- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Molly Sommers
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 27 July 2005
This story was inputted on behalf of Molly Sommers by a CSV volunteer from BBC Radio Bristol
This story was added on behalf of Molly Summers by a C.S.V volunteer in Bristol.
We also had food rationing, and everyone had a ration book. We had to register with the suitable shops and buy our food there. I think we could buy sweets anywhere, but they were rationed, too. Later, clothes were rationed. The announcement was made on Sunday and took effect from the next day. There was no Sunday shopping in those days. It always puzzled me why, and half lined winter, long coast needed 9 coupons, and a full length lined one needed 18 coupons. Any suggestions?
This is the utility mark, which was on some clothing and furniture. It meant that the article cost less coupons. I found this on a blanket I am still using. How’s that for quality.
The German prisoner who repaired the sewing machine was also a musician and I lent him my Mum’s violin. While I accompanied (?) him on the piano. Not a great success. When German planes were overhead they made a peculiar sound like mm mm mm, while ours went mmmmmmmmmmmmm. I think it was supposed to make it difficult for our defence to locate them. One night while in bed I heard the noise of planes very close and actually saw from my bed, two planes fly past, and was dismayed to learn later that one of ours was being chased by one of theirs. I assume they were both fighters but I did not hear any gunfire. They were going so fast that they were soon out of earshot. During the summer holiday of my last year at school I went to a children’s residential nursery in Wiltshire for two weeks, on what now be called work experience. There was one middle aged nurse there who was not very popular as she had a brusque manner and rather cold grey eyes. I also remember one little boy who was constantly dribbling long after he had cut his teeth, and was constantly plagued with flies round his mouth, and there did not seem to be any way of keeping him clean.
After I had my two weeks, two other girls went and when they came home the following term they told me that the unpopular nurse had been getting letters from Germany, censored for certain, but always a few nights later there was an air raid. (There was an army base nearby). The nursery was housed in an old country mansion in the country and was ideal for the purpose. As the house was old there were many bits and pieces to it and fire drill was very necessary, and one took place while they were there. What they had noticed was that, while climbing on the roof, (quite safe) while most people were cautious, this particular nurse was agile and at home on it. As far as I know they did not report this to the Police as they should have done. Neither did I!
There may be questions you are asking, like, ‘If the farmer was let to Charlie, why was my Dad getting German and Italian prisoners to come and work? The answer to that is that Charlie had left some time ago and my Dad was keeping the farm together for my brother when he grew old enough to take it on.
There are ways of making short, temporary lets, selling the grass and rabbits etc, which kept it going for a few years. He bought a cow so we had plenty of milk, and also we were able to sell some to neighbours at half a penny a pint; He sometimes shot a rabbit for eating, (no myxamatosis then) and kept hens. Compared with people living in towns we lived like millionaires. If he killed a pig and had it salted at the bacon factory we had to surrender our bacon coupons, but even so we gained. Some of the pig was given away immediately, liver, heart, intestines (chitterling) and so on, so only the carcass was salted. I never got on with my salty bacon cut into thick slices, but boiled joints were good.
I have since learnt that pig meat does not agree with me. No wonder I was bad tempered so much of the time.
Also you may be asking, ‘What about my Mum?’ Sometime after I had German measles in 1940 she came home as it seemed that all Nursing Homes and hospitals etc were likely to be commandeered by the army etc, and Mrs House was happy to care for her. This marked the beginning of one of the happiest times of my life. The person I lived most, and valued most, was again at home, I was at home and life was good. By then, too we had blackouts in place,
In fact they were a priority task as soon as the war started. Cars had covers over the headlights which threw the lights on to the ground, bicycle lights were shaded and street lamps were dim, and sometimes blue. Not that that meant anything to us as they did not have street lights and there are still not any there even now. So I grew up walking out in the dark, a privilege we do not often get now.
With the arrival of evacuees our Sunday school doubled, or more, in one week with children to choose a chorus, quick as a flash came, ‘ROLL OUT THE BARREL’ Equally fast came the reply, ‘You be quiet, Tommy London that boy became.
He was one of those who soon returned home, but two of his cousins stayed, the girl until she was grown up. At the age of fifteen I was baptized according to the principles as we understand them in Scripture, and soon after, Thelma and I took turns taking the infant class in Sunday school. By then there must have been about thirty under fives so the class was split into two, and someone else took the other half.
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