This is just a quick message to wish a Happy Christmas to all my lovely blog followers.
I can’t believe another year has nearly gone by. It’s been an up and down year for me. I signed my new amazing book contract with Headline Books in the early part of the year. Then almost immediately after that my mother died. We had looked after her for eleven years so it was a terrible sadness for us, and left a big hole in our lives.
It took me a while to be able to get back to writing, but now I’m glad to report that my latest contracted novel, the fifth in my LAVENDER ROAD series, is coming along well.
And once again I can’t help comparing what life was like at Christmas in London during the war years.
In 1942 there were very few fresh turkeys or chickens to be had for love, money, or food coupons! And of course there were no frozen ones either. In my next novel, LONDON CALLING, which is being published in February, one of my characters preserves a gifted turkey in salt ready for Christmas Day!
The best most people could manage for their festive lunch was a chicken and dumpling pie. Sugar, suet and dried fruit was in short supply too, so Christmas puddings were either very small or non existent.
Toy shops were pretty much bare of everything and fathers found themselves making toys and/or dolls from salvaged bits and pieces. One old lady I spoke to told me of a treasured necklace she had been given by her fiancé made from cherry stones!
Crackers and paper hats were often made out of newspaper, and if you fancied a tipple, the likelihood was that your local pub would have asked you to bring your own glass!
The British government wanted people to give each other War Bond savings vouchers as gifts and the Red Cross encouraged people to ‘Adopt a Prisoner of War’ (rather in the same way as people sponsor endangered wild animals nowadays!)
This year, in the UK alone, millions have already been spent on gifts for pets. In 1942 it was illegal even to put breadcrumbs out for the birds.
So there you go – enjoy the festivities, and remember to relish your freedom, your food and your gifts – and don’t forget to raise a glass to all the stalwart souls (like my characters in LAVENDER ROAD) of 1939 – 1945 who made it possible!!
*Helen Carey’s new novel LONDON CALLING will be published by Headline on 25th February 2016. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.*