Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-Five

baconDinner tonight  – bacon turnovers with beetroot and roasted brussels sprouts – was delicious and so satisfying I could only manage one course. The pastry was simple – flour, fat and water – and the filling easy – fried bacon, leeks and mashed potato. Roll the pastry into a circle, put the filling in the centre, fold the pastry over, seal the edges, then put in a hot oven for 30 minutes along with the sprouts which were roasted in the left over bacon fat. This would be a great – and incredibly cheap – recipe for leftovers of any kind.

* * *

On to more of Anne’s memories of being a child evacuee during the war.

anne2013Were there many evacuees in Kippen? The ‘under -11s’ from Hyndland School were all there or in other villages around Balfron. I was lucky and made two ‘best friends’ – one a village girl, and the other from Hyndland.

How often did you go back to Glasgow? I don’t remember clearly, but I think not often, especially not at the start or until more raids seemed unlikely. It was more a case of Glasgow family coming to see us than our going there.  John (Anne’s brother)  came during his leaves and he and I explored the countryside around – memories which are precious to me.

How long did the journey take to Glasgow?  Did you travel by bus or train? By bus, which we picked up at St George’s Cross at the east end of Great Western Road. It took a little over two hours as far as I remember, winding through village pick-up stops – like a puppy-dog and lamp-posts. In winter it was a dreary run because of the dark, and the dim blue lights were to dim to read by.

Did you remain in Kippen over the summer? Oh yes, it was an unbroken stay, except for the occasional trip to Glasgow.  Towards the end my Kippen best friend came to Byres Road with me for a week.

Advertisements

Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-Two

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.

dinner

* * *

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.

anne2013When 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.

Wartime Rations – Day Eighteen

Dinner tonight was two very simple courses.

mince slicesMain course:  Mince slices, from a recipe in We’ll Eat Again, using the last of the mince I cooked the other day. Mix together the mince (or any cooked meat) with mashed potatoes and breadcrumbs, turn onto a floured board, cut into slices and either fry or grill for about 8 minutes. Comfort food on a cold day.

Dessert: Fresh pear.

* *

What was it like being evacuated to a new school and then going back to your ‘old’ one?

anne2013For the first few months I went to the Kippen village school and sat the ‘Qualifying’ exam. It was fun, though the poor headmaster didn’t know what had hit him with all these new pupils that he could hardly accommodate. No wonder he appeared so distracted. Then he got another blow: pupils MUST have PE twice a week. He couldn’t accommodate that either and told us it would have to take place in the playground – weather permitting. As for gym shoes – “Dinna’ bother. Any old bachles will do.” I can still hear his voice.

As you already know, I almost hated Hillhead School and found Balfron with its many teachers from Hyndland much easier going, and I did well there. Back in Glasgow, it was back to Hillhead but this time the Secondary School which was just as bad as the Junior one. Then my parents gave me a choice: two more years at Hillhead or one year at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Commercial College in Pitt Street. Of course I opted for a year at the College – so here you see a woman with no school certificates whatever – not even the Lower Leaving one. (Partly because I’d had to repeat a year in junior school because illness had kept me away for nearly 4 or 5 months.) Still, I got by.