Farmers see the light on longest day of the year

Sunrise over Norton Less.'G Wheelhouse
Sunrise over Norton Less.'G Wheelhouse
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IT will only be one second longer than today but it’s the day on which the year turns.

Tomorrow is the longest day of 2013 - precisely 17hrs 37 secs of daylight from 4.37am to 9.38pm.

It’s the the summer solstice, significant in pagan and other sun-worshipping religions as marking the marriage of the God and Goddess, whose union is the force that creates the harvest’s fruits.

But the longest day of the year won’t make much difference to Eddie Andrew and his family.

Like farmers everywhere their days are as long as it takes to get the work done - 16 hours in the Andrews’ case at this time of year.

Eddie, his brother Matt and dad Graham will be milking, delivering and ice cream making for Our Cow Molly at their Dungworth farm from 3am to 10pm between them on the longest day - and on every other day of the year.

“Being the longest day doesn’t make that much difference to us really - but it’s nice to be working in the light at both ends of the day!” said 36-year-old Eddie.

“I suppose because it’s lighter now we can see what we’re doing and we carry on working a bit longer. You don’t feel so inclined to keep going if you’re working by torchlight or by light from the tractors - when they’re working!

“My dad gets up at four and he’s still at it at 10pm at this time of year. That’s the life we lead, out in the sunshine all day! It’s not like real work...honest!

“My brother Dan is up at 3am to get ready for the milk round.”

And that’s some round - 20 shops and restaurants plus the Crucible and Lyceum Theatres and around 900 homes.

And there might be even more work going on on the longest day in 2014 as the family are looking at doing cheese and butter in the future.

Ed’s grandad Hector started the business in 1947 with 10 cows - now the herd is 80-strong and produces 1800 litres a day, seven days a week.

All In A Dungworth Day:

n 3am Dan Andrew prepares milk delivery round

n 4.30am Graham Andrew up to milk the farm’s 80 cows

n 6am Eddie Andrew starts milk round

n 12 to 2pm work in Ice Cream Parlour - grab lunch

n 3pm Start Ice Cream round

n 4.30pm Milk Cows

n 6pm dinner

n 7pm work on farm

n 10pm finish work

n 11pm bed...

So where did they get than name from? “My dad came up with a slogan probably ten years ago for the milk that said: “Don’t put it in your trolley, get it from Our Cow Molly’.

“When we started with the ice cream we came up with a few names like Hilltop Farm but whenever I read out the names to see what people thought they all laughed when I came to Our Cow Molly and thought it was memorable and that it told people the story of who we are and what we do.

“So we stuck with it and it seems to work - every day of the year.”

Libby Page is a Zumba teacher by day and a professional singer at weekends.

“At weekends I go out gigging anywhere from Barnsley, where I live, to Nottingham or Halifax, I don’t get back home until 1.30 some nights,” said 28-year-old Libby.

“My boyfriend Mark or brother Steven come with me but to be honest it can be a bit of a social life killer. You miss a lot of things working in the evening at the weekends.

“I get booked up to sing months in advance and things you get unvited to socially aren’t usually planned that far ahead.

“The longest day won’t make much difference to me, they all feel pretty long when you working late!”