My grandmother, Effie Roberts was born in Sheffield, in 1896. She lost her fiance in the first World War before marrying his best friend and having two boys. She began this journal in November 1941. She wrote about everything. The occasional poems on world affairs show how much she had been influenced by propaganda She also wrote about her husband and children, describing the evenings that she spent playing the piano and singing. She wrote about the dreariness of war and about the things she loved before. The world described in her poems is quite alien to the one we live in now. She recreates very vividly the difficulty of groping for her own front door during a blackout, and of having to manage without paper bags when shopping, because shops weren't allowed to give them out when paper was rationed. She wrote about waiting for the coal man to come; about the mouse that got in the oven; and about trying to prepare for Christmas without the foods she would have liked. When she was nearing the end of her life my grandmother told me that she was leaving the journal to me as 'the other writer in the family.'
I was only a teenager but I told her that I would try and have the poems published for her one day. She laughed disparagingly, but with a little gleam of hope, as I think she knew, deep down, that they were worth it. I know that many people will find great pleasure in this book and I am glad that, at last, I have been able to fulfil my promise. - Philippa Roberts