Monday, 16 July 2018

A Hot-Weather Parcel For A Soldier

From Woman’s Weekly, July 13th 1918.


WITH the warmer weather the packing of our parcels for our dear ones in different parts of the world becomes a little more difficult.  One longs to send something that will be cool and refreshing, and there are many such articles that will keep in good condition for quite a fortnight, or even more. But everything depends on their condition when bought, and how they are packed.

ALL fruit should be rather under-ripe than over-ripe, and soft fruit should never be attempted.  Thick-skinned apples, known as russets, are always safe to send; and if tomatoes are packed in either bran or sawdust, in small cardboard boxes, they will ripen nicely on the way. 
They may also be packed in cotton-wool, or very soft tissue-paper if more convenient. 
A cucumber, if home-grown or from some source where you can rely on its freshness, may be risked if packed in this way.  Cut it early in the day, and after removing a tiny piece of the skin, place it in water until 'wanted.  It will then be primed with moisture.  Then tie a small piece of wet sponge or a piece of damp cotton-wool round the stem, and wrap it in its own leaves, and pack on the top of everything else. 
Lemons are always acceptable whatever the weather, and they tuck so easily into odd corners.  Lemonade-powder  and sparkling lemonade tablets also take up little room.

YOU may think your boy can always get such things as boracic powder, health saline, citrate of magnesia, etc., from the medical stores; but he may be miles away from such things, and, oh! so grateful for some kind of soothing powder for his poor, tired feet. 
I have given joy to a young sub by sending him out several tins of his special boot-polish.  It was unheard of where he happened to be.

IF you send sweets, let them be acid, lime, or other refreshing fruit tablets. General Joffre is a great believer in placing a sweet of this sort into the mouth when hot and thirsty, instead- of drinking so much water; and no doubt he is quite right.  The more you drink the greater your thirst, especially when marching. 
Can you imagine anything more refreshing than a small bottle of solidified eau-de-Cologne on a very hot day in the trenches?  A little of this rubbed on the forehead, wrists and behind the ears, has a wonderfully cooling effect.  Khaki is always so stuffy in the hot weather.  Anything which helps to keep one cool must be such a boon. 
When he is out of the line nothing is a greater luxury than a refreshing bath.  Pack a towel and a cake of toilet soap in the next parcel you send out. 
I have known a man ask for a few strips of old linen rag to be sent out to him.  A soldier thinks nothing of the small, everyday hurts, but he would appreciate a piece of nice, clean linen rag to bind them up with sometimes. 
One of the chief discomfitures the hot weather brings to our boys in the trenches are the bites from winged insects that abound there as soon as the sun becomes strong.  A little woman, who has herself travelled in hot countries, is sending out to her man in France yards of butter muslin.  Some of this she has cut into yard squares, and run a draw-string in a circle round them.  “He can slip his head into one of these and draw the string round his neck when he gets a chance for a good sleep,” she told me.  “I call them my miniature mosquito nets,” she added: " and I am sprinkling them with oil of lavender to keep these pests away.” 
A piece of rock ammonia to moisten and dab on the bites to allay the irritation is a welcome addition to any parcel for the front. 
If you are lucky enough to be able to secure films for your camera, make a point of taking some special snapshots to send to the front.  A corner of your garden will make a happy background. 
Soldiers in hospital are always glad of a bundle of Japanese serviettes; and do not think a little fan will be despised as unmanly.  Many a poor, pain-racked fellow was only too glad of one in the heat of last summer I noticed. 
A flat little bag filled with lavender or some other sweet-smelling things, such as lemon thyme, rosemary, lad's love, and balm, is always welcome.  Dried rose-leaves, carnation petals, and any other dried flowers that keep their scent may be added.  The writer knows these bags are greatly appreciated, or one man would not say to another:  “Let's have a sniff of your bag when you've done.” This is exactly what she did hear in a certain hospital last summer, when there were not enough of these little bags to go round.

[Some of the medical supplies are a bit baffling, but I surmise that 'Japanese serviettes' are paper ones.

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Life of a Woman Tram Driver

From Woman’s Weekly, July 13th 1918. 


The Adventurous Life of a Girl Driver.

WOMEN tram-drivers are not over plentiful yet, and though I have been at the job for a good many weeks now, folk still come to a sudden stop in the street to look at me, in much the same way that they would look if they found a cassowary bird sitting in the middle of their potato patch. 
And only yesterday two ladies preferred to walk instead of ride—"because one couldn't feel safe with a woman driver, my dear; a mere girl, too!”
That's by the way. Though it is true enough, some of the women drivers in our town top thirty, but the majority are “mere girls” of twenty or thereabouts.  Not inefficient girls, though—if I says it as shouldn't!  There's no escaping results.
At the outset I had no thought of driving a car.  The idea would have made me laugh once.  You see, I went on as a conductress—oh, more than a couple of years ago! —and I stuck it, though tram-conducting is nerve-racking, temper-straining, limb-tiring work for a girl, even if it is healthy from an open-air point of view.  At the beginning of the year, when nearly all our men drivers had to go into the Army or on war work, the Company asked for volunteers from the conductresses to learn driving. I was one of those who volunteered, though if you ask me what made me, I can't tell you.

ANYWAY, my application was accepted, and I went out with one of the men, watching him and learning the how and why of tram-driving, and driving on my own while he stood by to supervise.  Finally, the great day came when I put on a natty blue-and-red uniform, and took a car out entirely on my own—a fully qualified and reliable driver.  Nervous, was I?  Well, some!  Sort of first night stage-fright; but it didn't last once the car was on the road. That was the beginning.  I've gone on ever since, and the more I drive, the more I want to go on.
It isn't easy work or work to be taken up lightly as “interesting war work for women.”  It wants steady nerves and strong physique, good balance and self-control, the power for brain and hand to act in unison—on the spur of the moment when necessary.  Moreover, tram-driving differs from other driving.  We've had one or two expert women motorists on trial who have been absolutely bunkered by the cars.  Women with the worry habit aren't any good either.  If you begin to think too much about being responsible for the safety of a car-load of persons—well, you will soon worry yourself out of driving and into an accident, for sure!

IF you ask me, all the members of the Tramways Committee in our town were rather dubious about girl drivers when we started. 
It was all necessity, and no choice which led to the innovation. But they are not so now—far from it.  At the last meeting there were no end of complimentary things said about the women drivers, and a friendly message was sent to the Tramways Council of another city (which had lately downed the suggestion of having women tram-drivers) to the effect that there was no reason for them to fear to make the innovation if they could get girls like our girls.  “Careful and conscientious; entirely dependable; interested in their work.”  I’m only telling you what they said!

Friday, 6 July 2018

Life for an Office Girl

From Woman's Weekly, July 6th 1918.


A Word to the Girl Who is Discontented and Sighs for Pre-War Gaieties.

“LIFE is not worth living these days” sighed the girl as she pulled the sheet of paper out of her typewriter with an angry flip.  “There is never anything doing.  The same old round, day in day out.  Up at seven, a hurried breakfast, and a scramble for a 'bus, working at the same old typewriter until five o'clock, another scramble for a 'bus home, a war-time meal, a dull evening—nothing to do, then bed, with the same old routine over again to-morrow, just to earn a living.  Is it worth it?”
She glanced angrily round the room at the other girls.  Some of them looked at her sympathetically, and the girl next her joined in.  “It must end some time!  If I thought this state of affairs was to continue I couldn't stand it.  You can't afford to have any enjoyment these days.  It takes all my money to feed myself.  I can't even afford the gallery or a theatre now they charge an entertainment tax!”
At that moment a girl entered the room from the inner office, where she had been taking letters. for the senior partner.  She came in smiling, walked quickly to her machine, and began to rattle off her work.  Her energy irritated the discontented girl, and after a few minutes’ silence she listlessly screwed another sheet of paper into her machine, and the monotonous click-clack was again heard in the room.

A FEW days later the discontented girl and her energetic colleague found themselves at the same table in a small tea-shop during lunch time.  Once more the grievance of the girl who found life dull and uninteresting was poured out, this time into the ear of the other girl.
“Don't you find the same old routine of the office and no fun too awful?” she asked.  “Don't you feel sick of not being able to afford any p1easure, and wonder why—.”
The other girl looked at her curiously.
“Why, no!” she answered.  “I hadn’t thought about it that way.  Of course there are not the same kind of enjoyments to be had as before the war, but we didn't appreciate those times so much when we had them, did we?  I believe in making the most of the present time.  You see, I like office work.  I used to be at home before the war, but I like being out and about much better.  There are so many interesting people to meet, and after hours — there's always that time.”
“But what can you do?”  asked the girl discontentedly.  “What do you do?”

“ONE night a week I help in a YMCA Hut.  I've met a nice lot of people there, and although it's a bit tiring, you do feel you are doing important work.  It's great fun.  Then I like reading—I belong to a free library, and I make my own clothes.  I get a lot of fun looking in the smart shops and copying a little idea at home.  I like looking my best, don't you?”
“What for?” asked the discontented girl.  “Who is there to see you these days?  There's nowhere to go.”
“Oh yes,” answered the girl.  “I go for long walks during the week-end.  Sometimes to a hospital, to take magazines I collect from my friends, and the parks are free.  Then I have two lonely soldiers to write to, and tell them all the happenings of the day.  I make a little diary, and send it once a week.  I work hard, then I play hard.  I don't give myself a chance to think much, and the time just flies.”
The discontented girl wondered if she was missing her share because she wouldn't take what came her way, but just pined for pre-war times.
For that is the secret of making life worth living—enjoy it—enjoy it in places, a bit here, a bit there.

“WHERE are you spending your holidays?” asked the beginning - to - be - interested girl.  “Fares have gone up and rooms outside the air-raid zone are prohibitive in price—but perhaps you have relatives?”
“No,” answered the girl, “I don't believe in spending holidays with relatives —not that I don't love them,” she added; “but you can't do what you want to do.  You feel you ought to study them a bit, and if they arrange a picnic you have to go when perhaps you'd just love a lazy day with a book.  No; I've thought it all out, and I'm not going away.  I am going to have a real holiday at home.  There are dozens of places I've never seen round the neighbourhood—historical places, museums, and picture galleries, and I can reach the country when I want to on the top of a 'bus.  I shall go to one or two matinees and picture shows, and when I feel like it I shall call and see a friend.  I shall get up when I like and go to bed when I like.  I am going to really enjoy myself, so that at the end of my holiday even work will be a change.
“I have one or two commissions for fancy work, which I shall do when I feel like it—embroidered collars and fancy bags, and the money I get for these will pay my 'bus fares and odd expenses, so my holiday will cost me hardly anything.  I get quite a lot of orders.  So you see there is a double reason for making pretty trifles for myself.”
The girl who thinks herself unfortunate because in these days her life seems all work should take notice of this little girl's philosophy.  Take life as it comes and be thankful for its blessings.
For remember it is a psychological fact as well as a Biblical one that to him that hath shall be given.  In other words, the more you make of what you have the more will it increase.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Eating Wild Greens

From the Illustrated London News, 29th June 1918. 


We generally neglect several accessible green foods that are perfectly wholesome, and that are habitually eaten by the poor—and even by the wealthy—in France.  Sorrel, for instance, is abundant in our meadows, and is not used here, but is constantly served on French tables.  It is the characteristc ingredient of the excellent soup that the French call "Bonne Femme."  This begins with one or two fine-cut onions fried (not browned) in butter, to which is added chopped sorrel (as much by measure as the fluid used) and a little finely shredded lettuce and then some stock, boiled till all is done; the soup is then rubbed through a sieve (this need not be done, if preferred), thickened with milk with flour boiled in it, or, if possible, cream or beaten egg-yolks, seasoned with a little sugar and salt and pepper, and poured into a tureen on thin strips of bread dried in the oven, not toasted. Sorrel also makes a good dish as a vegetable at dinner. boiled in water with a little carbonate of soda and salt till soft, drained, and rubbed through a sieve (it ought to be a hair, not a wire, sieve for refined tastes); put back into the saucepan with a little butter or margarine. in which a spoonful or two of flour is mixed, and a spoonful or so of milk, just to be moist, stirred till very hot again, then served with very thin sippets of bread fried in butter to crispness stuck round the sorrel.  The French use this purée of sorrel mostly as a bed for a little veal cutlet, or serve it with stewed veal; but it is very satisfactory (made not too thin by adequate flour) with hard-boiled eggs cut in quarters or with poached eggs—or as a dish to itself. 

Very young dandelion-leaves are a good addition to salad, and many French peasants cultivate it for this purpose, letting it grow full size, but blanching it by tying it up to keep the centre tender; big tough leaves, naturally growing, are unsuitable.  I once heard the Japanese Ambassador say that very young fronds of the common brake-fern, just springing through the earth in their curly way, are eaten as a vegetable in his country; he said they should be boiled with a good deal of carbonate of soda in the water, squeezed dry, chopped, and finished with butter.  Young nettles can also be used as a green vegetable; and. in the present scarcity of anything fizzy to drink, we might look up our great-grandmothers' cookery-books and brew some nettle-beer for the hot days.  A mixture of spinach. sorrel, watercress, and lettuce makes a good purée, which becomes a soup if put in sufficient milk or stock, still keeping it quite thick. 

Friday, 29 June 2018

Women Surgeons at the Front

From the Illustrated London News, 29th June 1918.


America has decided to send medical women as anaesthetists out to the base hospitals  that is, of course, well behind the firing line.  There is no particular reason why we should not send women surgeons too; the old pretence that women are too nervous, too cowardly and excitable, for dangerous duties is now quite exploded.  In fact, it is recorded that when the unspeakable German military heads sent airmen recently to bomb the hospitals a woman doctor there went on composedly with her operation, though "the instruments were dancing on the table" from the shock of the explosions.  Deeply to be deprecated as I, for one, should think it for women to be added to the ordinary source of military strength in any nation (which would mean in all), there are occasions when every effort must be put forth for our own life and for the liberty of generations to come.  And, after all, the woman who dares death in the operating tent near the front is doing nothing much more heroic than nurses in fever hospitals do constantly at home—or more even than every mother courageously encounters.

Monday, 18 June 2018

TIZ for Conductresses

From Woman's Weekly, 15th June 1918.

"TIZ" Keeps me from Feeling Tired.

TIZ for puffed-up, aching, tender feet, for corns or chilblains, TIZ is glorious! 

When your poor, suffering feet ache from the continual running up and down the stairs, when the leather begins to draw and there is constant friction producing hard skin, corns, and bunions—don't experiment—just use TIZ.  Get instant relief. TIZ puts peace in tired., aching, painful feet.  Ah! how comfortable your boots feel at once.  Run up and down all day long, feet won't hurt you after using TIZ.

Sore, tender, perspiring feet need TIZ, because it's the only remedy that draws out all the poisonous exudations which puff up the feet and cause foot torture. TIZ is the only remedy that takes pain_ and soreness right out of corns, hard skin, and bunions.

Miss A. Forrester, Greenaway, Ascot, writes: "This winter I suffered very much for three months with frost-bite.  I was quite crippled, and unable to wear anything but a very old shoe.  After using TIZ regularly every night and before going out for about ten days I was entirely cured and able to walk again with perfect comfort.

Get a 1/3 box of TIZ at any chemist's or stores.  And send a box to your boy at the Front—he'll appreciate it, sure enough.

"Stairs? Oh, yes ! But use Tiz." 

Friday, 15 June 2018

A Flower Fair and Dirty Milk

From the Illustrated London News, 15th June 1918.


A FLOWER FAIR in Trafalgar Square sounds rather like a pantomime dream, but it is to be a reality from June 20 to 26 inclusive.  The British Ambulance Committee, which is entirely British, founded by Mr. Bradley Peyman, has equipped and maintained since that fateful August in 1914, 120 ambulances, constantly employed in carrying French wounded from danger to safety.  Shell-wrecked ambulances must be replaced, and the wear-and-tear of nearly four years made good: and the task is not a small one, so we have the Flower Fair in the Rose month.  Sir H. Veitch, who is responsible for the general direction and arrangement of the floral effects, has evolved the charming idea of erecting little creeper-clad houses to shelter the stalls and their well-known saleswomen.  Gifts of flowers, vegetables, or fruit are begged, and should be sent to Miss Astley, 23A. Bruton Street, London,W.  It is certain that the show will rival some of the best rose exhibitions ever seen.  Amongst those opening it on successive days are Mrs. Lloyd George, the Duke of Portland, Lord Charles Beresford, the Countess of Selkirk, and the Marquise de Chasseloup-Loubat. Famous military bands will perform in the Square.  On Naval Day, June 21, Lady Keyes and the wives of other well-known naval men attend to sell.  On Saturday, the 22nd, prominent Labour representatives intend visiting the Square.  There is no charge for admission.  The British Ambulance Committee beg the British public to make this Flower Fair a huge success; they would have us remember that each flower we buy will help some dying or wounded poilu to safety and rest.

An alarming report has been issued on the dirty and unwholesome state in which a great deal of the milk consumed reaches the public.  Even in the soldiers' hospitals—nay, even at Infants' Welfare Centres—milk was found full of unwholesome bacteria, actual germs of disease, and particles of dirt!  The report adds the information that such contaminated milk is largely prevented from being sold by State supervision in the United States, and that wherever such precautions have been taken a very marked result in diminishing infant mortality has been obtained.  We have a right to claim similar attention from our authorities in a matter where we are unable to protect ourselves.  Milk is the only—that is, the sole—food suitable for infants up to a certain age, six months at least, and a very important, even essential, part of the diet of older ones; and if it is brought to us in the dirty, unwholesome condition described (which is not necessarily perceptible to our own senses in look, smell, or taste) we have no chance of keeping the precious little ones in health.  Why is not that done for us by our public authorities that is done by the American Government in securing clean milk from healthy animals?

Milk contains every element of nourishment; it is not a drink, but a real food, supplying fat, sugar, proteids, and mineral matter in proportions approaching those required by the body.  It ought to be known by all house-wives that skim-milk, when it can be obtained, affords almost as much nourishment as fresh unskimmed milk.  It does not do as food for a young baby, who takes no other sort of food but milk, and so needs it whole; but for older children, as nothing is taken in the skimming but the fat—which they get in other ways—skim-milk is excellent food.  It makes sweetened cereal puddings, of course, but it will also turn into excellent soups, either as it is or half water, thickened either with a little flour, or with oatmeal, sago, tapioca, maize-meal, or rice, seasoned, and flavoured with onion, tomato, potatoes, cabbage, fish, or cheese, according to what we can get at different times.  Salt ought not to be put into a milk soup till it has boiled, or it curdles. A beaten egg is a splendid addition.