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The way we were

Sunday was such a beautiful day, fit only

For beautiful thoughts, and one came

Along i
mmediately, China tea served in

cups with a fine slice of bread and

Butter, n
ot much to write about, but enough

refresh the palate of genteel ladies in the

1940s, when stockings were at a premium,

And silk parachute undies all the rage -

Although quite how so much parachute

Material drpped into the lap of back street

Seamstresses is still a mystery.


A decent cuppa was often the highlight of

The day. Rations went nowhere and by mid-

Week most larders were bare. The weekly

Shop, a quarter pound of butter carefully

Scraped from greaseproof paper, a little sugar

To the last grain vigorously teased from a blue

Paper bag and a few eggs carefully transported

To the kitchen in an enamal bowl.


Nights out weren't what they might be either. what

Girl today would apply home-made gravy browning

Leg tan followed by, when dry, a pencil or crayon with

Which to draw an imitation seam down the length of

Each leg, the straighter the better. Madness to think

of it now, yet once it was all there was, if a lady was

Not to be seen ‘barelegged’ at the Palais de Danse.


And then there were the spivs, with their ten-a-side

Moustaches, fine as you like, trilbied black marketeers

Grinning over suitcases poised precariously on one

Knee or on the back of a lorry offering hard to get

Goods at inflated prices. 'No coupons love - just cash -

You won't find better.' When it didn't come out of a

Suitcase it probably appeared from under a counter,

Corned beef, Spam, you name it. Plain blue ½ Ib

Unbranded packets introduced Britain to a mysterious

Powder that when mixed with water and heated turned

Into something resembling mashed potato, dried egg

Or a knob of margarine was often added to improve

The taste.


Sirens wailed and Britain ran for cover, Eveready torches

(Flashlights) proliferated, their glow shielded by greatcoats

And pinnies. only scurrying shoes were faintly visible,

As searchlights scoured the night sky and adult stoicism

Hurried little feet to safety.


© Joseph G Dawson