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Land Girl Betty Craig’s story, part 5

The other lady that I knew in Campbeltown was . . . a Mrs Galbraith. As a leader I’ve had to take the dirty laundry, the sheets and things, we didn’t do that ourselves I’m remembering that now. We took them to Mrs Galbraith and she did our washing. And I would go back and collect it again. But that was one of the duties that I did I’d forgotten about.

[HB] So, how did you get the sheets down to? 

Well we did have two cars, Ford VHs I think they were called. That’s why I would have to ask permission to use them for the Saturday, because we had to get dockets, and you couldn’t get petrol dockets very easily during the war.

[HB] Do you know if you ever did get permission? 

Oh yes, because we did have the cars on the Saturday, because otherwise it was a five mile walk. I’ve done it; I did it quite a few times if we were just going in to meet somebody ourselves, or going in on your own. It was a five mile walk, but what was that, you were walking up and down potato drills all day! It was all right if you didn’t get caught in the rain.

[HB] So, what would your usual routine have been? I mean, from what time you started in the morning to lunch and then evening, and then what happened in the evening and weekend? 

Probably in the evening you wrote letters or listened to the wireless. No television. Or maybe just tidied up your room or did a bit of washing or something like that. Probably, mostly . . . just passed the time like anybody else would do at home.

[HB] Did you have like a common room, where you were able to get together? 

Yes, there was a room downstairs where we could sit and, and there must’ve been a dining room too, somewhere where we could sit and eat.

[HB] Did you have to do your own cooking? 

No, we had a cook, I think she was a good cook, but she was short of stuff to cook. And it was a job some of the sandwiches where rotten. I can remember, I’m sure it was fish that must have gone off, and she had done it like it was vinegar, like you would do soused herring and it was absolutely pitiful. I can also remember going to a farm where they gave us soup and somebody found a slug in it! But we just put the slug out and ate the soup, because it was good enough soup. But I mean even all the farms they were on the rations as well, but they would have vegetables and things and they would have eggs. I can remember sending eggs home. Now they must have gone by post and we had this, I can’t remember what the box was made of, but it was very sturdy and it would hold . . . I think maybe a dozen eggs and I would send them home to my mother in Kirn. It couldn’t have cost very much to post them or I wouldn’t have been doing it! But they did have plenty of eggs. Now they wouldn’t be allowed to kill their own beef. They would have a slaughter house, but then that would all go through the rationing.

[HB] Yes, and you didn’t have to look after the animals yourself, did you? 

No, there was one incident when I, I was with a horse. That was on Kildalloig Estate to bring this . . . this it was a low . . . van, just like a big seat and it had this rick of hay on it and I was sittin’ on the hay. I was taking it along the shore to go back up to where they were thrashing. And this horse decided it didn’t want to go up there, it wanted to go back the way and if it had gone any further, with all my screaming and shouting at it, I would’ve been over into the shore because there was only a little wall. And it must’ve decided the screaming woman better get up this lane, so it went, much to my – oh my, I was really relieved. If I’d stayed on the first farm I would’ve been working with the cows. But we were on the land to work with the hostel and we would leave . . . oh probably seven o’clock in the morning. We would have something to eat, take some pieces, go to the farm, work and have your pieces unless there was some kind farmer’s woman that was going to feed you. You would be back home in, in the evening for a meal.

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