You couldn’t miss it if you travelled down Lower Mickletown on to Green Lane. Indeed if you were blind you would find it hard to miss it. This was Huddlestone’s manure heap on Coney Moor. The heap was made of the usual tipped farmyard waste but supplemented with a twice weekly delivery of offal and animal waste from the abattoir at Bradford
What a stench, especially when it had been accumulating for some months, however it did answer some of the questions from when we were pea pulling as to how an animal skull and other bones were in the soil.
It was in this background that during a school holiday I was encouraged by Michael Shillito and Derek Masterman to join them on muck spreading operations. I fell for that one.
Hanging on to the tractor wheel guard flying through the cess puddles to drive the bucket fork into the steaming pile was almost enough. Then the bucket lifted to reveal rats, and all manner of detritus including intestines that stretched up to 10/15 yards then snapped with resulting splatters over those in the firing line.
So there we were, driving into the pile, turning and loading onto the muck spreading trailer and then driving the trailer up and down the field with the load being thrown out by a spinning shaft geared to the wheels (the faster you went, the better the distribution). Messrs Shillito and Masterman excelled at this.
Don’t ask me what we did at snap (lunch) time, and after an all day shift don’t try to imagine what we looked and smelled like. I just did it for one day!
Who on earth made the decision to revert back from chemical fertilizers to organic farming methods? They can’t have spent much time on the ‘piles’.