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Few Eggs and No Oranges

by Vere Hodgson
Persephone book no:

8 9 10

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ISBN 9780953478088

Few Eggs and No Oranges is sub-titled 'A Diary showing how Unimportant People in London and Birmingham lived through the war years 1940-45 written in the Notting Hill area of London by Vere Hodgson.' Vere was a sparky, unflappable, 38-year-old social worker. She had lived in Notting Hill since the early 1930s and nothing, certainly not Hitler, was going to force her to leave. Thus the outbreak of war in some respects made little difference to her life, but the beginning of the Blitz did - which is why she chose to start her published diaries on the day it began, 25 June 1940: 'Last night at about 1 a.m. we had the first air raid of the war on London. My room is just opposite the police station, so I got the full benefit of the sirens. It made me leap out of bed...'

The war continued for five more years, but Vere's comments on her work, friends, what was happening to London and the news ('We hold our breath over Crete', 'There is to be a new system of Warning') combine to make Few Eggs and No Oranges unusually readable. It is a long - 600 page - book, but a deeply engrossing one.

The TLS remarked: 'The diaries capture the sense of living through great events and not being overwhelmed by them... they display an extraordinary - though widespread - capacity for not giving way in the face of horrors and difficulties.' Meanwhile, the Tallahassee Democratic Review described Few Eggs as 'a classic book that still rings vibrant and helpful today... a heartwarming record of one articulate woman's coping with the war.'


On the endpaper we have used 'London Wall', a fragment of a Jacqmar scarf showing a brick wall as the background to the brightly-coloured slogans that were so much a part of wartime life.

Picture Caption

Post-war Notting Hill Gate by Marianne Von Werther (1904-84).

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Categories: Diaries History London Shopping WWII

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