FROM PUSHCHAIR TO PLOUGHSHARE: A YORKSHIRE FARMER’S TALE
John D. Taylor
A delightfully presented and interesting memoir.
‘The Dalesman’, September 2014.
From Pushchair to Ploughshare: a Yorkshire Farmer’s Tale is a memoir that closely mirrors the man at its centre, John D. Taylor. Jam-packed with richly-drawn anecdotes that begin with his childhood years during the Second World War, spent first in the city of Hull, and then in the beautiful landscape of his beloved Nidderdale and Middlesmoor in Yorkshire. This blissful time was followed by the post-war years when his family returned to Hull but were intent on buying and building up their own farming business. Alongside his brother, John worked many back-breaking hours to realise this ambition, diversifying when new farming ventures were required. Yet fun was never that far away.
The reader will discover many of the colourful characters who have inhabited the author’s world, described with great accuracy and an eye for the comic. From ‘Eva Brick’, ‘Smokey Joe’ and ‘Mr C’ to his 6’ 7” great grandfather who owned a public house, ran a boxing club, and whose boxing ring was situated in one part of his L-shaped pub. Travelling abroad in his retirement has only served to add extensively to the roll-call of personalities that have crossed his path. Humour, resilience, pragmatism, and family devotion are the foundation stones of the author’s approach to life and all are found in abundance in the pages of From Pushchair to Ploughshare; a Yorkshire Farmer’s Tale, even those that are clouded with sorrow and pain. As John says of his book, ‘It’s a case of sunshine and showers’.
About the author
From Pushchair to Ploughshare; a Yorkshire Farmer’s Tale is the autobiography of John Taylor, born in 1937 in Hull, Yorkshire. At the outbreak of the Second World War he moved with his brother Geoff, his cousin Mike, and their mothers and maternal grandparents to live in a rented farmhouse in Upper Nidderdale. The four and a half years in Middlesmoor was to determine the future course of the two brother’s lives. In 1953, with a desire for their sons to become farmers, John’s parents sold their house in Ganstead, near Hull and bought Hill Farm at Thirtleby, East Yorkshire. For over 40 years Taylor Brother’s farmed Hill Farm, beginning with a dairy herd selling the milk through vending machines in Hull as partners in F & T Vending Ltd. Other enterprises were to include, broiler chickens, turkeys and pigs. John developed an interest in computers and in 1986 created Tabrotec Ltd that operated Britain’s first computerised on-line auction, selling pork and bacon pigs direct from farms to abattoirs, many years before the Internet made such a facility common place. Losing his son in a tragic accident on the farm there followed a very dark period in his life, the trauma of which led to the sad breakup of his previously very happy marriage. Retiring in 2002 he happily remarried and with his wife Irene, travelled extensively to many countries around the world, which he relates with many humorous anecdotes in his book.
Read feature article about the book and author in The Yorkshire Post: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/rural/farming/passion-and-tragedy-that-shaped-a-man-s-farm-life-1-6634094
5 June 2014; ISBN: 978-1-78280-284-6; Format: Softback; Extent: 228pp.; Illustrations: 117 b/w; Family tree and notes; 1 chart.
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