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Sucking Eggs, By Patricia Nicol

At a time when recycling, allotments and "austerity chic" are in vogue, Nicol had the bright idea of looking back at a time when digging for victory and making do and mending were vital for the survival of the nation.

Some wartime economies might be worth reviving, such as the reduction of biscuit varieties from 350 to 20. It is, however, hard to imagine anything like the decline in car ownership (down from 2 million to 700,000 between 1939-44) or a patriotic rejection of the high heel "to conserve wood". Nicol notes that such economies were accepted with good humour.

One woman wrote to relatives abroad about her husband's delight that sanitary towels were unrationed: "He says he's going to have his winter suit made entirely of STs and will patent the idea."