When I was thirteen I worked on a farm for the whole of the summer holidays. I milked the cows, cleaned their shit up, baled the hay, and dodged the advances of a sexually abusive co-worker. I worked from early dawn to late dusk for seven days a week. The people in charge of the farm were known as Boss and Missus. Missus spent all her time in the farmhouse, cleaning, washing and cooking, Boss spent all his time in the fields or in the milking parlour. We ate three meals a day, as much as we could eat of wholesome home-cooked food . . . hold on – what’s wholesome about tinned peaches in syrup, buckets of chips and white bread spread thick with heavily salted, full-fat butter? And the rest of this farm crap is bullshit too.
What actually happened was that a 13 year old boy was exploited and abused by a well-to-do family and expected to work at a job that involved doing evil to animals for 12 hours a day in exchange for mounds of fried potatoes and buckets of sugar-based treats.
To be fair, once a week the Missus would sidle up to me and slip me four shillings, ‘Don’t tell the Boss,’ she’d whisper, dropping the pair of two-shilling pieces into my pocket. Four shillings! That’s just twenty pence in today’s money, and it was a complete pisstake even then. Although because I worked every waking hour I didn’t spend a penny that summer and put every coin into a post office savings account. I think that must have been the first and last time my liquid assets were in the black.
But it would still have been better if I’d spent the summer helping my uncle in the scrap-yard; I might have learned something then about making money out of muck, instead of being a virtual slave to a greedy exploitative bastard.