Jane in the Land Army – 7

Jane looked very healthy and she was, but she was less robust than she appeared. She suffered from bad migraines all her life but a “sick headache” wouldn’t have got her a lot of sympathy and working outside in the heat of the blazing 1940s summers must have come hard. However, she was a genuinely hard worker – I’ve realised that, though I call myself lazy and I am, I’ve got her as a standard, so actually I get quite a lot done when I put my mind to it.

But things changed when she developed appendicitis. She was in a lot of pain but carried on working until it became really unbearable. Her stoicism nearly killed her as she narrowly missed peritonitis. Going forward 70-something years, 10 year old Pugsley had the same thing happen, but his appendix did burst between arriving in hospital and having the operation. I should tell him about his great-grandma’s experience sometime.

She wasn’t well enough to go back to work on the farm and went home. She had a letter demanding the return of all her uniform, though it was pretty well worn out after all those years. She’d mislaid a badge in her sudden departure and she had a further letter saying she’d be in trouble if they didn’t get it back. Really, the little Hitlers were about over here, too – anyway, she ignored it as, by then, she was coming down with measles and she didn’t hear anything more about it.

Catching measles as an adult is a serious matter. She was delirious for a while and blind for three days. Thank goodness she was home with her father by that time, so he could look after her – he must have been frantic with worry. The doctor called twice a day. But she did recover and her sight wasn’t affected. This was in the summer of 1945, so the war was coming to an end and she was able to celebrate and to plan her future.

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