When you’re at boarding school, a Saturday is much like a Mon-Fri with just less school type things going on. You’re still a captive, the boys and priests are still there to bully you but at least you have more free time. Usually time to hide away in my case.
I often wonder why I have very few memories from my 7 years there, and I mean VERY few. I was there from age 11 to 17 inclusive when my brain should have been like a sponge and soaked up all those memories and experiences. But it’s like I had a lobotomy when I left or maybe I had a “Men In Black” moment and one of those school men in black flashed a memory deletion device at me.
Conspiracy theory ? Hmmmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched “Spotlight” !
I knew my final year there was going to be memorable, not for being my last year at school but because I knew I’d be going out into a big (bad) world that I was ill-prepared and ill-equipped to deal with. In fact I do have a vague memory of us levers being given a talk, a few weeks before leaving, on the evils of the world, especially England.
Basically England was an unholy, immoral cesspit of evil and depravity, populated by thieves and scoundrels, prostitutes and protestants.
I couldn’t wait !
When I say I was ill-prepared for this new world, I meant it. I’d never spoken to anyone who wasn’t a Catholic. I’d never seen a black person or a gay person and the only girls I’d spoken to were family members ! Innocent and naive don’t come close.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The 23rd of January 1970 was a Friday but I was already thinking of the weekend. Being in the Upper Sixth, I was allowed to go home on a few weekends and this was to be one of them. Sadly both my parents had come down with the flu so it was decided I shouldn’t go home in case I caught it too. Great !
“For a laugh, Chris Sinclair and I decided to change places in the ref (refectory) and it started quite a riot. All the boys at my table wanted me to return and when I refused, they went to Molloy (Fr. Molloy, the Dean of Discipline) to get him to force us to swap back. But at Chris’s table, they (Dominic Herald, Davy Moore, Kevin Cullen etc) were only too happy to have me as their mess man.”
None of those names mean anything to me now although I do remember Molloy, as I remember every priest of course. The entry refers to the practice of having a senior boy at the head of each table in the dining room (refectory) and we’d portion out the food as it arrived at the table from the kitchen. It goes without saying that if us “mess men” liked the food on offer, we’d take all that we wanted !
Rules of the jungle and a good life message !
I’m still reluctant to bite into anything given the dodgy state of my crowned tooth. So far it’s not causing any pain so hopefully it’ll be fine till it gets worked on by the dentist on Monday morning. The tooth got a decent workout when I fixed a lamb steak for supper. As it happens, it was melt-in-your-mouth tender which was fortuitous.
I do like lamb. I’ve had a half leg of it in the freezer for a few months so decided to cook it for Sunday lunch. I started the defrosting process by leaving it on the work top and after a few hours, moved it into the fridge. Before doing so I checked the timing instructions for tomorrow so I’d know when to start cooking it and…….saw that it could have been cooked from frozen !
I do like it when items can be cooked from frozen but I never thought a joint would fall into that category. Oh well, being chilled instead of frozen will knock an hour off the cooking time.
Moral : always read the cooking instructions and don’t assume you’re a know-it-all.
Still on a kitchen related theme, I was looking for something in a cupboard and realised that despite fending for myself all my adult life, I’ve never had a policy of placing new items at the back and pulling older items to the front.
It always makes me laugh in a supermarket when they use a code over the speakers to inform all staff that aren’t busy doing anything in particular to sort out the shelves. They don’t exactly do the rotating thing but mainly tidy up items on the shelves and make sure there are no gaps, even if it means putting products beyond their allotted sections.
The idea has always been that if we customers see the aisles “looking” full, we’ll get the impression that the store, (and the company), is on top of its supply chain and will always have everything in stock that we want.
So why shop anywhere else ?
I should have learned by now. When putting away my shopping I just push items back and add new ones at the front, happy to have found any space at all. This practice often leads to me coming across tins of things that have gone so far beyond their “best by” dates that I need to use carbon dating to know if I should even risk opening them.
This is followed by the eternal dilemma; does the desire to eat the product outweigh the risk of upset stomach/gruesome death ?
I believe I’ve been incredibly fortunate so far and rather than push my luck any longer, I resolve to bring older products to the front.
I just need a code.
The late night movie was “The Next Three Days” starring Russell Crowe.
Quite an old one for me (2010) but I’d never seen it before and I like most of the movies he’s been in.
Even Les Miserables.
It was…enjoyable….if a bit far fetched. Ok a lot far fetched but let’s face it, all movies have some degree of far fetchedness or else they’re documentaries !
It held my attention till 2am when I went up to bed to rejoin Long John Silver and Jim, the cabin boy.
That’s Jim. Not Roger.