The industrious thatcher: Country diary, 15 September 1919

15 September 1919 All day long he fetches and carries, working in a sea of dazzling gold straw

Kent, September 14
They have almost finished carrying the corn here, and the thatcher is hard at work. It is lonely. All day long he fetches and carries, working in a sea of dazzling gold straw in the blazing sun of the rickyard, and does it all unassisted in a way that makes a person used to town-workers marvel. He has two wooden battens jointed together with string, and he lays these on the ground and piles on the straw; then closing them together with a hitch, he heaves the huge bundle on to his shoulder and runs erect up the steep ladder to the top of the rick. Here he has driven a stake in upright half-way down the slope, and he pitches his bundle above this. Starting at the edge, he places the first layer of straw overhanging it slightly, and tucks the upper ends into the corn. Successive layers are placed, overlapping each other. Then he trips down the ladder and fills and carries up a bucket of water, with which he sprinkles his work, tapping and stroking the slope downwards. His ingenuity in working his ladder round the stack from above and in preventing himself and his tools from sliding down, is a delight to watch.

Related: Country diary: thatching is a job to take your time over

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