Teenage Years
Edwin Huck

When I was a lad in Orton our next door neighbour was Billy Butler,  the Blacksmith. He had his Smithy on East Road, and everyone took their horses to him to be shoed. The busiest time was just before hay-time May and June.

Billy had been a Blacksmith during the 1st World War, shoeing the horses over in  France. That must have been terrible, seeing what an awful end so many of them  came to. Everything was done by horse-power in those days, before the  arrival of tractors. We had a big working dales horse called Johnny. At hay time  he was used for pulling the machine that cut the crop, and bringing it to the barn. We also used him for ploughing, and carting jobs around the farm, like removing manure.

We were very dependent on the weather, and the crop  was soon spoilt if it rained. In good weather we started about 6am, so Johnny  could do a lot of his heavy work before it was to hot.
When I was  fourteen, in 1946 I was apprenticed to one of the village joiners Horace Wilson.  He used to make farm gates and doors, and do roof repairs. Everything was made  of wood in those days, so there was lots of work. We used to walk to the farms,  carrying with us what we needed. Wood was in short supply, so we re-used up what  we could if it wasn't rotten.

I was paid 15/- a week, and worked from  8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and Saturday mornings. I gave Mum 7/6 a week for  board (not much to feed a growing lad), and I was expected to buy tools. I was  lucky if I had 1/6 a week left, just enough to go to a dance now and then. But  money was very short for everyone in those days