- Contributed by
- BBC Southern Counties Radio
- People in story:
- Beryl Tucknott
- Location of story:
- Brighton, East Sussex
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 03 August 2005
We didn’t seem to suffer much from rationing. I think having the greengrocer’s shop enabled Mum to barter perhaps. Sydney Street had several butchers and fishmongers. Mum used to send me to the fish shop to ask for a ‘nice crab for our tea’. We used to sit at the table with the bread board between us, and a hammer each — to break the claws — lovely!
When we visited Westbourne, we brought back (besides the rabbits caught by Uncle Bill) perhaps a chicken and some fresh eggs. They all kept a chicken run but I’ve never forgotten seeing the devastation caused by a fox which had attacked them — never been a favourite animal of mine ever since! My Gran used to sit outside her back door plucking the chicken, putting the feathers into a large tin bath to be used for pillows. She would run a lighted taper over the plucked bird to remove any fluffy feathers left.
She had a cupboard by the side of the fireplace. This was locked, the key kept in her apron pocket. We were never allowed to see what she had in there — a Treasure Trove! But we did see what came out of it. There were tins of fruit, tinned cream etc — all unavailable at the time, when all available family met together. Where she got it from or how long it had been there, we didn’t ask, and never found out!
The Christmas tree was ‘purloined’ by my uncles from the nearby woods! One day a fresh tongue appeared and my mum was told off for making it into sandwiches by her brothers, who’d wanted it sliced on a plate.
Mum put the the fresh eggs into buckets of isinglass (a clear, slimy substance) which kept them fresh for longer. Eggs were on ration too. We kept the buckets in the basement which had a cement floor so was very cool.
I was given the rabbit skins to take to the Rag and Bone man, Richardsons, in Newhaven Street. I think I was paid sixpence for each skin. They also paid one penny for a jam jar.
We sold dates in the shop which were compressed together into a big block in a box. The amount had to be cut with a very sharp knife.
Someone used to bring Mum cooking apples, quinces and cranberries and we used to pick blackberries. She used to make lots of jams (when sugar ration allowed), also from gooseberries and rhubarb and other fruit when available.
I had scrambled eggs once, made from dried egg powder, and hated it! We also had dried milk and powdered chocolate — from America I think!
This story was submitted to the People's War site by volunteer Sue Craig on behalf of Beryl Tucknott , and has been added to the site with her permission. Beryl fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.