When I was in my twenties I lived in Pembroke Dock and had a job picking potatoes with my partner. We worked with an old man – I guess he was not over 65, but for me at the time that seemed old. Not so much now I am 72, nearly 73.
The old man was a countryman, had been a farm worker all his life. His wife worked alongside us for some of the time. I was amazed at the way the old women could pick potatoes so fast and thoroughly. They had been doing it for years, of course. But for me the work was back breaking.
We worked for the local farmer who was not greatly wealthy. Though he had money I suppose. He had sold his first farm to builders to allow the expansion of the local town and was working the ground to exhaustion to do the same again.
He was rude. I don’t remember the situation any more, but I remember the advice the old farm worker gave us at the time. He said simply, having witnessed the hurtful situation, ‘He is ignorant.’
It wasn’t a comment on the state of the farmer’s knowledge. It was a comment on his social manners. To be ignorant meant to ignore the feelings of others.
I have never forgotten that man’s advice. He also gave us more advice. ‘Is everything okay in bed?’ I said ‘Yes’. ‘That’s all that matters,’ he said, ‘if everything is good in bed the rest will work itself out.’
Seems my partner didn’t agree.