Tuesday, 26 July 2011
I am reading a book called Austerity Britain by David Kynaston and have come accross this marvellous moan from Vere Hodgson, a welfare worker in west London in March 1949 (capitalisation model's own). "Oh for a little extra butter! Then I should not mind the meat. I want half a pound of butter a week for myself alone . . . For ten years we have been on this miserable butter ration, and I am fed up. I NEVER enjoy my lunch."
I feel entirely blessed and will hurry home to have toast and butter for lunch. The book is made up mainly from the records of the Mass Observation movement who asked lots of interesting questions (eg. "What are your feelings about housework? What do you consider to be the six main inconviniences of present day living conditions?") and who rigorously observed the most compelling experiences of everyday life. They observed the cinema going public and noted that "whereas men tended to weep at moments of reserve, women wept at parting and loss". If I were parted from my butter ration I would indeed weep.