Yes, we have no bananas….(or sweets, crisps, frozen pizza or sanity)


When I was young, back in the Dark Ages, I used to spend weekends with my grandparents. Saturday afternoon was spent with my maternal grandparents, Nanny and Grampa. Sundays were spent with Nanna and Grandad, my paternal grandparents.

It was a time of playing in Nanny and Grampa’s garden or helping to harvest the vegetables or soft fruits; or walks on the beach with Nanna if the weather was fine. This, however, was Wales. The weather was frequently shocking, and we would need to stay indoors.

Weekend afternoon TV in the 70s and 80s seemed to be wall-to-wall black and white films. Thanks to West Wales’ unfortunate climate, I am pretty sure I have watched just about every Cary Grant, Fred and Ginger, and Second World War film ever made.

Terrible weather and film matinees also made for some rather marvellous stories of my grandparents’ past. How Grampa met Nanny when he lent her money for some Corn Silk Powder when they worked at the same factory. How Nanna was stuck, unceremoniously, into a rubbish bin by Len Bateman on a double-date (the other couple being her best friend and Grandad). And, of course, the war stories. Grampa was in the Navy, and saved the whole ship from sinking by plugging a torpedo hole with his bare hands. Grandad was in the Army, and taught Field Marshall Montgomery everything he knew, whilst seeing off the enemy single-handedly, armed with nothing but a tooth-pick and a tin of sardines.

As much as I loved my grandfathers’ hugely embroidered tales of bravery and derring-do (I swear they used to try and out-do each other with the most elaborate embellishments just to see our eyes widen in astonishment); I loved the stories from the Home Front just as much. So many stories of real life, of how my grandmothers managed with their young husbands fighting overseas. Stories of rationing, of air-raids, of streets being bombed, of friends being killed.


Fast forward seventy years and here we are, sitting in a warm house. The boys are playing Playstation, I am about to pop the dinner in the electric oven. Tonight we shall all have bath using the seemingly endless supply of hot water we have at the touch of a button. We have a choice about what to have for dinner tonight, and a cupboard full of food. We can pop to the shop later for chocolate, and wine; and if the boys dirty their uniforms, I can simply pop them in the washing machine, no bother at all. If clothes get damaged, no problem – we’ll just drive off to one of the multitude of well-appointed shops and buy new.

Our society, even in a time of ‘double-dip recession’ take so much for granted. Every time we throw away that bag of salad that is two days out of date (the one we didn’t use because we popped by the chippy instead), every time we jump in the shower ‘to pick ourselves up’, every time we pop a load of washing in the tumble-drier, or buy a new outfit to cheer ourselves up.

Imagine what it would be like to have very little choice in what you could eat. Shops with bare shelves; coupons for new clothes; strict rationing on household fuel to heat the home, cook food and heat water. How would your child react to only being able to have 12oz of sweets a month, not a day?

How would we manage on war rationing?

That’s what we intend to find out…… children are going to love me, aren’t they?






11 thoughts on “Yes, we have no bananas….(or sweets, crisps, frozen pizza or sanity)

  1. alythmum says:

    Bet they don’t get 12oz a sweets a month at the moment. So what are you going to do about the washing machine?

    • legogirl says:

      lol aylthmum.
      no way my 2 get 12oz of sweets a month either.
      so where does one acquire a mangle this day and age? I can get my hands on an authentic washtub mind you

      • 12oz is only 340 grams….12g a day (working on 28 days), which is less than a Cadbury Freddo bar. Many sweets available would have been heavier per piece than chocolate, which was very hard to get hold of. Considering that children didn’t get access to other sweet things such as biscuits, cakes, desserts regularly because of sugar rationing, or even sometimes fruit; 12g a day is nothing.

        I remember my mum buying me a quarter of sweets – 4oz – when I was good on shopping day, that’s 113g and would get eaten within the hour!

      • legogirl says:

        I rarely got sweets other than at xmas, so on the odd occasion I had 25p to buy a quarter of sweets like bon bons they used to last me a few days.
        Not bothered by a shortage of bananas though, can’t stand the things.

        In fact there are still some sweets in the cupboard from one of the last parties one of the went to a few months ago,

      • You were a very conscientious child!! I’m amazed my kids have such lovely teeth considering the amount of sweeties they have. I wouldn’t say they have a lot, I know children that have far more than they do, but it would still be well over the allowance. They’d do that allowance in over a course of a week!

      • legogirl says:

        hmmm not sure that is the word that would have been used tbh. lol

  2. Haven’t decided on the washing machine dilemma yet, apart from only washing once a week. We don’t have a tumble drier.

  3. alythmum says:

    Had wash your smalls each night and that way it shouldn’t be to bad trying to manage on one machine load a week. I should do the same. Iain seems to think that it is fair enough for 1 pair of school trousers to do a week but unless reminded puts his ‘home trousers’ in the wash every evening after only 3 hrs of use indoors. Grrr.

  4. To be honest, we’re pretty good with the washing machine. I’m a great believer in ‘wearing something until it walks itself to the dirty basket’ and ‘leave it on the floor for three days and it magically cleans itself’. Our machine is only on twice a week, three times at most. I am in the very fortunate position that I have so many lovely friends who give the boys hand-me-downs that their drawers are crammed, and I don’t need to wash clothes that regularly.

    I am mostly trying the food rations (there will be special dispensations for the children if they start begging to be evacuated), and the coupon rationing for clothing. The fuel rationing would be very hard to replicate, because we are an all-electric house, and complicated calculations would need to be made to ‘modernise’ it. That said, it wouldn’t hurt the boys (well, Ellis mostly, Fin is too young) to think that we couldn’t get petrol, or we had to share our bathwater. Children today, like adults, take far too much for granted. I think we should all wise up and realise that, although we are not in the same social situation as we were in the 40s, our modern world is in trouble. Environmentally, it’s pretty bad. Nobody wants compulsory rationing because fossil fuels are running out; but I hope this will be a reminder for me, and hopefully an inspiration for others, that resources aren’t endless, and to make the most of what we have.

  5. Heather says:

    Your childhood weekend memories are so lovely…


  6. Iain says:

    Hmmm – the kids won’t bother about the washing – or I wouldn’t ave back then – but the sweetie rationing is n entirely different matter 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s