August 2019

In August 1939 – 80 years ago at the time of writing – Britain was on the brink of war and families all over the country were preparing themselves for the second time in a century to say goodbye to their young men as they got ready for the forthcoming battle.  Preparations on the ‘home front’ were equally important – for the country as a whole, and for communities and individuals whose ways of life were to change forever, and it is this aspect of war-time Britain which we chose to explore in our first August cafe.

David and Margaret opened the afternoon by reading a poem recalling wartime experiences and this really set the scene. Many of our members have vivid memories of these times, or could recall stories from their parents’ generation, and there was great interest in the display which greeted them at the cafe.  Photographs, books and artefacts related to the many aspects of life at the time – evacuation, rationing, civil defence and the many roles taken up by women sparked memories of personal experiences for our older visitors, whilst the ‘youngsters’ amongst us were reminded that it affected us too, with a look at the post-war Britain, and a reminder that rationing continued until 1954!

Our guests also had the chance to tackle a word-search themed around ‘The War Years and Beyond’ as well as a word grid based on the letters of ‘Home Guard’.
Stimulated by the displays, over the next three quarters of an hour many memories were exchanged between our guests: we heard about the number of evacuees who were sent to local villages such as St Dennis and Tresillian, American servicemen based at St Eval, the girl who was evacuated twice because she didn’t like her first billet, and another of our friends who, as an eight year old, was holidaying in a converted bus at Porth when war was declared.  The recollections were so clear it was hard to believe they harked back eighty years! Some were keen to try on the wartime police helmet and there were some telling comments on how much healthier the restrictions of a rationed diet were than our sugar-laden foods of today.
It was soon time for tea and our refreshments kept us in touch with our war-time theme with the inclusion of some items reminiscent of those times – spam sandwiches, economy bacon and egg tart bulked out with breadcrumbs, cheese biscuits and rock buns were all sampled, along with the more ‘luxurious’ cakes and biscuits we’ve all come to expect!  One thing hadn’t changed since the war – a good old cup of tea!

For the last part of the afternoon everyone enjoyed a good ‘sing-song’ of familiar numbers from the past and we shared a laugh as David went through the possible answers to the word grid.  There was a last chance to look at the displays before it was time to ‘clear the decks’ once again.
We look forward to our next meeting on 19th August at Crantock Village Hall. New members are always welcome, and should you require further information please contact Di on 01637 830544, Joan on 01637 831347 or visit our website at