Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Ernie Holland Story.

Ernie Holland Story.
The photograph is a photo-fit of the man himself, depicting his chubby smile and bushy eyebrows:
I come now to the younger member of the Holland family, Ernie, who was not only a very skilled mechanic on all types of stationary machinery but, his knowledge of automobiles was vast to say the least. Not only did he maintain the two Ruston Hornsby Twin Cylinder stationary pump engines that use to pump water up to the Cliveden Estate water tank hidden up in the clock tower, he also maintained the fleet of American cars belonging to the Astor family, of which I can recall him saying there was a dozen at one time.
He also looked after the milking machine vacuum pumps and engines plus all small portable stationary engines powering root choppers, hay and silage equipment, milk and cattle lorries, not forgetting the steam boiler maintenance in the dairy.
In his spare time he kept the farm vermin such as foxes, rabbits, rats and mice in check. I think as boys on or next to the farm we spent more time with Ernie learning country ways and how to catch rabbits using various methods. In the nesting season and when the early mowing for haymaking was taking place. The mowers would find pheasants nests, they would take the eggs to Ernie and he would put them under a broody hen and raise as her own until they could fly over the wall and into the woods as young poults. This way the pheasant population was maintained on White Place Farm. Young partridges were much harder to raise, so the success rate was much less.
When we boys wanted to go swimming in the Cliveden Reach in the summer, Ernie was always a good source for a large inner tube to have fun with. Also small empty twenty-gallon drums were good to have when building a raft on Widbrook stream.

A 1920's American Cord Tourer.
For several summers before the war Ernie brought one of the older American cars down from Cliveden and fitted it with a hay sweep. Boy did we have fun sitting in the big open tourer sweeping up the hay and bringing it into the rick with Ernie at the wheel. I often wonder if Arthur Ransome the author of "Swallows and Amazons." was watching at the fun we had.

When Ernie had time off or went on holiday, his place was taken over by Jack Exler, who kept a garage on Switchback Road, in Furze Platt. I wonder if any of my readers will remember Jack and his garage.

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