Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Housewife, 49

Although I have lots to do at the allotment and at home, I have been laid a little low with an ear infection, plus it is still freezing cold, so I don't want to go outside. So, I decided to spend the afternoon reading. At the moment I am reading Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of 'Housewife, 49'. Nella Last took part in the UK's Mass Observation project, an anthropological study set up with the intention of recording everyday life in Britain via the contributions of 500 or so untrained volunteer observers who wrote diaries and/or replied to questionnaires. As the title suggests this book contains her diaries from the time of the Second World War. This book is of particular importance to me as I live close to where Nella lived, and therefore I know many of the places she refers to in her diary. I am now approximately two-thirds of the way through the book and am a little ashamed to say that I really didn't realise how badly my area had been bombed in the war, and how difficult day-to-day life probably was for my grandparents and great-grandparents. I have utmost respect for Nella Last, she appears to have been a very kind, hard-working, and extremely resourceful lady, who was always scrimping and saving in order to do the most she could for her family, friends, and for the Women's Voluntary Service and Red Cross, which she volunteered for. One of her ambitions had she not been a housewife, was to write a book, although she did not believe she was talented enough to do. In my opinion she was an extremely talented writer, and it is a real shame that she did not live to see the publication of her three very successful books. I am very much looking forward to reading the next one.

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