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World War ll London Blitz:  Buy On Smashwords
Yoga Fairy Coloring Book by Adele Aldridge Buy on Amazon

I am the great-granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson. 

Recently I started re-reading the World War ll journals and felt that they were such an important part of a history that will soon be forgotten if not published and shared with the world. These diary excerpts are not the entirety of what is published in print and kindle.

Ruby grew up during a time when education was just beginning to be encouraged for both upper and middle class women. During the late 1890's Ruby explored many radical political ideas of London, England. She met many famous people including the writers George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats.  5.0 out of 5 stars A choice pick, not to be overlooked, November 6, 2011 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)


Running the House by Ruby Side Thompson (1884-1970)

                                                           Running the House

We do not allow our houses any longer to bloom as alive; at any rate, those of us who are wise. Our houses are still refuges, as they always were, but they have taken on with the years another aspect; now a days they are play things too. 

A house, in small ways can be constantly changing it's looks and become more delightful. How? Why? What has happened to the housewife to make her take her dwelling and her meals less seriously; to the enormous improvement of both? The explanation is not very far to seek. Once upon a time a woman was tied to her house. She could not get out of it. She always knew what was coming for meals. She could talk and think of very little besides her house and its problems. She was bored, and therefore boring. Now---- she can buy cooked food round the corner if she wants to have an afternoon free. If she tires of her curtains, they are inexpensive to dye or replace. She need not spoil her hands with dust pans and brushes and the cleaning of grates; the vacuum cleaner and various forms of radiant heat save her all such trouble. In short, she can get away from her home, and so begin to see it in proportion. She has, perhaps on very little money, the leisure to be not only a frugal , but a happy housewife. 

Still, though the claims of the house on a woman's physical powers nowadays are nothing like so great, its claims on her intelligence are greater than they were. A house, no matter how well equipped, sunny, dustless, and paid for, will not run itself. There has to be a directing mind at work upon its problems, and that mind in most cases must still be the woman's. 

Sufficient money is not everything; married or single, rich or middling, if she has to make a success of her home the house keeper has to be clever. Not only this, but she has to be willing to learn and experiment. Experiments without guidance sometimes have deplorable results, especially where cooking is concerned. The need is, then, for an experienced hand at her elbow now and then, and an occasional warning voice. Where are they to come from? The housewife is not only mistress of the kitchen, but of the living-rooms, bedrooms, nursery, bathrooms, cupboards and garden of her house. How and where is she to find the methods of decorating, cleaning and making interesting or beautiful all of these? The answer is, by taking advice from somebody who has tackled all the problems in turn. That is the task which this books sets itself; to note compactly and not too technically , advice on all these points. 

I believe that it takes time, less than it used - intelligence, and constant openness to new ideas, to keep a home running smoothly and happily, as all homes should run. The time and the intelligence every woman who loves her house and garden will gladly provide. 

To begin with, I think that every woman who attempts to run a house should work to a plan. Not a cast-iron plan, for that is a tyrannical pest, detested of husbands and children, and to which you yourself may  end by becoming a slave; but a good elastic everyday plan, which allows scope for variety, and sits on you like a good supporting corset rather than a shackle - that is the plan to try for. 

There is an idea , held by some women, I am sorry to say , as well as most men, that there is nothing in housekeeping ; that it is a woman's job, which she ought to be able to deal with by the light of nature. Let me say at once that housekeeping is a full time skilled job. Imagination and constructive powers are needed to make a success of it. Economics come into it. A housewife who really knows and practices her trade at its best must be a trained nurse, chef, organizer, secretary, book-keeper , and arbiter of elegance. All these trades are highly respected, taken singly, and nobody ever supposes, when they are conducted in offices or in uniform, that they can be undertaken without training. The housewife is expected to learn them casually, all of them, and to practice them three hundred and sixty-five days a year. The queer part of it is that  -  astonishing creature  -  she works the miracle more often than not!

                                                   The Financial Side of Things

In dealing with this important matter, the financial side of housekeeping and how to plan, it is worth remembering to work within your yearly income; your life is set in that like a picture in a frame. This sounds an obvious fact. Of course; but in these days it's not always easy to save, and it is easy and often necessary , in jobs where appearances matter, to live up to the last penny of the income. Again, it is only too easy to slip over onto the wrong side of the ledger; especially when you have bought things on the hire purchase system and an illness or other unforeseen trouble comes to interrupt the payments. It is just as well you are working out the amount that can be allowed for housekeeping and other domestic expenses to estimate your income at rather less than it actually is; this will allow you a very welcome margin for all such sudden emergencies.

The yearly household and domestic expenses, generally speaking, divide themselves into three sections:

1. Current Weekly Expenses 

    Small household requisites
    Wages of daily help, or part-time maid.
    Fuel, other than gas and electricity
    Gas and electricity if you have a slot meter
    Window Cleaning
    Daily papers
    Minor repairs and renewals.
    Small sundries.

2. Regular Expenses not coming under the above

    Rent or installments on a house
    Installments on furniture
    Taxes and rates
    Gas and electricity, if paid monthly or quarterly.
    School or other education fees.
    Wages if full time servants

3. General Expenses

    Dentist and Doctor
    Purchase of furniture
    Larger repairs or renewals

If you have a car and a garden, then these are added expenses which should be allowed for in the yearly budget. 

The first of these sections can be kept  within its proper limits by a regular housekeeping allowance, paid weekly, monthly, or even quarterly. As a rule it is based on the number of people in the household, and so much is allowed for head. 

The second section can be estimated fairly accurately as the amount so several of the  items are known. Gas and electricity bills should be averaged out; the winter quarters or months naturally are more expensive than the summer ones. 

A general sum has to be set aside for the third section; the amount of this must depend on your own good or bad luck throughout the year. 

                                                        Housekeeping Money

If regular housekeeping money is paid to you monthly or quarterly it is as well to have a special banking account for it. The necessary amount for wages and extras can be drawn out weekly, and if you have weekly accounts, these can be paid by cheque. If the housekeeping money is paid weekly, then keep it apart  from other money; it is simpler to deal with. In any event, in spite of the trouble and whether or not you have a head for figures, account books should be kept. 

                                                        Household Accounts

Keep an account, if you can, of each item bought, and try to know, not only how much you spend on housekeeping each week or month, but also how much individual things have cost during that time. If you do this it is simple to find out where too much money has been spent, and whether you must economize or can afford to spend more. 

                                             A Banking Account
If you have a household banking account, then take care that you fill in your cheques correctly. Get the bank to supply a chequebook with crossed cheques. These can only be cashed through a bank, and they do away with the risk of pilfering or getting into the wrong hands. 

                                  Tradesmen: Cash Payments on Accounts
Whether you pay your household bills by cash or run weekly accounts depends rather how your own money comes in, and whether you are in the habit of doing most of your shopping at the same shops. I should be inclined to suggest having a weekly dairy, butchers, baker's and greengrocer's account, and paying the rest by cash. If you live in a town you are more likely to buy your household things and your groceries at several different shops; many of them are standard products of which you can be sure no matter where you go, but your meat, bread, milk, and perhaps your fruit and vegetables should be bought from shops where you have become certain by experience of the quality of the goods. 
Do your best to pay these weekly accounts regularly, and not let them wait until the next week. Although they may be small or moderate for one week, doubled they begin to appear alarming, and a three week bill is a nightmare. 
It is wise to check up the account books with the delivery bills, for small errors can happen. A hook in the kitchen, onto which the latter can be thrust the moment they arrive, saves trouble; the bills are all there in a bunch when you want them. 

                                                 Waste in the Kitchen
Housewives with several maids who suspects waste in the kitchen, may find the following list giving the average weekly allowances per head of the main items of food useful in checking and going over such unnecessary expenditure:
1lb sugar
1/2 lb. butter
1/2 lb. cheese
1/4 lb. tea
5 pints milk
1 1/2 lbs. jam
3 1/2 lbs. potatoes
2 1/2 lbs. meat
1/4 lb. fish
1/2 lb. bacon
2 lb. fat for cooking

                                                     Cleaning Costs
The average maid is apt to be careless and unnecessarily lavish in her use of soap powders, wax polishes, etc. In an average small house of eight or nine rooms, the amount spent on cleaning materials should not exceed from 2/- to 3/- per week. 

                                                  The Small Income
The family who has to live on a very small income presents a problem always hard to solve - whether it be a farm laborer who has to keep a family on 40/- a week or an educated man who is struggling to provide his children with at least as generous an education as he has received himself, on an income of L500 a year. Again, the small income must of necessity be budgeted to show a higher proportion for essential requirements while giving a much lower percentage for what may be called "unessential’s" or semi luxury items. 
The following are percentages, which may serve as a broad basis on which individual budgets can be planned. The head of every household must realize, however, that these figures are open to considerable revision.
25 per cent for rent, mortgage or maintenance of property, rates and taxes.
40 percent for all household expenses, including food, wages, lighting, cooking, laundry, cleaning materials, renewals, heating.
10 percent for education
10 percent for clothing
5 percent for recreation, holidays, charity etc.
5 percent for saving
5 percent as a margin for unexpected expenses.
Rent, rates and taxes today take a very large proportion of the income, and even the allowance of 25 percent may not be sufficient to meet the price, which has to be paid for accommodation in London and the other large cities. On an income of L500 to L600 this sum will cover the payment of principal and interest on a mortgage of approximately L700 as well as the local rates and income tax, provided the assessment for rating purposes is not higher than about L40, and the rates not more than 12/6d. in the pound. 
In allocating 40 percent for all household expenditure, a fairly wide margin has been allowed and includes in addition to food such items as gas, electric light, coal, cleaning materials, wages, laundry, in fact everything which can be considered as a direct expense in the running of the home. 
                                                         Food Costs 
Of the individual expenses food costs probably vary more than any other item of the actual household expenses. Strict economy has to be practiced, more often than not it is the food bills that have to be curtailed, as rent, rates and taxes are fixed, and it is on the tradesman's bills, therefore, that retrenchments may be essential. On the other hand, sufficient money may be available to provide an interesting and varied diet. 
Speaking very generally, in small households of one, two, or three people, L1 a week should cover the cost of food for one person or two children. In families exceeding four adults and where cooking and marketing are carefully carried out, a smaller amount will be found adequate. The larger the number to be catered for, the lower the cost per head; and whereas 10/- per head per week does not provide luxuries or any foods out of season, it will supply a plain but adequate diet. 
Should any member of the family, husband, grown-up son or daughter have mid day meals away from home, this should be deducted from the household expenses. Unfortunately in many families this seriously depletes the money available for housekeeping.

                                                     TO BE CONTINUED



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