A woman who desperately seeks a wartime husband lives her entire life in a world frozen in 1939 – and she only ever uses an outside toilet.
Joanna Francis doesn’t own a television or computer and occasionally sleeps in an air raid shelter at her home near Scunthorpe, North Lincs., as well as cycling everywhere on a 1937 Raleigh pedal bike.
She doesn’t drive and last used a washing machine over a decade go – however dated Joanna does have a mobile phone – but only for her job as a part-time cleaner.
Joanne, who’s in her 30s, said: “There’s really only me who lives like this 24/7.
“Every morning I come downstairs and empty my chamber pot in the loo outside. People think it’s a hardship, but it’s not – you get used it.
“I think the neighbours realised I was serious when I ripped out the kitchen and bathroom as soon as I moved in. The units were just too modern.”
Joanna – who wears authentic Land Girl’s uniform with genuine dirty knees – spends an average morning doing her washing using soap flakes and an old dolly tub.
She also swapped central heating for a coal fire – and converted an out building to a bricked up outside toilet.
To make her idyllic world even more realistic she uses the limited rationing provided to people who lived in the time of the Second World War.
Joanna said: “I’ve always had what you’d call quite bland tastes. I like sausage and mash, pie and potatoes. One year I did try to live off the equivalent of rations, but that was a step too far – even for me.
“I’d make a sandwich and then realise that I’d eaten an entire week’s ration of cheese.”
Joanna’s one concession to modern life is a mobile phone. She needs it for her work as a part-time cleaner, but her text alert is set to the sound of an air raid warning siren.
She enjoys her quaint life – but sometimes it means the modern world can catch Joanne off guard.
Describing seeing Britain’s riots in 2011, a horrified Joanna said: “I worked for a while at Sainsbury’s and I remember going on my break one day when someone had left the television on in the staff room.
“The cameras kept switching from Liverpool to London to Birmingham and Leeds and for a minute I honestly thought that we were at war. I ran and got a colleague – but he told me it was just a series of riots – I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“They said it like it was ‘just one of those things’ and that’s something I definitely notice about other people. They have become desensitised. Out there everything is faster and louder.”
Joanna has met friends through wartime weekend events but is adamant that most of the people only use the facade as a hobby and go back to normal homes and lives.
She added: “People will pop round and think I’m not in because there are no lights on – but I tell them it’s the blackout.
“The only problem is that when people find out I live like this they keep bringing me things. I’ve lost count of the number of gas masks people have brought me.”
While Joanna says she doesn’t yearn for any of the things the rest of us take for granted, there is she admits just one thing missing from her life – a man.
She said: “I’ve had a few boyfriends, but I know I’m a bit of a novelty and once that novelty wears off, well, most people find me quite hard to live with.
“I would have their tea on their table when they came home from work, I’d do their washing and ironing. In fact, I’d take care of everything.
“The only problem is that most people who want that kind of housewife are either in their 90’s or dead.
She added: “I might just have to accept that I was born just a few decades too late. But until then, I will keep on looking.”
By Tom Kershaw