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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Smile, this really did happen.


I love doughnut's  
The Bakery down my old school road, (Church Rd.,) now that is a memory that will stay with me all my life, and every time I have passed an establishment wafting out that unmistakable odor that promises such gastronomic delights, even though I have to watch my weight these days, it reminds me of that terrifying day so many years ago,……………  I try not to smile, but normally without much success. I could have been no more than eleven or twelve, my first or second year in the big school, anyway a good half-century ago, and I still relish those freshly baked goodies.
While you were in assembly, you could isolate all the chaps who had just thrown on their clothes, and dashed straight off to school. Not because they were disheveled, which of cause they were, we were boys, but because they were at the point of collapse. Many ended up in matron's room. It didn't seem to register with her that the wind was blowing straight up church road and into an assembly of starving, bleary eyed growing boys. 

Role call:

First lesson, Math’s, with Mr. Taylor, ( "Spud" to us lot.)  Not a popular teacher by any accounts to most of the boys in the school. But to me he had been very kind, if it hadn’t been for Mr. Taylor, I wouldn’t have been attending that school, but that is another story.
While you were not concentrating on the theories of Pythagoras, you were suffering torture, utter torture, especially if you hadn't risen from the deep slumber that morning in time to shovel in some breakfast of some kind.
Anyway lets go back a bit to the day before that fateful event.
Outside the Bakery every morning, was a large wooden tray, full to the brim with cream cakes, currant bun's and doughnut's, and they were labeled second's! How on earth can you get a second's doughnut? That is what it said on the sign, written on a piece of cardboard pinned to the tray that was stained all over in red raspberry jam, real jam, even after all the cakes had disappeared that piece of cardboard looked inviting.  At the end of this tray, wriggling its way right down the road nearly to ‘Pigs Alley’, there streamed each morning what seamed an endless queue of expectant starving, unruly individuals, hoping their turn would come before the school bell would tare them away, and subject them to a day of self-denial.
It was time for a different strategy in the way things were done.
So, the bright boy's thought up a game plan that was to take place the following morning, before the multitude's arrived. I don't know who had the bright idea to elect a bulk buyer, and I'm sure it has gone down in school history that any one individual would be trusted with so many pennies and three-penny pieces, but I was elected. I suppose it's my one claim to fame in school annals, there's certainly no academic achievement on record to my knowledge.
I was chosen because my paper-round took me past this gastronomic paradise every morning quite early, and I was looked upon as someone who wouldn't dare do anything else with the money, being smaller than the rest of them. 
I duly arrived at the appointed place of business the following morning, gave the man who seemed to be in charge my order, and waited with a small amount of trepidation the outcome. He disappeared, only to return moments later with a large, brown, paper bag, which he placed all of my order in, with, what now seemed a strange knowing smile all over his face.

The transaction was completed.

9.30 am.

 Mr. Taylor, or “ Spud  " to us. I wonder where that comes from? Such an endearing nick name.
"Please pass your homework to the front."
Sweat! .......the feeling of nauseating emptiness, did he really command such terror.?
You have never seen the like from so many prospective Prime ministers, or road sweepers.
In the playground before the bell, when I had shared out the spoils, from the collection at the bakery an hour earlier, loads of doughnut's, out of one paper bag. I ask you where does one put them? In your satchel of course.
What’s in your satchel?  Marbles, fag-cards jam doughnut's? ..............Your homework!
The collection of papers, and exercise books handed in that day, seemed to represent a class of orphan's, who's entire family had been brutally butchered the previous evening.
In fact your carefully laid out math's of the night before was nothing short of a bloody sticky mess.
Of course the collection monitor was the one that had come in late, and was not in the share out, and was insanely jealous of all the jam that was being wasted on the collection of motley papers he was now in possession of, I can’t remember his name. I mean, as a grown-up, you can understand the poor chap's dilemma, does he lick his fingers, and congratulate himself on his luck, or.......Please Sir!!!!
Too late. 

What happened after that I could only repeat the horror stories that echo round the school to this very day, of Spud Taylor's math class of  '55...........Gruesome!
I can't give it to you first hand you see, being timid to this day, and my parents brought me up not to exaggerate although like all of us you do, don’t you? But believe me please this was no exaggeration.......... ask anyone,
Well for once in my life I was fortunate, lucky,
Perhaps you might even say jammy! ! ... (sorry about that) but mine were in the paper bag you see.
My homework was perhaps not 10 out of 10, it never was, but it escaped the ravenous sticky fingers that seemed to have caught all the others totally by surprise in their eagerness to consume their morning breakfast, and one thing about “Spud Taylor” was he was fair, very fair, ................
Funny thing is my recollection of the following days is a bit vague, weather I was brain damaged from relief, terror, or a severe beating from the others I can’t quite remember, all I know is, it has left a memory associated with the smell of real doughnut's that has brought a smile to my face on many an occasion since.
Catch you later folks,
Thanks for stopping by.

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