Potato picking picture brings back memories

Potato picture posted on Facebook by Farming Ulster
Potato picture posted on Facebook by Farming Ulster

Photographs have the power to tug at the heart strings and work the imagination and that was certainly the case for thousands of Farming Life’s Facebook followers this week.

An image we shared on our page of children picking potatoes, which was originally posted by the Farming Ulster page, transported many back to the days of their youth.

The image attracted interest from nearly 19,000 Facebook users and, true to form, they responded with comments in big numbers.

For many this was familiar scene. As you can see from the picture a young girl looks at the camera, stooped over while gathering potatoes with many others doing likewise in the background.

Commenting on the picture, Facebook user Sandra Bugden posted: “That’s what I used to do when I was 14/15 years old at my children’s grandparents farm. All the families helped each other at harvest time plenty of fresh veg stored ready for the hard winter. Happy days.”

Sandra’s sentiments were shared by many.

Jemma Selfridge posted: “We had some craic in the potato fields with all our cousins. Hard work but great!”

Betty McClean posted: “A week off school for potato gathering holidays, those were the days my friends.”

Carmel McKenna added: “I know all about spud gathering, sore on the back but love the tea lady coming with the basket on her arm.”

For others, perhaps, the picture sparked not so happy memories.

Michael Matthew posted: “Dear God it was backbreaking work I was young so I was only expected a half drill but as I grew older the drills got longer... It was murder on the back...”

Lisa Daly added: “Second worst job ever only topped by turf.”

Jeanette Abbott posted: “This was my worst nightmare for about 10 years of my life!”

And it didn’t stop with potatoes as other vegetables were also brought into the debate.

Geoffrey Wilson posted: “Didn’t mind the spuds, loved snedding turnips, absolutely hated pulling scallions!”

Sue Callow: “Picking spuds and thinning turnips, happy days.”

Inevitably the topic of money - or in some cases the lack of it - raised it’s head.

Louise McVeigh posted: “We were rich then, £3 a box!”

Brian Ross posted: “Tattie hols 7/6 a day, hard work.”

Alison Collins added: “I got paid 10 bob a day picking for Wallace Rogers, that’s 50 pence, but we were so proud to be earning our own money.”

So memories good and not so good there. If you have any pictures of potato picking or other farm work you wish to share with Farming Life you can do so through Facebook or email farminglife@jpress.co.uk along with details of date and location.