It’s been Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada. I haven’t been quite as regular as usual with my blog over the past few days, but now I’m one week in to the experiment I’m going to take a little time to reflect.
What have I missed the most so far? Cheese! Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, CHEESE! Two ounces a week is a pretty pitiful amount. I love cheese sandwiches (with tomatoes, but they’re ‘out of season’) for lunch, so I had to resort to mixing a little grated cheese and apple together to eke out my ration this week. It tasted surprisingly good – but I’m looking forward to going back to tomatoes in November! I also ended the week with tea, milk, butter and sugar left over. (I’m saving up my sugar to make toffee apples for Hallowe’en.)
I’ve also been saving my bacon fat to use for frying potatoes and cabbage – something I remember my mum doing when I was young. It makes anything you fry extra tasty. Also, instead of using a stock cube, you can use one rasher of bacon to add flavour to soups.
Treating myself to a proper cooked breakfast at the weekend – and puddings at most evening meals – means that I don’t feel deprived. But once again, I’m not fooling myself that this experiment in wartime eating is anything like the real thing. Anne made an observation that when she saw the first Americans in the UK in 1942/43, what struck her the most was that they all had a layer of fat under the skin of their faces that you didn’t see in British people who’d been living with 2-3 years of rationing.
As I said above, it’s been Thanksgiving Weekend here in Calgary, so as a Scottish-Canadian (or Canadian-Scot) I’m going to change tack a little and look at what was being reported in The Calgary Herald this week instead of its Glasgow counterpart.
First impressions? Like the healthy looking Americans my aunt commented on, this Calgary paper comes in at 20 pages compared to the Glasgow Heralds 6 or 8. While there are few photos or picture adverts in the Glasgow paper, the Calgary one is filled with them. There is even one page devoted to cartoons, crosswords and, yes, more adverts! No paper – or goods – shortage here! Very different to the European experience.
Also no blackout times on the front page, although there is a notice informing the readers that: the sun will be above the horizon tomorrow for 10 hours and 53 minutes. Rises at 7.55. Sets at 6.48. Temperature forecast for 3pm. 67F (19C).
The biggest difference is that the main war news is on the front page: Canadian and US gains in Holland; British have landed in Greece; Russian troops have reached Riga (Latvia); Hungary ready to quit the war.
A German POW escaped from Lethbridge POW camp, but was recaptured 50 miles away.
And then this little gem from the UK: Villagers Drive Stake Into Grave of Witch to Peg Impish Spirit. Apparently, during the construction of a military road in Scrapfaggot Green in Essex, a bulldozer pushed aside a boulder which had been used to mark the last resting place of a woman burned at the stake and buried two centuries earlier for being a witch. Thereafter ‘queer things’ started happening in the village; bells ringing, clocks going wrong, chickens and ducks disappearing, things being moved. The villagers took matters into their own hands, consulted an ‘expert’ for advice, measured the grave, drove a stake into it and then rolled the boulder back into place. That night, they ‘had the first quiet night’s sleep in many a day’.
Holland: Retribution is rapidly closing around the men and women in the areas of Holland already liberated who played the Germans’ game during the occupation. About 2,000 alleged quisling have already been arrested.
Buster, an eight-year-old Tiger cat, had been left $100,000 (reduced to $40,000 by court order) and three fans for his comfort by his late master.
Edmonton council considered application from a Japanese-Canadian girl to be allowed to reside in Edmonton while attending the University of Alberta. Her application was accepted, but notice given that other girls of Japanese origin may not reside in Edmonton unless natives of Alberta.
Bundles for Britain. An appeal was made to send clothing to the UK where it ‘is needed more than ever because people are being left homeless by the robot bombs‘. (V1 rockets.)
Air Force Casualty Lists: These included those Killed on Active Service, Missing on Active Service, Previously Missing but now Officially Presumed Dead or taken POW. Also those Dangerously Injured on active service.
Antics on downtown streets of High School girls undergoing initiation into Calgary sororities was causing some concern. Attitudes differed between the schools – 3 girls were suspended from Central High School for wearing ‘outlandish costumes’ to class, whilst at Western Canada High School, girls were allowed to wear such clothing for the few days of initiation. (My daughter, who attended Western Canada High School not that long ago, says there are no longer sororities or fraternities at that school.)
British divorce boom worries Anglican Clergy. Pre-WW1, the average divorce rate was 500 per annum. In 1943 that rose to 2,250, and by the beginning of 1944, 3,396 cases were waiting to be heard.
Eighty-one cases of polio had been reported in Alberta in 1943 with the latest victim a 12 year-old girl.
A four bedroom house in Hillhurst in Calgary was on sale for $4,200. (Current prices for a four bedroom house in the same area range from $900,000 to $1.5million!)