Friday, June 13, 2008
Don't mind the worms
My dad, now 81 and fit as a flea apart from his deteriorating hearing, snuck into the Navy in 1944 at 17 and trundled around the Pacific and the Indian Oceans and all the northern waters in between on the corvette HMAS Warrnambool for the best part of two years before he was demobbed in 1946, after which he went home and worked the family farm for 20 years. He was raised in and with an ethos of self-sufficiency that only someone brought up on a farm during the Depression could have so thoroughly internalised as still to have it the best part of a century later.
At my request he's written up some wartime memories for me as a few guest blog posts and they'll be up soon, but in the meantime he's developing his private theory that the solution to escalating food prices is to return to the days of the WW2 'Dig for Victory' campaign, and has asked me to find him whatever I can online about it.
So I Googled 'dig for victory' and this intriguing account is the first site that came up. All I could think of was the sketch in Beyond the Fringe about the imposition of rationing (in which the 'always out in the garden' tag line is a reference to the campaign): 'My woife came oot to me in the garden, her face ashen in hue. "Charrlie," she said to me, "rationin' has been imposed, and all that that entails." "Never you mind, my dear," I said to her, "you put on the kettle, and we'll have a noice steamin' cup o' hot water."'
What made me think of this was the astonishingly therapeutic hour I've just spent out in the garden at the end of a particularly traumatic work week, digging the leaf mould into the sandy soil and wishing my mum was still alive so she could show me how to prune the lemon tree.