Jim left Loretto when the death of his grandfather and uncle Jim, within two weeks, meant he was needed on the farm.
The family business consisted of three farms: Edington Mains, Kerchesters and Over Roxburgh. Jim took control of Edington Mains, 1,240 acres with 800 breeding ewes and 500 cattle. He had always wanted to be a farmer and was confident about taking this on.
He joined the Young Farmers Club and began to get a taste for life after school. Importantly for Jim, leaving school meant he could drive his own car, which he loved. He had been driving on the farms since he was nine, his first tractor driving job, for sixpence an hour at harvest time, was aged ten. His father approved of his son’s early interest in tractors, as they were essential to farming. This also fuelled Jim’s interest in driving, engines and his curiosity about mechanical things.
This must have sown the seeds for a future with racing cars and also in 1948 his sister Mattie had married Alex Calder, who raced for Bentley and Riley, perhaps another influence. At every opportunity he was behind the wheel of a vehicle. His father owned a 1930 Alvis Speed Twenty and once it was seen apparently driverless on the farm. Jim’s father told the visitors that it was Jim, completely invisible behind the wheel. Even as an adult, Jim was only 5ft 7in!