Thursday, 5 November 2015

More about chickens

I have had several lovely comments on my last post about our new chickens and so will try to keep chicken news up to date. They continue to lay well and we are in the process of constructing them a large new run so that when it is fox season they can be safely fastened in. Almost all have now all their feathers and are very easy to handle.

I looked out into the garden a few minutes ago to see a group of four hens pecking about in company with a beautiful cock pheasant. I tried to get a photo but he ran off.

Last night I made some buns for visitors today and used four eggs. The yolks are now a lovely deep orange compared with the yellow they were three weeks ago.

Tonight was Bonfire Night. It was cold and drizzly and the forecast is not good for Saturday night when I am hoping to go to the local village bonfire. We will wait and see.

On the history front I have been teaching about some local and interesting families. The Metham family, for example, who lived near Laxton, were prominent  from medieval times until the seventeenth century. A Thomas Metham was imprisoned in York castle during the reign of Elizabeth as it was feared that he might become a focal point for those who wanted to return England to the Roman Catholic faith while the last Thomas was killed while fighting as a Royalist at the battle of Marston Moor.

Much later Metham was the home of a famous hackney stud owned by Mr Burdett Coutts. I found an interesting  newspaper article from October 1904 about a sale of some of his horses when Mr Burdett Coutts spoke of the effect the invention of the motor car might have on horse breeding.

" There was a large attendance at Howden yesterday of dealers and buyers of horses, in connection with the sale of about hackneys, the property of Burdett-Coutts, M.P., who is reducing his [Brookfield] stud at Metham, near Howden.  The sale was conducted by Messrs. R. R. Leonard and Son, of Preston, near Hull. Good prices were, on the whole, realised. A big figure was obtained—l30gs.—for a filly foal, Nunnery, by Polonius—Fragility. Mr. W. Tubbs, London, became the purchaser.

Mr. Burdett-Coutts, speaking at a public luncheon in the Shire Hall, said since he bought Candidate from Mr. Moore, Polly Horsley from Mr. Reckitt, Lady Lyons from Mr Brough, and Primrose from Mr. Quiller Kirby, he had pretty steadily favoured Yorkshire in providing himself with the bed rock of his stud.

 This led him to make oue or two remarks about the present condition of the horse-breeding industry, and he spoke from a long experience, not only as breeder of horses, but also as a seller of the finest article in London. There had been great boom, followed by a great panic and people were tumbling over one another to get rid of their horses. He thought that the retreat was somewhat precipitate, and that horse breeders were parting too hastily with what they could not regain for many years.

 He believed the fear the motor-car was overdone. It should recognised that the new invention which people who liked travel with their body shaking like a jelly fish, or their nose full of petroleum, was not entitled disturb, terrify, and interfere with the safety of life and limb, nor the comfort of those people who chose to follow the old method of progression. But the motor-car had undoubtedly come to stay, and his object was to inquire what wculd be the real effect on horse breeding. In his opinion, there would always a place for the very fine harness horse, which—he did not say to flatter them—was best seen in Yorkshire. People who liked to have horses, and who had the money pay for them—would have them. What would those people do, and where would they if people in Yorkshire gave up horse breeding altogether? "

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