Flash Photography

It was 1972 and our cow-man responsible for milking the treasured herd of 120 Brucelosis Free Accredited Friesians  was leaving us. A replacement was soon found. One of the main attractions for the job was a ‘tied’ cottage and soon the new member to our work-force moved into the house next door to our farmhouse with his wife and two infant boys.

Things were running reasonably smoothly and each Friday, right on 6p.m. Elaine would knock at the back door to collect her husband’s pay packet .Neil’s job was a pretty mucky business to say the least, so we provided a Burco Boiler for his wife to boil his dungarees in.

One firiday evening in early December at the allotted time, Elaine arrived for Neil’s pay packet. As I handed over the brown envelope she asked me if we liked Christmas Pudding. ‘Yes’ I replied, with a quizzical expression. At which point she handed over a large, heavy, tepid dome wrapped in a tea-towel of questionable hygienic standards. I said how kind it was of her to give us such a tasty treat so soon in the Christmas season. She assured me that it had been no problem at all as she had actually made a big batch of the said fruit puddings.  She said it couldn’t have been easier as she had used the Burco Boiler. She had put all the ingredients inside and simply turned it on!. At this point I must have been lost for words and  she realised that an explanation  was needed……….no need to worry……….. she had bleached the boiler out first.

So, I belied my inner feelings with an understanding and reassuring expression. I took the pudding into the house, pensively closed the outer door and placed the delicacy onto the kitchen work surface. Where it stayed for several days until I could wait no longer and it saw the inside of my waste bin.

The following friday arrived and I had rehearsed my lines. I was going to say how delicious the whole thing had been and what a really good consistency it was. And I did just that, handing over the weekly pay packet with a smile. I can picture her now, her straight hair gripped at the side, her fringe still managing to cover half of her eyes and sporting a slightly mischievious grin. With a furtive glance my way she tottered off across the gravel drive to her home, but I could see from my kitchen window that she was  returning immediately with a wide grin and clutching another package. I opened the door for her. She was pleased we were so happy with our pudding………and here was another one !

It was Neil’s duty when milking was finished, to attach the muck-spreader and drive to whichever field was in need of fertilising and drive around spreading the proverbial. Whilst Elaine was busy mastering bulk baking from a Burco Boiler,  her husband had been up to more tricks. Seemingly, this week’s needy field backed onto a brand new street of houses ; spying a solitary young woman washing up at her kitchen sink, looking out onto the fields beyond, he had stopped the tractor, stood up on the tractor seat and given her the benefit of a full-frontal in the trouser department. He duly buttoned himself up again and having finished his work he came home for his breakfast.

The following morning, he repeated this display, which was obviously somewhat distressing for the on-looker. The recipient of his attentions notified the local Police  and for his third (and what was  to be his final revelation) a Woman Police Officer was positioned at a bedroom window directly above the kitchen. And she was armed…….with a Polaroid camera. Neil arrived, temporarily stopped to reveal the benefits of his wares, then carried on his way.

Before 9 a.m. that day, and modern technology in the form of a Polaroid camera making this incident  immediately memorable,  the Police were then able to identify my husband as the owner of the tractor and they duly made their presence known at the back door.Short introductions followed and a verbal warning until finally the WPO took the photographic evidence from her pocket and asked me ‘ Do you recognise this man’ ?


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