All posts tagged WI

Sep 3. 44 Sunday 1.45 PM

Five years ago to-day (it too was a Sunday) we declared war against Ger. It was hot and sunny and I remember just how dry and brown the grass looked on the lawn at Lenton Lodge, when Ron came home from Chapel, Father and I were looking out for him to hear if there was news. He brought the tidings that war was declared at 11 o’c. In the evening we saw 12 bombers go out and later we heard all returned. To-day is an autumn day everywhere sodden with last week’s rain, the gardens torn with last night’s gale, and an icy nip in the air. We have crossed the Frontier into Belgium in more than one place and Gers. report we are fighting on their side of the Maginot Line but we have not confirmed this yet. We have driven so fast thro’ France we can’t keep up with the news.

Have not heard from Ron since the week we returned from Yea[don]. Wonder if he is in France after his rest in B.N.A.F. It was a tiring journey to Yea. I had my foot trodden on and the toe I had extracted my corn from went septic so that I only went out twice. On the Sat to cricket match and pictures. (21 planes have just roared over from sea.) I rested Sun and Mon except to Park and walk after tea Monday. Then as my foot seemed better went to Ilkley Tue, but toe gathered again and foot was very swollen, had to see Dr. Wed night and as I could not get shoe on on Thur stayed until Fri and Emmie came back with us. Good journey to Lincoln tho’ asthma was squatting on Retford platform and returned with me. At Lincoln no train until 5.45 which meant no bus’ at Sk[egness] so deciding it was easier and cheaper to bus’ remainder of journey and catch bus’ for home at Sk did so. Had to stand in queue nearly two hours. Emmie returned the following Sat catching 6.30 am train and arrived home 1.30 pm.

My foot is still septic and swollen again, had to poultice it last night and have lint on to-day. Shall not go out to-day but rest it. Altogether I do not feel much better for the holiday, it was I think too soon to go where we had that so happy few days. Everything reminded me of those days, and sitting outside the door so long, as I could not walk, it seemed as if all I could see or think of was the picture of him talking to the black pony at the meadow gate. They were all so good and kind but I felt my sorrow and loss more even than at home. I think this wearisome toe and this last week’s bout of asthma has run me down. I am so depressed and nervous, must get into the garden if I am able next week. I feel more free now that Emmie has gone and Wilsons have been and gone. I have told them I can’t “feed the mice” any longer. It worried me when I could not get. They were not much trouble but very tedious. Mr W tries to be a funny man but isn’t, and Mrs W’s cheerfulness is exceedingly tiring to me, tho’ I admire her very much as she has a trying time with his nerves and illnesses and her only son away in Italy with the troops. She is looking years older lately.

Jean was paid on Wed and proceeded to make out her budget to the uttermost farthing. W.I. Concert last night for British Merchantmen. Also tea and Bring and Buy stall. Result £17, £10 being the target. Rene bought my tea and gave Jean ticket for concert. Very good according to reports. Ciss’s visitors from London arrived Sat. First night in bed in house for 13 weeks. We profess to have almost settled F.B.s [flying bombs] by overrunning platforms etc. Hope we hear from Ron soon now. I have got my toy licence at last. It is rather obscure but shall carry on. Have order for 2 large dogs and a penguin from Emmie and still have that Golly to make for Mrs Hutton. Must buckle to this week. I have not been well enough to sew last week. Walter Banks is on leave, he and Eva were at Chapel Jean said.

The memory of husband Will (‘Father’) with the black pony at the meadow gate in Yeadon was poignantly recalled in May’s poem ‘The Black Pony’ written on 28th August 1944.

‘Platforms’ here refers to ‘launch platforms’ for V-1 flying bombs (nearly 10,000 of which had been targeted on Britain). Unfortunately, the first V-2 rocket, which was impossible to shoot down, struck Britain in September 1944. Over 1000 were launched up to the end of March 1945 (see ‘V-weapons in WWII’).

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

Wed Feb. 9. 8.40. a.m. [1944]

Cold and fine, no wind this morning, tho’ there was so much yesterday, I did not go to W.I. I would have risked it but am such a nuisance to the others if I am ill that I gave in and stayed at home. I think after all, it would have been better not to have joined. It is so disappointing not to go, and yesterday Mrs Wintringham was speaking. It was also the month for the “something new, out of something old” comp[etition] and I wanted to take my toy Scottie, made from velvet from an old dress and kapok from my large tea-cosy that I made smaller. Rene took belt made from scarlet leaves cut from an old felt hat, with old red buckle. It looks very nice and is a good idea for Xmas presents. Am looking forward to hearing about it to-day. Father got more coal yesterday, we save it for evening in room, it makes a lovely hot fire and lasts so long. I did not finish my quilt as I had not quite enough Kapok in the house, but have only an hour’s work on it now. It will be almost better than I hoped, when it is done, but do wish I had got something darker than gold for the front panels. The all blue side is very nice indeed and I am quite proud of it. It is costing about 12/0 in material. I had the other bits. It would have cost 16/0 if I had had all to buy.

[Aside: Apricot Jam recipe] Made nearly 4lbs jam yesterday. ½ lb dried apricots soaked in 1½ pints water all night (24 hours) boiled until fruit was soft, then added two lbs sugar and boiled until set when tested. Cost 1SD. To buy it is 1/1 lb so a great saving, I am getting 2 lbs sugar or perhaps 3 lbs, with my preserve ration for the month to make my marmalade.

Have started bacon, fried some and it is very good tho’ it seems rather salt after “bought” bacon, mild cured. Must boil some to-day. Have almost eaten pickled onions so must do more. Russians have captured manganese mines which Gers. have been holding so tenaciously. It will be a great blow to them to lose them, tho’ no doubt they will have got a good stock out. Marshall Is. are in Allies hands. I have an anemone in bloom and several more buds. Had a letter from [sister Emily] Em L. yesterday, says they have violets and Polly Aunts [polyanthus] in bloom, should think it is a bit milder in Newark than by the sea. The farm they are on is to be offered for sale so Jess has taken another place as tractor driver on a large farm in Lincs. They have been to look at the house, it is all freshly done up inside (what a change!) and they move in about a month. I wish “flitting” did not bother me more than it does them, tho’ I have made up my mind not to worry over it. I would not mind so much if I were well and strong.

Mrs Margaret Wintringham, WI guest speaker, had already been a leading figure in the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NWFI) within Lincolnshire before she became a heroine as a champion of women’s causes upon her election as Member of Parliament for Louth, Lincolnshire, in 1921. This was in a by-election following the death of her husband, Tom, and she was only the second woman MP after Nancy, Lady Astor, whose election was in 1919. Although failing to retain or regain her seat in subsequent general elections she had continued to be a high-profile campaigner for the rights of women and children.

The Marshall Islands, in the Pacific, were the first Japanese pre-war territories captured by U.S. forces.

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

Sep 15. 9.40. P.M. Wed. [1943]

The fierce fighting round Salerno is still going on after swaying back and forth for 6 days. The casualties must be terrible. Gers. claim to have “released” Muss[olini] from Badoglio.

We had a bad thunderstorm early Mon morning and it poured with rain until 8 a.m or after. Jean went to school and it cleared later and we washed but did not get dry as it kept coming showers. Eff came in evening said she had got ironed altho’ things were rather damp. My clothes dried Tue. and I got folded but still not ironed, at least not many of them. I did iron and put up the curtains in my bed-room which had been washed and dipped gold to match the sitting-room curtains.

In the afternoon (Tue) we went to W.I. Roll Call was “How I would improve the village”. Almost everyone responded, chief improvement was water laid on and sanitary scheme carried out. This was by temporary residents (sailors’ wives etc) who were probably from towns. They did not think of the huge rates it implied. Rene’s suggestion that permanent caravans and wooden shacks and tin huts (summer residences) should all be cleared out, met with general approval as also the suggestion that the sea defence rates should be a national concern and not fall on the coast dwellers alone. New school playgrounds were another improvement, but these would have been built ere now, but for the war. We had a most interesting demonstration of quilting by Mrs Brown of Sutton-on-Sea. She showed us some beautiful examples. She is from North, somewhere where quilting is evidently a usual thing. She told us of other quilts she had but was not able to bring as she came by bus’. Elsie G. thought that as we had not much time for it, the easiest way if we required one was to burgle Mrs B’s house and get one! I liked the Italian shadow quilting very much and would like to attempt it sometime. I have quilted a piece today for a slipper top with a piece of red rep and a bit of Jean’s green petticoat mat[erial] with padding made from a piece of her old checked shawl. It looks very nice but think it’s rather big.

I have been to Rene’s for dinner. Father was going to Skeg[ness] stn so I went in car to village, did a bit of shopping and walked on to Bev[erley]. Father came for dinner on his way back. Rene was finishing washing. It dried well. Kitten has settled down well. Tries to make friends with “Bill” rather to his disgust. Father had a sleep after dinner as he is on watch until 2 am. We returned home at 5 o’clock. He has bought some “Curisones” for rheumatism. They are capsules and are powder in a wee container that looks like celluloid but you take the whole lot so it evidently dissolves. 30 for 5/0 and they only last 6 days. If they are any good tho’, they would be worth it as he seems always to have the pain.

E.L. [electricity] just popped out. I forgot to put 1/0 in, had only 6D last time I put any in. Jean has been up and fetched pyjamas and curlers and is undressed and on couch. I had better get ready for bed I think. Planes are droning about. I hope they are not Gers. Had a letter from Ron to-day but it was not very recent, date 17th Aug. almost a month old. Rene had one too even older, 5. Aug. Hope we soon have more. He writes most cheerfully says he enjoys the sights but there is nowhere to touch England. Heat terrific and flies worse. He finds the fruit a compensation tho’. He was making lemonade from fresh lemons but had no sugar. They had been issued to troops. In my letter he mentioned he had been gathering figs and eating them. He liked them too. Have written him an Air G[raph] to-day for Jean to post in morning as we are advised that they have priority as they take smallest space. Hope he gets our letters even if we don’t get his.

Father got new windscreen put in yesterday. £2.10. It is a great relief and improvement. He also got pair of utility flannel trousers 13/6. and 5 coupons, 2/6 to shorten, they made them into Pa. [pair of turn-up trousers]. Tom had already got a pair. They are nice and thick and look nice now but I doubt they will wear “bald” as they are cotton one way. Oh! dear I don’t like the planes when Father is on watch tho’ I have slept well lately. We have had a lot of quiet nights and our nerves have got quietened down a little.

Marshal Pietro Badoglio had become the Italian prime minister on 25th July when Benito Mussolini was removed from government. Germany prepared to occupy its former ally and Mussolini was ‘rescued’ by the Germans from imprisonment at a hotel in the Gran Sasso Mountains.

Mrs Brown, WI guest demonstrator, of Sutton on Sea, was NOT one of the Browns previously mentioned.

Rep’ is a type of plain-woven fabric with crosswise ribs.

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