He apprenticed himself to Alisdair West, who was a model of patience and forbearance as Jack went through the first, sometimes disasterous, ascent of the learning curve. He was bloodied when his shears were driven into his arm by a poorly tied ewe, causing an emergency trip to the village nurse who kindly bound up his wounds. He was embarrassed when the ewe he was clipping escaped and went dancing over the hill trailing a veil of half-sheared fleece behind her. Once, while he was taking so long to clip one of those first sheep, one of the other men came over with a handful of grass which he gave to the ewe saying "I was afraid she was going to starve to death".
Jack could take it all in good humor. And he loved every minute of it.
As for me - I learned to roll fleeces which came off each animal in a sheep-shaped blanket of warm, lanolin enriched wool. I would fold and roll each fleece into a cylinder, twist the neck wool into a rope long enough to tie around it to make a neat package and place it with others by the wall or stuff it into a wool bag for collection by the Wool Board. It was hard work but those days in the sun with the sea and mountains as a backdrop, a cool breeze to keep the midges off, a welcome dram of whisky or a break for tea and sandwiches brought out by Alisdair's wife, Margaret, were wonderful. Those were days in our lives.