The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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January 10, 2014

'very good, beautifully covered and the pots very well filled'

On the rainy ride home from work, I opened the library book I picked up on my lunch hour and read this:

Substandard jam was in nearly all cases made by the Centres which had not attended the County Council classes at the beginning of the summer, and had not kept to the standard recipes. About 1000 lbs of sub-standard jam has been made out of a total of nearly 12 tons of jam and jelly. This does not include a very large quantity of very bad jam made by Little Compton and Chasleton who made about 1700 lbs, much of which contained wasps, and a quantity of which had not set and was going mouldy.  Mrs. Stevens had seen the jam and Miss Munro had also been to advise on it. A good deal had now been boiled up again, after the wasps had been removed, and a further report is awaited from the Centre secretary to say how much is not fit for sale.

and as if that weren't enough, this...

I feel I must write and tell you about the Preservation Centres in South-East England, who carried on so magnificently all through last season, under the most difficult conditions. Some mornings, after a bad night in London, I wondered whether I could face the hazards of the country, and then the thought of those centre members carrying on under gunfire, shelling and 'doodles', braced me to another tour of the centres. One lot of jam, which was passed, was referred to as 'doodle batch', because the members had to take cover three times during the final boiling. Another centre worked constantly under shell fire. Where villages had had these horrible visitors at very close quarters, the answer I always received to an anxious enquiry was 'We were glad it was one less for London.'
from Jambusters:  The Story of the Women's Institute
in the Second World War
, by Julie Summers

Thank goodness for stormy Saturdays, when you have every good reason to just stay home and read, and for readers like you, who read books like this and tell the rest of us about them, and for the library at work, where I can almost always find them. :)

{vintage English jam jar found here}


skiourophile said...

That's such a wonderful title, Jambusters -- I definitely want to read it now!

Vintage Reading said...

The Jambusters indeed! Lovely post.

Lilacs said...

I love the sound of that book, I have a great book in my Etsy shop that talks about all the things the women who stayed at home did in the war - preserving, knitting for the troops, gardening, farming, working in the towns etc., I wonder if during the marking of events this year that will be marked?

Karen K. said...

Great title, and a great quote. Now I'm wishing for a rainy Sunday so I have an excuse to stay home and read -- I've just started Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson, a WWII diary published by Persephone.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to be able to get a certain song out of my head for a while now, but I'm very pleased to be able to add such a fabulous title to my library list,

Thank you for visiting!

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