b'Looance TahmesHoward PeachJ ust think of it - a century ago Bishop Wilton hadgenerally thought prudent not to put rabbit pie or stew fifteen working farms! Before the days of tractorson the menu for a day or two! And at threshing, the and combine harvesters farm regulars were usuallyversatility of Massey-Harris string was demonstrated augmented, at busy times, by temporary daytals,in preventing rats and mice darting from stacks to who might include the occasional itinerant Irishman, ortrouser legs! Men and lads armed with sticks laid Wold Ranger. The June hay harvest needed extras forabout them energetically and dogs chased fleeing cutting, turning and raking, drying and gathering intovermin.swathes, before loading and stacking. For the cerealLooance times were social, if short, occasions, harvest scythes were used to open out the sides ofwith camaraderie and banter on such topics as whose the fields, ready for the horse-drawn binder which cutcart-load might drop shavs, pig or wemmie ower, the corn and bound it into sheaves which were evenlyan optimistic forecast of an expected wage bonus dropped behind. After stooking to dry off, they wereor possible entertainment at the Mell Supper in the painstakingly stacked to make those attractive roundfarmhouse after the harvest was complete; or who pointed pikes, well- thatched pending late autumn orcould find the biggest potato when it came to tattie winter threshing. scrattin. For teenage horse lads living in the hinds Threshing machine hired out from local contractorshouse, it all made a welcome change from fat bacon came with driver and mate, but farmers generallyfor breakfast and supper. What a shame when harvest engaged up to a dozen men - water carrier, stoker,looances treats had to stop! Anyway, lads in a poor band cutter, pitchers feeding the sheaves onto themeeat hoos could always hope to move on at the thresher, grain bag setters, straw clearers, chaffMichaelmas hirings.carrier - this last a dusty, itchy and unpopular chore. InMeanwhile, on threshing days, mid-day dinner, 1905 threshing machines were available in Huggate,served in the fields, was generally good - beef, Leavening, Stamford Bridge and Fridaythorpe. ByYorkshire pudding, potatoes and vegetables. Aye, and 1913 Matthew Ripley had one in Bishop Wilton. yet more apple pie.Threshing was tiring labour and the ten oclocksThe waggoner and his lads needed all their and fower oclocks allowances were eagerly lookedstrength to carry the corn from the threshing machine forward to. Refreshments were ceremoniouslyup steps to the granary - a bag of oats weighed 12 brought out, often in cloth-covered butter-baskets bystone; barley was 16 stone; and wheat 18 stone. kitchen maids, supervised by the farmers wife, whoThey earned their extra wages.was immensely busy at this season, often servingOld timers have pointed out, nostalgically, that up breakfasts as well to the threshers. (Ah feeal aseven such names as wag, thoddy and fowerty (third if Ahs gorra rooalin pin in me ands arl deea!) Teaand fourth lads) and Tommy Owt (youngest odd-was served up from enamel cans, or sometimes beerjobber) are unknown to a younger generation. Gaffer, in big stone jars. Some farmers provided a barrel onhind, hoss lads, bullocky, shep, hirings and looances tap and the revitalising liquid was poured into bigare part of our rich farming folk lore - of times when enamel mugs, which often had to be shared. Looanceharvest was labour intensive. goodies might include meat sandwiches or pasties,(Howard Peach is the author of books like Curious big cheeses and bacon-cake, thick-crusted appleTales of Old East Yorkshire and Curious Tales of Old pies, or maybe ground rice tart, jam turnovers orNorth Yorkshire, both Sigma Press. He contributes shortcake. articles also to Around the Wolds, Yorkshire Ridings Although plenty of rabbits had been killed inMagazine and Yorkshire History Quarterly.)trying to escape from the receding uncut corn, it was The BirdsH ow many different depictions of birds comprise the Italian mosaic on the floor of St Ediths Church? The one shown here is the most predatory example (disliked by some). It is said that the mosaic was made up in Italy and shipped over in sections rather than being laid piece by piece by the Italian craftsmen who completed the job.BULLETIN 13 213'