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Tollesbury - Village of the Plough and Sail

We couldn't afford meat so we ate lobster

I was 2 when the war started so I don't remember much about the early days, but for some reason i do remember the day the King came to Tollesbury. My mother sat me on the wall on a cushion. I had a flag and I waved it as he went by.

Our village was a fishing and farming village so we never went hungry during the war. My father was a fisherman till he was called up so although we couldn't afford meat we often ate lobster and shrimps and prawns.

When we had meat it always went into a large stew pot, we grew our own vegetables in the garden and added these to the meat. My mum used to make a great big duppling that went right over the top of the stew and we used to cut it into slices.

We used to have "puddings" every day - semolina and jam, rice puddings - anything to fill us up. Mum used to say "I won't have pudding, I'll just lick the spoon". Really I think she used to go without so there was enough for the rest of us.

She was a beautiful cook - she preserved things, made jam and home-made wine - based on things we could collect from the hedgerows.

We always had chickens at the bottom of the garden so we always had eggs and would fatten up a rooster for christmas. My dad used to set snares for rabbits and there were always partridges and pheasants to add variety.

I remember the lovely feeling of comradery everywhere. I remember especially the parties to celebrate the end of the war. My Mother's table was groaning with the weight of the food. The parties for our street were held in the little school playground. What a feast!! Great big tins of corn beef and spam - jellies and tinned fruit - where did they all come from? As we had a number of American stations near us i think a lot of it came from their Naffi stores. But wherever it came from - what a wonderful party we had!

©Helen Ladkin (Gager), WW2 People's War
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