All posts tagged Women’s Institute

Thurs. Feb. 10. 9.5. a.m. [1944]

Have just finished reading “Crusade” by Rupert Croft-Cooke. Am very disappointed as I have wanted to read it ever since it was D.M. [Daily Mail] Book of the Month. I think it rather an impossible tale of a man gradually going insane and even then he is left by the wayside after a year with nothing to show what came of his crusade except charact[er] who had many fine qualities but nothing alters the fact that he was a lazy tramp. After all Harry’s heroics one is inclined to say at the end “The dog it was that died.” No doubt I miss a lot of the characters good points but that is how it looks to me.

It is very cold this morning with showers of snowy sleet. Father is on Patrol. He finishes to-morrow. He will not be sorry if this weather continues. His coal has been very welcome, 5 bags a month is not enough this time of the year. Must order some more coke, it helps.

Finished my quilt last night button-holes and all. It will be useful even if far from perfect. Rene’s belt got 7 points. That is two of my needle-work jobs finished this week. Quilt and Rene’s gloves. Eff wishes she could make Fr[ank] a pair of slippers like Father’s. She has a pattern and went to the slipper lessons so I think she could if she tried. I wish I could get a pattern and instructions, as I think it would be easier to make them and they would look more professional. It’s a good thing I did not go to W.I. as asthma is rather troublesome and I might have blamed going out in the wind. Have finished last part of pattern in cardigan so all plain work now. Will endeavour to make an end of it soon. Had a letter from Vic yesterday.

Rupert Croft-Cooke was a well-known English writer and broadcaster who served in the British Army during WWII but later became a controversial figure.

Vic Morrall was one of Ron’s early RAF chums and best-man at his wedding (see 1 Aug 1942).

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’?

Nov 10 Wed. 9 P.M. [1943]

Sunday morning it came a snow-shower and was very cold all day. Jean had a bad cold and would go to Armistice Service at Church 2.30. as she is in L.G. [Life Girls] and they were parading.

Jean, Girls' Life Brigade uniform

Jean, Girls’ Life Brigade uniform

She got thoroughly chilled and has been fit for nothing since. Father brought her some medicine from Boots yesterday and me some from Dr. as I have had a touch of Bronchitis and Asthma this week-end. I am almost better but Jean is still very seedy. Rene did not go to W.I. [Women’s Institute] to-day. Elsie called, she had caught her new coat in cycle wheel. Rene cleaned oily place with “lighter spirit” but not all of the mark came out. Petrol being mixed or treated may not be used in pipe or cig lighters now. Father went on watch at 6pm so it won’t seem so long until he comes home at 12 altho’ we have come early to bed. There are planes droning about so shan’t be sorry when he is home as Gers seem to drop bombs somewhere nearly every night. Churchill in speech to-day at L[ord] Mayor’s lunch says that altho’ the Russians may drive Gerr. to a complete collapse there is always the possibility that he may devise some new way of warfare against us still. He can scarcely be called an optimist! Wrote to Ron yesterday and to Emily to-night. Jean wrote to Esther Meldrum to-day. We had neck of mutton broth to-day.

‘Life Girls’ was an alternative name for the Girls’ Life Brigade (see parade assembly photograph: 16 May 1943).

Esther Meldrum, John’s sister (see 25 Oct 1942), was Jean’s friend, affectionately known as ‘Tib’. She was probably back in Scotland where she had lived previously.

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’?

Thursday August 26 8. 30 a.m. [1943]

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’?

Wed Aug 25 8.50. A.M. [1943]

Rained fast at 7 a.m. but fair before Jean went to school. Ankle rather swollen and stiff. She turned her foot over when running to AR [air raid] shelter yesterday in test practice. She also has a cold. We got thro’ one large batch of ironing yesterday. We had a huge wash Mon. as we only washed necessary things while Emmie was here. Jean had a P.C. [postcard] from her yesterday. We hope to be canning fruit today at Mrs. Faulkner’s. We get cans and machine thro’ W.I. [Women’s Institute]. Father is on watch until 2. p.m. but is having an hour or two off to go fetch Mrs G Dawson from Sk[egness] at 10.45. I made about 3 ½ lbs Vic[toria] plum jam yesterday. It is lovely, but 9d lb for plums seems too much to make a quantity of it. Rene brought me some of her bramble and apple jam. She had strained seeds out and it is very good indeed. Not a trace of bitterness which sometimes spoils wild blk.ber. [blackberry] jam. The blk.bers which grow near them are the finest I have seen, almost like cultivated ones. They think it may be because soldiers cut them all down two years ago and it is all new growth. The birds sound grateful for rain. I can hear a blackbird calling “fruit, fruit, fruit” but think he’ll not find much in our garden, even the loganberries are almost over. They have done very well this year and my log[anberry] and ap[ple] jam is a great success. Perhaps what he really says is “grubs, grubs, grubs”.

Hope the car goes alright to-day. It has been nothing but trouble all the summer, either Evison is a dud or car worn out. I am inclined to think both. Still he says when we get our own gear-box back we shan’t want to part with it, though Father says he would sell it if he could make £30. Some hopes, I say. Have paid E[vison] £10. Am putting money in bank now until he has finished with it (if ever). Oh dear, I am getting pessimistic, but we should have had such a good season if the car had been alright, now Father has had all the work and worry and most of it will have to go to pay for repairs. It seems as if “we never are but always to be blessed”.

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