February 23, 2009

Daft Laddie tales from North Tyne & Rede: True Daft Laddies

Northumberland, farming, Daft Laddies, humour, learning

By Donald Clegg

True Daft Laddies

But the true “Daft Laddies” on farms were always the non-farmer’s sons because of the daft things they did, through ignorance or over-enthusiasm to please.

Farmers’ sons seemed to know instinctively what to do, and more importantly , what not to do in any circumstances, whereas the Daft Laddie had to weigh up the pros and cons of every situation before coming to a decision – usually the wrong one. He knew that his boss was always, (in modern parlance) ‘in search of excellence’ so in plain lingo, this meant if you made a stuffup, you’d get your lugs chowed for sure.

Handling stock was the high risk area for a lug-chowing, as inevitably the Daft Laddie always stood i' the rang bluddy place', so the sheep or bullocks bolted in the opposite direction - inevitably in a direct line for the boss!

Unfortunately, in the 1950s at least, any additional ‘book larnin’ was certainly regarded with great suspicion by all the ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ traditionalists in the hill farms of Northumberland and Durham.

They had always done things as their fathers had before them. There was nee need for change – what they had done had stood the test of time. “If it was good enough for 'me fathor' it’s good enough for me” was the mantra, usually trotted out against any new-fangled notions put forward by the newly recruited farm hand.

And of course the 1950s in the North Tyne and Rede valleys saw what to the old guard were mind-boggling innovations with the change from horse power to the tractor

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