The ‘Cundy de Barker’
A lesson in looking before you leap!
Posted on: 28th August 2015
We enjoyed the opportunity that running a smallholding gave us to gain a better understanding of farming techniques and equipment. The country’s economy was shaky at the time and rising inflation was a real worry. We made provisions for an emergency – which included thinking about where food for animals would come from in the event that electricity was unavailable.
This is where the rather grand-sounding ‘Cundy de Barker’ came in. I had decided to go to a local agricultural auction, on a friend’s recommendation, in the hope of finding a small chaff-cutter and oat-crusher. At the first auction I attended, I didn’t buy anything – although I did have a fantastic time and enjoyed learning about the customs of such an event.
At the next auction I bought a great deal of useful farming equipment. Scanning the catalogue for the third auction of the year, I found an intriguingly-named item called a Cundy de Barker. I didn’t know what it was but on the grounds that horse pistols had once been called ‘Barkers’, I imagined it to be some kind of open carriage. It sounded rather fun. I imagined myself travelling through the village in it to awed looks from the neighbours.
When I got there I could see no sign of any wheeled vehicle in the designated spot, so made an inquiry to the auctioneer. He said I would find it on the other side of a large pile of apple boxes, pointing down the line. I got there and found a pile of rusty metal. I remembered what the feeling was like when someone stole my first party balloon.
The person who had typed out the catalogue had a lot to answer for. The Cundy de Barker was a de-barker, designed for peeling chestnut fencing stakes by a gentleman named Cundy.