Eating Like a Bird

From Ngaire’s journal, 23rd April 1958
Carol had the day off school as she is to make her debut this evening.We had our hair set, did some shopping and returned home. We cleaned the house and prepared the dinner – baked ham, roast vegetables and greens, trifle and fruit salad.
Fortunately Mrs Shasky came in and helped Carol and me to dress, otherwise we should have been late.”

Caroline as a debutante

Caroline as a debutante

She certainly doesn’t look as though she’s just done some shopping, cleaned the house and eaten a good square meal – baked ham no less – followed by trifle and fruit salad.

I have a mental image of Mrs Shasky (the next door neighbour of tomato sauce fame) with her foot in the small of Mum’s back trying to get the zip done up. It’s all very ‘Gone With The Wind’.

“I wish to Heaven I was married,” she said resentfully as she attacked the yams with loathing… “I’m tired of acting like I don’t eat more than a bird…”  Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind.

The Bride Flight

From Ngaire’s journal, 11th October 1953 (more of the Great Air Race)
We arose at 5.40 am and arrived at Harewood at 6.20 am just in time to see the Dutch aeroplane land. A great crowd of Dutch folk had congregated waving flags and singing. One young bride-to-be, as soon as she was fumigated, rushed to meet her lover who, against all orders, rushed across the grounds to meet her. It did not matter to them that thousands of people watched them embrace. I baked scones for tea as we were running short of bread.”

ApparMy beautiful pictureently, the Dutch plane was nicknamed the ‘Bride Flight’ because it was carrying a number of Dutch brides-to-be fleeing Holland in the wake of World War II.  Fleeing into the arms of ‘strait-laced New Zealand menfolk’ if everything I read is to be believed.

In 2008, Dutch director Ben Sombogaart made a movie about the flight, based on the bestselling book Bruidsvlucht by Marieke van der Pol.
I’m going to track it down and watch it because I have to know if they included the fumigating.

In the meantime, if I’m going to stay true to my mission, I suppose I should go and bake scones.

Bruidsvlucht! (Just needed to say that again.)

The Last Great Air Race ( and a Nice Hot Dinner)

 From Ngaire’s journal, 10th October 1953  (the first of the ‘Great Air Race’ competititors arrive in Christchurch)
What a day!!! At midnight we had a meal of bacon, eggs and tomato and coffee…At 2am we left, taking with us rugs and hot water bottles, sandwiches and ‘Thermos’ flasks of tea…At 5 am we learned that the first ‘Canberra’ aircraft was approaching so we had a meal and then stood out in the driving sleet and waited until about 5.36am when it arrived. It was totally thrilling to see it and to know that it had come all the way from London in a few minutes less than 24 hours. Marvellous!!
Just over ½ hour later (6.14am) the second ‘Canberra’ arrived. Then the third came at 6.27am. We watched them all line up and the men from the Dept of Agriculture sprayed them with disinfectant. We smiled at this when we thought of the weather any microbe had passed through. When we arrived home at 7.15 am we had a cup of tea and then retired to bed. I had put a roast of beef in the oven with vegetables and left it to cook. At 1.45pm we all wakened refreshed and had a hot dinner at 3 pm. We went again to Harewood at 730pm and waited to see the arrival of the British Vickers “Viscount”. This caused great excitement. Instead of coming from the nor-west like the others, it came from the east with its lights flashing causing a great sensation as it circled the ‘drone before landing.”

I love the entries in Ngaire’s journal about the Great Air Race – she is so thrilled by the whole event. Of course, I especially love that she has more to say about the food than the aeroplanes. Ngaire firmly believed that nothing could be achieved on an empty stomach, no matter what the time. It’s a trait she’s passed on – we all have a strong inclination to travel with sandwiches and thermos just in case and can get very antsy if we don’t know where the next meal is coming from.

Speaking of which, it’s dinner time so I must go and conjure something up. If only I’d thought to pop a roast of beef in the oven with vegetables and left it to cook.

More on The Great Air Race tomorrow.

Image from Last Great Air Race: London – Christchurch 1953, The by Robin Bromby

Happy Birthday Ngaire

From Ngaire’s journal, 23rd September 1950
My 45th birthday – dear me.
It has been a beautiful day – at Church we had the Spring Festival where the Sanctuary was beautifully decorated with blossom.
Gerald and the children presented me with a beautiful cameo brooch, Phyllis gave me a lovely blue silk lock-knit underslip and Mother a set of biscuit forcers.”