For dinner tonight I had faggots and chips. I haven’t had faggots in years. The ones I got at school were a lot more herby than the ones I had tonight so were a little disappointing.
Later this evening I was having a text conversation with Uncle Monty about how disappointing they were and how I had them for school dinners. Uncle Monty said that he wasn’t fortunate enough to have faggots at school and suffered a disgusting mix of curried cabbage, boiled beetroot and mashed potato.
So this got me thinking about school dinners on a national, if not global scale. Are school dinners an exclusively British thing? Or do they have them in foreign climes? What did you have for your school dinners? Did you like them?
Faggots weren’t my favourite. Sausage and chips was my favourite. If you were lucky you had the option of plum tomatoes instead of beans. The sausages were often just MRM but by the blue bag, they were gorgeous.
How about you?
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In the late 80’s there was a type of crisp which you would get with no flavour. Instead you would be able to add your own flavour from a choice of a variety of different sachets of powdered flavouring. To be honest it was just a gimmick. Adding your own flavour is equivalent to “Just add Egg and Milk” batter mix. One particular flavour, fish and chips, was reminicent of what I imagine an old ladies unwashed private parts would smell like. Indeed if I ever got served fish and chips flavoured like that I’d probably go off fish and chips all together. Other flavours included smokey bacon, cheese and onion and salt and vinegar.
One lunch time in my third year in secondary school I opened my packed lunch to discover fish and chip flavour – flavour yourself crisps. 😦 I put the sachet in my pencil case and had the crisps with salt from the dining room table.
After lunch, Jon Phillips, now a presenter on Sky Sports I believe, was sat in front of me in Miss Gambadella’s English class. I was sat next to Nick Small, now something to do with something important, Jon was sat next to David Judge, now something to do with something. Nick saw my fish and chip flavouring in my orange pencil case and asked what it was. I told him. He opened the sachet and took a sniff. The smell was awful. Really it was. How anyone in crisp design thought that fish and chip flavouring was at all palatable is beyond comprehension. Nick then blew it all over Jon’s blazer.
“Ha! Now Jon smells like an ald granny” he giggled.
Oh how we laughed. Of course giggling being attention drawing we tried to stifle our giggles but to no avail. Judgey noticed the smell next then the kids in front of them. Being a sexually repressed all boys catholic school, crude comments about feminine hygeine started to pass around the room. Poor Miss Gambadella. She had a hell of a time trying to get the class back into order.
Me? Well my sides still bear the scars of having split that day. Of course, looking back now it was possibly the height of cruelty but at the time….the stuff of legend.
It was assembly. We were all in the assembly hall listening to Mr Deveraux discuss the current affairs of the school week. One of the fifth formers came into the hall late. The said fifth former was wearing a fashionable denim jacket. School uniform being strict at my school Mr Deveraux saw him immediately and his voice boomed across the hall.
“The only people that come to this school in denim jackets come to empty the bins lad”
The assembled school burst into peals of laughter. The fifth former fell into a pit of embarrassment never to be heard of again.
Some things during my school days became legendary amongst people in my year. Others became anecdotes for dining out on in later years. I thought it best I put pixel to webpage and tell you of seven of the most peculiar legendary occurrences before I get old and my mind fails.
Number 1: Paul Broughton and the Sausages
My high school, St Francis Xavier College, was an all boys comprehensive. Boys from a variety of areas of Liverpool and social backgrounds would attend. One such chap, Paul Broughton, came from one of the rougher parts of Wavertree. His social background I am unsure of.
On the day the legend formed, my friends and I were having dinner in the dining rooms. Paul arrived just as we were leaving having been kept behind for some reason. We left him there to dine and went out side to the playground. Less than two minutes had passed when Paul joined us outside. We questioned how he had managed to eat his dinner so quickly. In reply he smiled and fetched from out of the side pocket of his blazer, a handful of chips and started offering them around. We laughed and then watched in horror as he then took a sausage from his inside blazer pocket. We gawped in shock as he dipped the sausage into his top pocket and it emerged coated in gravy.
Someone jokingly asked him where his pudding was. In answer to this he produced a piece of jam roll from his trouser pockets. Mirth ensued. Legend was made.
Yesterday’s entry about the trials and tribulations of sports and physical education during my tenure at secondary school reminded me of an amusing story. I can vouch for it’s authenticity because I was there and I remember it well because it helped take the heat off me for a few months (at least).
Continue reading King Dong
When I was at school it was clear from about second year juniors (no idea what year that would be in new currency) that I had an aversion to sporting activities. There were only ever two sport options for boys: football or football. The girls at junior school were spoilt for choice with such crafts as sewing, Scottish dancing and menstruating. As I hated football (soccer) then almost as much as I do now faced with a limited choice I had no option but to grin and bare it. Football bored me. It still does. I was always one for more cerebral activities, chess, scrabble and the like. My one crowning glory in the field of sport was the day I’d watched Flash Gordon before I’d gone to school. I felt inspired enough to mimic the American Football sequence, you know where Sam J Jones bops Ming’s minions with that egg shaped thing? “Forget it Ming, Dales with me!”. I ran up and down the field like a man alive, kicking the football past everybody only to be told I’d broken rules and that every time I scored a goal it was void because I didn’t genuflect at the goalie or paint my nose blue or some other obscure cock arse made up on the spot rule.
Sport (very long)
Continuing the education of stegzy Gnomepants