Annie Mason, Audio Clip

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In this clip Anne Margaret Mason (AM) tells Bill Mitchell (WRM) about meal times at haymaking.


AM: When we started hay-time we would have my grandfather [helping us], who also had a farm. We didn’t in those days have Irishmen, we had all the men from the quarry. Now the men liked to come from the quarry because you see a lot of it was quarrying down below, it was like going down a mine, you see. And they would come, and we used to take out in the morning when the men used to start… there used to be a jug, because my old grandfather used to go round with the beer in the morning at about five o’clock. Then we’d go with breakfast at seven, and I’ve seen when you’ve got breakfast to take along there to a certain field where you probably had eight men mowing, or doing something in a field, and perhaps another eight somewhere else. And then we used to take out what they called ‘drinkin’, which would be at half past ten. And we used to take them coffee in a big can, and cheese and bread and probably a bit of pastry: a bit of bannock or something, just plain stuff. And then we took out a midday meal.

Now my father as long as he lived with him used to living in hotels, would never sit down without a change of plates. So we used to take out in a float... we used to take a clothes basket with probably a roast of beef, potatoes and gravy in a can, we would take another with vegetables, probably peas and carrots put together and always a pudding, and milk. You hadn’t room for a can, so you put it in two or three gill bottles or something like that. And you took it all out with a change of plates and everything. And you would have tea. And then you had a ‘drinkin’ at about six o’clock.

And always after they’d finished at night, my mother always cooked a meal. It might be Welsh rarebit; but not a big, heavy meal, not potatoes and vegetables and things like that, but a meal. And of course quarrymen liked this because they got probably better meals than they could afford to have at home, you see, because a quarryman in those days only got 19s. and the dressers got a guinea a week, so they didn’t have big... And always before hay time we would have a man come who killed… we would kill perhaps two sheep or something, you see, or we had a butcher and we would buy beef and things like that. But we always had our own pigs, and my mother would cook perhaps half a ham.