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Friday, 11 January 2013

Wartime privations

Friday, January 11th., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

Marguerite bought a pig at the end of the year. It was a small one, but we have been eating this damned animal ever since, in all forms except ham which has not yet arrived. Brawn every morning for breakfast. Yesterday I struck at pig's feet for lunch, and had mutton instead. They are neither satisfying nor digestible, and one of the biggest frauds that ever came out of kitchens. All this a war measure, and justifiable.
I now no longer care whether I have sugar in my tea or not. We each have our receptacle containing the week's sugar, and use it how we like. It follows us about, wherever we happen to be taking anything that is likely to need sugar. My natural prudence makes me more sparing of mine than I need to be.

The impact of the German U-boat campaign made food shortages a serious problem by 1918. Malnutrition was seen in poor communities and as a result the government introduced rationing in 1918. Food products were added to the list as the year progressed. In January 1918, sugar was rationed and by the end of April meat, butter, cheese and margarine were added to the list of rationed food. Ration cards were issued and everyone had to register with a butcher and grocer. Rationing was a clear indication to the British public that all was not well, but it did work. The malnutrition that had been identified in the poorer communities disappeared and as in World War Two, no one actually starved in Britain during the war.

Another effect of the war is that there is difficulty in getting stamped envelopes at the P.O. The other day the postmaster by a great effort and as a proof of his goodwill, got me £1 worth, which won't go far.
It occurred to me how the war must affect men of 70, who have nothing to look forward to. The war has ruined their ends, and they cannot have much hope.

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