Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-Six

toadToad-in-the-Hole tonight using one of my precious eggs for the batter. My Mum made the best Toad-in-the-Hole in the world, but sadly I don’t seem to have her knack.  I followed the recipe precisely, used a hot oven and had the fat smoking before I added the batter, but although it tasted fine, it didn’t rise all light and fluffy the way my Mum’s used to. Ah well…I’ll blame it on cooking at altitude – Calgary is 3,400 feet above sea level.

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Anne shared a few of her thoughts about my experiment versus what it was really like to live under rationing.

anne2013How did you feel about rationing? Often quite hungry. I’ve written more at length already (in an earlier blog) about school meals that were often just a pile of mash and a small piece of cheddar of slice of corned beef, with maybe a milk pud to follow. From your blog, I think, you are doing rather better although my memory of points is that we got 20 a month. Potatoes and bread were there to satisfy hunger, but dull fare when there was nothing to spread on them! Later, when I was working for the Daily Record I had the benefit of their canteen for a cooked supper – not brilliant, but food.

I’ve been very fortunate in that I haven’t had any ‘shortages’ during my experiment. Yes, you have – we usually got eggs around Easter time but hardly any for the rest of the year, and then usually on ‘Blue Books only’ – children. Supplies of fresh stuff were still tied very much to the farming year.

Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-Three

One of my writing friends – Mahrie G. Reid – will be taking over my blog tomorrow to give the Canadian perspective on Wartime Rations.  Mahrie writes mysteries with a touch of romance.  Her first novel, set in Nova Scotia and titled Sheldon Harris Came Home Dead, will be available this spring.  You can follow Mahrie on her blog at: mahriegreid.blogspot.ca

hash

A very simple meal for dinner this evening: soup, corned beef hash and pear crumble. The hash was very simple and tasted better than it probably looks in this picture. Next time I make it I think I might add some onions.  And my husband insists corned beef hash isn’t corned beef hash if you don’t add a splash of hot sauce!

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Continuing with Anne’s memories of being evacuated to Kippen with my mother Mary, I asked her about some of the houses they lived in. I remember my mum telling me that they lived in the attic in one of the homes and she had to haul buckets of cold water up to the top floor to wash my brother’s nappies. What were Anne’s memories?

anne2013We stayed in a total of 4 different houses in Kippen. The first was on the main street, with a woman and her child (maybe her husband was in the Forces). I can’t remember much about the cooking facilities there, but do remember the kettle and one large pot of black iron, both 10-12″ high which were used on trivets on the living-room fire. (As I said before, we had oil lamps and battery-run radio.)

The next house was also on the main road and that was the attic one. One large attic room was already occupied by a lady of Mary’s age, called Mary T, and the two Marys were friendly.  Mary T was an amusing companion and a great mimic, the sort of person who can keep you laughing , so it was sad to learn later that she died of TB when she was 28. Mary and your brother slept in the other large room, and I had a sort of cupboard on the landing with a skylight, and a little camp bed only inches off the floor.

House no. 3 was right on the edge of the village and more than a mile from the centre in an area or sub-village called ‘Cauldhame’, so I had a very long walk to reach the bus-stop to take me to school in Balfron, and in the winter suffered from chilblains. Living there was OK because I’d made a friend of one of the village girls nearby. Her father had worked for the railway company and on retirement had bought a railway coach for their retirement home. That was interesting. But I can’t remember much about the inside of the house – maybe we weren’t there for very long, though its setting just beside a little wood with a stream was very pretty, so games like ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood were believable.

The last house was the most modern – a block of 4 flats in pale coloured masonry. We had the upper flat on one side, so there was a big flight of stairs behind the ‘front door’.  The occupier was a Mr T, a big, bluffly cheerful man who was the local gravedigger and presumably acted as a general groundsman when there was no-one to bury. He was kind and always in a good mood. I think Mother had him to stay a few days at Byres Road at least once – to see the Big City. We shared the living room with him, and Mary and I were in a double bed in a bedroom.  It was the most spacious of our billets.

Forget-Me-Not

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front recently. No excuse, really. Just distraction.

Elona Malterre talked to The Alberta Romance Writers’ Association a few weeks ago on Writing The Short Story. She’s a multi-published author and one of the founding members of The Alberta Romance Writers’ Association. One of the comments she made really stood out for me: A short story involves unity of Place, Time and Action.

I’m probably not going to be blogging much next week. I’m hosting a writing retreat at my house next weekend, so between then and now I’m going to be busy cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! Until then, here is a short story for you to read, Forget-Me-Not.

I hope you enjoy it.