Country diary 1947: a moonlit drive to a distant farm

Hereford
As no time can be found by day, a journey had to be made in the evening to inspect potatoes at a distant farm. The moon was shining as I drove up lanes, guiding myself by a small map. I arrived at a farm gate and turned into a long drive full of pot-holes. My lights shone on big trees and strange high heaps of upturned roots that threw fantastic shadows. Two fallow deer flitted by, and here and there near the ground shining eyes stared out of the darkness.

I came to an extensive range of buildings, and white squares of glass indicated the farmhouse. At first I thought there were towers of the pepper-box type one sees on Scotch castles, but they turned out to be hop kilns. The farmhouse was built of very large blocks of stone. I was welcomed in by a farmer and his son, and had a glimpse of a fine old kitchen, but, for the rest, it had been so divided up and altered into small papered rooms and winding passages that in the dim light it seemed a labyrinth with shadowy forms of the inhabitants moving to and fro.

We went out across the yard to the building and looked at the potatoes. I bought three tons to eke out my poultry food. A big Hereford bull looked very comfortable bedded down on plenty of dry bracken. It is a pity to see all these farm buildings sadly needing repairs which the owners are unable to afford. Not that there would be the faintest hope of getting the necessary materials.

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