What was it Robert Burns said about the best laid plans…? I decided over a month ago to start eating ‘wartime rations’ today, so you’d think I’d have been a bit more organised about it. Wrong! Having cleaned out my fridge yesterday of all the non-rationed foods and eating porridge for breakfast this morning (milk and a wee bit of sugar)…
… lunchtime found me racing down to Safeway to buy my rations for the week. Healthy ‘perimeter’ shopping which cost a fraction of my usual bill. (The carton of eggs you see is three weeks supply of shell eggs – I still have to pick up powdered eggs.)
Last time I ate wartime rations it was spring/summer, so I could enjoy lettuce, tomato and cucumbers in my ‘Oslo meal’ sandwich. (Oslo meal = sandwich, piece of fruit and glass of milk). But with no salad available in January – and little advance prep on my part – I had to make do with a carrot sandwich. It looks a bit odd, but actually tasted okay. Fortunately, I had made some homemade soup yesterday evening, so that was nice and warming on a cold day!
While discussing dinner with my husband last night. I told him I would be making vegetable curry for our first evening meal. (I want to keep the bulk of my meat ration until later on in the week.) However, when I came downstairs this morning to discover he’d really got into the spirit of things and made himself porridge for breakfast I relented. Sausages were available during the war off ration, but were hard to get and the quality was not always the best. Tonight they were available and, along with more homemade vegetable soup, we enjoyed a Stewed Sausage recipe of my mother’s – probably my grandmother’s too – made with apples, leeks and carrots with beetroot and mashed potato on the side.
Okay, on to some historical stuff.
As this is the first day back at school for most children after the holidays, what was discipline like in wartime schools? During those years, Anne went to school in Glasgow and was also evacuated into the countryside, so here are her recollections.
At Hillhead, very strict. All of us had to sit with arms folded or hands clasped behind our backs, according to a particular teacher’s whim, unless we were actually writing. A whistle was much used in the playground to stop unladylike behaviour. At Hyndland/Balfron it was a bit looser: my history teacher for instance didn’t mind that I listened to his lectures with my head resting on my arms on the desk – he took it that I was listening, which I was. But that would never have been countenanced at Hillhead.
As for what was going on in the war on this day… although it wasn’t voted in until March, on January 6th, 1941, FDR asked Congress to support Lend Lease, offering the allies money and supplies in the war effort. According to Wikipedia, the vote was split down party lines with the Republicans against, seeing it as a step to war. Through Lend Lease, the US supplied the Allies with $50.1 billion ($659b in today’s money) worth of goods. Repayment of the British debt started in January 1951 – although the annual payments were deferred for 5 years. Britain submitted its final installment of $83.3million to the US on January 29th, 2006.