For 10 years of my life I lived in a house just like this – from the age of 6 until I was 16.. 10 hard but mostly happy years. It was one of 35 such houses on a Land Settlement Estate in Yorkshire – My parents are horticulturalists and met when they were both at college studying horticulture at Pershaw in Worcestershire.
They dreamt of running their own market garden – for 10 years they worked morning, noon and night – for many of those years myself, my brother and my sister also worked hard. Sundays were seaside or picnics on the Moors days – we’d be up at the crack of dawn cutting lettuce – hundreds of boxes of them – 12 in a box – the boxes were made by hand too – me and my siblings used to get half a penny a box – not bad we thought! Once the boxes were stacked high – 60 per pallet and left out for collection – we’d be off! Heading for a treat by the sea or on the Moors. I remember Bridlington in the Winter – huge fat waves and a pot of cockles..
The last few years were hard – changes in Supermarkets were making small holders incomes difficult and there were difficulties within the LSA – when I was 16 I knew things were bad – my Dad’s Masi Fergusson tractor was towed away – flat tyres and all. One of the fields was head high in weeds and some of the poly tunnels were left to rack & ruin. Mum said we were moving.. Dad had a job at the Power Station in Drax and was running the land too. We didn’t see him much at all. Dad then started looking for a good full time job and moved to Cambridgeshire – we were to follow. They’d declared themselves brankcrupt. Before we were able to move I heard my mum on the phone – talking to their solicitor – it seemed he couldn’t hold it back any further and we were to be evicted the next day. My sister and I packed our bedroom up and left the things we didn’t want in the cupboard – it seemed strange. I drove my moped to work at another house/small holding on the estate the following morning – my mum had told me to drive straight to my Grandma’s when I’d finished work.. I did and as I drove past our home – she was being helped by lovely people in the village – some were storing our furniture and belongings for us. It was a hugely sad day..
So – 30 odd years on and it seems that this experience is the one that drives me forward – but also the one that fills me with fear. About 2 weeks ago I found out that over half of my current income will be gone in about 3 months time – my first thought – I’m going to be without a roof over my head: it was so frightening. And it sent me flying.
Now that I’v regained my balance – I’m taking time to understand what drives me forward and stops me dead. It’s fear mostly. Now to suss out the way forward, ps: the gallery continues – thank goodness for that.
Here’s a fabulous little video about the LSA and some of the founding small holders on an estate: