Daft Laddies. Farming Tales of North Tyne and Rede 50 years on.
By Clive Dalton and Donald Clegg
An extract from the book - Daft Laddies. Farming Tales of North Tyne and Rede 50 years on (2003) By Clive Dalton and Donald Clegg. If you would like a copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Nuw de ye remembor the motor bogey? What progress they brought about in the North Tyne and Rede for the very few pioneers who were brave enough to own one. Historically they fitted into the gap between the end of the horse era and the start of the tractor revolution.
Car with back removed
A motor bogey was simply an old car with top and seats removed, and the deck of the old horse-drawn hay bogey fitted on the back of the chassis and it worked the same as the hay bogey. When you got to the pike in the field you reversed in and took the catch off to coup the bogey deck. Next job was te gan aroond the pike and kick the bottom in wi’ your boot toe. Then back on the bogey and reverse hard into the pike. If this shifted the pike, then aall the bettor as it would be easier to wind on. The next job was to release the pall on the toothed wheel on the end of the roller and unwind the ropes. You had to remember to cross these ropes when they went around the pike before hooking them together.
Then after flicking the pall back on again, you got the iron handle from its hole in the floor and started to caa like mad to wind the pike on board. If the pike was going off line, it was handy if you got an assistant, (and you always had, as the bigger bairns were always nagging for a ride) to push on one rope to help redirect it. Or you could give it a few muckle hikes on the rope yoursel’.
Winding on the pike
If the winding got ower hard, it was a good idea to drive forrard to move the pike off it’s base where it had mebbe got clagged doon with the rising damp. Once the pike got beyond the point of balance the bogey deck would land doon flat again, and you could wind the pike right up to the back of the driver’s seat, if there was one. But ye had to mind the bairns when the bogey deck came doon with a bang.
On some bogeys you just sat on the floor on a bag of hay as the car seat had not been refitted. It was also important to remember to lock the bogey doon in case she went up on the way haeme, mebbes if ye brushed a gate post. But the biggest sin that would see you demoted to possing hay in the shed was to leave the handle on afore ye drove heme and let it catch on a gatepost – or drop it off somewhere and hev te waste valuable time luckin’ for it. And remember, there was aye a nasty leukin’ shooer cumin’ doon the valley.
Working too fast
But there was one massive disadvantage to the motor bogey. As you could now travel at up to 40mph instead of 4mph with a horse bogey, there was nee time for the hinds or haymen at the stack to get a few draas and a spit o’ thor pipes, and sartainly nee time te give the pipe a proper clean oot. You’d be lucky te git time for a pinch o’ snuff afore the purr of the owld Morris Cowley with hor brass radiator appeared up the lonnen.
With only road tyres fitted, the motor bogey was only a fine weather workhorse. She (and they were always female) were tried for some winter jobs like leading turnips when fitted with chains, but by the time their total failure was recognised, Harry Ferguson had solved all the problems.
But, apart from leading hay, the motor bogey made one other great contribution to rural life in the 50s. It was a great way for both young and old to learn to drive a car – and the hayfield was a much safer place for this exercise than the public road.