Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting Near Christmas

I spent my early years in England and during WW-ll. we were hard hit and lost many of our family in the raids.

I remember sitting under a giant table in Orchard House in Mablethorpe . I was barley more than a babe, but I clearly remember all my aunts, and my mom were crying. The radio was on and all the Fairbridge Children, who had been evacuated to Canada for  safety from London and Liverpool.

They were saying Merry Christmas through the miracle of radio to their parents in England. The sadness of families being apart had obviously hit a tap with our women folk.

This was my grandmothers house that was right on the beach. It was later commander as a command house by the military. Now, it is a Seniors Home.

How ironic that after our immigration to Canada,my father being declared dead,  and my mothers second marriage, I would live at the very same  Fairbridge Farms, in Cowichan Station.

We ate our meals in the room that the children had stood and sent those messages to family so far away.

The evacuations ended 23 Sept 1943 when a torpedo hit one of the ships

Three children  are buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Cowichan. All victims of a flu epidemic.

 When I tend my parents and my two children's graves. I save some  blossoms for three who never returned home.

Actually many never returned home, or if they did, they returned to Canada.

 Hardly a summer went by without a few visitors coming to the farm and saying "We are Fairbridge kids". I understand others did not fare as well, but the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Society did a wonderful job.

I also remember the preparations of Christmas. Homemade gifts, scarves for the men. I had a homemade doll house. My brother a game called Devil among the tailors sort of a bowling game.

But the food. Oh those wonderful smells. We had a big orchard at Orchard House and using oleo Margarine and apples and some long hoarded raisins they were baking mince tarts.

The smells were the most impressive.

Think of a group of four women, hoarding up their rations to do up Christmas. Of course the men or some of them were home for a holiday leave, so our rations had to cover them as well.

How would you pull a feast together with the following allowance of food. This is one weeks ration for an adult. A child would be about half but with a can of milk added

Weekly ration for 1 adult
  • Bacon & Ham 4 oz
  • Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb minced beef)
  • Butter 2 oz
  • Cheese 2 oz
  • Margarine 4 oz
  • Cooking fat 4 oz
  • Milk 3 pints
  • Sugar 8 oz
  • Preserves 1 lb every 2 months
  • Tea 2 oz
  • Eggs 1 fresh egg per week
  • Sweets/Candy 12 oz every 4 weeks
In addition to this a points system was put in place which limited your purchase of tinned or imported goods. 16 points were available in your ration book for every 4 weeks and that 16 points would enable you to purchase for instance, 1 can of tinned fish or 2lbs of dried fruit or 8 lbs of split peas.

My dad and Uncle Roland were expected to be home, so everyone saved their eggs to make a custard tart. The favorite of the two warriors.

The masterpiece was cooked and put in the pantry to keep cool.

Imagine the feelings of my grandmother when she went to get the piece d` resistance  only to find the cat licking his whiskers and an empty crust.

I don't know what happened to aunt's Tiddles. But I do know for the rest f their leave, my uncle and dad, kept saying ... MEOW... I am all wet.... MEOW......I am cold

I think a covert action was committed.

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