Letters to Myself 14

216 Clydesdale Road


Nova Scotia



Dear Johnny Boy,

High time I wrote again! I was just reading a book about yummy things to eat when you are a boy, and it got me remembering all sorts of things I used to love. And I often cook meals that Mummy used to make (I told you I was the cook in the household, didn’t I?). Though I expect she got tired of cooking what must have seemed like all day every day.

I don’t know whether you know this, but Mummy was one of only a few women to go to university back in the 1930’s. She was at Bedford College in London, and she even went on and got a Master of Arts degree (you’ve seen how many books she has on all those shelves!). But then she married Dad, and off they went to Devon, where he became a doctor for all those farmers and their families. Then along came my sister, Elizabeth, then Mary, then Jane, then me/you…. And she must have decided that her big purpose in life was to bring us up as best as she possibly could, which certainly wouldn’t let her become a “career woman”. Nowadays, we would call that being a “stay-at-home mum”. Of course, most mums stayed at home then, not like today, when almost every woman has a job of one sort or another. Which means that their children are often looked after by “baby-sitters” all day—I don’t think you ever had a baby-sitter, did you?

Anyway, I was talking about things I loved to eat, and still do. Yesterday I made a rice pudding, because we had some people here for “potluck lunch” and I made too much rice for my “veggie stir fry” (several different vegetables cooked in a frying pan with oil and salt and pepper and different spices). All I had to do was add some milk, and a whole lot of currants (the only way I ever like to eat currants), and maple syrup (Nova Scotia is famous for its maple syrup, which comes straight from all the maple trees—I’ll tell you more about that in my next letter). Then I baked it in the oven for half-an-hour. Delicious, and it will last for several puddings—we like our “left-overs”!

By the way, Canadian and American people don’t talk about “puddings”—they call them “desserts”, but Dorothy and I like our puddings (or “puds”)! I just read about a “Pudding Club” in a hotel not too far away from you, that got together because people were worried about all the foreign recipes that were taking over. The members of this club call themselves pudding heads! And in another letter I’ll tell you about all the different words used in North America and England for the same thing—like the “hood” of the car for the bonnet and the “trunk” for the boot. Goodness knows why, but they took some learning when I first came here. Winston Churchill said Britain and America were two countries separated by a common language!

I’m rambling on a bit (old people tend to do that), and I don’t want you to get bored, so I’ll write more in my next letter about things in Britain that I miss, and especially food, and about “Americanisms!

Big hugs and love, John

P.S. I’m sorry Mummy doesn’t hug you any more, or kiss you goodnight. I think she must think you’re too old for it, but I don’t think so at all. In fact, quite the opposite—but perhaps more about that another time, too…