Week Four – I’m in the homestretch.
The disadvantage of words like ‘rations’ or ‘diet’ is the assumption it immediately creates of privation and hunger. Rationing in Britain was introduced to prevent both those circumstances. It was essential to the war effort that the civilian population was well fed so they could work in the factories and take on extra duties (eg. Air Raid Wardens) if Britain was going to win the war. And it was so successful that by the end of the war people were consuming approximately 3,000 calories per day!
But – I have to confess – when I weighed myself this morning, I discovered I’ve lost a total of 7 lbs in the 3 weeks I’ve been eating wartime rations! Seven pound weight-loss eating pudding every night and never feeling hungry!
Another confession. I wobbled on my rations this afternoon. I was out for lunch and had a ham/lettuce/tomato and cucumber sandwich, even though the last three ingredients weren’t available in wartime Scotland in January. Next Monday – I can’t believe I’m saying this! – I’m looking forward to enjoying a tomato, cucumber, red pepper, celery and broccoli salad. With a fresh orange to finish!
But for tonight, dinner was genuine January wartime rations: homemade vegetable soup, cheese dumplings with coleslaw and brussels sprouts, and apple crumble.
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Anne, my mother and brother moved to Kippen from Glasgow to avoid the bombing and this week she’ll be answering my questions on her experiences as an evacuee.
When were you evacuated and how long did you stay in Kippen? Shortly after Clydebank*, and I was there for about 2 years 6 months. To begin with I was in the village school for a few months until the ‘Qualifying Exam’ (like the later ’11+’); a nice overstretched headmaster had to cope with all these extra pupils because Glasgow’s Hyndland School was moved ‘en bloc’ (teachers as well) to the village around Balfron, which was the secondary school centre.
What was the village like? Kippen was isolated on a loop road off the main Glasgow-Stirling road, so it was quiet with no passing traffic. It formed a cross with houses along three of the roads, and there was a stone cross at the centre. No side-roads – the fields began behind the little houses. I was surprised when I went back, out of nostalgia, in the early 1990s to see that little had changed – in fact the only change in the centre was that the Post Office had moved from one side of the main street to the other, and that was all except for a sort row of houses which had been built since I’d last seen it in the 40s.
*Clydebank Blitz – March 13/14 1941
Kippen – A village 20 miles north-west of Glasgow. Scotland.