Waste Not, Want Not

Everything was in short supply during the war and things were rationed. We were issued with ration books and identity cards.
We kept a dozen chickens, and grew our own vegetables. We didn’t have any oranges or bananas, but we managed on our meagre rations of sugar, butter, margarine, tea etc.
We shopped locally for our rations, and mother would save up food coupons for special occasions if there was a cake to be made. Rumours would spread quickly if there was a chance that a shop might have a supply of food coming in and queues would quickly form.
Things like dried fruit were very scarce. You could get dried egg which when reconstituted was bright yellow, but quite tasty. Another thing we liked was a packet of rissole mixture. We used to preserve our own eggs in "isinglass" and also salt down runner beans. We would go gleaning in the cornfields for chicken feed, and we boiled up potato peelings and other vegetable peelings to mix with bran for this. We even got sacks of "crispings" which was debris from the chip fryer from the local chip shop to mix in. Nothing was wasted. Fruit picking was also a popular pastime — there were plenty of places to pick strawberries and plums.
My father had an allotment about a mile away and I can remember going up there some afternoons with a bottle of drink and some jam sandwiches.
I remember the time a German parachutist came down in one of Uncle Wal's fields and Gran acquired a piece of silk from his parachute!
Mother made all our own clothes from oddments of material. Coats would be turned when the collars got worn, or pieces would be let in. She knitted our jumpers. She would unravel old knitted garments, and re-knit them up into something else.
Coal dust would be saved and put into old paper bags, which when dampened became brick like and burned well on the fire.
We wasted nothing !

Keep the memories alive

Do you, a friend or a family member have a memory of VE Day, VJ Day or the war time?

Share a memory

Show your support

Make a donation today to help us continue to support serving personnel, families and veterans.

Make a donation