Monday, December 13, 2021

Christmas Quotes: A war time Christmas

Every year as I read I keep an eye out for quotes about books, about food, and about Christmas. Oh, and Paris, but I don't think that will come as a surprise. Between now and Christmas Day I am going to share these quotes, some of which I have been saving since last year!

So let's get started. The first quote comes from Maisie Thomas' Secrets of the Railway Girls. Ironically, the latest book in the series is called Christmas with the Railway Girls, but I haven't read that yet. This book was also set quite close to Christmas so there were several quotes I could have used, but I chose to go with this one.

There had been several raids at the start of December, including on on the evening of the first, which wasn't exactly how you wanted Stir-Up Sunday to end. There were more raids the following Wednesday and Thursday, including two daytime ones. After that, there had been no more raids from Thursday afternoon until breakfast-time the following Wednesday. Looking back, it seemed like a holiday - except, of course, that at the time they'd had no way of knowing how long the respite was going to last. It might have come to an abrupt end at any moment, for all they knew.

As it was, Dot had spent the weekend running around like a blue-arsed fly, getting Christmas sorted before Jerry could make a return visit. She had finished her Christmas shopping - well, almost. Cordelia had said she and her husband were giving war bonds as presents this year and Dot was sure that many of these patriotic gifts would be exchanged, but that wasn't what she wanted her Christmas to be like. She had already sent her boys their presents - shaving sticks, packs of cards, soup and face flannels, and a Ronson lighter each. Most important of all was a long letter to each of them in whichshe had blathered on about homeand the neighbours and her job and the children, mainly the children, filling her pages with any and all details, no matter how silly or insignificant, knowing how much those snippets would mean.

She had splurged on tickets for all the family to see Tommy Trinder in Cinderalla at the Opera House. For Jimmy she got a model ship to build, for Jenny a compendium of games, and a jigsaw each. She also bought Enid Blyton's Mr Gallliano's Circus and The Secret Island, deliberately choosing books they could share, and, unable to resist the title, The Naughtiest Girl in the School.

The air raids started up again on Wednesday morning, following by another that night, and as for that Thursday.....

"Honest to God!" Dot exclaimed when the siren released it's blood-curdling wail for the fifth time - the fifth!- since one o'clock that morning. Now it was half seven in the evening, with ten minutes still to go on Howdy Folks! on the Home Service. "Hasn't that ruddy Hitler got owt better to do? You can tell he's not in charge of making mince pies."

Not making mince pies, no, but he was dead set on making mincemeat of Britain's towns and cities, ports and factories. Why couldn't he bugger off and leave them in peace for a while? It was a week and a half to Christmas, for pity's sake. Aye, but that was the point, wasn't it? He had no pity, no common decency. Power mad, that was Hitler. Well, he'd picked on the wrong country this time.

And a bit later on

She locked the front door behind him. Would she still have a front door come the morning? She fetched the air-raid box. Actually, she had two air-raid boxes now, because she took her Christmas things into the shelter with her an' all: a cardboard box containing the presents, her tin of mince pies, the pudding in it's basin, a bottle of sherry and, stupid as it might sound, the fairy off the top of the tree.

Jerry could blow up her house if he wanted and there was nowt she could do to stop him, but he wasn't going to blow up Christmas.

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