A chance for more musing on Manchester in the 60s. We paid for stuff in pounds shilling and pence, and in 1969 the farthing was discontinued! We were lucky enough not to generate a debt from our studying being given a Government Grant to attend and keep us in beer and cigarettes. Some of us were better at looking after this sum than others, I supplemented mine by working in the holidays at Haydock Park Racecourse where I helped the groundsmen to cut saplings to make the fences for the steeplechase from Lord Derby’s Estate at Knowsley. We then took them back to the Racecourse.
The plantation on the estate was around 10 miles away, so we trundled off in the head man’s landrover. Apart from the birch saplings the woods had the biggest population of horse flies that I’ve ever come across, who would menace the gang throughout the day. All apart from George Willie Harrison ( no relation ) who was the oldest of the workers and probably in his 70s then. Nothing came near George and if it did it died almost instantly. We asked him for the secret of his success. ” Flit” he replied, ” Spray it all over myself every morning”. Flit was a fearsome brand of insecticide probably now banned and here was a 70 year old spraying himself with the stuff. It had no ill effects on the man but the insects approaching gave up the ghost within a yard of him.
After a day at the estate we loaded the trailer behind a tractor and trundled back along the busy East Lancs Road to the Racecourse. They put me on top of the load with a red flag to warn traffic behind that we were a slow moving load. It was not my finest hour. Health and safety was not a major consideration, after all I was an art student so perfectly expendable.