Yesterday we received receipt from first Income Tax we have ever paid £1.6.9. I am not sure that we haven’t as many of the amenities of life as F. Smith who pays £100. After this if we pay any it comes off the weekly pay from C.G. [Coastguards] I believe.
Russians are progressing at a great rate and we seem to be steadily going forward. I think we are going “according to plan” there which is I think to keep as many Germans busy there as possible. Planes went out last night between 5 and six and were gone a long time, a lot more seemed to return this way than we heard go out tho’ it may be that they were flying lower. I think it was Berlin that was bombed again. They had not been for some days because of fog. I expected it was going to clear when they commenced to go out last evening. The whole sky looked as if mosquitoes were flying there, not thickly but perhaps we could count a dozen at a time spread over the sky, but all coming at one steady pace that looked slow, but they came in sight in the West and were over the sea in so short a time that they must have been flying swiftly. Once a fighter sped over at a tremendous speed.
New 50 and 100 ton planes are in preparation for Civil flying, it may be 1950 before the 100 ton planes are ready, they may not be jet-propelled but there seems to be a hint of an even newer method. Jet-propulsion is talked of for ships now. Oh, I remember, in civil flying, safety and economy come before speed and 200 miles an hour is reckoned the maximum for passenger planes to fly with comfort to passengers. Great planes are being used as transport planes now, they carry 4 jeeps or other motor vehicles, and will be used as passenger planes after the war. Now that the “civil flying maggot” has bitten the money makers, I can’t see the war lasting many more months.
I am sorry for a lot of the boys who have to go to coal-mines, not alone because of the work, but tho’ some of the miners homes are amongst the best in the country, some are very different, and boys used to refined homes are bound to suffer in mind and feelings if not in body. I hope they will be kind to them and that the boys will be as reasonable as they can, but at present the billeters seem all out for making money out of them, and naturally the boys are upset as they had no choice of Services or pit but were sent there “willy-nilly”. When they have paid for billets etc they have less than Service men and no clothes provided. Coal and coke is already to be raised to 3/0 ton from Feb 1st. We had three more bags yesterday. I thought I had only one but Per[cy] said 2 and left three as some people don’t take all, tho’ we aren’t supposed to do that. Rene doesn’t burn all hers but she is here most days for dinner and often bakes with me. I must try to be more careful with it. I dried most of my clothes by the fire but used wood, slack, and coke.
Packed up my Xmas parcel for [sister] Em L last night, rather belated owing to our illnesses. I saw in paper yesterday that the Preserve ration can be used either for jam or sugar until further notice, so we may be able to get a bit more in hand for jam-making season, as we still have a few lbs of home-made jam. The canned fruit is so nice Rene and I have planned to can it with syrup next year if possible and to can as many large plums as possible tho’ damsons are very good. Bottled fruit has kept well this season tho’ apples have not. We had a blk-currant pie last week made with bottled fruit and they had kept perfectly. They were sealed with mutton fat, which if properly done and made air-tight is as good and easy a way as possible.
Fruit is packed in narrow necked jars and placed in oven, when hot, boiling water is poured over carefully so that no air is left in if possible, a tap or two will bring any bubbles to surface. If plums, skins should just crack, but not a failure if they don’t. Then pour about ½ inch hot mutton suet fat on top. Water should come to and into narrow part of jar. Cover with paper and screw lid.
P.S. After fat is cold pour another thin layer over.
F. Smith, here, was almost certainly Fred, cousin Amy’s husband.
Percy Ranson, niece Ciss’s husband, was the coalman, as usual.
‘Receipt’ (which appeared in the margin) was probably the traditional use of the word, meaning ‘recipe’ or ‘method’.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?