Wednesday 9 September 2009

Digging for Victory

This week the BBC is screening a number of programmes dedicated to remembering "The Week We Went to War". It is hard to believe that it is 70 years ago this week that the UK entered into war with Hitler's Germany. In memorial Welsh songstress Katherine Jenkins is presenting a programme exploring what life was like on the home front during the war. It has been poignant and touching, and I wonder why it couldn't be broadcast at a time when those who work are at home. It is a reminder that we are very fortunate to live in a world where the corner store stocks foods and goods from all corners of the globe.

Every afternoon this week they are also broadcasting a new 5 part series called Land Girls, which follows the stories of a mixed bag of girls who have joined the Women's Land Army to work the land and provide food for the nation. Two episodes in there is less emphasis on the work and more on the social lives of the girls, but it is nice to have a more human element on a scheme that you could easily find statistics for in the library or on the Internet.

In anticipation of this mini-series I have started to re-read The Lost Garden, a beautiful and touching novel by Canadian author and poet Helen Humphreys. Taking place in 1941, it is the story of loner Gwen Jones who is sent from her post at the Royal Horticultural Society in London to an estate in Devon to be warden for a section of the Women's Land Army. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Land Girls history or just gardening in general.

In connection to this I am also reminded that the allotment site where I grow my own vegetables was developed during the same time period to grow for the local community and, I assume, the nation. It makes me happy to think that the need to feed the people of Chelmsford created an ordered system that continues to support the community 70 years on.

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