19 JULY 1957, Page 42

Country Life

By IAN NIALL As the years pass, haymaking in the valley farms loses all resemblance to the traditional picture of grass harvest. Gone are those lines of sun-bonneted swath- turners; the 'sweep' holder struggling along behind a mountain of hay before tipping it and letting the big wooden comb roll over the top; the igloos, built to shed rain until the hay could be transported to the rick yard. One wonders if anyone stops for home- made beer when flies, heat and seeds down the back arc driving him frantic. Does anyone see a jug of ale in the hayfield? The oily fume of the tractor discourages flies, perhaps, while the swath-turner skips merrily and mechanically along and a cubist has his hour building with bales. It is all over in a day or so where progress meets so few obstacles. On the rather barren little hill farms, with hay as thin as the hair on my head and bracken stealing downhill into the farmyard itself, things are differgnt. The man in the tattered and buttonless waistcoat unselfconsciously wears a lady's straw hat and leads his family turning a swath, glancing once in a while at the cloud on the brow of the mountain. All is as it was a hundred years back and one can believe that evenithe mower is a new tool.