Runacres Smallholding

The flock of Sheep on the Nuttery that my dad looked after.

The flock of Sheep on the Nuttery that my dad looked after.

So thought I would start off my stories of the family smallholding history by opening the scene on ‘The Nuttery’-the smallholding of my Grandparents in Suffolk. Hope you enjoy it!

My grandparents (Runacres) Granma and Granddad Basil moved to ‘The Nuttery’ in 1957, with Granmas mother ”Big Nanny”, after My Great Granddad passed away; so they pooled what money they had and started in Little Blakenham, in the Suffolk countryside. At this point my auntie Diana was 3 and my dad was just 1 year old. ‘The Nuttery’ was a 7 acre smallholding in Suffolk.  There was  4 and a half acres on the field-half an acre of the hilly bit was where the sows ran outside and the rest was used for sheep and hay production. Additionally, there was a good acre of apples and plums (Great for jam making!). Also, the pig-sty’s and straw sheds behind which there was a row of Kent Cob-nuts-which you could get more than 100lbs of nuts off sometimes! At the Nuttery apart from the bungalow and garden there were bees, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, geese, rabbits (for meat) and of course a large veggie patch not to mention the numerous cats and dogs! Granddad Basil kept Bees and had a ‘Bee-Shed’ which I shall explain more about later on.
There was no Mains electric, with water being pumped up by a petrol Engine that was housed in a little tin shed over the Bore-hole down near the pig-sty’s about 100 yards from the main house.  You pumped up to a big tank for the pigs then turned a tap to send it in a pipe underground up to the house. Dad said that in the very cold winter of 1962/63, the water froze underground so Granddad Basil had to fill up a water hand-cart and push it up the driveway to have any water in the Bungalow! There was a Lister 2 cylinder Diesel engine that drove a generator for the electric, but most of the time things where done on the Aga. This was a solid fuel range which gave you hot water as well as used for cooking. The Aga cooked everything and had a very slow bottom oven which made the most fantastic stew-pots overnight-nothing burned there,  it was just too slow! Dad says it proved very useful in the later years for warming up frozen young lambs (wrapped in an old towel)-about 5 minutes in there revived the most pathetic lamb!
It wasn’t until 1967 that Mains electric got laid on and we had everything re-wired and life became easier! Dad can still remember having little paraffin night-lights beside the bed -apparently if you turned them too high big smuts would stick to the ceiling above you!
Dad remembers the first Electrolux Fridge also coming (fueled also by paraffin!) before they had Mains electric, and then the fridge converted to electric and kept going until 1980 which is impressive! As for other equipment Dad talks of when he and Grandad Basil went round to have a look at the sows having piglets at night and Granddad having a Tilley lamp which made quite a good light-although it had strange hissing sound to it when it was pumped up to give a real glow!
This is just a very small introduction to ‘The Nuttery’ and I hope to share more stories of the livestock, tales and some family photos with you over time and one day maybe have my own ‘Little Nuttery’ to follow tradition : )
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6 thoughts on “Runacres Smallholding

  1. just wonderful but hard work once my dream oil lamp aga real history winter 1963 went on for months.. what would we do without electricity today. My father lived near Carlisle he spoke of oil lamps and being snowed in. thank you

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