Heather March - Dartmouth
My Dartmouth - Heather March
Who are you?
How long have you lived in Dartmouth? I’ve lived here, in the same house, for 56 years. Before that I lived at Thorn Farm in Stoke Fleming, which was where I grew up.
Where do you work?
I’m retired but I was a dinner lady at the St John the Baptist Primary School for 37 years – a job I absolutely loved. For many years I also delivered school dinners which were cooked in Dartmouth to village schools in the surrounding area.
Before that I worked in the Dartmouth Pottery painting the designs onto the pots, and I also worked on the farm with my father. I did farm work from before I can remember – looking after all the animals.
I was there for lambing, and for when the calves and piglets were born. I raised those that were abandoned by their mothers and I would have been a farmer, but I couldn’t bear sending the animals away to slaughter, so I couldn’t do it.
Can you tell us about your family?
My family name is Davis and as I said my parents were farmers. I was the second youngest of five children – I had a sister and three brothers. I also have a wonderful daughter, who is a retired special branch detective!
What is your favourite walk?
From Thorn Farm down through Venn to Blackpool Sands. I love that valley, it is a wonderful place to see the colours of the changing seasons, and the best place to get chestnuts and conkers!
There used to be a farrier down there and one of my jobs was to take our two shire horses there to be re-shod – but I was only about seven years old at the time! I loved horses and could ride on my own by the time I was three – but the shires, Socks and Blossom, were enormous and although they were gentle I couldn’t control them.
I rode one and led the other, and it took me all day, because they would just plod along and then spot a patch of tasty looking grass and stop to eat, and I didn’t have the strength to pull their heads up so I just had to wait. When I got to the forge the blacksmith would lift me down, shoe the horses, then lift me back on again and send me back on my way. So I know that walk very well.
What is your favourite view?
The view from the fields on Jawbones Hill, because you can see all of Dartmouth and Kingswear and right out to sea.
What is your favourite café?
I don’t really go to cafés – I’m too busy!
Do you have a favourite shop? I like Sainsbury’s and Lidl, and I try to share my shopping trips between both of them.
What is your favourite pub?
The Green Dragon at Stoke Fleming is lovely, and I used to play darts for them many years ago, which was good fun.
Why is Dartmouth special to you?
Regatta is special because there is nothing like it, and when my daughter was small she loved the excitement of it all. I used to love taking her, but these days it’s a bit noisy for me. I also love the surrounding countryside because it reminds me of my animals.
I’ve always lived with animals, dogs these days but when I was younger all the animals on the farm. I wish children today could all have the same contact with animals that I had when I was a child. I think animals are good for children!
First published November 2009 By the Dart