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SAVE BREAD!! I was the ‘D’ in bread!

Have you thought, 40-50 years from now, how you would explain to your grandchildren a time when…

  1. You were only allowed out 1 hour a day for exercise
  2. You could be fined if you were further than 5 miles from home
  3. You were not allowed to visit your family or your friends
  4. You were not allowed to leave the country
  5. You were required by law to wear a mask in any building
  6. You couldn’t have a haircut, go to a pub or restaurant as they were all closed.

Would they believe any of this could be true? Or is it a figment of your imagination exaggerated by time? Could the Government really have dictated all our lives to that degree?

At which point I began to recall a time when the Government dictated our lives to a much greater degree. The photograph was taken some 70+ years ago, the message ‘SAVE BREAD’ had a real meaning, as there was hardly enough food for everyone. In effect, the Government dictated what we could eat by ‘rationing’.

Can you imagine a household today where each person was allowed just,

57g per week of butter and cheese

113g per week of meat (4 thin slices)

113g per week of margarine

57g per week of tea

1 egg per week

1 jar of jam per fortnight

Rabbit was the most common meat eaten and there was a local butchers selling horse meat (for dogs!) All cut up while you waited. (See photograph)

Not only was food rationed, but so was our ‘entertainment’.  Pubs were allowed to open for just 2 hours in the afternoon (12-2 Sundays), and 6.30-10 in the evenings. All shops were closed, by law, on Sundays and most closed 12pm Saturday. In addition, all theatres had to close by 10.30. It was a spartan regime designed to conserve the energies of the population and what natural resources we had and to limit any imports to essentials. It is amazing what else what different back then which seem incredulous today, for example; (stop reading now if you have heard this from your grandparents).  

We had no TV, fridges, freezers, dish washers, washing machines, electric ovens or kettles. Few (none I knew) had telephones, cars, or fitted carpets (rugs were made by cutting up old clothes and ‘pegging’ them through hessian sacks) and imagine life without credit cards and the WWW. This may all sound bizarre, but so will the COVID restrictions to our grandchildren of the future.

Its extraordinary how the expectations of individuals were very different from today. No one I knew went to University, and personally, when I left school one Friday evening, I then started work the following Monday morning in my new job as an apprentice pneumatic engineer. The main function of which was to pull a flat barrow full of loaded machine parts up a cobbled street in Sheffield for assembly and return the completed airguns back to the factory. This had to be completed 3-4 times every day, all for the princely sum of 37/6 per week, (£1.75) I indulged in this role for 6 weeks, after which, I left and went driving a steam hammer in a hot, dirty, noisy, smelly forge for £4 per week, which was a fortune at 15 years old. However, I was too young to work afternoon or night shifts, I could work only the morning shift which meant a 5.30am start, and a 20 mile bike ride every day, there and back Summer and Winter, (which is why I have lots of sympathy with our guys on morning shift in winter).

Age is a relevant concept and every age is different when you are young, everyone is ‘old’, as time goes on, old age belongs to others but not you! If these thoughts on ‘a lifestyle of all our yesterdays’ seem difficult to comprehend now, how difficult will it be 40-50 years from now?

According to Scott (our IT Impresario) in 40-50 years everyone will have a chip implanted in their brain that enables them to know everything known to man, whilst disease is detected early and people can live for generations, and who knowS, he could be right!

We shall see.

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Kenneth Nicholas

Brilliant stuff! 👏🏻

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