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Diary of a vet in the 60’s- Gregor Grant recalls the practice in his day...

The practice that I work for was going strong in the 60’s and had been since some time in the 1800’s! Gregor Grant joined the practice in 1959 and would become the senior partner for many years. He told me, in his wonderful, soft Scottish lilt, about life as a Yorkshire vet in a time when everything was very different…….

The day started at 8.30 and it finished when it finished with every other night and every other weekend spent on duty. You rarely saw your wife. When a new baby arrived you smiled, wiped your wife’s brow, said a few encouraging words and went back to work!

Since the war many people had taken to keeping pigs in their allotments. The workers from Rowntree’s and Terry’s would get home and have their tea, go to tend the pig and there would be frequent calls at seven in the evening to go and see one or other ailing porker.

It was a time when every village had five or six farms and the majority of time was spent travelling round testing endless cattle for Tuberculosis. Gregor recalls that they would have to call from the farm phone (many farmers used the phone box in the village and one farm didn’t even get a phone until the 80’s!) to the surgery to find out where they had to go next and the farmer would always want to know who was next on the list and what trouble they were having. Casual and unrevealing answers always denied them the confidential gossip they were actually after!

Gregor chuckles as he recalls that two- tone cars such as the Ford Anglia became fashionable and for a time he had a yellow one. When his next black car came along one farmer gravely remarked, ‘Aye lad, I’m glad to see you’ve gone back to a professional colour’.

It was a time when syringes were made of glass, sulphur drugs cured all ills and the state of your cow’s pats dictated whether she was given the blue powders or the brown ones.

When asked whether there was much small animal work then the reply was instant and loaded with humour, ‘Small animal work was a nuisance! We kept a girl to do that!’

Today the practice has around twenty five vets carrying on where Gregor left off. The name of the place may have changed but it will always be his in some small way and as the man himself says, ‘I’ll cast an eye over place from time to time…’

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