My Memories of Finches Farm – By Cecil Beadle

by Tom on 18 March 2013 · 2 comments

When I was a boy I use to live

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pam shadbolt April 30, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I have enjoyed reading this and just came across it by chance, Allan Heathcote was my dad, he sadly passed away August 2016.

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Jim Whitehead October 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Oh the memories — I worked for Cecil Ritch during school summer holidays around 1966-7. Martin Warner and I were the bale-pitching crew supervised by Alan Heathcot and Harry Oakley. David Sworder (“Crockett”) became part of the cast about the same era.

Cecil was quite the character! I remember one day during tea break in B’s kitchen, Cecil came and bumped his head on the lone light bulb hanging from the middle of the ceiling. Without a word he exited, but quickly returned with wire cutters and snipped the cord of the light off flush with the ceiling!

Cecil’s dog “Timmy” was a celebrity. Every market day he rode in the front seat of the car, with B in her place in the back. Timmy did his rounds every day, and he probably sired pups in half the county!

Cecil was a master of adolescent psychology. He’d consider a really laborious task, and muse aloud “I don’t know if boys can do this job?” Of course, Martin and I, being proud, would fall for the trick and announce that we were fully capable. The end result was that we would do the work of several men at boy’s wages! If we slacked, we would soon hear the famous “Buckin Boys!!” admonishment and speed up again.

One day we castrated pigs. I had the job of grabbing the young pigs by their back legs and pinning them between my knees while Cecil “harvested the nuts” with his pocket knife. I think we fixed about 60-70 pigs that day, and the squealing left me almost deaf for hours. Cecil fed every nut to his Jack Russell — which was so stuffed at the end of the day it could hardly keep its belly clear of the mud. Just as we finished, a huge sow, enraged at the piglets squeals, broke out of its pen and came after us with a vengeance! It probably would have killed us if it had caught us.

We did bale cart one day the Stevenage side of Box Wood. On the return, the bale load was higher that the high-voltage electric cables crossing the lane to the road. Cecil delegated me to raise the cables with a pitchfork as we passed underneath. He expressed certainty that the bales would serve as electrical insulators — but he wouldn’t do it himself.

Despite those trials and tribulations, I remember Cecil Ritch as a good-hearted man, and he certainly was a significant character in Walkern History.

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