Thursday 2 September 2021

RSS Mischief IV - Post the pots

Double or starve

One morning, the vice principal came into the dining hall during breakfast when we had a bread bun and fish stew served in an aluminium dish. He asked one of the boys if the food was enough and the boy replied, “No sir.” That interaction led to the doubling of our bread rations, from then on we had two bread buns rather than one.

Our dinner ladies or cooks were of a different animal species, almost too well fed that they could have been a crossbreed of homo sapiens and hippopotamuses for the way the folds of skin at the elbows looked like armour cladding that you could not once suggest they were fat even as they were built like stout brick houses, their legs might have suggested elephantiasis, though none looked ill, and we were scrawny and skinny like Jack Sprat.

Weevils and vitamins

When we had beans that nearly passed for diarrheal effluent fully augmented with weevils, that became more of the protein content than the beans, you closed your eyes as you spooned in the sustenance, maybe mixed in with garri grains. That we never fell violently ill at what we were served was probably testament to a constitution borne of being shipped off to hostelry by our loving parents to toughen us up.

The dinner ladies had a side hustle of snacks and sweets that they sold to us, an escape from the witch’s gruel and puddings of three-square meals that would have made Oliver Twist think he was at the Ritz.

Gremlins of the dark

One night after everything had quietened down at the dining hall and the kitchen, I was invited by a classmate, and we found ourselves in the confines of the kitchen pilfering goods we should never have had access to. The doors and windows were bolted shut and yet we got in with ease.

The pots were placed over holes, there were heated from recesses for firewood on the outside and so whilst the food was cooked, the smoke was always outside. At the end of the day, the firewood was removed, and the recesses cleaned of ashes and soot for the next day.

Post the pots

We, the gremlins of the night could go into the recesses and lift the lighter pots and that was how we entered the kitchen, through the fireplace. How so criminal and soon the novelty of that enterprise wore out, for the pang of conscience and probably the realisation that too many gremlins were scavenging around the kitchen. Yet, I doubt Miss Marple would have determined how things were lost.

The thrill and the adrenalin rush of this naughtiness would have faded at the stroke of the first landing of the birch on one’s backside, you never wanted to suffer the humiliation of a morning assembly punishment and thankfully where one came a cropper, one was spared the lasting indignity of such.

Blog - RSS Mischief I - Yikes! A snake

Blog - RSS Mischief II - The fundamentals of fluid mechanics

Blog - RSS Mischief III - Swimming like crabs

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