A sunny Saturday morning..
Posted: 29th September 2011 | Category: Headmasters's Blog
A sunny Saturday morning, three days after the inspectors came to call, I awoke racked with guilt. Food was on my mind and I needed to spill the beans to anyone willing to listen, to extend the metaphor. You, the reader, will be my conscience…catharsis will occur!
My story begins early on in my career at Skippers when, as a young and debonair fledgling Headmaster, I wanted to please everyone and said yes to nearly all staff requests.
“Mr Lewis, can I have a word?” the dulcet tone of Mary Pennington was insistent.
“Of course, Mary,” I replied on my guard.
“Tomorrow is Half Term and I have been unable to find anyone to look after Fish and Chips! I know you and Fiona are staying at Skippers – would you look after Kindergarten’s goldfish; I’ll leave food for them. Make sure you speak to them every day and they love the song I’m forever blowing bubbles!”
How could I refuse? Fish and Chips gawped at me and Chips, I am sure, gave me a conspiratorial wink! No problems I thought!
Fiona refused to be involved in tending to Fish and Chips and I did talk to them every day until I lost the fish food which resembled multi-coloured confetti and smelled appalling! This was on a Thursday and by Friday Fish and Chips were sulking: the proverbial bottom lip was out and they gave me the cold shoulder when I spoke to them! I even tried singing and my son ran into Kindergarten to find out whether I was in pain!
They needed food I said to myself so off to the kitchen for supplies. Naively, I thought goldfish were omnivorous and would scavenge anything: in the fridge, wrapped in clingfilm, was a cooked school beefburger; I broke of a chunk and crumbled it into the aquarium and left Fish and Chips to feed.
Saturday morning, diligent to the last, I visited Kindergarten…calamity! Fish and Chips had passed away and a film of oily fat lay on the water’s surface. Guilt washed over me and, at the same time, I thought about what I was going to say to the children on Monday morning!
I buried Fish and Chips in the woods, cleaned out the aquarium and headed to the local pet shop to restock. An hour later, Fish and Chips 2 were swimming happily in their new environment.
Monday morning arrived and the fresh-faced children trotted into school blissfully unaware of the weekend’s tragedy!
The teacher asked, “What have you been feeding them? They have nearly doubled in size over the week?” She smiled. She knew!
There! I have confessed my crime! But what had made me dredge up this incident? What was the stimulus? Fish and Chips, of course!
On Friday, Mr O’C and I went on a fieldwork trip with Year 8 to Eastbourne to measure Longshore Drift. Armed with ranging poles, clinometers and the like, we spent a thoroughly enjoyable morning being Geography students, which meant skimming stones whenever possible and getting one’s socks wet, even though it was a tranquil day!
For lunch we wandered over to Eastbourne Pier and Mr O’C and I both had…you’ve guessed it…fish and chips!
But I still feel guilty!
There was one good thing that emerged from the demise of Kindergarten’s Fish and Chips. We took the decision, some 18 years ago never to use frozen burgers or industrial meat laden with high fat content. It was then that we moved our business to our local Mayfield butcher, purveyor of fine foods.
Out of tragedy can come good!