Cat amongst the turkeys

27th December 1914

The Dorset patrols came back from their night time assignations and reported that everything was very quiet.

Later on that day, at 5.25pm the Dorsets submitted their daily report to the 15th Brigade HQ, saying that the situation as unchanged but they had experienced fairly heavy shellfire during the day. There were no casualties.

The 5th Division diary confirms enemy shellfire landing in Sector B and also in Neuve Église.

At home the nation’s ability to be distracted from the war was epitomised by the lead story in page 3 of the Telegraph where the photo is that of a woman dressed as a cat who is collecting money for the Belgian refugee fund. Pauline Prim is “the first lady who has ever impersonated a cat or any other animal upon the stage”. The Telegraph attributes her feline performance to her husband’s acting abilities and explains that “it was probably though watching her husband’s rehearsals that she was, in a very short time, able to represent a cat in the most lifelike manner.” Thank goodness for men says the Telegraph. Roll on votes for women I say. We also learn that posting amusing cat pictures is not just an internet phenomena.

Another phenomena we think is just a modern one, is that of shopping madness at Christmas, especially when it came to buying turkeys. Here women did rule the (poultry) roost. If they weren’t driving hard bargains in London’s street market (“where the poor buy”), they were accompanying their loved ones on leave to Smithfield, Billingsgate and Leadenhall markets, to choose a bird for the Christmas table. Turkeys were very expensive when compared to beef and pork at this time; over double the price per pound, especially French ones  – Italian ones being in “far inferior condition”. Turkeys, then as now, were being gobbled up.

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