the rows of sugar beet. 'See, there'd be ten or a dozen of us, I suppose, and you used to take an acre each. That was piecework. That might be twenty rows an acre. Well, you'd all be roughly in line and you'd talk and laugh to each other as you went- not too much though, 'cos you were trying to get more money'.
He slowly worked his way through most branches of farming.
'If we were thrashing we used to be the chaff boys, you know bagging the chaff up - and a mucky bloody job that was too, but we used to do it. Then you'd progress to straw stack and then you'd go up from there on to corn stack. I suppose people probably left, retired or died. I finished up driving the lorry and tractor'.
'I suppose, the best time was Harvest, that's what I enjoyed most, but then you enjoyed it all. Everything was seasonable then - you had your hoeing, your haymaking, your harvest and then your muck cart - that's collecting the muck from out of the yards and spreading it over the land'.
When the Bateman's retired in 1962 John hired some land from them and started farming for himself.
'It was a bit of a risk but it worked. The first animals I had cost me £17 each - Friesian bull calves. Once you started with animals you got to really like them. You see an animal can talk to you. I'd go down to in the morning and I'd shout to those animals to come and get their food and they'll start shouting back - I didn't know what they said of course - but they knew you were there and told you they were coming. You can swear at them some times and at other times you can tell them that they've been good chaps. You