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Vegetarianism Message Forum

VEGETARIANISM Discussion Forum

Like SECRETS this issue appears to have affected four and now even five generations of our family

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To be or not to be?

To be or not to be?
Take a look and decide !

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Tom Campbell's home grown veg

Tom Campbell's home grown veg

Peaches in Thalia & Ian's chapel garden

Peaches in Thalia & Ian's chapel garden
Because Dad converted to Vegetarianism ....Our house carried on the beliefs and traditions with Gertrude and Lillian keeping it all going whereas others who married continuing meat eaters or people with a social status to keep up had these beliefs and practices diluted or discontinued to a greater or lesser degree. I think Maurice probably found it quite difficult at times!

There were chrome water fountains where fresh water from the resevoirs on Dartmoor was available all day. Younger generations will not know this.

One thing I remember about the Vegetarian Society meetings was one member had a dog that they made a vegetarian . I must admit as a child I felt this was wrong, vegetarian dog! We had a cat but it ate fish . I used to go and buy whiting at the local fish shop, we had them in every town in those days. we used to boil it for ages in a special old saucean...

"As quite young child I was curious and did ask questions about the
loose ends of vegetarianism which did not add up.Why and how could we
wear leather shoes ? They had beautiful high quality leather shoes in
the bottom of the wardrobe... I remember asking mum that as she plaited
my hair ready for school. I loved my Clarks leather sandals. Some
members of our local Vegetarian Society did not wear leather shoes...
And how could we use milk and dairy products without calves dying? I
must have been a pain but it was never acriminious.|Just a child/young
person asking questions.All children ask mind blowing often pretty
unanswerable questions, including my grandchildren....
I remember sitting in the top of the Tzar plum tree covered in sticky
plum juice asking my self where did the universe end? What was beyond
the stars!We could see the stars better in those days!! I did not ask
anyone as I thought there were no answers...God was never an answer to me...
I still have that childhood curiousity.
I started eating meat before I met Ian. It was in Paris, street food
and Yugoslavia, mediterrnean food....
When I was teaching the most heartbreaking thing was to see that
curiousity in children destroyed. Difficult questions to adults and
heated political discussions with cousins are not hatred...Always being
"Nice" is the root of lots of misunderstandings and shallow friendships.
I remember With Miss Wilkinson and other teachers at TGGS s "Nice" was
frowned on as lazy in written work and in life.....Nice was often
underlined in red with red comments about use your imagination you can
do better"

Just before mother died dad telephoned me. Ian and I drove down and were
able to spend time with her. The home had obviously stopped her
medication. She had been totally uncommunicative for several years. She
did not even register any recognition when previously I put her
grandchildren on her knee. I also saw her eating fish and meat she was
so drugged. She would never have eaten meat or fish!
We were delighted we were able to talk with her almost the first time
since she had been admitted to the home. We had a happy time sharing
memories and I was able to thank her for our happy childhood and say
goodbye. Thalia

Once mother retired and was in poor health every single day like a broken gramophone record she blamed the family for forcing her to be a Vegetarian and how it ruined her life especially socially with her dancing. Alastair

I married into a vegetarian family, very fit very healthy, with a clean smelling house. As a biologist I could never accept that some living things have more value than others. Our diet is as low impact as possible but at our age food is a lasting pleasure, quality, not quantity, mainly locally sourced.

Warren's recollection of being brought up as a vegetarian is of his grandmother Gertrude being a rather cruel woman when he was a child. They were fed on leaves and herbs all the week and on a Saturday morning were made to drink salt water to make them sick and were later given an enema pump to 'cleanse the system'. Nothing ever came out as they had eaten nothing of substance all week

My own stepson is pretty fundamentalist about Vegetarianism at the moment. But I'm also happy that I'm no longer in that fundamentalist camp as it's freed me to go out without panicking about not being able to eat anything. I think I've managed to throw off that mantle of superiority now. Catholics don't have to argue their side do they? Everyone seems to be so afraid to engage in discussions about their beliefs but vegetarians are good for a dig and a poke and constant questioning.
I'm surrounded by vegetarians at work I'm pleased that they're embracing the faith!!

This is interesting my mother felt guilty all her life because of her upbringing as a vegetarian and felt she had ill health and died because of her diet, I'm shocked how it seemed to affect the family psychologically and their social lives Janice
Full story on Vegetarianism and Health main page.

I had vegetarianism explained to me well by my grandmother and mother, hence my positive attitude.
Mother went to Shapleys the grocers and left an order early in the week and
it was delivered in a cardboard box on Friday ..... the sugar was in a sack
and weighed and measured into blue bags ...the cheese cut from a large
cheese with a wire. wrapped in grease proof paper...there was a delicious
smell of fresh coffee roasting in the shop window turning round in a perforated metal drum. All we vegetarians enjoyed of this was the smell we did not drink coffee, mother used Prewett's stone ground flour to bake her own bread. We moved to another grocer later. fruit and veg came from Mr Rowe in Belgrave Road.There were family accounts at most of the shops we used. The rag and bone man came round with his horse and cart calling out 'rag and bones'.we used to rush out with shovel and bucket to collect the horse dung to put on the rhubarb... We had a man to do the veg patch in the orchard at certain times in the year spring time.

Heaven knows what my grandmother (Gertrude Goldsmith) would think of BSE, iradiated food, intensive factory farming, antibiotics fed to animals in their feed. Beefburgers, salty sugary snacks, rotting chicken sold to schools and hospitals and Mc Donalds!! The founders of the Co-Op the Rochdale Pioneers fought to sell pure products at reasonable prices. In their day 1840's sugar was adulterated with sand and flour mixed with chalk.

It's funny we tried a meat free diet on a few occasions, but the longest spell was when our daughters decided not to eat meat in their teens. We were quite strict for a few years, our eldest daughter still prefers not to eat meat but her husband is a big meat eater and he does most of the cooking so I imagine she eats it sometimes. But I don't know of any older family members being vegetarians. Being a country girl I do think there are many good cure's in the hedgerows also. Val (Mary Ann Goldsmith's granddaughter)

Dad told me some wealthy Vegetarians in Torquay were planning to buy The Isle of Pines,
part of Cuba and set up an idealistic Vegetarian Community .. This must have been in the 1940s / 1950s.. He pooh poohed joining this scheme but to me he seemed a bit tempted?. I think he found being a shop keeper left him a little unfulfilled.. He told us when he was in the hospice he resented his father putting him in the shop!! But It certainly gave us a comfy Childhood. He told me all their Cuban plans came to an abrupt end with the Castro Revolution and The island became a place for the Cuban Youth Movement!!! It shows how way out and adventurous some vegetarians were!!!.. And it
carries on ....They probably belonged to the local Vegetarian Society we attended. You can see the wealth in that photo of the Meeting sculpture, paintings etc... Thalia

My parents were never vegetarians but my grandparents and great grandparents were. I feel I was always inclined that way though, I never actually liked eating meat. When I was at Primary School in Scarborough we were forced to eat everything. I used to hide the meat behind the radiator so that I could leave the table. At home I would eat white meat and some bacon. I really took it on when I was a teenager, partly because basically I didn't like having meat in my mouth and also the state of farming and cruelty to animals. Believe it or not I went to Catering College and actually finished the course. We had to pluck ducks, skin rabbits and fillet fish I don't know how I did it now. I didn't take catering up as a career as went into the computer industry and film making. I travel around the world with my work & I haven't had too many difficulties in finding suitable food, except perhaps in the Eastern bloc - especially Russia - where I had to live on beetroot soup. Even this sometimes had meat in it and I had to send it back!


From Studley to Cambridge, flat as far as the eye can see
In the July sunshine ploughed fields like a black velvet sheet.
Mauve and white potatoes , barley, wheat, fat hen in the beet.
Where is space for the wildflower, food for the bird and the bee?
A picnic at the road side, bathed in sticky sweet pesticide,
choking with streaming eyes as the giant machine roars by.

No more DDT, but the poisoned fields still feed you and me.
Rachel Carson with Silent Spring led the way, she had her say
Surreal green rye grass, creeping death to the meadow and wood,
and death to the riotious flowery hedges of my childhood.
Gardens weedkilled, paved and decked, wildlife severely checked
Carnivorous pets stalk our gardens, full of well fed energy
Bird alarm calls mistaken for songs joyous and free
Nestlings die before they learn to fly

On one day we filled in the forms for the RSPB
to let them know how many birds we could see.
The RSPB founded so long ago, by those with vision to see
birds are better wild and free in bush and tree
The caged song birds in the market place, those old ways ,
On mantelpieces dusty glass domes, those dead glass eyes, those old days
Stuffed birds and handsome feathers decorating hats ,
lifted in the breeze as fashionable women strutted with men in spats

Across oceans in Australia they studied and found ,
The more dogs around the less birds and wildlife abound
especially those which live near the ground
The carnivorous smells, noise and stress, wildlife sixty percent less.

A massacre around the warm Mediterrean sea
The crack and spit of guns clean the sky
of everything that can fly
a hoopoe glimpsed in a fig tree,
the soaring honey buzzard in the hot blue sky
only minutes, at most a few hours before they die.

The children in the schools care with graffitti on the bus shelter they cry
“It's your world in which we grow and we shall grow to hate you”
The birds don't belong to you. They are our birds too.
Say younger generations and other nations.

Thalia Campbell - August 2008 ©

In hommage to Gertrude M. Goldsmith & Florence Rainford who opened my eyes.

Apples across the Sea.

You ripen in July, so good to eat , a big apple, floury yellowy green and sweet,
a heart shaped delicate apple with broad shoulders and narrow base.
We never knew your name, in our old Devon orchard your juice ran down our faces
After the war you grew with strawberries round your feet
Mother put out a box of your windfalls for the local school boys to eat.

In the 1970s you all had to go. The orchard was sold and concreted over for a bungalow
I was at college, getting married, teaching and having kids.
Never found an apple like you again, shop apples became boringly all the same.
Until I met a Canadian on our WILPF Peace Train
she invited me to Canada to talk and sew , banners about Peace and Justice and how we love nature so
I went to White Rock, Hornby Island,Vancouver, Squamish and Victoria more British than home.
On Salt Spring Island were the Graves of escaped slaves, a little old wooden school left as it was
and the grand wooden home for a marriage that was never fufilled .
His bride sailed from Britain when she saw how her life in the wilderness would be
she sailed back home as soon as could be.
In a garden in Vancouver well past July I found you again leaning over a wall
your fruit scattered all over the road and the lawn, with those brown blotting paper bruises I remembered so well. In time and space your taste cast a spell
The peace activist's family came from came from Totnes to Canada several generations ago.
A runaway marriage, a real upsetting of the social apple cart
of a servant girl with her Lord with an estate by the River Dart.,
Did they meet secretly under your tree? Did you last the voyage?
Were you a thown away pip or core, you their bit of Devon for ever more.

Thalia Campbell March 2010 ©

A Wild Calendar

Frost softened rosehips
Judas ear fungus
Dandelion leaves
Pine needles

Dandelion leaves
Wild chervil
Wood sorrel

Wild garlic
Garlic mustard
Sea kale
Sea beet
Fat hen
Lime leaves

Hogweed shoots
Hop shoots
Hawthorn leaves

Wild fennel
Sea lettuce

Lime flowers
Marsh samphire
Sea purslane
Sea beet
Sea lettuce

Marsh samphire
Rock samphire
Green walnuts

Rock samphire
Marsh samphire
Wild cherries

Mushrooms galore


Pine needles

Pine needles
Sea beet
Sea purslane
Judas ear fungus