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Chickens

Duration: 4:20 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.220
This story has been viewed 6459 times

Summary
Agnes tells us about her magical memories of visiting her grandad who had a small holding full of chickens.

By Agnes Frain

Other information

This story was inspired by the agricultural collections at the Regional Resource Centre at Beamish.


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Video transcript

In 1953 there was uproar in our home, my gran was going to remarry and move into a small wooden bungalow near Horden beach. This was her third marriage, that was not as bad as it sounded, my grandad died young then she outlived her second husband. Now in her sixties she had answered an advert about a house keeper and Mr Logan had asked her to marry him. He was a big red faced man always smiling who quoted Rabbie Burns poetry, reams and reams. Grandad Logan as we called him was born in Scotland,

There was great excitement, he had a small holding next to his bungalow. It was full of hens geese and turkeys plus two huge white pigs who squealed and complained if you went within twenty yards of their pen. We bragged about our Grandad who had a chicken farm, holidays and weekends were spent helping - if you can call our rushing about chasing hens helping. There was an outside pump, we loved to wield this monster and watch the clear water from a nearby spring splashing into an enamel jug. The water tasted like nectar. The bungalow had no electricity, only enormous oil lamps that gave off a harsh light. Grandma cooked at a black stove with an oven, the top was very hot. There was always chicken mash brewing as every body she knew saved their peeling to feed the pigs and hens and geese. There were lots of cats that slept under the stove, they were nasty and a bit feral. My dad warned us to keep away in case they scratched. There was a big shed very clean and scrubbed where the hen feed was stored. The lavatory was an ash type, dad worried about his mam being in this primitive bungalow but she thrived. It was years before I discovered she had been born in Norfolk her Dad had been a farm labourer. The family were forced to move to seek employment in the pits because of the dreadful low wages at that time.   So, married to two miners, it had took her fifty years but she spent her last years as she started her first twelve - on the land. Grandad Logan had lots of cluckers so we always had the opportunity to see tiny fluffy chicks. That was grandmas job - to keep them warm. She kept them in a big straw basket in a small shed where a big oil lamp swung from the roof. When Christmas was near some of the hens were killed. Grandad used to pick one up as it ran about the big earth covered yard then with a flick of his powerful arm he swung it round by its neck, the head used to loll down. For a few horrifying seconds when he put the hen onto the ground it used to run a few steps before collapsing. Was that my imagination, I can’t remember, or did my older brothers tell me that tale? After the hens were killed we gathered like vultures around a big scrubbed top table near the back door and watched grandad gut them as he called the procedure of removing the inner organs. Then one of us used the water pump as he rinsed out the chicken body. There were about twenty hens at that time that met this fate. Watching this horrible procedure didn't stop us tucking in to chicken when we got the chance. The pigs must have gone the same way, because new piglets appeared in the spring. Grandad kept a shot gun on a high shelf to shoot the foxes who crept out of the dene and attacked the hens. The old couple lived in the bungalow until they became too infirm to cope with the routine. They moved into a bungalow in Sunderland Road, Horden.

What an extraordinary story. I would have liked to have seen this place where they lived.Posted on 23/11/2009 at 04:16:26

Salut vsem! Da, znaiu Serjana oi Serdara:)))klassnyi paren' , molodoi, seyyhlmnnsi, tol'ko vot lenivyi. eto ujas!a tak, ciao vsem!Poka pokaIl'ya, klassno pridumal, neznaiu kto Ty, no idea poluchilas' ochen' daje nichego ))Posted on 29/03/2012 at 11:46:46

A simple and itnelliegnt point, well made. Thanks!Posted on 30/03/2012 at 12:24:24

HHIS I souhld have thought of that!Posted on 01/04/2012 at 12:21:43

Did you know that the average mnebur of strokes the whole team made altogether was 3,870,720 (approximately). Each individual stroked 645,120 times during the journey across the Atlantic.Wow! No wonder they had sore hands!Posted on 01/04/2012 at 01:39:57

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