Reading Andy Vining’s recent article, Farming in the Winter and Christmas at Hiltonbury Farm, sends me back to the 1950s and 60s, when my step-mother, Dad and I lived in the bungalows in the fourth service road (nowadays the third one!), on Hursley Road.
We looked from our back garden across the field to Hiltonbury Farmhouse where, in the 1960s, Andy was milking the cows and delivering milk.
What did we get from Hiltonbury Farm
The mention of the turkeys reared in the shed for Christmas reminds me of those days too. My Dad would order a chicken, not a turkey, from Andy’s father, John. In those days, chicken was quite a treat, not an everyday meat as it is today!
The three of us at 214 Hursley Road would look forward to a chicken from “The Farm” and on Christmas Eve, Dad and I would walk up the service road and then the stony farm road to the farmhouse.
Knocking on the back door, we would be invited into the enormous kitchen and then Mr Vining (never John to me, as a young lad!), would take us into the chilled storage room, where he selected “our” bird, already plucked for us! The bird was handed over to us, and Dad paid up (I’m not sure how much, but a trifle by today’s prices I’m sure!).
The Christmas wishes were exchanged and Dad and I set off back home, bearing our prized bird for the following day’s lunch. This was handed over to Mum upon our return home and Dad would regale Mum with any tit-bits of news, how many birds were stored awaiting their customers and so on. This was quite a ritual I suppose and carried on for a number of years I think.
“The way things were done”
In those days, regularly repeating previous years seemed to be “the way things were done” – at least it was so in our household. Therefore each Christmas seemed, in many ways, a repeat of the previous one, apart from, of course, receiving different presents from one year to the next! (Always a youngster’s prime interest!).
I remember the Hiltonbury Farm Milk deliveries
I remember the Hiltonbury Farm Milk deliveries Andy delivered! I can’t remember how many years they continued for but I do remember being told, when they started, that the home deliveries were to counter the low price for milk offered if it were collected by tanker or in churns as it had been before.
I think I am right in saying that, in the end, the farm deliveries might have finished when the rounds were taken over by a large commercial dairy, possibly Brown and Harrisons / South Coast Dairies.
Christmas was a simpler time in those days too.
There was certainly less money around, and memories of war-time economies remained still, with our family at least, never spending on a new item if there was still life left in its predecessor.
Another pre-Christmas job was sourcing a Christmas Tree. Not an artificial one but a “proper tree” of course. I remember one year we left it a bit late and walked to Hursley and back, obtaining a Blue Spruce type tree, rather than the usual fir tree, as the only one of the right size left available.
Our tree was always set up in our hall, which was cooler and thus resulted in fewer ‘dropped needles’ on the carpet! I usually helped Mum decorate it and each year our 1950s tree-lights were rediscovered in their cupboard by Dad, tested, new bulb/s fitted if needed and then hung on the tree. The power source was obtained by removing the light bulb from its pendant and fitting in the socket for the tree lights, thus lighting up the hall.
I don’t think our tree ever escaped the hall into the ‘sitting-room’, but that was ‘just the way it was’, one accepted one’s family traditions without question then.
Oh Happy Days!
When I was a paper-boy, delivering both morning and evening newspapers for MacMahons, the ride throughout the year up to Hiltonbury Farm was always made worth my while at Christmas time! Andy’s father generally produced a “fiver” (£5), as my reward for delivering the news twice daily! Oh Happy Days !
Have A Very Happy Christmas!
Note: Thanks to Allison Symes for co-editing this article. (Janet)
Article Series by Martin Napier
- Part 1: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s-Ford: 1950s – 1960s
- Part 2: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: Paper Boy; North End School
- Part 3: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s Bonfire Night
- Part 4: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: North End School
- Part 5: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: Bicycle, Bicycle!
- Part 6: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: A Summer Of Hope And Sorrow
- Part 7: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: The Big Freeze in 1963
- Part 8: Martin Napier: Growing Up In Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: Breaking Free From North End School
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