The Rations – Food

Meat is Rationed So is Chewing the Fat Less. G...

Meat is Rationed So is Chewing the Fat Less. Gab More Guns – NARA – 533911 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As stated in a previous post, I will be forcing my family to live of WWII rations for a little while. It will be a great learning experience for the children and may even end up with us being happier, healthier people! The ration I will be following will be a kind of mash-up of official WWII rations from Australia, England & America.

As I live in Australia, this will be my main inspiration for ration amounts. Australians were lightly rationed compared to other combatants. In fact, when it came to fresh fruit & veg, we often experienced a glut in the market as Britain decided to devote valuable shipping space to proteins instead. So we are going to be far better off than most Brits were during the war. Continue reading


Where the convicts come from

A dear old Australian lady, many years ago, won Tatts’ lottery. She was asked if she would take a trip to England.

“England!” she shuddered. “Certainly not! Why, that’s where the convicts come from!”

— Bill Wannan’s Come in Spinner

My Story, My Tudor Queen, The Diary of Eva De Puebla, London 1501-1513 by Alison Prince


Synopsis: 4th November, 1501 I hardly like to make a mark on the beautiful, blank pages of this book, but I must. Mama gave it to me as a parting present so that I could write about this journey from … Continue reading

my siblings had it easy

Full Siblings

Full Siblings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am the eldest of three siblings. And I don’t like it at all. As the eldest, I was the experiment. Everything got tested out on me first – rules, parenting tips, new foods – everything.

Being the eldest, I had to fight for each new concession. Whether it was getting my ears pierced, walking to the store or going out with friends, it was a constant struggle to prove that I was old enough, responsible enough, trustworthy enough to spread my wings. My siblings had it easy – I’d already paved the way, made my parents more relaxed.

Another thing about being the eldest – I was responsible for everything. Feel like a night out? Instant (and free) baby-sitter. Siblings being picked on? I had to protect them. Younger siblings bored? Entertain them! When something naughty was done and no-one owned up, guess who was the scapegoat? Being the oldest sucks!

Despite all this, I love my siblings. Though we are very different people. I am the conservative in the bunch. I left school and started a family young. I’ve never been to a nightclub, smoked a cigarette or taken drugs. I’ve never even been drunk (though I have definitely been tipsy a few times). I’ve only just now gotten around to getting driving lessons. The worst thing I ever did was to shoplift a loaf of bread so I could spend the bread money on lollies.

My brother and sister were typical teens. Party all night, sleep all day. They wagged school, smoked cigarettes, drank, experimented with drugs, did the whole backpacker thing. In fact we lost contact for several years because I didn’t want my kids around the whole drug scene. We are back in contact now, though.

My brother travelled a little and married a beautiful Swedish girl. He is trying to give up cigarettes after a health scare. He has moved back to Australia in order to work and save money while his wife finishes studying in Sweden. He is so tall, I used to be paranoid the ceiling fan would chop off his head. He looks great in just about anything.

My sister is the liberal of the bunch. She is still young and idealistic – out to save the world. She has backpacked through Australia and England, visited India and lived in Canada for a while. She now works in Adelaide regenerating wetlands. She is a brilliant artist but lacks confidence in her ability. She thinks we are just being biased when we tell her how good her art is. In other aspects of her life, she is very confident. She has always stood up for herself – in fact she is the only one of us who ever dared stand up to Dad. They used to have the biggest rows!

I love my brother and sister. I miss them. Growing up as the eldest may have sucked, but it doesn’t matter so much now we are older. And I do have something to be thankful for – I was not an only child.

Books I Read in July, August & September 2010

July August September 2010 Books

Australia: A History in Photographs by Michael Cannon The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne Fat, Forty and Fired by Nigel Marsh Stolen Angels by Shaun Hutson Australian Ripping Yarns II by Paul Taylor The Righteous Men by … Continue reading

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

Innocent TraitorOpening Sentence:It is over.
Synopsis:Lady Jane Grey was born into times of extreme danger. Child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she was merely a pawn in a dynastic power game with the highest stakes, she lived a life in thrall to political machinations and lethal religious fervor.

Jane’s astonishing and essentially tragic story was played out during one of the most momentous periods of English history. As a great-niece of Henry VIII, and the cousin of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, she grew up to realise that she could never throw off the chains of her destiny. Her honesty, intelligence and strength of character carry the reader through all the vicious twists of Tudor power politics, to her nine-day reign and its unbearably poignant conclusion.
Genre:Historical Fiction
Comments:I have always felt sorry for Lady Jane Grey and the author of this novel clearly shares my sentiments. Her story is told with empathy and tact but with an eye to historical accuracy. Alison Weir has plenty of experience writing non-fiction about Britain’s royal families, including the book which introduced me to Tudor England – The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Weir utilises her experience and knowledge to bring us an enthralling tale of greed, ambition and political intrigue, and the innocent young woman who became a pawn of history. Fair warning to the ladies – you will end this novel in tears. I did.

A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French

A Rose for the ANZAC Boys

Opening Sentence:At 10 a.m. the street was empty. Synopsis:It is 1915. War is being fought on a horrific scale in the trenches of France, but it might as well be a world away from sixteen-year-old Midge Macpherson, at school in … Continue reading

Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

“Honestly, is it absolutely necessary for every single person in this society to be reading exactly the same book at exactly the same moment?”

—Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

For the Fallen

Portrait of Laurence Binyon by William Strang

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Please take time out today to give thanks to those who have served our country, and those who are still serving. Please take time to remember and mourn those who never returned.

Lest We Forget

Mother England



London (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Some quaint and unusual English village names:

  1. Askham Bryan
  2. Barton in the Beans
  3. Blubberhouses
  4. Compton Pauncefoot
  5. Cow Honeybourne
  6. Frisby on the Wreake
  7. Great Weeke
  8. Gussage All Saints
  9. Little Snoring
  10. London Apprentice
  11. Maggots End
  12. Mappowder
  13. Martyr Worthy
  14. Nempnett Thrubwell
  15. Nether Wallop
  16. New Invention
  17. Queen Camel
  18. St Giles in the Wood
  19. Upper Slaughter [despite it’s name, this was one of about 30 so-called ‘Thankful Villages’ – those from which a group of young men left to fight in WWI and to which all returned alive]
  20. Weston-under-Lizard
  21. Westward Ho!

Ash Road by Ivan Southall

Book Cover for Ash Road by Ivan Southall

Synopsis:To the children living on Ash Road it was a bewildering and fearful day from the very start. First, the unnatural heat of early morning, the searing north wind that played on everyone’s nerves, and the smell of smoke across … Continue reading