Fwd: Ben Franklin’s Quotes

Seems that Ben Franklin has some good one liners like Napoleon.  This list was sent

to me by Dan Bowyer, friend and fellow teacher of history. *He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”
The Narcissus syndrome.

alan skeoch
Jan.28, 2022

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.

He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees.

Great beauty, great strength, and great riches are really and truly of no great use; a right heart exceeds all.

He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

The sting of a reproach, is the truth of it.

Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.

Beware of little expenses: A small leak will sink a great ship.

Hide not your talents, they for use were made: What’s a sun-dial in the shade?

Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

Well done is better than well said.

Glass, china, and reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.

He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.

Genius without education is like silver in the mine.

If man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.

The poor have little, beggars none, the rich too much, enough not one.

Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass.

A true friend is the best possession.

Wish not so much to live long as to live well.

Also attached…picture of Frank Freeman’s folk art version of a biplane that Sam Markou has
researched and identified.  Not a Camel as John Wardle said.

EPISODE 521 NAPOLEON SAID ‘MEN ARE RULED BY TOYS’ (assume the same applies to women)

Napoléon Bonaparte

“You tell me that class distinctions are baubles used by monarchs, I defy you to show me a republic, ancient or modern, in which distinctions have not existed. You call these medals and ribbons baubles; well, it is with such baubles that men are led. I would not say this in public, but in a assembly of wise statesmen it should be said. I don’t think that the French love liberty and equality: the French are not changed by ten years of revolution: they are what the Gauls were, fierce and fickle. They have one feeling: honour. We must nourish that feeling. The people clamour for distinction. See how the crowd is awed by the medals and orders worn by foreign diplomats. We must recreate these distinctions. There has been too much tearing down; we must rebuild. A government exists, yes and power, but the nation itself – what is it? Scattered grains of sand.”

― Napoléon Bonaparte

History of the Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor was founded on May 19, 1802, by First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, in a hostile context. After lengthy discussions at the Council of State, it was adopted by 56 votes for and 38 against by the Tribunat, and 166 votes for and 110 against by the Corps législatif (legislative body).

The new institution was part of the extensive program to reorganize the State, along with the Civil Code, the Conseil d’Etat (Council of State), the Court of Auditors, the prefects and the grandes écoles (specialized national elite schools).

Napoleon Bonaparte was aware of the need to restore a comprehensive system of rewards, inspired by ancient honorific orders swept away by the Revolution, but respectful of equality among citizens.

Napoleon Bonaparte pursued three visionary objectives:

  • Reconciling the French, exhausted by a decade of political instability and military conflicts
  • Reuniting them around a common ideal: individual honor and national honor
  • Uniting the courage of military personnel with the talents of civilians, as the strong symbol of a powerful and unified State.

What the creation of the Legion of Honor heralded was important: no privileges, no exemptions, no remuneration, but the recognition only of individual merit, acquired and not transmitted.

First presentation of the Legion of Honor insignia by Napoleon in the church of Les Invalides, July 15, 1804 © MLH



alan skeoch
jan. 25, 2022

“Just what the hell is going on?”
“Playing bridge via my computer, Alan”
“Who are you playing with…every day for past week.”
“Playing with Rob…must concentrate…you could get me a coffee if your so inclined.”
“Get you coffee while you are playing with Robert…whoever the hell that is.”
“Stop being silly…Rob is faster than I am.”
“Let me talk to the sob.”
“Alan … get the coffee and stop harping at me.”
“Just who in hell is Robert?”
“The name is not Robert…it’s Robot…”
“Even worse…some kind of pet name.”
“Robot, Alan…a machine player…not human…but faster than a human.”
“Let me take a look!”
“You mean that you and Dolores are playing bridge with a robot.?”
“Exactly….you could join us if you were not so insane…Did you really
think I was having a game with some guy named Robert?”
“No…just kidding…(damn it all anyway…fooled me_)

Sent from my iPhone


EPISODE 271     FOLK ART by my Uncle Frank Freeman

alan skeoch
Mach  2021
January 25, 2022

Last night, I thought of my uncle Frank Freeman specifically two of his folk art pieces

that he made in winter evenings in 1942 when his son Ted was about 6 years old.
Pieces made from whatever he could find in his little blacksmith shop on the farm.
So tonight, January 27, 2022, I thought I would like to make an Episode out of
those pieces of folk art.  To my surprise I found Episode 271…the story had been
done a year ago.   Do you remember?

Folk art is a theme I would like to expand upon.  Why?  Because we can all do folk art
if we want to…just thinking about a shape is a lot of fun.  Perfection is not a goal.
Imagination is the goal.

There is a deep desire in many probably most human beings to create something 
with their own hands and minds.   Some human beings follow the fine art tradition
that involves  training…creating artistic objects in a sophisticated manner.

Folk artists on the other hand do  not worry about fine art, sophisticated art.
Folk artists do not worry about fine lines.   Often folk artists use items of  everyday
life and do not particularly care about accuracy  of line and shape.  Nor do they
worry about critical comments.  Utilitarian art in this instance…to be handled.

My Uncle Frank Freeman created two early example of folk art that intrigued
me.   He seems to have made both piece in March  1942.   And  they are objects  made
as  toys for his six or seven year old  son Ted.   The objects  are not made
to be submitted  for comment by a jury of accomplished lovers of fine art.
They are made to be used.  They are made from scrap materials found here and there on 
the farm.   They are imaginative.  Unique.  Tangible.  Unsophisticated.  Joyful.

Uncle Frank loved to talk to people.   He was tall but not silent.  Warm hearted.  Certainly not wealthy in the monetary sense
but rich in other things particularly the natural world  around him.  He always had time for other people.  He loved  his very difficult farm
composed  of glacial till …rocks, boulders, sand and soil…piled up forming fields that slanted in such a way that little pockets retained pools of water
that some call  swamps.  And all these pools drained into a big swamp in the centre of the farm.  The farm owned by Lucinda
and Frank Freeman would be 100 acres of headaches to most farmers.  To Frank, his farm was a wonder of creation.

How do I describe him best?   I can do that with a short comment he made to me decades ago.

“Alan, I love farming with horses rather than tractors.  Do you want to know why?”
“A tractor never stops working.  Now horses, on the other hand, must take a rest part way
through a job.  And when the team rest I get to rest and consider the world around me.”

Another anecdote:     One year Uncle Frank thought he was about to die from cancer.  He was not…but
he did  not  know that.  “Alan, I took my last walk around the farm today.  Every trail, field, swamp and forest.
Just to say good bye.”  (These are my words but they accurately cover what he said to me.)  He lived for many
more years.  I expect he took that walk again.

Made with these hands…for a reason.  Made from things cast aside.   Made to be touched and handled.   Made to be useful, to entertain, to be;

Am I running out of steam?  Nope.  Got lots of stories to come.  The next one is taking a lot of time….trying to find the unfindable.

alan skeoch
FEb. 2021

(Fifth Line, Erin Township, Wellington County)



alan skeoch

Jan. 2022

May be an image of nature and tree

A friend just sent these three pictures from a lush wilderness in

Florida.  January 24,2022…seems some Canadians are on the move no doubt

carefully.  While the rest of us are cocooned up in eider down bags counting the
days to spring and the end of our two year terror of Covid 19.  

Another friend sent a note from Brazil where the alligators or their kin await 
foolish swimmers and on shore the tiger ants await a bum that is lowering to rest on a log.

What do we face in Southern Ontario after that huge snowstorm?  In our case Woody
Marjorie and I were pleasantly surprised while playing Scrabble .

“What’s that noise?””
“Jack and Andy have arrived with the snow blower….digging us out.”
“Wait until I get the blueberry pie for them?”
“Is that really necessary?”
“Yes,…for your son and grandson…nice to know they are thinking of us.”
“But half a blueberry pie seems excessive.”

May be an image of nature, tree and body of water

“Is that a gator just behind your boat?”


I got an email this morning from a friend who is a kayaker and here’s her description of kayaking on the Myakka.  It is bang on. We were shocked at the size of the gators when we canoed down the river  – easily 12 to 14 feet. Huge!  We were glad to be in an aluminum canoe.  Use what you wish from this description below. I confirm it’s validity. 

“Hiking along the Myakka ….interesting….we kayaked down ( or up…I don’t know) the Myakka last week and there were alligators all along the bank , Hugh prehistoric looking creatures, who would get up and walk down to  the River and  slip in directly in front of my kayak. And that River is very shallow, I always thought that I was going to hit one on the head with my paddle….and that he might be a tad upset….but there were an awful lot of them.”

By the way, hiking is done on a marked trail. Alligators stay by the water. A wild pig dashed across in front of us. That was scary. Bigger than a Labrador, quite black. 

We both carry large thick walking sticks. 


May be an image of tree, nature and body of water

    Another friend sent
pics from Brazil….water looks grand but no swimming or the alligators (?) will get you…and the ants love to bite.

It is a malicious comfort to know the alligators prevent you from swimming.  Is that one following your boat?

Envious?  No, how could I be envious?  I am currently deep into our  230th game of  Scrabble.  Why should I be
envious of you basking in Florida sunshine  or even our friend Arnaud on a sand beach with 
scantilly clad swimmers.

Below are some pictures that show we are having a great time up here where there are no gators or bum biting ants.


“:Some of these pictures are repeats , Alan.”
“I know that.”
“Then why send them?”
“Just so those Florida people will feel sorry for us…”

“I am expecting notes from Florida and Texas?”
“They will want us to shovel out their driveways.”

“ALAN, tell them about the coyotes.”
“You mean tell them the coyotes are mating and howling on winter nights?”
“No, tell them how cute the coyotes are as they jump through the snowdrifts.”
“Cute?   They are looking for cats.”
“Woody seems to like them.”
“Not after that coyote bit him on the ass.”

“Look, Marjorie, the old iron bridge still exists.”
“Blocking the Fifth line below Steeles Avenue”
“How long will it be here?”
“Not much longer the assassins with chain saws are cutting the trees on both sides
of the Fifth line.  Soon the old iron bridge will be in a scrap yard.”
“Do you think we could move it to the farm…to span two of the ponds.?”
“We could but doubt it.”
“Because too many of our goddamn friends…would be helpers…are now in Florida or Texas…or Mexico…or Brazil?”
“You sound bitter Alan?”
“Not me…”

“Alan, send that picture of the isolated farm house to the sun seekers down south”

“To make them feel guilty for sending all those pictures of FlorIda!
“Good idea…”



alan skeoch
Jan. 22, 2022

There was a time when I collected seed catalogues in January 
and February and selected a few seed varieties that appealed to
me via descriptions or pictures.  Today T&T seeds has computerized
their seed catalogue for easy use with seed packets ranging from 
$3 to $5.  

My catalogues came from Dominion Seed House and Stokes Seeds.
The Dominion seed fields are now industrial and residential structures…gone.
Stokes is still in business I believe.

So it was with great joy that T&T sent this catalogue.  Perhaps courtesy
of Cathy Skeoch in Manitoba. Thanks.

It was the big onion, pictured below, that sparked the thought that
maybe some readers in Canada might be dreaming of the spring
garden and might want to buy a few packs of seeds.

We do it every year.  Usually we fail to do a good job in that the
race between weed seeds that are already in the soil and the
GOOD SEEDS we purchase is an uneven race.  Weeds get a
head start and win the race too often.  

Reading and dreaming about garden plants is a healthy activity
in January and February, especially in these Covid 19 down-d0wn-down days.

T&T Seeds makes the dreaming totally enjoyable…everything comes up
on the computer screen in glorious colour and the pages can turn with
the pressing of that little arrow or just touching the screen.

Now take  a look at the onion in hands of a gardener.  How big would the
hamburger patty and the hamburger bun have to be if one slice of that
onion were to be used as the measure?


Awesome Alliums
Ready, set, sow!

Click on the photos to shop
Exhibition Onion, Hybrid (#1450) 
110 Days
A descendant of the famous Kelsae onion, Exhibition is a sweet Spanish onion that is fun to grow and show!


Here’s three good reasons to cry (out)!

Ailsa Craig Onion, Spanish-type (#1454)
110 Days
Huge, firm and sweet – perfect on burgers this summer. Heirloom!

Candy Onion, 
Walla Walla type (#1425) 
85 days
A mild tasting, short-season onion that stores well.

Genesis Onion, 
Storage Type (#1405)
100 Days
A pungent and flavourful yellow cooking onion.

Other members of the family

#1405 Bunching Onion – Evergreen Hyb
Vibrant and fresh! Sow every few weeks to harvest all summer-long.
#880 Leek – Large 
American Flag 
A sturdy variety that requires very little attention for a big harvest payoff.
#854 Chive – Garlic
An easy to grow perennial that thrives in any garden, with dainty white flowers that attract pollinators.
Should I start my own onion seeds, or plant onion sets?
  • Growing from seed the most economical way to grow onions;
  • It’s the only way to grow unique varieties like Red Carpet or White Cloud;
  • Start onion seeds 10-15 weeks before you anticipate being able to transplant them into the garden, between mid-February and mid-March depending on your zone.
  • Onion sets are easier to plant than seeds or transplants;
  • Onion sets are small onion bulbs that have had previous growing time, so they grow to full sized onion quicker than seeds;
Generally, sets do not store very well. If your goal is too keep onions for the winter, grow them from seeds, or buy onion transplants from us this spring! See you then!

Find our 77th catalogue online!

Visit us online:
Or call us:
204-895-9962 ext. 2
Let us know what you think!
Facebook  Instagram  Twitter



alan skeoch
Jan. 21, 2022


alan skeoch
Jan. 19, 2022

pics…left to right…Alan Skeoch, Eric Skeoch, Edward Freeman (grandfather),  circa 1945

(and by the time I was interested, it was tool late.  He had died.)

EDWARD FREEMAN was my grandfather.   I thought I was close to him but now realize, thanks to my cousin Ted Freeman, that
I never really knew him.  He never told me a word about his life in England as head gardener on the Eywood Estate except
some weird comment about tipping his hat.  “Never liked tipping my hat to Gwyers.”   That comment meant nothing to me.  What’s
the big deal about tipping a hat?  Some do it to indicate a good morning or a sudden meeting of an aged friend.  No meaning
except greeting.

Well, I now know that the issue of tipping the hat in England in 1900 had a lot of meaning.  It meant you knew where you 
stood in the hierarchy of English life.  It was a deferential act.  “I am tipping my hat because I know you are better than I am.”
It acknowledged and accepted inferior status.

  This was drilled into me when I became a teen ager and our 38th Scout Troop went camping
with a British scout.  We did not get along at all.  “You know the trouble with you Allan…you are COMMON.”  In short, he regarded
me as an inferior person.   At that moment as we sat around our campfire I  thought, “Does this son of a bitch
want a fight for some reason?”  I am not a fighter so let the comment slide away.   But I did not tip my scout hat to the bastard.

And Granddad’s comment about his hat began to have meaning.

He never said another word to me on that subject.  He never really said much…but he loved our visits. That was unsaid.
He listened in amusement to the events of our youth.  He even got involved
when I had a bad case of pin worms and mom and granddad pulled me from under the bed to give me the cursed enema.
He made Eric and me each small wheelbarrows…hand  carved.  He smoked his pipe and tended his large kitchen garden
with the neatly trimmed cedar hedges retaining heat in the garden rectangle.  He managed a huge rhubarb patch beside the
backhouse…something we have never been able to do ever since.  From that patch he made a barrel of rhubarb wine. 
He carved picture frames containing old black and white]
photos of some distant place called  “Eywood….with an ‘E’ not an ‘H’.”

The pictures I have of granddad Freeman have nothing to do with England…no grand English estate….no scramble to
make his way through a class system….no 15 year apprentice ship…no need to grow a beard to make him look older.

OLDER?  Granddad had always been old.  He was born in 1871 which means he was 80 years old in 1951when I was in Grade 7

  reading cowboy westerns by Zane Grey and Luke Short.  A North American kid unbroken by being ‘in service’

…he would have been 89 in 1960 when I had the chance to sleuth out the Freeman roots roots in Herefordshire. 

But by then he was dead…died in 1958.

Alan Skeoch, Eric Skeoch, Edward Freeman, Arnold Skeoch (out of picture)

Edward Freeman, former head gardener of Eywood,  PICTURE TAKEN CIRCA 1950 in Canada

Of course I knew Granddad.  He made me a wheelbarrow….he spent a lot of time cutting and splitting firewood….and
even more time keeping his garden spotless.  But I never knew him really.  I never knew his life as a kid.  I  only knew mine.
I knew I  failed him a couple of times.  Like when I stole one of his special chisels and
got caught;  I hid in the long grass Timothy field…ashamed…  Because I got caught.  If I had
succeeded that memory would have faded.  He never chastised me.  Looked amused.  My biggest failure
was refusal to shoot a porcupine chewing maple buds high up in a sugar maple tree back in the bush.

“Granddad, I found a live porcupine back in the maple bush.”
“Fetch the rifle…we’ll get it.  Show you how to shoot.
“Shoot?”  I did not want to kill.   But killing seemed to be a rite of passage for farm kids.
I was a city boy really.  No gun. But I went along with granddad.  I remember he was crippled by then and had to
hobble to the back field using a sturdy cane.  He had me carry the rifle.  I hated that moment.  I was too
gutless to say No.  What I did know was that the porcupine incident would be one of the last … one of the
only times Granddad and I would share an experience.
“There it is…way up there in the maple.”
“Take careful aim and shoot it.”  I Took aim….careful aim to deliberately miss the creature.
“Try again.”  “Try again.”  “Try again.”  There was no escape so my final shot hit the poor thing.
“Just wounded it, Alan, now you are going to have to climb the tree and knock him down.
What a traumatic event.  Must have been 70 years ago but I can still pick the spot in the bush.
The big maple is gone now.  I climbed that tree with a stick in hand.  The porcupine looked at
me…little beady black glossy eyes the size of ball bearings.   I  poked and poked.  Blood dribbled down on
my face….even some quills fell.  But the porcupine held fast.  Finally I gave up.  And Granddad 
gave up.  Both of us hobbled back through the winter snow to the big stove in the front room. 
“Well, Lou, someone is going to find a dead porcupine.  Let’s keep Laddie tied
up for a while,” he Said to Grandma (Louisa Amelia Freeman)
And sure enough a dog did find the porcupine…got quills in its lips and mouth requiring
a visit to the veterinarian.  Word spread up the road.  Granddad never ratted on me.

But I never really got to know him.  But Thought I did. Until this January 2022 when I sent
a note to my cousin Ted Freeman who spends the winter in Texas.  I had asked him about
Grandma and Granddad Freeman.  Simple questions like the  life of a head gardener
on a 1500 acre country estate in England circa 1900.



“Granddad didn’t like tipping his hat to the Gwyers,” Alan  “And he did not like being head
gardener for people like the Gwyers.”
“How did you know that, Ted”
“We talked a lot as we did things on the farm.”
“Ted, I stayed with grandpa in the  farm house every other week-end but we never talked
about his life as a boy.  I never asked.”
“My middle name is ‘Edward’, named after grandpa.”
“Ted, my middle name is also Edward…never thought that was important.”
“More important than just grandpa I think   The Edwards family took in grandma
after she was born.  Illegitimate .”
“Mom did mention that.  Some man by the name of Dr. Price was the father.  I was
told that grandma almost became a street child in Birmingham if she hadn’t been rescued
by Mrs Webb, whoever that was.  Mom seemed to believe that grandma was rejected.”
“Yes, she was rescued by Mrs Webb and brought up on the Edwards Farm along with
a boy.”
“No education then?”
“Quite the contrary.  Dr. Price paid for half of grandma’s education.  Eventually she graduated
from the Hawkins Ladies Academy in Kington.  She graduated as a lady.  Very high up the
social ladder.  So high that granddad would be emxpected to tp his hat to her.  Which he never did.”
“What is a lady?  Means nothing to me.
“Meant  a lot in 1890’s..meant she had risen above her station in life.  Louisa Amelia Bufton was a lady.”
“When did you talk to granddad?”
“Lots of time.””
“Dad and I helped him with the haying….Dad liked to rest the horses and we sat down 
and talked.  He liked to light his pipe and talk about the past.”
“About Eywood?”
“Sometimes.  He said he did not like the Gwyers.”
“Only head gardener from 1898 to 1905 “
“Prestige job but not worth the aggravation “
“Some head gardeners grew old in the job because pay was so poor.  So maybe granddad sensed that
decided to take a cjce on a better life in Canada.”
“Was the risk worth it?”
“He thought so and tried to get his brothers and sisters to follow him.  Cliff, Chris and Annie did emigrate.”

Emigration cost money.  Edward and Louisa with their children Frank (8 or 9) and Elsie (5) boarded the Victorian
in 1908 bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia and then a train all the way to Toronto..

“Where did granddad get enough money to migrate?”
“He told me he bought some stocks and wold them at a profit”

Cassier's magazine (1904) (14768635052).jpg

The Passenger Steamship ‘Victorian’ built in Belfast and launched in 1904 for transatlantic trade.  Converted to a warship in 1914 and finally scrapped 

in 1929.  Edward Freeman and family boarded the Victorian in 1908 heading for a new life in Canada.  The Victorian was virtually brand new at the time.


EMAIL to Ted Freeman,
January 10, 2022

Hi Ted…

Some facts about Granddad and Grandma are confusing. Can ou help?

Granddad, EDWARD FREEMAN was head gardener at Eywood from 1896 (?)  TO 1904 or 1905 when family board the steamship ‘Victorian’ for Canada


1) did he not get along with the Gwyers?
2) was Canadian propaganda just too persuasive (and wrong)
3) He hated his father and just wanted to get away
4) head gardener’s job had prestige but poor pay
5) British class system was suffocating
6) also Grandma, Louisa Amelia Bufton…role of Mrs. Wwbb

—illegitimate by Dr. Price?  did nothing to help? Why take name Bufton and not Price?
-her mother seems an odd duck  …was Bufton, became Anson before migration to Clendennan Ave., Toronto
-was Grandma abandoned child on streets of Birmingham?  
-rescue byMrs. Webb  and raised onEdwards farm\
-info I have makes her life sound like a mystery novel
7) Dr. William Price…a very weird man, eccentric, did not believe in marriage, Druid …could
he be father of Louisa Freeman?   -an unlikely stretch of truth?



ALL family histories have blank spaces I imagine.  Some family histories must even be totally blank due to disinterest or danger of 
discovering rather nasty events.   The next Episode I will try to fill in the blanks.     To do this i have two people that must
get credit, my mom who  wrote a long letter a decade or so ago and my cousin Ted Edward Freeman who filled in a lot
of interesting details in January 2022.

Will readers be bored?  I think not.  THIS IS PART ONE…PART TWO IS COMING


Note: I feel this story is a little too ego centred….i.e. family history…but there could
be universal interest because it captures a place and a time that is long gone.


Jan. 18, 2022

Nancy and Cyril Griffiths in 1960


A stroke of good luck happened in Sept. 1950 as I stood befuddled on the rail platform in Hereford,
England.  I had no idea where Lower Wooton Farm was located.  None whatever.  All I had was
the name of the farm and the name of the farmer…Cyril Griffiths.

A decent bank manager noticed my confusion and asked if he could help me.  By then the platform
was empty.

“Yes, have you ever heard of Lower Wooton Farm?”
“Indeed, yes, Cyril and Nancy Griffiths are the farmers.  I am the
local bank manager.”
“Is Lower Wooton Farm nearby?”
“No, it is some distance away.  Near Kington.  Can I give you a lift?”

And so we drove down narrow country lanes with high hedges on each side.
Roads for carts and horses in ancient times.  Single lane most of the way.

right to left: David, Nancy, Cyril Griffiths, Poly seated, unknown guest on right.  1960

“Here we are.”
“What a beautiful house…ancient.”
“16th century…designated…owned by local county council…rented.”

And all the stories you have read about Eywood, gardening, Capability Brown, Edward Freeman…owe
much to that bank manager’s kindness.  And, of course, the warm greeting I received in 1960 from the Griffiths
family who seemed to know more about me than I knew about them because my grandmother, Louisa
Freeman, had been sending letters back and forth for decades.  Letters were sent to Polly who was either a distant
relative or somehow connected with Eywood Court when it was a grand county house rather than a pile
of smashed up bricks with the stubs of wall standing as if in an abandoned cemetery.

So today our story features LOWER WOOTON FARM…full of life and joy on my first visit in 1960 and
my second visit in 1965 when Marjorie, my brother Eric and I dropped in.


WE decided to return to Eywood in 1965.  By then I was happily married to
Marjorie and both my brother and I were teaching history at Parkdale Collegiate
which meant we had free time in the summer of 1965.   For some silly reason 
I believed the propaganda that it was possible to tour England ‘On Five Dollars
a Day’…a belief that was false but we managed OK.

One of our first purchases at the Portobello Road Antique Market in London
were these two bowler hats (below).  Some character behind a loose board fence
offered us the bowlers for five or ten bucks each.   We bought them.  Mine had Harold McMillan’s
initials inside.  Stolen?  Maybe.  Made us Begin to 
look like British toffs.

Bowler hats were no use to us the moment we turned in to Lower Wooton

“Alan, Eric… just in time … I need help with a cow….breached birth.”
“Time to change clothes?”
“No time for that…could lose the calf.,,,I’ll reach inside and attached the rope.”
“Where should we be?”
“Where the rope ends.  Pull when I say…pull steady and firm…do not jerk the rope””
“Timed to her contractions.”
“Yes,  Pull, now…slow and steady….she will help.”
“It’s coming…feet first….not good.”

“BOOM!  Out came the calf.   Once clear of the cow the
calf and afterbirth flew through the air and landed on
Eric ..his only set of good clothes.

I can’t remember whether the calf lived or died.  I think it was dead
but that happened a long time ago…57 years ago.

Eric Skeoch and Cyril Griffiths moving loose straw to make room for wagon load of bailed hay.  The calf landed about
where Eric is standing.  We now know how to handle breached births just like the vet in Creatures Great and Small by Harriott.

Wwe lived well in Herefordshire….not sure this was taken at Lower Wooton Farm..may
have been taken in the kennedy house in Ireland.  No matter.  Marjorie’s smile is indicative
of just how we awee received in both England and Ireland.

This ram believed he was a cow.  When it was time for milking he wandered into the dairy barn and lined up
with the cows.  Cyril gently led him out.


Marjorie in 1965 petting the ram who thought he was a ow…and nuzzled by the Welsh pony who 
was also a member of the family.

Two chickens had their lives shortened…Marjorie and Nancy plucking feathers.  Note taps….water system considered
an ‘add on’ to 16th century house…so pipes on surface. Floors all seemed to have angle to them…not flat.  Charming house.

Cyril and Nancy Griffiths on my first visit in 1960.   Nancy trained border collies for shepherds…dogs responded to her voice…rounded
up sheep.  We went to several dog rials which were amazing.  The dogs were smarter than most humans, including ourselves.

This was the farm the Griffiths had rented from the estate…when sold they 
moved to Lower Wooton Farm…much smaller but big enough for dairy cattle…

This portly gentleman had just  visited Askrig where All Creatures Great and Small was filmed.
He was hoping to be hired as an ‘extra’ to give mood to the movie set.  No deal.
He regrets he was not present when Eywood was sold back in1954. Photo was taken beside
farm barn at Lower Wooton Farm…really Alan Skeoch but looks like a local person I think…

In the 1960’s and 1970’s the Griffiths family farmed Lower Wooton Farm snd lived
in this 17th century building which had to be kept looking as ;if it had stepped out of the past.

The Royal George … a pub in tiny village of Lyonshall was once home to the Freeman family…10 kids…not a happy time it seems.
A few years ago Found a post card sent from Canada to Freeman boys and girls…granddad urged
them all to come to Canada just to get away from their father.  Granddad loved his 
mother but did not have a good word to say about father.  Enough said.  Chris, Cliff and Anna all migrated to Toronto, Canada,  Others
remained and are unknown to us now.
(see progeny pic in next episode if you wish)

St Peter’s church…centre of Titley Village at entrance to Eywood…historic

The Gardener’s cottage where mom, Elsie Freeman was born in 1901…house came with job of being
head gardener.   Grandma and granddad lived in far less sumptuous homes in Canada.  Were they
disappointed?  Never said so.

Tag in Eywood Gardens ….nectarines planted by Edward Freeman…espalier system.

Percy, may have been the little boy in picture of gardeners….bought walled gardens at sale…gave us a giant clay flower pot
which we brought to Canada as oversize luggage.

Nancy Griffith’s pony….best not to make comment

Dairy herd….not Cyril’s but herd we met on a farm lane near Cyril home.

Terrible story of young woman whose death was associated with illegitimate birth of child…I forget the exact circumstances
which are incised into the tombstone.   If you have time you might decipher…

Another shot …different year at Eywood Gardens

My favourite picture of the gardens at Eywood Court…gardener’s cottage, glass house attached to bricked garden wall,  decorative
plantings gone a bit wild,  small kitchen garden nicely weeded.

Cyril Griffiths…always made us feel wanted.  We visited Eywood several times at closing years of 20th century.  always a joy.
Just looking in Cyril’s eyes eveals how warmly we always received.

Next story will overlap with this story….focus on head gardener Edward Freeman, my
grandfather who I never really knew until he was gone.

The story may remind you of your own grandparents.  




EPISODE 514   THE KITCHEN GARDEN, FRUIT GARDEN, FLOWER GARDEN,  CIRCA 1900 (Great World exhibition of 1851, Eywood Courtgarden circa 1900)

alan skeoch
january 16, 2025

AD Classics: The Crystal Palace / Joseph Paxton | ArchDaily

Gardening BEcame enormously popular in the 19th century.  All kinds of 
gardening from the grand sweep of landscaping to the presence of
walled gardens.  In 1851, Queen Victoria gave gardening a major boost
with a world’s fair that featured an enormous glassed greenhouse. Large and
small copies of this glass house started to appear in country house
“kitchen” gardens.

I have already shown you the ruins of the main glass house at Eywood Court
and also the still functioning fruit garden attributed to our grandfather Edward
Freeman, head gardener.

In the course of research I found an excellent article on Kitchen gardens 
which is quoted below  Unfortunately I lost the source.    I have Repeated some
photos of the Eywood Court walled garden which still exists.

Edward Freeman’s gardeners circa 1900 using a pin hole camera.  This includes
the ‘gardeners boy’ just entering the 15 yr apprenticeship.  Head Gardener, Edward
Freeman is the man with the watch fob.

The surviving glass house at the Eywood Estate circa 1965.  Grandson of Edward Freeman, Eric Skeoch,
is admiring the work of his grandfather.

Ruin of the flower garden glass house, circa 1960.

Botanical science and gardening came together in the 18th century.  English scientists and other plant collectors
scoured the world for new plants and brought them to England.  Some say they numbered 5,000 different plants.
Head gardeners in the Country Estates were pressed to provide new plants by their owners.  Head gardeners did
not need that  push as they were naturally interested in plantings that were different…novel.  To do so they needed
the micro-climate that could be created by high brick walls that would conserve heat.  Then came glass houses…greenhouses.

Many of these new plants were edible.  Peaches, nectarines, oranges, lemons, pineapples needed heat to
flourish so glass greenhouses were constructed.   Features   1) the search for new plants  2) walled gardens  

These high brick walls also discouraged plant thefts.  Have you ever stollen apples from an orchard?


The growth of gardening in the 19th century encouraged the development of a special class of
gardeners….called head gardeners who became an integral part of self-sufficiency and love
of the exotic plants on the great estates.  Head gardeners were not well paid according to most
sources but research done by the Downton Abbey film said that head gardeners earned around what would amount
to $1,000 per month.

Our grandfather was head gardener at Eywood Court for several years around 1900.
Perhaps 6 to 7 years.  Not long but enough time to leave his marks on plant tags in the Wood Court 
glass houses.  spelling is correct…Eywoood not Haywood.

King's New Kitchen Garden, Hampton Court : Todd Longstaffe-Gowan


Within the walled gardens were three kinds of gardens.  

1)  the Kitchen Garden would  provide vegetables for the estate cook.

      2)  The Fruit Garden would provide exotic varieties of fruit normally impossible in the English climate

      3))  The Flower Garden grew plans that would enhance the beauty of the estate.


Gardening (Brit. /ˈɡɑːdnɪŋ/, /ˈɡɑːdn̩ɪŋ/; U.S. /ˈɡɑrd(ə)nɪŋ/), as stated in the Oxford English Dictionary, is the action or practice of cultivating or laying out a garden (horticulture). Although gardening had been practiced before, it rejoiced in a rising popularity in eighteenth-century Europe with a special interest in it arising in Britain.

In his publication The Husbandman and Tradesman’s Gardening Calendar from 1791 author John Fallowfield gives a plethora of instructions on how to find the best location for a garden, which soil to pick and how to trench it in order to gain the most profit from it (cf. 7f.). Furthermore, he includes precise measurements regarding the walls of the ideal garden or the walks around it (cf. The Husbandman 8). 

The change from gardening being seen as a kind of art to being viewed as a science is also mentioned by George William Johnson in his article On the progress of gardening in England during the 18th century. He states that by adopting the classificatory system of Carl Linnaeus into his book The Gardener’s Dictionary author Philip Miller crossed the boundary between the practice of gardening and the science of botany (cf. 151). Thus, combining the two, gardening was enriched by the scientific systems and discoveries of botany and became a science itself (cf. ibid).

 “during this [c]entury above 5,000 new [exotic species] were introduced” 

. The books on gardening also mention different techniques used in gardening as for example cultivating on hot-beds, in hot-houses or in green-houses.



Types of Gardening

Kitchen gardening

Kitchen gardening represented a great part of the practice of gardening itself. As already mentioned, there was a great variety of vegetables and herbs which were discovered and cultivated throughout the eighteenth century. In The Husbandman and Tradesman’s Gardening Calendar Fallowfield mentions for instance peas, beans or lettuce, of which the seeds should be sown in February (cf. 12). Moreover, he includes cauliflower (cf. ibid 12), carrots and chives (cf. ibid 14) amongst many others. John Abercrombie even gives advice on how to grow melons (cf. Every Man 1ff.) which shows that the British gardeners did also engage in cultivating more exotic plants in their kitchen garden.
As well as of a general garden, the formation of a kitchen garden was not perceived as something that could be performed coincidentally. According to John Fallowfield “the width of beds in kitchen [g]ardens, ought to be four feet; the vacancy, or alley between them, one foot” (The Husbandman 9). It becomes apparent that an important condition for successful kitchen gardening was detected in leaving enough space for the plants to grow (cf. ibid) and being very careful and aware of all the necessary details as for example the weather, temperatures and seasons. In addition Fallowfield considered the most important practices of kitchen gardening “good digging, and manuring the foil” (The Husbandman 9).



Fruit Gardening


The arrangement of a fruit garden and the activity of maintaining it can be perceived as being symptomatic for the situation in eighteenth-century England. As John Fallowfield mentions in his book, “all our [the English people’s] fruit-trees are principally natives of a warmer climate” (The Husbandman 8) which draws a connection to the culture of travelling that developed and increased throughout the century. It can be assumed that travellers did not only bring material commodities for instance in form of clothing or jewellery but also foreign fruits or seeds from their journeys. In this regard, the fruits can be considered as having been of a special and exotic character which might have had the effect that the possession of a fruit garden was also a sign of a certain wealth, depending on the kind of fruits inhabiting it.
An important part of the domain of fruit gardening was the plantation of trees which were mostly advised to be planted against walls, espaliers or orchards (cf. The Husbandman 8f.). It was perceived as very influential where the trees were located, as the fruit of different kinds of trees would grow better on different sides of the tree (cf. ibid 9). Some of the most mentioned fruits cropped from trees were apples, pears and apricots as well as cherries and plums (cf. ibid 11,13). Furthermore, winegrowing (cf. Everyman 21) and the cultivation of strawberries (cf. The Husbandman 16) can be perceived as having been favoured in the eighteenth century. Pineapples (cf. The Complete Kitchen Gardener 407), oranges and lemons (cf. The Lady’s Recreation 111) serve as examples for the English gardener’s interest in more exotic fruits as well as their ambition to conquer new realms.


Figure 3 A botanical drawing of a pineapple from the 18th
century. It was one of the favoured exotic fruits in England.




Flower Gardening


the flower garden represented a realm of pleasure rather than a place for growing plants that were useful for a household. However, it becomes apparent in the number of advisory books that flower-beds and shrubbery still required intense, consistent and attentive care in order to achieve good results. The Husbandman and Tradesman’s Gardening Calendar offers several paragraphs focusing exclusively on the cultivation of exotic plants and flowers which shows that These, as well as the already mentioned fruits, were commodities brought into the country by the numerous travellers of the century. Some of the plants which can be assumed to have been typically cultivated, as they are mentioned frequently, are hyacinths and tulips (cf. The Husbandman 27) as well as auriculas (cf. ibid 17). Furthermore, much of the flower gardening was practiced by using hot-beds and greenhouses. For instance, Philip Miller suggests planting annual flowers as well as tuberoses on hot-beds (cf. Gardener’s Calendar 33) while coffee trees, jasmine and gladioli should be kept in a greenhouse or stove (cf. ibid. 17f.).




alan skeoch
Jan. 17,2022

We woke up this morning to find 50 to 60 cm of snow blocking front and back doors.
Disaster on highways…closure  of Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.  Trucks,
busses, cars in pile ups.  Health care workers…grocery store clerks…all bravely trying
to get to work.  Admirable people.  For some it was tough.

Two persons loved it though…Marjorie and Woody (woody is a person)

I am sure everyone in the Toronto area had similar experiences some of which must have
been unpleasant.   But I bet none of you had butterflies!!