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Managing in Wartime

by Rutland Memories

Contributed by 
Rutland Memories
People in story: 
Maureen Winstanley
Location of story: 
London
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3517850
Contributed on: 
13 January 2005

This story was submitted to The People’s War Site by Maureen Winstanley. She was evacuated from London to St Albans for the birth of her daughter Theresa

Raids were so bad that we went to a cottage in Bath. My dad was working for the Admiralty there and came back and forth and brought Mum down. Eventually we returned to London because of upsets with the old lady and her husband. She wouldn’t let us have cheese from the rations. I hated cheese myself, but because she was such a greedy person we sat at the table, my dad and I. My father looked at me and I was eating this cheese; it was going round and round in my mouth and all of a sudden he said, “Swallow it!” I gulped it down and afterwards he said, “It’s taken a war, Maureen and a greedy woman to make you eat cheese.”

Before the war, my mother used to save 7lb jars and she filled them with tea, sugar, barley, split peas, sultanas, currants — so during the war she could bake and she never went without her cup of tea. She used to get the butcher to chop down the bones — they were ever so big — and she used to stew them — all the goodness from the marrow. She would skim it and boil it and that used to be for our stews. A stew would last a week nearly.

Another thing that was very scarce — soaps and washing powder. I can always remember going into our local grocery shop and there was one lady saying “I don’t know what I’m going to wash him with now.” She had a ten-year old. “He’s used up all my soaps and I’m getting Glitto now to scrub him up”. It was supposed to be for scrubbing saucepans!

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