Blanche Heron

Allotments to Exams in St Leonards, East Sussex

Photo:Petrol rationing coupons

Petrol rationing coupons

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Blanche in her youth

Blanche in her youth

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Allotments

The only memories of 'things' being grown in a garden comes from being evacuated to Reading with a nice family and the middle-aged owner who pottered around, (presumably growing vegetables and salads for the family table). He also tendered to fruit trees in the garden and bought apples, (very large juicy ones) into the kitchen, which were saved for eating as fruit uncooked and some for cooking or bottling. This used to be interesting to me and my fellow 'vaccy' friend and the fruit very welcome, until months after settling in, I came across him carrying buckets from the outside lavvy and emptying them on the fruit tree areas.

Rationing

I do not have much to remember about the purchasing of food for the family as this was done by my mother and father. My father was a chef and he cooked for the people he worked with in a canteen, somewhere in the newspaper world. He also worked at night as a part time Warehouseman for the daily newspapers. To me, he seemed to go out in the early evenings, come home about 6:30am, go up to bed for a couple of house and then go out about lunchtime, presumably to cook lunches somewhere. I can remember when I first was married and knew very little about cooking. I would ask my father how to cook various meals, meat mainly. His answer was always: Well it depends on how many people you are cooking it for! Needless to say, I never got any help from him, so onwards and upwards, bangers and mash it was! Easy! My husband was content with that and I didn't eat meat anyways, hadn't done since childhood when I discovered meat meant animals being chopped up!

Women in Wartime

We were living in a first floor flat in South London during some very heavy bombing and the two flats above us were badly damaged by the incendiaries and the people were moved out. Our flat was damaged by falling brickwork from above and the ceiling of my bedroom fell in: a large green tarpaulin was put in place from the above flat, but kept dropping down and as the weather was bad; it was not possible to continue using the room. So - my mother decided we should move to her sister's place in Burchley, (she had moved there with her two boys after being bombed out from the Elephant and Castle area some months ago and had a house allocated to her in Burchley. Her husband was away in the Navy overseas, so she had some room to spare).

Exams and scholarships

Once we got sorted out who was sleeping where, schools for the two younger boys together with her two boys. I was 14 years old and leaving school even though I had recently had the results of the scholarships I had sat: I was the only one in my school who passed it! My headmaster had coached me with work not being done at the school in Walworth I attended, because during my two year evacuation in Devon , I had never been put in for exams! (Just a silly 'vaccy' with no brains they thought!). So with his help, and me doing all the extra work at home, I was able to show I was capable of better things! I even chose the school I wanted to attend, a Batchelor school in Dulwich! But my mother wasn't happy because the school was evacuated to Wales ! So again, I couldn't go to the school and had to leave school and get a job!

This page was added by Julius Smit on 08/09/2008.

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