The featured book today is While the Bombs Fell which is written by Robbie Cheadle and her mother Elsie Hancy Eaton.
About While the Bombs Fell
What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.
Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes
An extract from the book
“In the yard of the cottage next door stood two dilapidated wooden sheds. A fat, elderly man lived alone in that cottage. The local people called him Old Fiddledee Dee. He wore a worn calico shirt, an old waistcoat buttoned over his large belly and a pair of tatty, brown pants.
Old Fiddledee Dee kept goats in his sheds which he milked every morning. People said he lived on goat’s milk and bread. The thought of drinking milk from smelly goats disgusted Elsie.
Elsie’s house also had sheds in the yard. Two large sheds housed Father’s cows and calves, and
the dairy contained the equipment for washing and drying the milk bottles. An open-ended cart shed protected Father’s hay cart and milk floats from the outside elements.
Her family also made use of an outside toilet unlike Elsie’s Aunt Alice, Mother’s older sister, who lived in a nice rented council house in the town with an inside bath and toilet. Aunt Alice grew vegetables as part of the “Dig for Victory” war initiative. The government encouraged British people to grow as much food as possible to help supplement their rations. This was vital if Britain was to win the war.
The children enjoyed the Dig for Victory cartoon characters, Doctor Carrot and Potato Pete, who appeared in the pamphlets the government distributed as part of the campaign. These pamphlets included recipes and information about staying healthy and eating the right food.
The children sang the Dig for Victory anthem:
“Dig! Dig! Dig! And your muscles will grow big
Keep on pushing the spade
Don’t mind the worms
Just ignore their squirms
And when your back aches laugh with glee
And keep on diggin’
Till we give our foes a Wiggin’
Dig! Dig! Dig! to Victory”
Elsie liked to play with Cousin Joyce, Aunt Alice’s youngest child.
The Dig for Victory campaign and the fresh produce grown on allotments became a mainstay for many English households. Mother had a good friend, Murray, a cheerful woman with grey, curly hair. Her family lived almost entirely off the produce she grew on her allotment. Murray could frequently be found in her tiny scullery cutting up a huge pile of homegrown vegetables for a stew to feed her family. She had no meat and this stew would serve as the family’s main meal of the day.
A family named Williams lived in the other neighbouring cottage. Mr and Mrs Williams had a
daughter called Margaret. The two girls, being the same age, became firm friends when they were just two years old. Elsie toddled down the lane, soon after she started walking, and come across Margaret playing in the yard of the Williams’ cottage. Mother had been busy tending to baby Teddy at the time.
Mr and Mrs Williams also had a large vegetable garden where they grew a variety of vegetables. Mrs Williams had worked as a cook in a large house before she married. She knew how to make lovely soft bread rolls. She baked these rolls every week in her tiny scullery
using an old wall oven which she lit once a week for baking.
Elsie loved to taste Mrs Williams’ rolls which were delicious. She could only have a taste because Mother said that during these times of food shortages, she could not take food out of the mouths of the neighbours. She could, however, enjoy the yeasty smell of the rolls baking.”
One of the reviews for the book.
“While the Bombs Fell” by Bobbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton is a story based on Eaton’s true experience. While it is not a history book of WWII, it contains many details of the hardships, rations, and simple joy of the family lived through the unpredictable bombing.
Elsie recounted her wartime memories as a four-year-old girl living in the town Bungay, East Anglia, England in 1942. Germany bombed England, and the air raid sirens were part of her “normal” life. When sirens came on, the family rushed to the bomb shelter.
The family lived on the farm with cows and vegetables to help to supplement their rations. Items such as bananas, oranges, and lemons were unknown fruits to Elsie. Families those days kept the books of coupons used to purchase rationed items such as clothing and meat. Despite the freezing cold, Elsie’s family only had enough energy to light the fire in the living room. At nightfall, all the rooms were dark except the living room. The young children took baths, but the adults and older children used the bowl in the scullery to wash themselves. They used the same bowl to mix batters and dough and wash the dishes.
Head over and buy the book: Amazon US
And Amazon UK: Amazon UK
The Sir Chocolate Series
Other books by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Read all the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US
And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK
Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: Goodreads
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.
I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.
I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.
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