Pear Tree Farm

Joan Murchison

I was born in 1928 in Little Downham, a small village in Cambridgeshire, U.K. Our home, called Pear Tree Farm, was over 350 years old. It had very thick brick walls, low timber beams, dormer windows upstairs and a thatched roof. At the back of the house were cow-sheds, a barn, a granary and a very muddy yard! Beyond were pastures, an orchard and a pond.

The house had no electricity. The toilet was in a shed at the side of the house – a bucket with a cut-out wooden seat. Nearby was the dairy where my mother, a former milliner, churned the cream to make butter.

My father milked the cows daily. Then he hitched a trailer loaded with two large containers of milk and a ladle to his Austin Minor and drove around supplying the whole village with milk. Customers would leave jugs ready on the doorstep.

Any milk left over would either be kept cool by being suspended down the well or separated to yield cream for butter.