Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

March 2009

This months News



The Winter of 1947

A Hard Earned Crust

Bert Bloxham recalls a valiant day’s work in 1947, when in the dreadful snow of that winter, he was asked to take bread from the village bakery round the surrounding villages on a tractor and trailer.  He was employed at the time at Mr Findon’s farm in Pillerton, and had been using a “crawler” tractor, (a TD9 for those in the know), in a field near Butlers Marston.   He had been unable to get to work for two days because of bad weather, but was now asked to try and retrieve the tractor, as Mr Valender needed to get his bread delivered, and no other vehicle could cope with the conditions.  Setting out from Oxhill at 8 a.m. Bert managed to walk cross-country, and along the bridle road to the distant field - itself two fields off the road – quite a challenge!  Then he had to refill the radiator from the field pond, (no anti-freeze then, so it had been drained) leaving him with a Wellington boot full of icy water!  After some difficulty, the tractor was started, and a detour made to Mr Blackford’s farm at Pillerton to collect a converted horse-drawn trailer which had the large wheels necessary for the snowy conditions.  Duly equipped, Bert arrived back in Oxhill at mid-day, and helped by two of the Valender family and by Nancy Gilks, the blacksmith’s daughter, the bread was loaded up, and they set out on their rounds.

Their first stop was Nolands, then Pillerton, Butlers Marston and Kineton, coming back up Herd Hill, where Bert was the first driver to have attempted it.  The snow, he tells me, was level across the road from the height of the hedges and gateposts either side.

The tractor had no lights, and yet it was not until 10 p.m. they made it back to Oxhill.  Mr Valender was pleased to have had the bread taken round, he was apparently much more pleased with the 10oz of St Bruno tobacco Bert had been able to fetch him from the shop at Kineton!  Sad to say, nowhere on their rounds nor on their return were they offered so much as a cup of tea, and so Nancy Gilks, taking the law into her own hands, finally knelt on a loaf of bread to make it unsaleable, and she and Bert, in a modest rebellion, ate half each.  Good for them!

Ann Hale

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Last modified: March 17, 2009