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Land girl Betty Craig’s story, part 8

Betty Craig-8: Duration 4:55

[HB] So did you work on just one farm per day or did, would you do a morning on one farm and then go to another farm?

No you would be there the whole day on a farm and you might be there for quite a few days doing the same thing.

[HB] And how did you know which farms to go to did that get sent . . . ? 

I think that got sent, even as a leader I had nothing to do with that that would be sent from the chap that was in charge of us. You had somebody in charge of each area and it would probably be done by phone. You were issued to where you were to go . . . it didn’t say you could go.

[HB] Right. 

So you would be there for a few days at a time probably, depending on what you did. Now the likes of this wee diary it says Tangy, Killarow turnips Tangy, next day I was idle, next day it was Tangy. So it looked as if you were there maybe for a week. In January High Cattadle dung, the Park turnips. You, you didn’t know where you were going you just went.

[HB] And that just got sent to your hostel and then you got your instructions from there. 

Yes, yes you got your instructions from there. In fact when I went to work in the garden at Dhalling Mhor the old gardener there, he must’ve asked for help because it was a big, big walled garden.

[HB] When you were working with the tatties what did you do with that was it . . . ? 

You were just lifting them, the digger went along and they were on the ground you’d to pick them up and put them in the baskets. One farm, Ballyvane, were we worked, I remember plantin’ the tatties off a shovel and that was because they had very, very long shoots on them. We must’ve taken them a shovel full at a time, which was very sore on your wrist, and you put one in moved along the drill. And they were so far on that in just oh a matter of six or eight weeks they were ready for lifting the new little tatties and that all went to the navy because they must’ve had a contract. But that was quite sore holding the, a shovel all day. But normally you just, they were just put in, you would walk along the drill and throw in a tattie here and there.

[HB] Do you think there’s any sort of legacy that it’s left you, your experience working with the Land Army? 

In, in the Land Army, well it’s left me with the legacy that I really do love gardening. It gave me a new look into life as far as growing things was concerned. In Glasgow I had an allotment and I just went one growing things. I love plants and I love flowers. I, I didn’t even come out of the Land Army when I could have done,  I knew I was getting married and in my day you didn’t get married and go out to work. You got married and stayed at home started a family.

[HB] Oh we were talking about pay and so on, you say you started with seven and six and then you became a leader . . . 

And I got a pound.

[HB] You got a pound a week was it? 

A pound a week, yes, but I had my board and lodgings and my uniform. Now the uniform, when we got the first uniform was corduroy breeches, but somewhere along the line, I got a nice pair of gabardine. And you had to give back all your uniform, but I didn’t, but that was maybe because I went on working past the time when I could’ve got out. Because I gave my great coat to the girl in Glasgow that use to come from Brittany, she was an Onion Jill. And I gave it to her ’cause I thought she’s, she’s somebody that’ll wear it on the land ‘cause she did work on the land. And my dungarees, I readapted them for my brother to open at the front. And he had them and I’ve still got my dairy coat. I used that when I was papering and painting ‘cause it, the big pocket at the side was, was fine and handy. Actually we had, now that was part of our uniform I meant to say that, we didn’t have the Nicky Tams as the, the men would call them the laces, we had gaiters, kaki gaiters, so we didn’t need to worry about the rats or the mice running up your trousers. Didn’t always wear them, but we had them and maybe we just wore them if we thought that we were going somewhere like that. And we had kneeling pads . . . I mean, later on you saw people thinning turnips with a long hoe walking along, but we did that on our knees we, we kneeled along the drill and knocked them with your hand.

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