Bob Ashworth

Ever since I could walk I always helped my dad on the farm. If I got the chance I’d get hold of the reigns of a couple of horses and a plough or something. It was a good life. I loved ploughing the land and watching the crop grow. Whenever we weren’t at school we’d be at home doing work on the farm. You just had to do it, you know. Then we’d get to play football occasionally. It was different for the town kids. They used to come out to our farm and they used to cause problems because all they’d want to do was play. They didn’t know how to work; they couldn’t milk a cow, couldn’t feed pigs or anything. They’d just been brought up that way.

My family came into town for a few groceries. We’d also sell the cream from our cows. We had a lot of food on the farm so we brought it in and gave it away to people that couldn’t afford to buy, especially during the war and rationing, but after as well. During the war we used to go out kangaroo shooting every Sunday morning. I was one of the youngest who went. Shoot a kangaroo for each family, skin it and bring it home, and that kept you going with meat without you having to buy any, you see. That was a good part of life, it kept people together a bit. I used to go to school on Monday morning with a blue shoulder as I had the shot gun resting on it on a Sunday.

Before there was TV, every night mum used to sit around playing the mandolin to us. Beautiful. Also, we used to swim in the Avon pool. It was a big change when they built the Memorial Pool, but the river was getting too dirty so they sort of banned you from swimming in it. No one really listened to the ban; at night time, kids used to go to the pictures and then strip off and into the pool. We also used to go to the dances. Boys put perfume on and dressed nicely. Everyone that could, went to a dance. There was no other entertainment – and wireless was only just coming in properly. If you were lucky enough you would take a girl along with you or else all the boys would go together. You’d dance all night til midnight, then if you’re lucky you took a girl home. Most cases you didn’t want to be mucking around with girls like that though. You’d just go home as you’d got to be at work early the next morning. And there could be dances on three or four times a week from different places. You’d have to go to other dances in a horse and cart or sulky or someone else’s old bomb, you know. Fit 10 or 12 in a Pontiac or an old Whippet or something. Them were good old days.