Contact Us

If you are connected to this family, do please contact us...

Email The Family

If you know of a family member, email them a link.




Contamination in the food chain

Contamination in the food chain

Up to 100% horsemeat has been found in several ranges of prepared frozen food in Britain, France and Sweden
Concerns that a drug used to treat horses, and which may be harmful to humans, could be in the food chain. Meat traced from France through Cyprus and the Netherlands to Romanian abattoirs
Investigation suggests adulteration was not accidental but the work of a criminal conspiracy

Ministers are struggling to reassure consumers over the horsemeat scandal after tests revealed potentially dangerous contamination of meat with veterinary drugs

On Thursday police arrested three men on suspicion of offences under the Fraud Act as part of their investigation into the mis-selling of horsemeat as beef. Dyfed Powys police said they were being held at Aberystwyth police station following arrests at abattoirs in Wales and Yorkshire.

Laboratories have been working round the clock, but with large supermarkets likely to have 300 to 500 affected product lines and multiple samples needed to confirm freedom from adulteration, the scale of the testing has proved overwhelming, according to experts.

The widening scandal has affected at least 12 countries and raised questions about the complexity of the food industry's supply chains across Europe. The scale of the crisis was underlined in France, where ministers said they believed the sale of horsemeat labelled as beef went on for six months and involved about 750 tonnes of meat.

I went into our local butcher today to buy a free range chicken, they have certificates on the counter showing the farms where all the meat comes from, all traceable, Romney Marsh lamb, Sussex beef etc all fairly local to this corner of the South East. They told me they have never been so busy and have the mincing machine going all day! Lots of new younger customers who they have never seen before who can't believe how reasonably priced the meat is! They now have a stand of free recipe cards to give away for the young mums who can't cook.. They usually cater for the pensioners who like to buy one chop, two rashers of bacon and two sausages at a time instead of trays full of stuff!! Business has never been so good!

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet
An Italian 1930's poster
Please send in more comments as this is one of the most popular pages world wide on the site together with Vegetrianism in WW1.
The subject of Vegetarianism prompts so much interest today

HG Wells built Spade House in Sandgate Kent where Janice has a house, George Bernard Shaw used to come to stay in the summer and the two men used to cycle down the hill into town. Also Henry James, Arnold Bennett and Joseph Conrad were all guests at the house and they were all Vegetarians. Our grandmother Gertrude Goldsmith Bird used to correspond with these men.

Spade House today

Spade House today

"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."
Anthony Bourdain


My sister Sue Childs working at Cranks in London was an important part of our vegetarian
and medical upbringing. Cranks was a reaction to the soft factory made
Bread and the use of pesticides additives and chemicals and the
beginnings of fast food....the recent BBC 4 programme covered the era of our
grandparents and great grandparents.When we lived in Southampton 1963-67
on our big bakers round we were the only family to have wholemeal bread
delivered daily. Thalia

Link to Cabinet magazine and the brief history of CRANKS ..... click to read article

When Cranks opened its first health oriented vegetarian restaurant in 1961 in Carnaby Street the British public laughed, only one now remains at Dartington Totnes, Devon where members of the Childs family live today. All the bread is baked locally with Organic flour, and all the food is sourced locally. The first restaurant was founded and owned by David and Kay Canter and Daphne Swann and its flagship restaurant was at Marshall Street in the West End of London.


Members of our family who have always remained vegetarian have moved back down to Totnes and Ashburton in Devon on their retirements,
the epicentre of Vegetarianism in the UK...


2nd wave Vegetarianism 1960's & '70's

2nd wave Vegetarianism 1960's & '70's


'There is no love sincerer than the love of food' George Bernard Shaw 1903


The scientific basis for vegetarianism was affected considerably by John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943). In America he administered the Battle Creek Sanatorium established by the Seventh Day Adventists Community, which became the most famous health institution of its time. As part of the Sanatorium's dietary programme, Kellogg created an assortment of meat substitutes and other vegetarian health foods, including breakfast cereals such as cornflakes.
By the beginning of the 20th century considerable advances were made in nutritional research including the discovery of vitamins. At the end of the First World War, civil rationing was introduced and this included meat rationing. Vegetarians used this opportunity to promote their recipes as an alternative to meat.

Herbal book - in the Childs family 's possession

Herbal book - in the Childs family 's possession
This little book dated 1709 is very fragile,
it was found wrapped in a bag from Maurice Childs' shop
so may have been in the family for sometime
Donated to Thalia from Susan Hancox (Childs)
Josias Morley lived in Yorkshire in the 1700's

Inside Cover

Inside Cover
Dispensator: One who dispenses medicines - Origins 1690–1700; dispensaria storeroom, equiv. to L dispens(are) to dispense + -aria -ary

Some recipes from the book

Some recipes from the book

Albene was exhibited at the 66th British Medical Association meeting in 1897 and was said to be a ' pure cocoanut fat ' containing no animal products.

Above recipe from George Black's Manual of Vegetarian Cookery


At Ideen, 81, Teignmouth Road we had an old herbal book.The only time I remember it being used was when dad who had marked recipes out in red pen so he could read them out to amuse us all at the family Xmas parties. It seemed an awful desecration to me to write in this old book.
It must have been Harry's or Gertie's and possibly in the family for previous generations
It had a black leather? cover .. Did it go to Normans when Gertie's room was
cleared after she died and on to auction with all his belongings..perhaps some one of our generation has it ? maybe some family names in the front.
It would be good to reproduce parts of it - does anyone have it in their possession? .... Thalia

My grandfather Harry Bird was a vegetarian, herbalist and Theosophist he sourced all his own raw materials for ointments, lotions and infusions to deal with health problems. I can remember wandering down the lanes with him on my holidays, picking elderflowers to wash our hair, nettles for soup and infusions and being sent out into the field at Mansands to pick dandelion leaves for salad. Marjoram, mint and coriander grew wild in those days plus borage, chervil , dill, lovage, chives, sage and thyme. Wild garlic was one of the first green vegetables available in Spring, also Lambs lettuce. All these plants were growing in the fields in Devon when I was a girl before we had the polution and chemical fallout of recent years. Pop used to pick wild basil which grew along the hedgerows and make tea and my aunt made cakes with caraway seeds. He also picked chickweed to use like cress. I remember most of the tastes were disgusting to me coming from a meat eating family. I can remember the foul smells in the Mansands kitchen when he was brewing up his concoctions.If my cousins and I were unwell we were made to lie in a darkened room with his herbal poultices wrapped in wet flannels on our foreheads and given camomile tea to calm us at bedtime.

See this link provided by a family member click

The first Food Reform Restaurant

The first Food Reform Restaurant

It was a natural pseudonym as he was a 'Wallaceite' following the Reform Diet and Health Regime of the organisation.

"Under the attractive and daintily displayed heading of "Living on Fruits and Vegetables," the Daily Mirror gives the portraits of Baron and Baroness Meyer, Lord Charles Beresford, commanding the Mediterranean Fleet, Lady Henry Somerset, Mr. George Bernard Shaw, and the Countess of Essex. Did we feel at liberty to do so, we could considerably add to the list of such names.

The Daily Mirror also tells us that:

"Vegetarianism has become so popular of late among the members of the peerage that no smart dinner is complete without a separate menu of "fad" dishes for the food reformer

The majority of noble vegetarians are known as "Wallaceites" or devotees of the system of food-reform introduced by Mr. Joseph Wallace. Their pet aversion are salt and all kinds of fermented foods. Lady Henry Somerset has been a most ardent follower of the new diet. Her menus include only bread, fruit, and vegetables. She believes that a vegetable diet for the masses would eliminate the drink evil. Lady Paget strongly advocates the use of apples as food. Lord Charles Beresford, fighting-man, says that he has become a convert to vegetarianism, and his youthfullness is attributed to a well regulated diet. Mr. George Bernard Shaw has made himself famous as a vegetarian by his flings at the meat-eating public. He has called meat-foods "scorched corpses" and has said that when he dies he wants all the animals he has not eaten to attend his funeral.

"Other prominent advocates of the vegetarian diet are the Countess of Essex, Lady Windsor, Lady Gwendolen Herbert, Lady Hamilton, Mrs. C. Leigh Hunt Wallace, and the Earl of Buchan."

One short story, ‘Vegetarian Vera’, by Frank Henty (28 January 1909), tells of tea taken by two young people on a first date. She is a vegetarian, he is not. The vegetarian restaurant to which she brings him is ridiculed for having in the first instance ‘no tea’. The man is therefore forced to have ‘Nut broth’ with ‘Hunky husks’ and ‘Gluten sticks’. The unfortunate meal, relationship and story end with the male losing his false teeth amongst the gluten stick and considering, ‘It is one thing to pursue a beautiful maiden for herself alone, and quite another to land oneself in a life wherein love and green-stuffs are inextricably linked.’

See also page 'The family in World War One' link to section

By the 1880s vegetarian restaurants were popular in London, offering cheap and nutritious meals in respectable settings, and vegetarian cookbooks abounded. Found in every quarter of the town, the names were cheerful, such as the Apple Tree, within the City precincts, The Orange Grove in St Martin’s Lane, The Porridge Bowl in Holborn, The Rose, Finsbury Way, The Waverley in the Borough, and not far from Oxford Street, the Wheatleaf. Porridge was one of the mainstays of the vegetarian regime and the choices afforded included maize-mash and wheaten porridge; but the piece de resistance was, naturally, the Scotch oatmeal. Other recipes available included: vegetable goose, stuffing minus the bird; lentil cutlet with tomato sauce; steak-pie in a vegetable form; rump-steak from pot herbs; and macaroni, in various forms, was always in favor. With desserts, there were few things which could not be made on vegetarian principles–though suet was not allowed, plum pudding could be made without it–plum porridge, made of boiled wheat, sweetened and spiced, and with raisins. By the standards set by the Vegetarian Society, all food was cooked with all vegetable salts retained, and with no salt, soda or other substances added.


There was a famous Vegetarian in Torquay, Dr George Black, who suggested that as white flour is not a whole-food and is detrimental to health, because it has the wheatgerm and bran removed, so the Pitman Health Food Company should sell wholemeal biscuits; wholemeal macaroni; brown undressed rice, brown barley instead of white and pearl barley.Knowing the detrimental effects of tea and coffee on people's health, Pitman Dandelion Coffee, made from dried roasted roots was introduced. At about the same time various fruit and nut cakes were sold.

For several years Dr Black had a home at Belstone on Dartmoor named " Dartmoor House" His cook Miss Densham cooked delicious vegetarian meals which were admired by visitors. In 1908 he published a 122 page book of vegetarian recipes. The preface notes that his address was " Greta Bank" Greenway Road Chelston Torquay where according to the trade directory of 1911 he was practicing as a medical doctor. He wrote " Torquay as a Health Resort " whilst residing at this address. The size and scale of the villas, a number of which have been subsequently subdivided, represent an important example of the type of development that attracted the wealthy late Victorian middle-classes to Torquay, with room for large families, servants, and with outbuildings, such as carriage houses.

1911 Census
George Black 57 born Edinburgh Medical Practitioner
Marion Black 51 born Newcastle on Tyne
Stuart Gordon 20 born Torquay
Gladys Mary 16 born Torquay
Freda Muriel 14 born Torquay
Jane Reid 73 born Gateshead Mother in law
A Cook and 2 Servants living in

There were advertisements in the book for vegetarian products and a list of guest houses and establishments which catered for vegetarians.

Dartmoor House

Dartmoor House

From A Manual of Vegetarian Cookery - George Black

From A Manual of Vegetarian Cookery - George Black

Kathleen Keleny, was a Quaker and lifelong vegetarian . Her father James Henry Cook opened England's first health food shop in Birmingham about hundred years ago. Kathleen Keleny ran the vegetarian guest-house 'Coombe Lodge' for many years In 1996, Kathleen wrote a book where she tells the very interesting story of her life, the beginning of food reform and of the first vegetarian restaurant and hotel in Britain, which was run by her father James Henry Cook. 'The First Century of Health Foods', either seen through the eyes of her father or through her own .

J H Cook

J H Cook

Book published in 1904

Book published in 1904
The Pitman Vegetarian Hotel was a vegetarian hotel that opened in 1898 in the County Buildings (now Grade II* listed), Corporation Street, Birmingham, England, as an expansion of a vegetarian restaurant on the same site. The manager was James Henry Cook. According to his daughter, Kathleen Keleny, it was named after Sir Isaac Pitman, then vice-president of the Vegetarian Society. It was still operating in the 1930s. The hotel was named after Sir Isaac Pitman, inventor of Pitman Short-hand, who had been a Vegetarian for 60 years, and at the time was the best known vegetarian in England.

The Vegetarian meals were an immediate success hundreds of people lunched at the hotel daily, and many of the hotel visitors became Vegetarians. The customers started asking for food which they could take home with them (a precedent of the modern take-away?). This was how the title 'Health Food Store' was coined by customers asking for foods for health. The hotel produced simple and appetising foods from nuts, cereals, fruits and vegetables to take the place of meat, lard, butter, cheese and jelly made from animals. They were trying to provide a curative diet which would help people to know what to eat for health and long life, and at the same time give freedom to animals.

The same proprietor ran the Pitman Health Food Co. (also called Pitman Reform Food Stores) at Aston Brook Street, Birmingham, advertising in 1909 as "The Largest Health Food Dealers in the World". Selling direct and by mail order, it manufactured meat-free products including Pitman Sea-Side Paste, Pitman Savoury Nut Meat, Nuto Cream, Brazose Meat, Vigar Extract, Vegsal Soups and Fruitarian Cakes and wafers. It also sold cooking utensils such as the Pitman Steam Cooker, a multilevel boiler and steamer.

Mahatma Gandhi is known to have received jars of Nuto Cream and Nuto Cream Soup from the company.

Listed in Mrs. Mill’s Reform Cookery Book were the addresses of vegetarian and health food stores, where the Edwardian vegetarian could shop for Hovis health bread or flour, vegetable meats, Muesli, or other vegetable- or nut-based products. In London, the selection of stores included The Food Reform Restaurant, J.F. Croal, and Mapleton’s Nut Food Company. Vegetarian stores were available in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester–such as the Pitman Stores in Birmingham and Chapman’s Health Foods Depot in Liverpool. Even Scottish vegetarians were able to shop wisely and healthily in such stores as Edinburgh’s Heath Foods Depot, and Glasgow’s The Health Food Supply

Pitman Health Food Company c 1920

Pitman Health Food Company c 1920
We have in possession these photographs of Pitman Health Company we think taken about 1920. The photographs are of the building also Mr J.H.Cook with members of his staff. My mother is on the far left of the photograph. We think she was about 23 years old.

With grateful thanks to Derek Benton !

Perhaps the family used some of Miss Tuxford's vegetarian recipes from her 'Food Reform Cookery Pages' which included Nut Steaks, Haricot Roast, Vegetable Stew and Nut Balls and Cheese Pudding, Chestnut Soup and Mushroom Rolls ....



From the 'Mrs Mill Reform Diet Cook Book' there were recipes using German and Prussian lentils which were recommended as being 'quite different from the ordinary yellow kind' being exceedingly savoury and "meaty" in flavour. They were very cheap at 2d per lb. and available from all Wallaceite Registered PR Specialist stores. (PR = Physical Regineration) These were a range of foods practically unlimited which were pure and wholesome and guaranted free from such deleterious substances or aldulterants as yeast, chemicals, artificial colouring matter, mineral salt etc. If found difficult to obtain from the various Health Food Depots they could be procurred directly from the Headquaters at 466 Battersea Park Road London.

'Bakery' products were also available including Oaten Shortcakes, customers could obtain 5s worth of cakes and biscuits carriage paid to any part of the United Kingdom direct from Headquaters. Perhaps Harry sold these in his bakery shop at 215 Vauxhall Bridge Road.


Thousands of grateful consumers by their daily use of Vejola, F.R. Nut.
Meat, Meatose, Nutmeatose, and Nutvejo, &c., endorse the verdict
of the best judges that there are no other Nut Meats equal to them for
Roasts, Stews, Pies, Hashes, Sandwiches, Chops, Steaks, and Rissoles.
Sample of any one of these sent for 8d., post free.


Idealists will also find an ideal food in Nut Cream Rolls and
Biscuits. They are made from choice nuts converted into a rich cream,
mixed with a finely stone-ground wheatmeal, containing all the nutritious
elements of the golden wheatberry. This makes them the most nourishing and
concentrated food obtainable. Made in 30 varieties. Assorted sample 1/-
post free. Procure a packet now,

Also get samples of the L. N. F. Co.'s Nut and Fruit Cakes, Genoa Cakes,
Malted Nut and Fruit Caramels, Chocolate Nut and Fruit Dainties, and our
wonderful new Savoury Nut Meat, NUTTORIA, which you will enjoy

Samples of above five last-named foods sent for 2/6 post Free.


The London Nut Food Co., WALLACE BAKERIES

465, Battersea Park Road, London, S.W.

Reform Food Cookbook For the 20th Century

Reform Food Cookbook For the 20th Century
A quote from the book
"We could live without poets, we could live without books,
But how in the world could we live without cooks."
In London in 1875 a Dietetic Reform Society was formed. Members abstained from alcohol and tobacco as well as being vegetarian. This was followed by the London Food Reform Society in 1877. A young doctor named T R Allinson was a member of the Society. Later, the Society dropped the word "London" from its title and became the National Food Reform Society. This led to some antagonism with the Vegetarian Society, but the National Food Reform Society merged with the Vegetarian Society in 1885, and it then became the London branch of the Vegetarian Society. Problems followed, and in 1888 the London branch broke away from the Vegetarian Society and formed the London Vegetarian Society, which soon flourished as a second national society. A paper known as The Vegetarian was brought out in 1888 and was followed by the Vegetarian News in 1921.

Harry Bird's three sons fought in the second world war. Norman remained a strict vegetarian and must have had the best diet in the whole of the armed forces. Special food parcels were flown in and dropped at his camps when he was serving in Africa. The other two had to live on the scraps and stale bread rations like the rest of the battalion.

Also in the war John Rothermel Watson and Florence were posted to Grantham in Lincs to manage the Pharmacy in the High Street. This was very near Sleaford where Harry Bird had been born and had relatives, so he and Dorothy came to visit. They were very against their meat eating pharmacist son in law, who went totally against their principles. Thalia , Florence's sister was also posted to the area to work in a factory, there were many military bases in Lincolnshire. She was a vegetarian of course. Irving Slome used to come up and stay to see Thalia and it was difficult to feed everybody. Irving used to have oranges flown in from South Africa, John and Florence used to say in part payment for medical fees in his practice in Harley Street. He used to bring the consignment up to Grantham. John had an allocation of sugar syrup to make medicines in the Dispensary so between the four of them they would make jars of marmalade on his visits and felt very priviledged as no one else had eaten it for years!

At 81 Teignmouth Road we used to pick raspberry leaves, dry them put them into sealed jars and make raspberry tea ,used for period pains. also Valerian was used for a sleeping potion and Penny Royal for pains too. We used to dry dandelion roots to make dandelion coffee, quite common during the war, dandelion leaves in salads too.
We were all given a drink of senna pods soaked weekly, very common during childhood at that time. I remember Gertrude buying Myrrh in Torquay Thalia

What is Myrrh?
Myrrh is an aromatic spiny shrub with yellow-red flowers, followed by pointed, ellipsoid fruits.
It is a pungent, stimulating, astringent, calminative, astringent and aromatic herb, that has good antiseptic and expectorant properties. It is useful to relieve spasms, assist healing, fight inflammation, and reduce digestive discomfort. It has a long history of external application, to treat infected wounds, bronchial complaints, sinusitis and minor skin inflammations, as well as inflammation of the throat, gums and mouth, including mouth ulcers, gingivitis and stomatitis.
It is great for the stomach and the mouth, while also acting as a uterine stimulant. It promotes menstruation.

Myrrh Tree

Myrrh Tree

Vegetarian Society Meeting Torquay

Vegetarian Society Meeting Torquay
Link to Vegetarian Society

The Victorian diet is usually thought of as containing a lot of meat with rich people banqueting on peacocks, quails, swans and whales, and the poor trying to get hold of bacon to go with their potatoes. This makes it quite a surprise to find that the Vegetarian Society was started in 1847. In fact in the 1870s Manchester had more vegetarian restaurants than it does today. Victorians had several reasons for being vegetarian, like vegetarians do today. One reason was religion. Some priests quoted the Bible saying that man should not eat flesh. (Genesis 9.3). They also said that as God was in everything so to kill anything was like killing a little bit of God. People also believed that since meat-eating animals were ferocious, eating no meat would make you calm. People also thought that it was better for your health, and several groups suggested that if people didn't drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or eat meat they would have the best chance of health


The vegetarian societies had begun to make representations to government during 1937, and in a series of negotiations that continued between 1939 and 1942 certain concessions were gained, chiefly the additional supply of cheese and fats and a special allowance of nuts. Some 50,000 registered as vegetarians during the war, though this number is known to include some from families who took up a vegetarian ration book so as to get extra cheese. Many vegetarians look back on this official recognition and see it as an important stage in the wider acceptance of the diet, They look back also with favour on the war-time diet itself, since with its brown bread and high vegetable content, and with its low levels of meat and sugar, it embodied many of their own ideals.

Lilian in the kitchen

Lilian in the kitchen
OUR DIET AS CHILDREN (Maurice Childs side)

Our family were vegetarians. Gertrude and Harry Bird started it on health and moral grounds. It was very unusual in the 1930's and 40's. We used to go to meetings of the Vegetarian Society with speakers from Britain and abroad. We took a monthly Vegetarian magazine which had news of events and meetings and reports of scientific papers.
It was explained to us about the massive amounts of sugar in Coca Cola and soft drinks and we never drank these throughout our childhood. We had tea, water, welfare orange, fresh fruit juice, cocoa and home made lemonade, juice peel and all. We were not encouraged to drink milk but ate lots of cheese and yoghurt.
We were well off but mother would only buy worthwhile good food, no rubbish. My dad came from a very traditional meat eating family from Yorkshire. He was a convert to all this and took it up with enthusiasm. Years later he took up the irradiation of food with his MP and MEP.
The fact that our family cared so much about our health made us feel very precious and loved. Our food was never overcooked and never with too much salt and we went easy on sugar. We really enjoyed our food, ate everything and had no dislikes or fads because meals were enjoyable sociable times. I never hankered for foods we were not allowed to eat as it was all explained to us so well by our parents. We felt privileged.
We ate fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, honey, nuts, eggs, butter, kosher margarine, cashew nut butter, peanut butter, marmite, bread, rice, beans, lentils, dried fruit and nut bars made by Mapletons. Our yoghurt was home made in circle octagonal glass pots in a stainless steel frame in the airing cupboard every night using a culture from the previous day. When this became weak we sent for some fresh culture from Paris by post. No one else I knew was eating yoghurt at that time. It was explained to us that it was good for our gut flora. Our rich milk from Devonshire cows was delivered daily to our door in glass bottles.
Twice a week we went to the yeast shop near Castle Circus. We bought the yeast to make up for the B vitamins which we missed for not eating meat. We used to eat it with a spoon of soft brown sugar and loved it. We had Bircher Benner Swiss Muesli for breakfast, not like the packet stuff today. Grated apple, pears, bananas or other fruit freshly put on top with almonds, peanuts, cashew or coconut with the creamy top of the fresh Devon milk. We had no fridge so cream cheese was made with the sour milk. During the war we got our meat/bacon ration in extra cheese.
We ate whole grain bread and Allinsons Wholemeal bread from the Bakery of my aunt Dorothy in Kingskerswell, or home made by my mother. We rarely ate tinned food just occasionally tinned tomatoes, pineapples or baked beans.
We ate food grown in our garden fertilised by our compost heap. We had an orchard with 24 apple trees, a greengage tree, 5 tzar plum trees, 6 pear trees, 4 damson trees and a bed of raspberries, 5 gooseberry bushes and black red and white currants. Also rhubarb and strawberries. Blackberries and loganberries crept over the garden walls. There was an air raid shelter which we used to play in which was dark and dank. It was later concreted over and made into a pond. Some of the fruit was bottled in Kilner jars and kept under the stairs for winter. We stored apples in the spare bedroom. We also had wicker hampers of compost grown fruit and vegetables delivered weekly.

Weekly organic veg boxes have become popular again, nothing is new. My grandmother was very concerned about DDT which was eventually banned in the 1960's. There was a political aspect to our food choices. The idea of making money out of sugared water and rubbish food was offensive especially with the consequent health problems.
So many of the things we enjoyed then have now become accepted by many people today.

In the Orchard we made a dry cinder path to the compost heap and the vegetable patch with the daily ashes from the fire. I'm sure lots of people will remember doing that,
none of this paving and decking...the rainfall could drain through it and with a bit of neglect it would soon disappear. We tiptoed more gently on the world in those days.
Dad sold off the orchard without any consultation with the family as it was bordered by 100 yds of unadopted road which was expensive to maintain. We were all devastated as the whole area was concereted over and a new bungalow was built. Gradually over the years the same thing happened to surrounding houses and a lovely leafy area became new housing.


The Orchard
A place where the rains would seldom fall-
And Logans sprawled on the bottom wall-
Of stones re-radiating all,
An unremitting sun.

The formal paths once laid to plan were lost to weed and sod,
Whilst still the stump was trim to line, beside the bomb-house screed.
And as we'd leapfrog over it, close by the shelter wall.
My thoughts might turn to wondering what fruit it may have borne.

Convolvulus and grasses twined, their host straight raspberry canes,
And all were jostling for the light, a growth race to the sky,
Set there between this thicket weave, his 'nest' of yellowed straw.
Smooth, concave, a semi-shell, habitually reformed.

In my mind he slumbers still a-toastng in the sun,
A black contented tight-rolled ball of lightly heaving fur.
And if awakened from his doze, he'd yawn and curl his tongue,
While arching and shud - shivering as consciousness returned.
The pear tree leaned to offer all, along its twisting boughs
And some were down and mushed right through, they smelled like cider wine
Through the day the wasps would call, and make their cautious steal
Between the leaves till darkness came, to sully each new fruit.

Then when to nests they'd all repaired, I'd lie grass tall around
Much like staying of machines, the silence would resound.
And that was when I'd have my time, before true darkness came
To crawl along the boughs and seek my own unspoiled share.

Decisions made and cases put to no avail
A date was set and would be met, destruction would prevail
The tractor tugged, it fumed all day, they yielded one by one,
Trees all out and on their sides, leaves limply drooping down.

Maurice Bird

I gave up being a non meat eater but held fast to the healthy food ideas.
I changed from being a vegetarian without ditching my ideas on healthy
food. A change I was never able to explain or share with dad or mother.
At a birthday party in primary school I ate a cheap fish paste sandwich
made with white bread and margarine. This experience confirmed my vegetarianism.
Then at 17 I went to France with Vina my friend and got very bored with the way
the wonderful French family coped with me being a vegetarian...They gave
me a rich pastry cheesy thing at every meal. I loved the food and the
long sociable meals, but this was a bit tedious.
Soon after I begged and bullied dad to let me have a student holiday
under canvas in Yugoslavia. I went by train and boat... We camped under
and between the grapevines and ate our meals in the open on a terrace. I
could not resist moussaka and stuffed peppers with tomato and onion
salad in wine vinegar and olive oil with fresh bread.
I still cook those meals to day...It was amazing and healthy with fresh
figs and fruit ..It was very exciting to share meals with Russians and
Serbs and other foreign students. So when I met Ian it was not so
shocking to eat a little meat but still retain much of the ideals of my
childhood. It took Ian a bit of time to adjust and meet me half way.Ian's
mother did things like stewed heart...he had a traditional diet as did my father before he met Lillian.

DespIte my scepticism about advertising I was duped for a while in the 1970s to give up butter and move to large tubs of ghastly margarine...also the cereal manufacturers managed to put porridge in a very negative light and I gave it up for a while. Recently in a cafe in carmarthen whilst ian was in hospital I ordered a jacket potato with butter and salad and they served it up with a dollop of slimy margarine and I was reminded how much I hated margarine. Thalia


In the 70's when I worked in the research labs at Middlesex Hospital we routinely took our own bloods for comparisons in clinical trials. The two vegetarians in our group consistently had completely different readings to the rest of us - year in, year out. Vegetarianism wasn't as popular as it is today, we never thought to investigate so nothing was done about it. These people's samples were just 'different' . We never included them in our 'normal' comparisons in our clinical research. I wonder if anything has been researched recently on this interesting topic? SE (friend of Janice)

The question is; Are vegetarians more intelligent than omnivores, or do more intelligent people chose to be vegetarians?
There was a British cohort study measuring the IQ's of 17,198 children when they were 10 years of age born in April 1970 . The vegetarians amongst them had a higher than average IQ than the non vegetarians. At 30 the remaining vegetarians in the study had a higher than average IQ than the average of the larger group when they were 10. As most had had higher education and had only become vegetarians as teenagers their vegetarianism may have been due to lifestyle choices linked to education, rather than a cause of higher intellect. The results therefore are inconclusive.

The forbidden drink in our house!
In our family (Maurice Childs' side) the compost heap was a religious icon & Coca Cola the devil itself - a sugar water rip off - a capitalist plot, or words to that effect........

"You can get Coca Cola all around the World but you can't get clean water" Annie Lennox


A modern day Vegetarian - Linda McCartney

A modern day Vegetarian - Linda McCartney
" I don't eat anything with a face"