By Betty Armitage

A few years in the past, journalist Nicholas Webley stumbled throughout a amazing locate in the course of a regimen research in a small apartment in Norfolk - a diary.

The diary was once stored in the course of the battle years and scribbled for the main half at school workout books and on scraps of decomposing paper. It used to be written through a seamstress born within the 1880's. Betty Armitage, the seamstress, was once a theatrical cloth cabinet throughout the first a part of the century and moved to Norfolk sooner than the conflict. Her diary is uncommon, because it perspectives the occasions of the warfare in the course of the eyes of somebody born round the time of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. such a lot of money owed of the warfare are in keeping with army event or existence in towns throughout the Blitz; the following the nice occasions of these years are considered from the rustic: privation relieved by way of the occasional poached pheasant, upheaval as hundreds of thousands of shiny younger US servicemen 'invade' East Anglia, quiet heroes and small-time rural villains. A time which turns out wide-spread to us this present day via movie, yet which was once rather one other age, springs to lifestyles within the pages of Betty's Diary; humorous, touching and unaffectedly brilliant.

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Sample text

Ted has taken a really nice tree to the pub and Emily and George’s wife decorated it today. I gave them a hand when I popped in to sort some things out in the back room for tomorrow. Fred Barnard brought two loads of holly and ivy and gave some to me. Stanley has put it all round the room and in the hall, and decorated our tree. Mavis and I had a busy day delivering boxes and things and helping with the children’s party at the Wentworths’s. Peter Wentworth made a good Father Christmas. There were a few sad faces on the evacuees who I suppose were homesick.

The book is actually about the Paston family who everyone has heard of. There are some very old engravings of Sir Astley-Cooper that must be very old. Mavis did more than her share and was a great help. W E A R E WA R R I O R S A L L • S E P T E M B E R 1 9 3 9 – C H R I S T M A S 1 9 4 0 47 THURSDAY 8th I got up early to sort out the long pod and broad bean seeds. I have been meaning to do it for ages. I expect to have to sow late and I don’t want to waste any time getting things in. I want to grow more turnips this year as they are good to store.

She said they will make a good and nourishing breakfast now that bacon is scarce. I thought that it must have been a mistake for her to have been able to get so many tins at once but she told me she had ordered them and was expecting the same again in a fortnight. I bought six tins to put in the store cupboard as we could have some bad weather soon and they will come in handy. Mavis had the same as she has a recipe that she has wanted to try out. Stanley wrote to say he will be coming tomorrow.

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