Hello Cello, You Sound Mellow!


In his young days, my father Cyrus acquired a cello.  He approached the conductor of Liskeard orchestra with the intention of joining.  “Let’s hear you play a tune”, said the conductor.  He was on to say “OOh, you’ve got a ‘yer’ (ear) for music then” so father became a member.  After many years of playing and farming, age took its toll and the cello was retired to the attic.  20 years after father died I decided it would be nice to have it played again.  Barbara my wife had thoughtfully saved it in a bag.  But alas, after resting there for about 50 years the joints had unstuck and it was in pieces, so with the help of a stringed instrument master I set about restoration.  He sold me a bow, leant me clamps, gave me a set of strings and resin, procured rabbit glue, and fitted a sound post.  Tuning was achieved with the help of the computer by entering ‘cello’ on google.  Now, I hope that I have a ‘yer’ for music!

Originally posted by David Tamblyn 19 August 2008


Maypole Days

Maypole days

On the eve of May 1st it is traditional to select a suitable pole from any local forest, fell and trim it and, in years gone by, take it on a carriage to a local village.  In our case it would be Lanreath.  On the morning of May 1st it would be there to welcome in May month.  Usually a wisp of foliage would be left at the very top.  Then it had to be guarded from being stolen by villagers from Pelynt, Lerryn or Duloe where they had their own Maypoles.

One year a pole was stolen and taken to the top of Bury Down and erected by the stealers.  The photograph shows local men about to fix it on the ancient Briton monument.

David Tamblyn can be seen 2nd in line on this picture

Originally posted by David Tamblyn 1 May 2008

Let the Dog see the Rabbit

DTT circa 1928

Take the year 1928.  It was August and a field of corn was ripe for cutting.  The day before, a workman was sent to pare the hedge around the field with a paring hook.  Next day the tractor and binder went in to cut and bind the corn.  The binder had all moving parts drive from a large land wheel by a long chain which rotated three canvasses, the packers, the knotter and the knife which moved over and back between teeth.  The straw with grain moved first horizontally on the deck canvas, then up between two canvasses rotated by rollers in opposite directions and fell down to packers that pushed it into the knotter.  Through the knotter it was swept by the knotter arms onto the ground in rows.  As the binder went round and round and the uncut grain area got smaller, any rabbit in the field would retreat into the middle, then would attempt to escape.  At that time anyone nearby would encourage the dog by shouting “Lew lew lew lew lew lew lew lew lew lew” and the rabbit was rather handicapped trying to cross unfamiliar land of stubble and scattered sheaves.

In that era there were hundreds of rabbits on the farms and any means of reducing their numbers was welcome.  As it was before the outbreak of myxomatosis, farmers were pleased with any method of catch.  Then came what we called ‘sheaf carrying’.  Two rows to the right into the third row, two rows to the left into the forth row.  Then the field would be shocked.  Stand up one sheaf and around it six others.  This formation would allow the rain to run off and the wind to dry it.  After about a week, take to the shed.  That’s another story.

Photograph above shows David Tamblyn in corn field circa 1928

Originally posted by David Tamblyn 5 February 2008

Land Boys

Land Boys

In World War Two when Britain had its back to the wall, an agreement was made with the USA to take equipment to help win the war.  This was called lease lend.  Win the war first, pay later.  I noticed last year in the press that after approximately 65 years, repayment has been completed.  This leads me into our contribution.

We arranged to take and pay for an American tractor.  A Massey Harris Pacemaker sent over for the war effort.  Now this tractor, if personified, deserved a medal.  It was worked day and night by my brother Dudley and a German Jewish refugee called Walter Pelz.  Between them this tractor was kept going day and night in fine weather with the exhaust white hot, ploughing the fields by contract.  We fitted lights front and back.  It was a wonderful machine, much better than its six cylinder successor, the Massey Senior.  Dudley would place our four wheeled rubber tyre wagon adjacent to a suitable bank and load a three furrow Ransom plough onto it, and set off to the next farm needing ploughing. They would alternate working hours, keeping warm with an ex army great coat.  Hundreds of acres were ploughed and we appreciated the fact that with Walter we had at least one German on our side.

The photograph above shows the tractor and trailer on Bury Down.

Originally posted by David Tamblyn 5 February 2008

Humour in Liskeard Market

Ice Cream Market

Buying and selling of cattle, sheep and pigs is a serious business but every now and then the wit of a farmer or dealer comes to the surface.

William Kivell was selling cattle.  A nice bunch came into the ring.  It was in the days of pounds, shillings and pence.  Bidding was keen, starting at £150 per head, continuing £160, £165, £170, £175 and so on to £195, £196, £197, £198, £199 and Mr Kivell said, “I want to hear the magic figure and it will be yours”.  A voice shouts out, “Six pence”.  “Thank you, Wilf Webber, yours at £199.0.6d”

Then from the sheep pens, auctioneer Reg Hooper.  A pen of ewes from Mr Perrin, Lostwithiel.  Long in the tooth, ragged wool and looking nearly past breeding.  “What do you call these Mr Perrin?” says a farmer.  The seller never belittles his goods.  “Well” says Mr Perrin, “They’ve done me well, reared a lot of lambs and I would call them experienced mothers”.

Next came a ram for sale from Wilf Webber.  “Look” says a farmer determined to undermine the value, “He’s lame on the front leg”.  Wilf says “That makes no difference, he’s got a riding job”.

Back to the cattle ring.  After selling many bunches of bullocks accompanied by their owners, Bill Kivell says, “These belong to Mr Pearce, I see he’s not here at the moment but we’ll sell them.”  Half way through the auction, in bursts a farmer from the outside steps, rushes down through the crowd like a matador, climbs over the bars, hat flying, and lands in the ring with the cattle looking very relieved to be there.  “I’m sorry Mr Piper but they are not your cattle”, says Bill Kivell.  Like a bursted balloon, he left the ring.

Picture above, ice creams all round after some hard selling at Liskeard market.  Left to right: Bernard my cousin, Cyrus my father, Dudley my brother.

Originally posted by David Tamblyn 23 June 2007

Cattle Curiosity

Cattle Curiosity

As you can see, cattle are very inquisitive.  I get great pleasure having them around me.  But there are rules to his exercise:

1. Lay down on the ground in a field with cattle.

2. Be patient.

3. Keep motionless.

In a short time curiosity gets the better of them.  They will advance with caution.  The secret is to keep very still as they think you are asleep.  Any slight movement and they stop their advance.  Eventually they move in and lick your boots, sniff your coat, and try to eat your hair.

To know countryside ways is an advantage.

Originally posted by David Tamblyn 25 May 2007