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used to buy the skins and take 'em back to Brandon to the clothing factory. He examine them first 'cos some skins got a black mark, a bit smudged - but if they were clear, he'd give you a full price. They used to be tanned then and all the rest on it and made into fur hats, gloves and coats. They'd get about one and nine (9p) a skin.
If you didn't skin 'em they went to the lodge. The lodges was like sort ordinary houses really. But they were just designed for that job. Dad used to keep his ferrets and sometimes his dogs in there and nets and snares and everything.
They used to hang the rabbits there. See when you killed them, you killed them the day you caught them, then you paunched them, put the hind legs together and you hung them up in rows with the heads down. 'Cos if you laid a rabbit down that wasn't so good to eat. That's like a pheasant or anything, you're better hanging them. But you don't hang rabbit for long. They eat pretty near straight away when they're fresh.
Harvey from Norwich come and

collect the rabbits from Hilborough lodge and sold them to the butchers. I mean, that was good food for everybody. During the war people used to come nearly every day and ask for rabbit. You see that was cheap food. Well, that cost about a half a crown (12 p) to buy towards the end like, for a rabbit. I mean that was a good meal on there.
Mother used to do rabbit stew or bake them in the oven with a crust over. Rabbit pie. That was with bones in and everything. Cut up into little pieces, the back and the hind legs, ribs and the head and everything. There was always an argument about who was going to have the brains. We liked that the best. You used to split the head in half and then you get the brains out each side with the end of a spoon or fork. We had to take it in turns to have them. My dad always used to have the back 'cos that was the biggest bit of the rabbit with the two kidneys on it and the fat. And if you got little ones, mother used to skin them, then she'd fry them and they were so tender'.
When did you last eat rabbit?
'That was when Frank was alive. So,

that must have been about ten year ago. We miss it we do. But that 'myxy' still keep cropping up and that put people off. It was 1953 when myxomatosis came in. We didn't know what it was when we first saw it. Then they announced it on the wireless. I mean, we never thought there was going to be another rabbit again. We used to go round with air guns to put them out of their misery. It was sad. You had your warrener earning a living, you had your ferret breeders, net makers, snare and strap makers, staff makers, everything, didn't you? And they was all put out of business, weren't they? And people aren't as healthy now, are they?
We'd eat a rabbit pie tomorrow if we could get one.'

Toni Arthur-Hay

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