Oral History


A short description or a series of words describing the content of this audio.
15/12/2000

Mr David Sinclair, interviewed by Mrs Anne Davies, 15th December 2000.

 

AD       David I believe you came here in the early stages the forties could you perhaps tell me a little bit about when you came and what life was like here when you arrived.

 

DS   Well I came here in the 3rd of January 1944 and I was disappointed with all I saw and if I hadn’t been getting the farm I think I would have run away. But to start off this interview I'm doing with Mrs Davies school teacher at Abernyte; I thought I'd got quit of school teachers 65 years ago, and that was the best day of my life. [Laughter] now I'm back to where I wanted to get away from.

 Agriculture has changed greatly in post-war years but there was a change before the war. Agriculture was coming out of the depression in 1934 things were becoming getting better I knew when they were improving because my father was able to buy me a pair of football boots which cost six shillings and that was a lot of money in these days.

 Wages were poor for farmers, for most people, but as I said recently in an interview, everything is relevant [relative?]. What a pound could buy then, you know, it can't even get a packet of chips now, so things have improved, horses were disappearing from the land, tractors were taking over, mechanisation; farm workers were becoming more skilled,

especially the younger ones in working machinery which their older generation would never have thought possible.  The combines were taking over from the binder and bulk handling of grain was coming in. Potato harvesters were beginning to break through, power lifts on tractors, power drives on tractors.  Tremendous improvement.  One thing that disappoints me - we don't have as strict a rotation for growing crops now as we had then and we have more disease problems - there's crop spraying now with every chemical you kin mention to keep our crops free from disease. When we worked a strict rotation in farming crops were much healthier than they are today.  There were more animals on farms - cattle and sheep. Practically every farm in the Carse o' Gowrie that wasn't a dairy farm, had beef cattle and feeding sheep.

 These things have now gone; very few farms practise that: it's total cropping: continuous barley or continuous wheat.  Some of them, the old farms growing wheat after year after year. That has not been good for the land.

 We have lost our quota for growing sugar beet in Scotland which was a disappointment.  We have replaced some of that land with growing peas which is a break crop and helps the rotations a little, but perhaps the biggest change has been the few number of people now employed in farms - farms that used to have four, five, six, seven people now are farming these farms with one and two. There is definitely a drift of farm workers from the land and it's been noted, been seen in the schools, local shops, local post offices this is having a wide effect on the whole industry, the whole countryside and when you lose the school and lose the church, you've lost the heart of these small parishes.

 AD You said you came in 1944. How did you get the farm?

 DS The farmer who was here before me was getting removed from the farm for poor farming through the Agricultural Executive Committee... during the war, and he was an old man, not as old as I am now, and it was offered to my father and my father said  "no" that he couldn't come from the farm he had to here; and then they asked about me and he said "yes" he would send me here.

 AD So did you buy the fa....

 DS No, the farm was rented for four/five years before two landlords in succession died and I had either to buy it or quit and I had the bank manager in those days who thought my eyes were blue. Unfortunately, I've never had one since, but thought, had as high an opinion of me as that man had, and we bought the farm two farms Abernyte and South Latch and also Abernyte village.  I had to buy the village because we were all on the same water supply and the estate had to be sold.

 AD And who were the landlords?

 DS They were Doctors in Edinburgh, Bannerman.

 AD Can you remember what your rent was when you originally came.

 DS Yes, three hundred and two pounds.

 AD For how many acres?

 DS Abernyte Farm in itself in those days was a big event.  It was three pounds an acre for the land attached to Abernyte Farm which is not a big farm. It was three pounds when the general run of farms was from fifteen to twenty-two shillings an acre.

 AD When you bought it how much did you pay can you remember?

 DS Well it was difficult things added into the buying of it.

 DS It wasn’t just a total out and out buy. I had to pay for, there was unexhausted manures that they had to pay me for and various improvements that I had carried out, but the way things have gone, it was a good buy.

 AD Good. So what was the situation. [Can you just sit back a little and relax]

 DS No, no I'm okay, I'm okay.

 AD Em what was the situation then when you came for example, how many workers were there?

 DS Four. And I took them I had to take them, I had to take everything over at valuation. And I took the four workers. They were general farm workers.  There was two horsemen, a tractor driver, they'd just newly got a tractor and a grieve and a woman that milked two cows...A Mrs. Soutar, she got three an' six a week for working the, milking them and she was a very good milker and she never asked a holiday. She lived first of all at the Knowes and then that house up at the cottage.

 AD And so how many horses were there?

 DS Six. Three pairs. But one o' them went, because we'd got that tractor so we put away a pair and then we got another tractor and another pair of horse went and the man that drove the first pair didn't like havin' to take orders from somebody half his age and he said he was leaving and I said good and I worked these horses for the remainder of their life. An' that's why very few people have seen me drive a tractor cos after these horses went; an' I was married for some time before these horse... I was driving a pair o' horse when I got married and then I was doing the cattle an' sheep.

 AD So and how many cattle did you have at that time?

 DS I once sold sixty-one fat cattle in Dundee in a day.

 AD So you'd two milkers and then the rest were beef...cattle, what breeds were they at that time?

 DS Oh I had to take them over in valuation. I think that they could best be described as Heinz mixture.

 AD you milked in the farm and you had the dairy at the farmhouse.

 DS Ah that was after I got married

 AD and then sheep. How many sheep did you have do you remember?

 DS Lambed about 150, 160 ewes.

 AD And what happened to the sheep, you know, the wool and the meat.?

 DS That was sold to the Wool Marketing Board, you'd no option. and then I sold my fat sheep in Dundee market in these days. There was the market in Dundee. It was quite interesting.  There was fifteen livestock markets in Angus when I came here.  Today there's one - in Forfar and there was eleven in Perthshire.  Today there's one. There was seven in Fife today there's none, so you don't have the options... of selling that we had then.

 AD No.  What; farmworkers did you have at that time. Where some of them away at the war?

 DS There wis some people on the farm of a certain age when the war started.  There was a group called up.  I think the twenty/twenty-one age group in 1939 were called up.  But the farm workers that were here when I came were past the age a doing service.

 AD, if you wanted a farm worker, did you have to go to the feeing system.

 DS Yes although I've niver been. I just advertised, but after the people that were here left I went back to the area that I came from...and got people that I knew to come here.

 AD If you were looking for somebody, what criteria did you did you want. Children, wife?

 DS Yes, children and wife, but I, I didn't put as much emphasis on that as some people because you could get a squad out from Dundee if you could handle them. And I wasn’t too bad at handling them. I'd played football in there, so I knew what they were like.

 AD But otherwise the children worked at the tatties...and went elsewhere to the berries

 DS Yes. But I didnae have soft fruit. Lamb, beef, potatoes, cereals.... I grew sugar beet.  Won the sugar beet competition actually. Well eventually I got up and I grew potatoes on other farms and things like that and increased my acreage by renting land outside and taking grass parks.

 AD Was oats a more dominant cereal than….

 DS Oh, oats was more dominant then than barley, but you needed wheat to cover your potato pits and there was different varieties here ... There were

long-strawed varieties of wheat; standard red and square head master. These varieties - now we're all on short strawed varieties and the barley was a

bit longer too.  I can still remember the varieties of barley that was grown in the 1930's:  there's Plumage Archer, (Fat) Archer and I cannae remember

the varieties I grew three years ago, because they go away wi' disease now they’re bred so pure in these laboratory conditions that anything that looks at them they take disease.

 AD And did you keep your own seed plants?

 DS Sometimes we did an' sometimes.  Oats you were better to keep your own

seed. An' we dressed it, you know, wi' our own seed dressing an' that... But you know its much more advanced now these things than what it was during the end of the war...and the following years.

 AD ...and turnips?

 DS Turnips yes - grew turnips and we fed them to the cattle and to sheep.

Now they're a crop that his virtually disappeared unless for human

consumption.... cos they're very labour intensive. The farm workers thinned them at thruppence a 100 hundred yards if they wanted to work at night. The other crop that has come in, you see, was oil seed rape and if you grow oil seed rape you cannae really grow turnips and swedes because the same disease attacks them both......finger an' toe an' they don't mix well at all

 AD You said that you needed the pits for potatoes where did you have them?

  DS The pits were in the fields where the potatoes were grown and you know the cart just tipped them over the end and you covered them for the winter and started to grade them February, March April.

 AD And then where did these potatoes go?

 DS The seed mostly went to England in these days...and they were put on railway wagons at the local station, Inchture here, Eassie where we came from over Coupar Angus, you know The valley of Strathmore was a big loading potatoes.

 AD Did they go by tractor or horse and cart or....

 D.D.  Horse and cart...to the stations mainly, but later on, ye know, tractors took over. There were nineteen haulage contractors I think in the Carse o' Gowrie.  Today there's one working half time.

 AD ...and who's that?

 DS Robin Watson and he's just about on part time

 AD Could you tell me the pattern of the farming year because again it's changed very much I should think now.  When, for example, did you start lambing.  Now the lambs are...

 DS Well, I used to start lambing in the first week of the New Year, but

I'd inside accommodation an' that for them an' ye need that. ‘ ye need to

have a lot more energy than I have now. Em, I tend to lamb from the middle

of April onwards. When we're hoping the weather is getting better, but if you

want early lamb production it's intensive, ye have to be right on the top of

any diseases that spread inside.... Ye lose lambs inside that ye wouldn't lose outside an' ye lose lambs outside that ye wouldn't lose inside.

 AD Yes, yes.  And again, the farm workers did this. You didn't take on somebody for the lambing at that point.

 DS No unfortunately I did that myself. People who can lamb, you cannae get them round the corners.

 AD No, no.  And your family as well were involved.

 DS Yes

 A.D and then, so then after the lambs, when did you start seeding for example and things.

 DS Ye like to start from the middle o' March but you sew your wheat in October the previous year...after you'd lifted your potatoes you sew your wheat an' then you wanted to get your oats and barley in - oats in particular - the last two weeks in March, the first week in April, and then you know you was quite safe to put in barley after that.

 AD and then harvest.  Was that earlier?

 DS  No, harvest when it was with the binder you could take it a few days earlier than ye kin take it with the combine.  It has to be riper with the combine than it was with the binder because you had the binder an' ye stooked them in the field...and they matured there...and then ye stacked them, but now with the combine, it has to be ripe.  If it’s not ripe it needs drying and it doesn't malt as well if it hasn't been left until its ripe.

 A.D And so who came to the harvest to help then?

 DS Ahh we managed. Each farm had a binder. We had two binders...Oh yes; you'd that of your own. It's not like a combine; you didn't

share them.

 AD No, No.  And then where did the wheat go?  the barley?  The same place?

 DS Plenty of travellers came round offering you this, an' that an' the next thing. There's not nearly so many companies prepared to buy your cereals now as there was then.  It's getting into fewer hands; farms are getting into fewer hands; everything is into fewer hands, big multiple companies ye know are virtually controlling the malting market and the wheat market is virtually controlled because the price of imports into this country control much of the prices that we're getting.

 AD So, where did your grain go at that stage?

 DS There was malsters in Moray Firth, malsters.  there was malsters in

Kirkcaldy. And there were quite a few small ones up north you know... where there's still distilleries......but they were buying the cream of it. Ye could get the draught back, but we were too far away for that because the cost of haulage, you know. It was about 90% water when it came back.

 AD Yes, so by by the time the winter came you harvested got your tatties

 DS Yes, yes and you'd seeded at the same time.

 AD So then what do the workers do then?  What had they got to do?

 DS Ah god, there was plenty of work to do.  Ye had to hoe your turnips, keep you keep your potatoes clean - there wasn’t sprays to kill the weeds then

that there is now. It was a continual job wi' a hoe...to keep the weeds, control the thistles all that. I've never gone to bed once in my life not knowing that I hadn’t to get up the next morning and work.

 AD Mm.  It reminds me of Mrs Murray when she said to me "there's no easy job on a farm" She spoke about...

 

DS She worked tae me ye know.

 AD Well, she was speaking about when you had the pea boxes......and what a back breaking job that was, you know, when the crop came and they were going to Smedleys

 AD At that stage were you getting subsidies from...

 DS Ye never got subsidies for peas or sugar beet. It was a different system.  It was production control actually. Ye were told how many potatoes ye had to grow an' various things that you had to do an' what you had to plough up...but it's a little bit different now, the subsidies.  I'm not so much in favour o' the way it’s done now as it was done then.

 AD Who told you?

 DS There was an agricultural executive committee an' if you didn't want to plough that field, they could get a court order to tell ye to plough it.

 AD But they came actually came round and...

 DS Yes, yes told you how to do it.

 AD ...and did you feel that they were em, experts or were you the expert?

 DS {Laughter} Well, I, I can't really criticise that, because I was the youngest member ever of an Executive Committee...by the time I was thirty I was on an Executive Committee

 AD so when you were here then and the life in the village presumably revolved around the farm.

 DS Yes. Much more than today.  There used to be a meeting at the corner there every Sunday night an' the government and every other body an' the church an' the school were all put right.  I never attended them, but that was what went on there. All the farm workers were there an' that an' what they were doing in their farm and what was goin' in this farm and what this farm should ha' been doing.

 AD How wide an area did they come from?

 DS The parish really, yes.

 AD Yes, yes. What could the men do apart from this Sunday night I mean...

 DS There was a men's club at the school.

 AD and did they go to the men's club?

 DS Yes. There was quite rivalry between local men's clubs.

 AD And did you go to the men' clubs?

 DS Only when they were stuck. When they were visiting another club and they needed somebody that could play something or do something. No, I, my, most o' my nights wis taken up training for football if I'd any spare time.

 AD And what did you. Em, what other things were for the men to do? Presumably. What hours did they work?

DS Seven ti half past eleven, one ti half past five four an' a half days -  five an' a half days a week.  They worked til twelve o'clock on Sa'urday. 

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AD And and the horsemen then.  When they started at seven...DS They were up at, they were up at five o'clock in the morning feeding their horses...

AD Yes

DS ...an' they went back for their breakfast.

AD Right.

DS then came back.

AD Right, yes, yes.

DS And why it was sometimes in the spring of the year when work wis heavy

they, they stopped at eleven and started at one.

AD Hm.

DS That wisn't for their benefit - that wis for the benefit of the

horses.

AD And what wage would they get at that time?

DS There wis none o' the men when I came here hid three pound a week. The foreman I think had a hundred and forty-four pounds a year.  But these

things are misleading.  He'd four pints a milk, a ton o' tatties, a house, electricity so many tons of coal...

AD Mh mm

DS ...you know it’s; the figures were misleading.

AD And did he also have oatmeal?

DS Yes and flour.

AD And how did you get that.

DS We got the all corn delivered back to the men and they got what they called whole meal or half meal.  If they took half meal, they got the other

half in flour.

AD Oh right.

DS An' some o' these women could make good use of it.

AD Yes, yes, yes.  And what sort of conditions did they live in in their houses?

DS Ahh, well ye see they never really complained because they'd never known any different.

AD No, no.  So they had em, they'd a gas stove or a...

DS  No, no, no.  I think the big improvement wis when they got a tilley

lamp or something.

AD Oh gosh, yes.

DS An' we used to have a stable lantern in the steading you know, an' when you lit it to carry it outta the house into the steadin' the wind usually blew it out before you got intae the steadin'.

AD And what about, em, big gardens.  Did they need the garden to...?

DS Yes some o' them could make good use of a garden and some o' them

couldn't.

AD Mm, mm.

DS Tremendous differences in the wives.

AD Oh right, right.  Now the wives, you said, the wives you called on the wives when?

DS At harvest time to fork in the field, extra labour you needed, thinning turnips, various things like that.  Some o' them wir very very good.

AD And they got paid piece work didn't they?

DS Yes uh huh..

AD Yea, and they would need that money.  And the children now.  How many children would you say...

DS The children got paid at the tattie lifting.  I think by the time I came here there'd be four and six or five shillings a day...

AD Mm.

DS ... and when you saw the children go back to the school after the

tattie holidays, you saw how well dressed they were.  That money wasn't wasted.

AD Mm, mm, uh huh.  And did you use them in, with the cattle or the sheep or anything, or just...

DS No, no

AD No, no uh huh. And then things like fertiliser.  Did you.

DS   Yes, ferti, ferti, fertiliser came in in sacks in these days hundredweight and a half, some of it two hundredweights; nowadays they're supposed to no lift any more than half a hundredweight an' I remember lifting a hundredweight an' a half off the ground an' putting it in a  triplex box for the tatties.

AD And where did you store all this, because the farm buildings were slightly different weren't they.  What did you, you had the...

DS Ahh there was plenty o' room to store them.  If you wanted room you could aye ging, there wis always plenty o' room up the ways.

AD Yes, yes, uh huh.

DS An' there was a thrashing mill inside the steading an' ye thrashed yer own oats in particular, for, oats for the cattle and the horses an' straw

for bedding and feeding them.

AD And was the mill horse-drawn at first and then...

DS No, no.  It was a water wheel.

AD Oh really

DS The water wheel is still down there yet.

AD And whereabouts was it?

DS Right at that green door next the school.  We we hiv it, its intae a

big tank now.

AD And the the back em...

DS The steading. There two...

AD ...on the main road.

DS ... the main road.

AD Yes.

DS There’s two lids ye lift an' ye kin look in.

AD Yes, oh I'm, yes yes; and so that was the water wheel.

DS Yes.

AD So the water was diverted.

DS The water was diverted from the dam came right down, but there wisnae really enough water in that.  You could only get about two hours of a thrashing a day an' the dam was empty again.

AD Right.  And so when did you cease that.  When...

DS When we got a tractor with a belt pulley on it.

AD Yes, yes, and so you then went on to that.

DS Yes.

AD And so when did you stop thrashing.  When did you buy that...

DS We, we kept on thrashing until nineteen fifty-seven when we hid a fire

- the mill and everything was burnt.

AD Hm mm.  It, sorry, nineteen fifty-seven?

DS Fifty-seven.

AD So and you said again that em, presumably there was a much more

activity about the village.

DS Oh yes.

AD So nobody walked past without stopping to...

DS There’s a big difference in the village. Ye know when I came here, there wis two water pipes, a telephone box, two people hud the telephone, one man hud a motor bike an' the rest of us hud a push bike.

AD Yes.  Did you have a push bike?

DS Aye, I hud  a push bike.

AD So but you must have had a car too.

DS No.

AD Did you have a van?

DS No

AD Just your tractor.

DS Push bike.

AD Oh my.  So then, what happened then at the end of the war.  Did the people flock back to the villages or did they, you know, the the men that had come back from the war.

DS It wis some time before the war finished, but it wis some time before

they wir released back.

AD Mm

DD You know it didnae happen overnight.

AD No, no.

DS Didn't happen, and some o' them hid got other skills, some o' them decided an' signed on for a longer period an' things like that.

AD But your workers; you tended to keep them...

DS Yes.

AD ...for a sort of.  It wasn't a high turnover?

DS Not here, no I didna, I niver hud a high turnover o' them

AD So, by the end of the war; when you first arrived you said everything had to be... it wasn't to your satisfaction you say.  So what was your plan of action as it were.  What did you develop first?

DS Well, I came here on the 4th o' January as I told ye an' some o' the

fields werena harvested fur the previous year.  An' the bloody thistles!

AD Mm, mm. An' did you.  You didn't use any weedkiller at that time.

DS No, no there wisna weedkillers, no it wis hard work.  An' the cattle courts wir in a mess an' the cattle wirnae good and, och, no but I got on.

AD So did you sort of.  You had to do everything.

You didn't concentrate on I'll get the fields straight and...

DS No, no.  I was just a general ordinary farmer.

AD And so, by.  How long did it take you to get it or does a farmer ever get satisfied with the set up?

DS The day ye're satisfied you should pack up an' just go to the church

yard.

AD Yes. Ha, ha.  So, but what I'm trying to say is - when did you find

time to do things like show cattle or...

DS Ah well. There wasn't. The shows didna start until nineteen forty

nine.

AD Mm.

DS That was the fir..  you know after the war, an' I won the stock judging at the Highland Show both beef cattle an' dairy cattle. An' it wis the first time I hud competed in such a thing, but that wis the only year I wus eligible to compete because I wis over age the next year.

AD Well, well, what age?  Over twenty...

DS Twenty-six.

AD Oh, right.  So but there wasn't Perthshire.  You didn't think about going to Perthshire, for example...

DS Nuh.

AD ...Dundee.  You just

DS I, I started at Alyth.

AD Right.

DS An' then shortly afterwards I started the Highland 'cos the Highland came to Dundee.  It went round you know.

AD Yes, yes yes

DS And I started there.

AD And what were your first beasts?

DS I can still remember them all quite clearly.

AD What sort - what type of beasts?

DS Some o' them wirnae some o' them wisnae very good the day anyway, but eh...

AD What, what do you think today, then

DS I hud tae modernise.  {cough}  I hud tae modernise my views a bit.

AD Why, what did you breed then before.  What were you, em..  Were you a

sort of a staunch Aberdeen Angus man, or...

DS Yes, and beef Shorthorns.

AD Right

DS And eh, I thought a lot of the continentals were more timber merchants than they wur for beef, you know, but I've hud to change my views there.,

but they say that I've probably shifted less than most.

AD Uh huh.

DS I’ve come a little bit from right ti, ti, coming nearer the centre, but I huvnae moved as much as most.

AD Do you take.  Did you leave more animals out in the early days?  I

mean more are brought in in the winter now.

DS More are brought in in the winter.  No there's a lot o' farms high up now out-winter a lot o' stock an' calve in March an' April.

AD Right.

DS Instead of calving in September an' October.

AD Uh huh uh huh, right., because it’s. Is it just for the the economics of it or because it generally gives the animal more stamina, more resistance to disease. an' that.

DS Ye kin handle bigger numbers outside feedin' them wi' a tractor...

AD Yes, yes.

DS The cattle are not as docile today as they were then...

AD Mm, mm uh huh.

DS ...because they're only looked at wi' a tractor instead o' a man on foot.

AD Yes, yes.

DS ...an' a dog.

AD Yes, yes.  I noticed that when you go to the islands, you know.

DS Yes.

AD ...they're very docile.  And what about a vet, then how do, where did you get the vet from?

DS Coupar Angus.

AD An' were they expensive.  Did you do your own much more

DS No, he wis a good vet Willie Clark.  He wis an old man, but he wis really interested more in Clydesdale horses then he wis in, he wisn't interested in dogs an' cats an' canaries an' budgies, ye know. (Laughter), but they werena his kettle o' fish.

AD And did you, em, did you have lots of sort of remedies your own pet remedies for...  You must have some or docile or such and such or...

DS Yes, there's a few things, but you know there's people cotton on when I take mi cattle to Smithfield I dig turfs from the side o' the road an' take a turf down for each one an' its the first thing he gets after he comes off the lorry', an' gets half a bucket o' water an' he gets it turnt upside down an' he knows he's amongst the soil...

AD Mm, mm.

DS ...an' then he usually just lies down an' then I give him a feed. That's my job that I do whin they're there.  I just walk round them all ti see that they're okay.

AD Yes, yes.

DS ...then give them a little.

AD An how many men do you actually take down to Smithfield?

DS I’d four this year.

AD Right, and so those four and yourself, so they are bedding them...

DS Aye, aye.  They were well presented this time.  These four would be as

good as I've had.

AD And is it the same person that you've had...

DS Well, Jimmy Young's been quite some time.  He's got a small farm of his own in Aberdeenshire.

AD Uh huh.  And then so when you say you started going to shows...

D.D.  Yes.

AD   ... and when did you start to go to Smithfield then?

DS Nineteen fifty-three.

AD Uh huh.

DS An' I wis champion again in sixty-eight and seventy-one; cannae tell, an' I won, been reserve champion won the King's Cup several, you know in the live and dead, several since.

AD Yes yes.  An' then you were on the Council, you said.

DS Yes, but I hud tae come off when I joined the tattie marketin' board.

AD Oh, could, couldn't you em...

DS Nup.  I couldna fit in them both.

AD No, and then you were, this year you were the president.

DS Yes.

AD So, eh, were you vice president last year.

DS Yes.

AD and how did you eh...

DS Ach, no too bad.  Didna find it easy.  I'm gettin' older.

AD And as you say, is it still, you said that farming is getting fewer and fewer owners.  Are there many more big boys or are there still people like yourself.

DS No.  There's no many people like miself.

AD Mm, mm.

DS  They're getting' bigger.

AD Mm, mm.

DS An' more farm managers and factors an' estates farming their own like Rossie Priory.  These farms were all let out at one time, Hallyburton wis all let.

AD Mm, mm.

DS ...ye know.  Culfargie, and ye know Megginch...

AD Uh hm.

DS Ye know these farms many o' them tenanted.  Now there's only I think about a third o' the farms tenanted an' there'd been over eighty per cent at one time.

AD Mm, and how much come and go did you have with the other farmers then in the Carse of Gowrie, I mean.

DS Yes, you meet through the National Farmers Union first of all, through

the young farmer's club.

AD So you were, you were in the young farmers?

DS I wis I wis club leader in the Carse o' Gowrie club for three years.

AD Mm, mm, and then you joined the NFU?

DS Yes, I went straight from the, eh, there wis, we were competin' in a competition an' two o' the judges came and spoke to me after and told me I wis wasting my time to come and join the National Farmers Union, an' I wis a member of the NFU...

AD Mm, mm.

DS ...and they would see that I would get on the committee.

AD Mm, mm.

DS Which I duly did...

AD Mm, mm.

DS ...which was far too early in life.

AD Oh, eh...

DS It wis a mistake.

AD Why?  Too young?

DS I wis too young.

AD And what would you say...that the in the late forties, early fifties, what were the best things that the farmers, the NFU did, you know. DS   Well, the it, it wis, there wis a price review every year what we wir

getting in negotiations with government.

AD Mm.

DS Ye know, we were, we were the farmers, the NFU wis the farmers representatives.  They were the only people that they would listen to wis the National Farmers Union.

AD Right.

DS An' we; in our case it wis the Secretary of State for Scotland.

AD Uh huh.

DS The Secretary of State for Scotland was our Minister of Agriculture...

AD Yes.

DS The Minister of Agriculture in the government in London his never been the Minister of Agriculture for Scotland.

AD Oh, right uh huh.

DS It’s separate.

AD Yes.

DS The Secretary of State for Scotland is the Minister of Agriculture.

AD Mm, mm.  And would they; was life good then for the farming community in say the fifties?

DS It wis sufferable.

AD {Laughter} You’re a typical farmer!  And then coming on a bit then. W

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