Had a busy day yesterday, after Father had gone on watch at 8 and Jean to school, Bet[ty] Elston brought a telegram to say Mrs Dawson would arrive at Sk[egness] Sta. at 5 p.m. instead of 10.30.a.m. so I took it to the W.Bx [watch box] to Father then went to tell Mr P[arish] he need not go up at 10 to relieve Father. Called at Hall’s and got the 2 oz butter owing from last week (they were short) and brought this week’s fat ration too, thought I would be sure of it, as Sat, when I usually get it is the last day of week and they do get short of butter sometimes. True, if it is plentiful I sometimes get a little extra but that never balances a short week as there is never too much in these days of rationing. Jean says I won’t have any butter for next week but I shan’t start of it except a little to-day as Em. L [Emily Lewis – sister] is coming to-day. Expect she is going back to Amy’s tonight but she may be stopping. Father went out to try for a rabbit for dinner, last night, but did not get one. I wanted him to kill one of ours but he thinks they are too small. “Lady” has a family but “Sara” has proved a disappointment once more. The lazy beggar has only had one family this year and is as fat as butter and must weigh 8 lbs.
Yesterday I got a telegraph form to send a message to Ron. They are stock phrases, but it will cheer him to get it from home. Jean and Father have each chosen one and I must choose one. Price of sugar is to go up soon by 1D a lb making it 4D which won’t exactly ruin us as we only get ½ lb a head weekly. Still a penny here and another there add up to a larger amount very soon. I left Father to pay grocer, coalman and baker yesterday when I went to can fruit at Mrs Faulkner’s per the W.I. The baker had not been when I returned but Father was surprised at the small amount of change he had out of £1, and the few groceries plus 2 bags of coal all there was to show for it.
[Aside: Canning fruit.] The canning was very interesting. I had not seen it done before. Rene, I and Elsie G[rantham] had 18 cans between us. We did E[ff]‘s as she was busy, it being harvest time. We put 14 lbs Vic plums in 10 cans and the rest damsons (wild) and brambles (wild). First we wiped plums and picked the damsons and brams over then packed tins full, cutting large plums to make them fit at top. We did not stone them and did them in water not syrup, so we can use our sugar for jam. Boiling water is poured over (cans have owner’s initial and P. D. or B. scratched lightly on. If you scratch too deeply it goes through coating of tin (very thin) and rusts. Then they are placed on machine, after putting lid on of course, and a handle turned until tin is free. This seals them, then they are put in copper of boiling water and boiled 20 mins or until end of tin bulges (pears and apple 30 mins) then taken out into a bath of cold water, lids go back to a flat surface in cold water. They are then taken out and dried and are ready to store when tins are cold. Tins cost 3D each and we paid 9D each for machine and woman. Also we paid Mrs F 1D each for copper etc, which I think was not enough. Miss Drewery the machine worker said her mother was paid 3D a head.
Miss Emily Drewery, the receptionist for Mr Moulton, the dentist, in Skegness, was probably meant here. She may have lived in Huttoft at that time but was later in ‘Ivy House’, Sea Road, where Miss Lister (see 27 Jan. 1942) had lived.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?