Between the ages of 9 and 18 I primarily lived on a farm. It was called Wrotham Hill Farm and my father was the manager; a hired hand to manage the farm and the labourers to keep the money flowing to the landowner one Tony Hart.
It was a geographically isolated existence, for example the journey to my school in Maidstone involved a trip in the farm van driven by my dad, I can still see him wearing his shorts and wellies even in winter, somewhat embarassing for my younger self, to the train station. Then a train journey to Maidstone and a fair walk to school.
I digress. My dad was often stressed by the job; farming is a stressful occupation at the best of times with so many potential problems such as the weather, pestilence and poor performing boars. As I grew older I learned how much of his stress resulted from the parsimony of Mr Hart cbe. Such as every year my dad spending mid-summer doing his best to get the ancient combine harvester ready for harvest and frequently during harvest doing many running repairs.
After I’d left home he got a job managing a larger farm near Canterbury with more generous owners, I think he was being groomed to being general manager of their vast tracts of farmland. He and my mother were closely involved in the building of a new house for them, soon after they moved in he died of a heart attack.
I had no inclination to follow his footsteps into the agricultural trade and spent most of my working life teaching. I’ve lived in Swanage for over 20 years now and when I first moved here Bruce was the local tory m.p., soon after Jim Knight became our Labour M.P. until 2010 when one Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax was voted in for the tts.
The then tt leader one david cameron (who he ed?) got him to drop his full moniker to fool the punters into thinking he was an ordinary bloke, but such is our deep-rooted feudalism I don’t think it was really necessary.
Now manofthepeopledrax is a cut above tony hart, certainly on the landowning front: drax
Wrotham Hill Farm was about 500 acres, a fair size. Would take about 2 hours to walk around the perimeter. Now lordofthepeopledrax owns about 13,000 acres so to my limited maths (and I’m sure there’s a formula to work this out more accurately AYM?) that’s 26 times bigger so would take about over 2 days to walk the perimeter. Takes me about 10 seconds to walk around my estate and we’ve still got a mortgage on it and I suspect that’s well above the average for our exceptional country.
Feel like I’ve spent much of my life under feudal fiefdom.
Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.
PS time for a revolution methinks.
PPS many years ago when working at Guys’ Hospital I met Sally-Ann Hart, daughter of Tony, she asked me not to tell anyone there about her background, I kept my word, until now, sorry.