Saturday, March 5, 2005

April 1944

The entry below is pretty grim.  All was not that grim during those days.

    When we got to England, everything was rationed.  There was not much to buy.  When we got a pass to go to town, Wells, we went about looking for something, anything, to buy.  We came upon a bakery and were able to buy a small loaf of freshly baked bread. 

   "What does it cost," we asked. 

   "Thruppence ha'penny," was the reply. We looked at one another in awe.  What is that?  We went through the English coins in our pockets.  We found one octagonal coin about the size of a nickel, that was the "thruppence", and a copper coin about the size of thin quarter, that was the half-penny, "ha'penny". 

   We bought the bread.  We had been living on U.S. rations, and the fresh bread was wonderful, plain warm bread with nothing on it.

   We were very proud of ourselves, my buddies and I, for having made our first sucessful transaction in foreign money.

6 comments:

sylviam4000 said...

I will never forget this story Chuck and will tell you sometime of my dad's experience one night as part of the "Desert Rats". Thanks for tonight.
Sylvia x

domesticatedchic said...

Wow, you just brought back a memory of how me and my friends in Europe would sometimes buy some fresh hot bread right from the bakery.. I really loved that bread...

astaryth said...

I spent 6 weeks working and living in Mexico city about 2 years ago. I remember looking at the coins and paper money and trying to do the conversions in my head... I was lucky though. The peso was valued at 10 to a dollar during that time, so I treated them like dimes <g> Everything was the price divided by 10 to get 'US' value. But, it was still strange having to hear the amount in spanish, change that number to english, then divide by 10 <LOL>
http://journals.aol.com/astaryth/AdventuresofanEclecticMind

mavarin said...

I like the sound of "thruppence ha'penny."  So Dickensian, or My Fair Lady!  

In the early 1970s, my parents and I drove up the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. People along the long, fogbound road had signs offering their homemade bread--in French, of course.  My Dad would gleefully call out, "Pain!" --in English, of course! - Karen

abeator81 said...

I dont understand all them thrupence and ha'penny stuff....my dad still talks in 'bob's, shillings, thrup'ney bits' and all that sometimes....they phased it out in the 70's I think.....now we have good old pounds and pence.  We have one hundred pennies in a pound....my dad says it was easier when they had pounds, shillings and pence...I dont see how...it was something like 12 pennies to a shilling and 16 shilling to a pound (I'm guessing here but it's something like that)....weird....

My nan tells me stories of the rationing in the war and how there had to combine the margarine and butter to make it last longer...she could always tell and always took from the butter side cos she hates margarine!  Her dad always had the only egg for the week too.....

I dont live that far from Wells either....

Thanks for bringing some Englishness to your journal!

Love Amy

labdancer51 said...

Thruppence halfpenny !   We`ve had decimalisation since 1971 but I remember as a child in the fifties, being given a thruppeny bit to buy an icecream after school.  Those were the days when we had `proper` money. A lovely entry Chuck.  Sandra x