God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Winter 1947

It’s January 1947 and I’m 4½ years old. During the winter of 1946–47 the UK experienced several cold spells, beginning on 21 January 1947, bringing the severest snowfalls for 150 years to the country. Roads were closed and railways became blocked. Coal supplies, already low following the Second World War, struggled to get through to power stations and many were forced to shut down due to lack of fuel. The government introduced several measures to cut power consumption, including restricting domestic electricity to 19 hours per day and cutting industrial supplies completely. Radio broadcasts were limited, and some magazines were ordered to stop being published; newspapers were cut in size. Public morale was very low due to these measures and the Minister of Fuel and Power received death threats and had to be placed under police guard. Towards the end of February there were also fears of a food shortage as supplies were cut off and vegetables frozen into the ground.

Imagine frost on the inside of the bedroom windows! We had no central heating, just one coal fire in the front room. At night Mum would find as many blankets as she could, after which it was coats to keep us warm. The bedroom floor was covered in linoleum, not carpet, so our feet felt as if they would stick to the cold floor when we walked. I recall going with Mum to the coal merchant and pretending that I was someone else’s little girl so that Mum could get an extra bag of fuel. So two bags of coal were loaded into the baby’s pram (he wasn’t in it at the time!)

It was grim! It has gone down in history as one of the severest winters in living memory. However, as I was such a small child it hardly seemed to affect me. I don’t remember going without food, but it must have been very hard for my parents.


One thing I do remember with vivid clarity was the time I was stuck in a snow drift up to my armpits. Now, you might think that’s hilariously funny (I do, now!) but for a 4½ year old it was terrifying. I’d been sent out to play so that Mum could “get on with things” (probably connected to my seven-month old brother). So, off I went on my adventure. I have no idea what I was thinking about but I can remember a sudden “sinking” feeling. Apparently I’d stepped where there was a snow-covered ditch and down I went. When I think now of what might have happened I am horrified but I must have shouted or cried so loudly that someone came along and pulled me out.

I’m not sure to this day whether I received loving cuddles or not when I arrived home soaking wet, frozen cold and a very unhappy bunny.

I love reminiscing about my childhood as it makes me reaslie just how fortunate we are these days.

We’ve been warned that this winter may well be as bad as 1947, but, even if that transpires to be true, we will have a better time of it than we did 67 years ago.

How our lives have changed since then. And most of us, including myself, take so much of it for granted. Heating, lighting, carpets, well-stocked shops and supermarkets. We really have it all.

So, please, if you’re reading this and you are living where there is plenty, spare a thought for those people, even in Europe and America, who have little or nothing to look forward to this Christmas because of poverty.

And thank God for what you have!!

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Parcels From Canada

When I was a child in the 1940s, there were no such things as beefburgers, pizzas, chicken nuggets and no-one owned a home freezer, so shopping had to be done regularly. During the Second World War food was severely rationed in the U.K. and many families often had to go without some of the most basic provisions – things that we take for granted in these affluent days of the 21st century. Ration books were issued and families had to register in order to have one, and the coupons were handed over to the butcher or grocer in order to ensure that no-one was hoarding food.

At this time, there were organisations that arranged food parcels from abroad, and people in Canada and America could be linked with a British family and send the occasional parcel of items which were not available in England. Recipient families had to qualify to receive such parcels and my family was one of those that did. It was probably because my Dad had served in the Auxiliary Fire Service during the Blitz. I think that maybe he was classed as being unfit for military service. I’m sure there was some kind of means test involved, too. But I have no idea how the system worked, or how it was set up. All I remember is the excitement in the house the day a parcel arrived.

We would all gather around the table as Dad opened the box and we looked inside to see what had been included. The box contained dreamed-of luxuries like tea, sugar and coffee packed in little wooden containers, tins of jam and a selection of tinned fruits and sweets. I think the thing Mum liked most of all, though, was the nylon stockings which were always included. That was her treat and no-one else’s. It was a really exciting time and, for a few days following the arrival of the parcel, we had tinned fruit for tea perhaps twice a week instead of only on Sundays.

The donor family lived in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, and they kept in touch with my parents after the war. When they visited England in the early 1950s they called round to the house to look us up. Unfortunately there was no-one home but me and I was forbidden from opening the door to anyone, so they left a note to say they’d called. How sad that we weren’t able to meet them after all their kindness over the years.

These parcels were a free gift from one kind and loving family to people they didn’t even know, and eventually never got to meet.

There is another sort of love available, free, to all. God’s love, which is unconditional. He loves you and me even though He knows all about us and sees all the things we do and hears all the things we say. We might think we’re the bees knees because we don’t commit murders, or steal, or damage people’s property. But we ALL do bad things, called sin, and God still loves us. In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live amongst us and teach us the right way to live.

Jesus died on the Cross at Calvary for each and every one of us. That was the price God paid for us to be saved from an eternity of darkness. We who are believers know that we will one day be with Him in Heaven. And Jesus is coming back soon. If you leave it any longer to get to know Him and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour, it may be too late. The Bible tells us quite clearly what will happen when He comes back. Check it out. NOW!

    Brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (Thessalonians 5 verses 1-3)

And we’re told how much God loves us:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3 verse 16)

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3 verse 23)

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14 verse 6)

    (All scriptures taken from the New International Version 1980)


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Price Guarantee

I was doing my shopping the other day – nothing unusual in that, you say! Well, no, but I realised that almost everything I bought that day was on “special” – buy one get one half price – three for the price of two – £1 off usual price. You get the picture. And this set me wondering how it’s all worked out.

The many and various supermarkets in U.K. all have special offers of one kind or another, in order to attract people who might not otherwise go there. Once in the store they hope you’ll buy loads of stuff you never knew you didn’t want!

There are four main supermarkets in our area – Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrison’s. They regularly compete on the same item which makes it most confusing. (I thought supermarket shopping was intended to be easier -just walk round and select what you want!).

My supermarket is Asda as my husband works there and staff have a discount on their shopping. It would be silly not to take advantage of this, now wouldn’t it?

The latest idea from these four retail giants is that they have come up with promises of “if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, still come to us as we’ll give you the difference” or words to that effect. (Are you still awake at the back there?!).

Asda calls theirs the “Price Guarantee”. Quite simply, if Asda isn’t 10% cheaper than any of the other three, they will give you the difference (to be redeemed from your next shop – cheeky!!).

Shopping was never like that when I was young. Just after the war there were shortages of just about everything and, of course, we had rationing. So, whereas now I need the car to go and do my weekly shop, Mum would take us all on the ‘bus into town and then we would help her to carry the shopping home. We didn’t have much money but we always had fresh meat, vegetables and a cake for Sunday tea. There were no special offers that I can recall – the prices were marked and that was it – take it or leave it!

I well remember the two old sisters who ran a small greengrocers’ at the top of our lane. They always seemed so grim, probably because the shop was very dark. Mum had to buy our potatoes loose by the half stone (7lbs or 3.17kg), not pre-packed as nowadays, and I can tell you that was very heavy for a little girl to carry! However, having said the old ladies were dour, they would sometimes give me an apple for free.

There will be lots more tales of me shopping and going to school in the future, but for now I want to concentrate on the Price Guarantee. Asda may think that they were the first to introduce this promise but I can assure you that they were not.

As we approach Easter, let’s just give thought to the Price that Jesus paid to Guarantee forgiveness of sins.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5 verse 8)

Jesus went willingly to the Cross at Calvary on that first Good Friday. He died for each and every one of us who repent of our sins (wrong-doings).

“Many think the word repent means “to get your act together” or to “get religion” or “fly straight”; as if we could. Repentance requires taking in a whole new point of view; looking at it God’s way. God simply asks us to turn. This is the way we accept His gift. When we do, certain outcomes are promised. If we don’t, or we “turn back”, alternate outcomes are promised.”

http://www.acts17-11.com/repent.html

I make no apologies for the following picture.

Happy Easter!