of the rooms remaining completely empty. I had one single bed, one chair and one table. Cooking was simple, with one small burner ring attached to a gas cylinder. Mealtime was the same every night and breakfast was the same every morning.
I kept a few hens and I more or less lived on eggs. I learned how to cook through necessity and that side of things turned out to be simpler than I ever imagined. Just a few rules to follow, and a bit of practice which came quickly by cooking the same thing every single day.
Every morning I’d draw fresh water and boil up two eggs in a kettle on the gas ring. I’d use the water from the kettle to make a cup of tea and the left-over water would be used to wash and to shave. One kettle did the lot. Any water that was left over went to the hens. I never wasted a drop.
The land at the back of the farm was what was known as gated land. A gate was two acres and it was owned in individual plots by the people who lived in the village. However, it was wet and boggy land and it grew very little and nobody wanted it. I made a deal with each household in the village and bought the land and then drained it and turned it into agricultural land.
It was a different world back then. People grew their own food. They had allotments or grew vegetables and kept chickens in their gardens.
How things have changed. These days people have lost their way. Hardly anyone grows their own food anymore. People have it far too easy. They go to the supermarket and they get their vegetables.
The supermarkets have ruined it. People have got lazy because food is so cheap and so readily available and they also have no idea, nor do they care, where it comes from. There’s food being flown halfway round the world on an aeroplane as fast as possible to get it onto a supermarket shelf. Isn’t that ridiculous?
I’d love to see a return to the old ways of living. People should grow their own food, either in their gardens or on an allotment. No chemicals, no additives, no preservatives. Just natural wholesome food.
My advice is that if you have a garden then use at least some of it to grow your own food. If you haven’t then try and get hold of an allotment.
It’s time to get off your backsides and away from the television and put in some effort. You’ll enjoy better food, it will get you outdoors and it will help you keep fit and enjoy just being outside.
*Tesco made an announcement in December after packets of carrots were marketed as British carrots, but the contents read Grown of Spain.
Tesco said an error code was made, labelled wrong, and that it only affected a few stores, confirming they were British carrots.