Sun Dec. 21 6.30 p.m. [1941]

Phew! What a hectic week we have had. Washed on Monday and the clothes dried fortunately so ironed Tues. morning. It was a fine cold day for pig-killing but Norman was late so it was not set when they cut it out at 4.30. However it was very fat but weight a great disappointment 15 stones. Don’t know whether it is the breed, or the food they get now. We are trying a fresh breed next. Eff’s weighed 16 sts, It is beautiful meat. The “thalms” were so tender I had a tiresome job cleaning them but got enough. We made 58 sausages and 6 pork pies, not huge ones of course.

The pies were in the oven on Wed. evening, I had just scrubbed the boards and table ready for getting tea when Paul came from W.Bx to bring a phone message from Ron to say he and Emmie would be at Willoughby St at 9 pm. It poured with rain, car was at garage at Hogs[thorpe] so Father had to ring up to see if it was whole. Fortunately it was, so at 8 he cycled there and went to Will. Train went straight thro’ without stopping. Chapman at Station phoned to Alf[ord] to see if they had got out there. NO So phoned to Burgh then to Firsby for Airman, Ron of course was in civvies! However they were caught at Firsby and told to go on to Sk[egness]. Father went on, got there first in fact, and finally collected them. Meanwhile Jean and I made up the double bed in best bed-room for her and Em, I put Ron in Jean’s bed just as it was. We lit fire in sit-room and cleaned it up as we had only done grate on Tue and was leaving it until Thur. morning. Began to get uneasy after 10’ o’clock tho’ we thought the train might not have stopped. But Father’s lights are not good and he cannot see too well in the black out, so I was wondering, Jean kept weeping so when it had turned 11 o’clc. we went to R.A’s and asked if their phone connected with W.Bx. It did not but one of them went up to see if there was a message. There was not, they phoned garage, and found W. left there at 8.30. So we went home again, it was a fine starry night then. After a 20 mins wait to our great relief they arrived at 11.30 looking rather like two naughty children wondering what mother would say. However I was so relieved I only thought and did not say. Poor Father was on watch at 2 am so did not go to bed.

On Thursday ev. we had a little party, Rene made saus rolls and they went, like smoke. We also made trifle with a spo[nge] sandwich, tin of sl[iced] peaches, a rasp jelly and custard (Bird’s) with sugar flowers. Jean made water-lilies of serviettes (paper) and in each put a name card made from old Xmas cards, just a little flower cut out and stuck on the corner of a plain white strip and the name printed. Joan C came, it was a great success. Peter Kirk brought Ron a razor in case and Gordon and Law[rence] a leather wallet. On Fri. we went to Sk. for petrol and a little shopping. Got Rene a lovely pair of gloves with fur at cuffs for 7/11 pre-purchase tax. She is very pleased with them. Gave Ron and Father cuff-links. Father has given me a lovely shopping basket. Ron gave him a pipe, Jean a book, Rene a lovely case for Hosiery. He brought me a set of table mats from Leeds, that looked like polished wood.

Have got most of my Xmas cards and letters done. S and D. Club money 18/0 this year. Father left 6/0 to pay first quarter of next year. Tomorrow we must make our Xmas Cake, Rene and I. I have not been as late before but had not the ingredients until this week-end. Emmie brought us a taste of her Xmas Cake the last bit, so they have got thro’ theirs before Xmas. It was very good but not quite as good as Ron’s B.D. Cake. Jean has had a hanky case from Sh[eila] Smith but no letter. After all this we rather feel as if Xmas had been and gone.

Norman, nephew, working for Wells’ Butchers, was probably meant here (see 17 Oct. 1941).

The pig would have been held on a wooden framework or ‘cratch’ for slaughter and then left there to become firm or ‘set’ before the cutting-up procedure. Cold conditions were considered essential. (See p48 of ‘Nobbut a Yellerbelly!’, Alan Stennett, Countryside Books, 2006).

Mr Chapman was a railway employee at Willoughby station.

Joan C was nephew Roy’s girlfriend (last mentioned 7 Aug. 1941).

Laurence (usual spelling, frequently abbreviated to Lau), nephew, was a brother of Raymond, Keith, Gordon and Colin Hill (see 18 Jul. 1941). He was in the Boys’ Brigade, as was Colin.

‘S & D Club’ meant the Sick & Dividing Club (see 16 Dec. 1940).

Sheila and Pam Smith were the twin girls (similar age to Jean) who had moved with their mother to the Scilly Isles (see 26 Jan. 1941). Their older brother and sister were John and Peggy (see 24 Mar. 1941).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

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