School Holidays in Ashwell

By Hazel Easterbrook (Sackett)

In the summer holidays we used to go pea picking together to earn some pocket money.  We met up at about 7.30am, having had a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast, made some sandwiches for lunch then biked over to Guilden Morden to the pea field.  We got paid half a crown per large hessian sack, which was weighed by the farmer on his spring balance. 

Derek recalls going pea picking and being encouraged by friends to put a few stones in amongst the peas to cut down on the time spent filling the bag.  They got away with it for one day but on arriving the following day were collared by the farmer, given a good telling off for their dishonesty and were then ordered off the field. 

We usually picked quite hard for several hours and then collapsed in a heap to eat our picnic and rest in the sunshine.  One problem that arose through taking a lunch break was that one got “cut out” by the seasoned village women who picked to the end of the field and then started across the bottom of our rows.  Any way I earned a few pounds which I put in my Post Office Bank Book which was my first savings other than some National Savings Certificates bought by my parents. 

Holidays with Mum and Dad and brothers were for one week only and I remember Shanklin, Isle of Wight and Cromer, Norfolk.  Peter and I also went to The Old Hall, Old Bolingbroke on our own.

I can recall Dad being very grumpy prior to the start of the week’s holiday and for the first day or two and then being very happy, funny and enjoying the holiday immensely.  I can now understand his feelings, so much to do before going on holiday, the worry of leaving assistants in charge, ordering enough goods for the week and hoping he would have made a profit while away. 

This page was added on 30/05/2012.

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