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The Potato Harvest: Year 2000
By Gordon langley

Driving through the country side of the year 2,000, I noticed a gathering of huge machines, and an enormous carrier, curious, I stopped and observed the activity,

First one machine moving slowly along, creating deep furrows, into which all the big stones that was being picked up, were funnelled into this very deep trench, the ground was then levelled, and another machine was cutting newer and far shallower trenches, into which potato's were being planted, this machine was being filled with potato's from the huge carrier,

I saw no more than three men carrying out this potato planting operation, I realised that this land had been contracted out to this firm, for it would never pay a farmer to buy these very big and expensive machines, just to plant his own crop,

The field was sprayed a couple of times through the year, and then the field was visited, by two men, no more than boys, they arrived, one with a gigantic potato harvester, the other with an equally huge trailer,

They journeyed up and down the rows, ripping the potato's out of the ground, and shooting them into this giant trailer, no sooner had it been filled, than another had arrived,

Before the end of the day, the field was finished, silence descended, the potato crop had been harvested,

I stood there looking at this empty field, and felt a stony cold nothing, I thought, my god!, this place is dead!!, there are no memories of this years harvest!!,

No joking, no country wise sarcasm, no shrieks of laughter, at something one of the Village women had said, no good humoured jeering at the shy young lad , dropping the cobs and sacks, no measuring out the retches, so that each woman was given her area, that could be longer or shorter than her friend a few retches away, because the crop was heavier or lighter, according to the quality of that part of the soil, no giving of a carrot to poor old Jack, by one woman, with a sack tied around her waist, who just loved animals, no good natured helping out a woman who had trouble keeping up with the rest, no sitting on the headland, eating their docky, gossiping about some one, who hadn't turned up, all friendly, no malice, no filling their docky bags at the end of the last day, with potato's, a kind of thank you gift from the farmer, no singing of the last song, no goodbye Doris, see you at the whist drive, no cheerio gordon, to the young lad with the nervous stutter, who with poor old Jack, was carting the last load of potato's to the heap, where his dad, was waiting to straw down, and then dig a trench around the heap, to cover the crop with at least 18" of soil, to guard against the sharp frost

No, for that was way back, when there was life in this beautiful land of ours,

Not for them, some gigantic smart step called progress, for that was the potato harvest of 1935,

I gazed at that cold empty field, it was empty in more ways than one, I felt the cool morning breeze waft across this desolate field, making me aware of this encroaching on my boyhood memories,

The warm friendly ghosts began to recede, I whispered a wistful silent farewell, and I stepped albeit, a trifle reluctantly back into today, into this oh so smart progressing time,

Gordon Langley


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