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Hitler, marigolds and the golden thread

(17 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 08:48:40

When Julie Summers set out to write the story of the WI in wartime she wanted to find out what life was really like for the women involved. In her blog post Hitler, marigolds and the golden thread she explains how one woman's dairies provided the key.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 08:53:12

And I should have added grin ...

We have three copies of Julie's book - Jambusters - to give away to people who post on the thread. The draw will be made at 4pm on Weds 8 May.

Gally Thu 02-May-13 11:46:06

It sounds fascinating - I love to read about how people coped during the 2 WWs. It would do us all good as a Nation to have to 'make do' as our grandparents did.
I joined the WI for a short time when I was first married aged 25 when living in a small village in Surrey. We had the youngest membership in the country at that time and I loved the friendship, in fact I still have one very good friend from that time who became godmother to 2 of my daughters; it wasn't all Jam and Jerusalem, although that's where I learned the words off by heart and I did learn how to make jam and many other things too grin

Gorki Thu 02-May-13 12:11:04

I'd love to read this book. This type of writing makes history come alive and it is so much more interesting to read about it from a personal point of view . I've tried to join the WI once or twice but there has always been a waiting list !I did join the Mothers' Union though.
Perhaps this could be another source of information.

For those interested in this era "Nella Last's War" is a very good read. It is her diary and gives lots of information including mundane things like what they had for lunch and who popped in to see them etc.It is set in the Lake District I think so those GNs from that area might find it particularly interesting.

gillybob Thu 02-May-13 13:14:29

I would love to read this book with my grandma who at 97 is very much a part of living history. She is quite wonderful and has some fantastic stories (mostly true I think???) about her life when she was a young mother in the war. These days she takes a little encouragement and I think a book like this would be just what she would need to get her going. Her eyesight isn't what it used to be and so reading it together would be an absolute joy.

GrannyGear Thu 02-May-13 21:34:17

This sounds really good. I'd love to read it and pass it round my friends in Scorton WI. I was born in 1943 so haven't any personal recollections of wartime only details my mother told me.

Grannyknot Thu 02-May-13 21:40:42

Love the title of the book.

I hope you win a copy gillybob that sounds so lovely, I imagine you reading it out loud to her. Actually - if I win a copy, I shall regift it to you ; )

merlotgran Thu 02-May-13 21:53:51

I have read quite a few books about the role of women in both World Wars. I am always eager to read about their lives from different angles and although the WI makes a brief appearance in some of the books I have read there is no real focus on their contribution to the war effort.

I joined the WI when I was in my early twenties because I was living in a remote village in Norfolk and although most of the members were a lot older than me I relished their advice and encouragement as I had three children under five and a large farmhouse to run.

gillybob Thu 02-May-13 22:52:27

Grannyknot I do hope we each win a copy. Your post was so kind and genuine. Thank you . Xx

M14dymo Fri 03-May-13 20:40:19

I live in Devon was born in 1942,and would love to win one of those books for our WI members to read.

Sonsybesom Sat 04-May-13 05:43:19

Brilliant to have women's diaries. I have the diairies of two crofters, one set beginning about 1880, detailing island life, sowing, reaping, care of horses and cows, accounts, building, but the only mention of women is 'women washing' and 'women baking.' There is one touching entry, 'funeral of our best earthly friend', his wife. Also have a set of very detailed diaries which my husband's uncle kept. It records births, deaths, tides, calvings, every detail. I looked up one of our sons' births. It said 'Tommy (DH) got a boy'. Yep!

Gagagran Sat 04-May-13 06:44:15

I can remember going to "help" my Mum bottle fruit with the WI when I was about 4 in 1948. That helped to feed our large family in the post-war rationing days. We didn't feel deprived of anything as Mum was a brilliant cook and improvised filling and tasty meals almost from thin air sometimes! It's only as I have got older that I have realised just how hard those days must have been for her.

I love my WI and would urge anyone feeling lonely or in need of friendship to join. It's definitely not "Jam and Jerusalem" though both are available!

Faranth Sat 04-May-13 11:14:49

I often thought of joining the WI but being an army wife we never stayed in one place long enough to join anything. I only realised what a contribution they made to the war effort after watching 'The Calender Girls' and chatting to my friend in Scotland about it, she told tales of friendly rivalry in the jam and cake department but also of the companionship and the sense of being part of a larger family. I think we underate the good old daily diary, I only found my Mom's after she died and the simple entries she made trigger vivid memories that I had thought long lost.

buffersmoll Sun 05-May-13 21:28:00

I do wish we could persuade more young women to join the WI
there is so much could be passed on still from way back.
Dear Adelaide Hoodless would have been out on the campaign trail
with some inspiration given the circumstances we find ourselves in today.
I'm sure Julie Summers' work will go some way to spread the word
In times of hardship women always seem to find a way of 'Making do and mend' with a smile. A Brillient, inspired piece of writing.

nanaej Sun 05-May-13 22:26:50

Our WI is new and we have a good range of ages from 30s to 80s!

Some of our local WIs are very traditional and I have to say not very open to change! That is off putting to younger ( & older!!) potential members. That is why I decided to start a new group! That is not to say we do not want to learn and develop traditional skills we just want to do it in a more relaxed and informal way!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 14-May-13 16:56:52

Apologies - the draw was indeed made but the results got lost in the post blush

And the winners are:


Emails coming your way shortly

wallers5 Wed 05-Jun-13 08:52:02

I have a fascination with WW2 my mother having been a Fanny in Africa. So I missed out on the London/UK scene and am fascinated to read more. I just love the title.