Government advice reinforced by our son Peter & daughter Marnie for Maggie & me to stay home and enjoy the confines of our garden. Leaves time for thought & olden memories …………
I once was confined to school hospital when taken ill with Mumps, this put the school into quarantine precisely just before the start of 10 days holiday for end of second term. Oh boy did I have to suffer indignation, abuse with threats for canceled all town leave. The Sanatorium was in the care of Sister Maclean, a well accomplished, competent elderly Scottish matron. She was quite deaf and wore an early primitive hearing aid that carried the receiver on the breast of her uniform. She was very thorough in nursing the sick. Whatever the ailment – the blue bottle appeared & you were forced to swallow a large spoon of Castrol in her presence. Some of the patients spitefully would take delight in her hard of hearing – face up to her mimicking only lip-service, as the dear Sister would adjust the receiver – they would come closer and bellow in a loud voice. A memory circles back to me of Prep School, when every fortnight we were by houses paraded up to our tiny sanatorium to be given, the purgative, Senna pod liquid to swallow and immediately say ‘Thank you’ before we were allowed to leave, just to ensure full intake!
For us boys, far more important and meaningful to us young hungry souls was the December House–treats or as we called them ‘JHUG-DAY CHEWS’ held in our dormitories. All festooned with hand art and decorations to accentuate end of year & home for winter holidays. Specially prepared food catered and brought in from Simla – delicious Indian curries, rices, chapattis and assortment of sweet fare we gorged and demolished. I recall remembering for the very first time in my youth to suffer indigestion – so chronic it lasted for a couple of days and leaving me with a stinking disgusting breath. The lower Boggs – then latrines, below the side of the First Flat became unworthy of shame almost forcing one to light up and smoke a cigarette.
Finally, in December approaching year ending, next followed in the evening, senior boys would stage their own theatre productions, in the Irwin Hall. Poetry, music, songs, plays and short sketches, sometimes ridiculous observations of School life and masters’ eccentric behaviour for us the riotous audience so wholeheartedly enjoyed & applauded.
Primarily the School conducted its function for education & sport. The main purpose to develop well rounded young men ready for their future. We were nurtured in deportment strict discipline, physical exercise following rules of clean living in hygiene, good manners & respect for all religions and fellow beings. Bullying was stamped out immediately. One only had to tell of a bully and a simple procedure followed. The bully was put in the boxing ring with an opponent, champion of his fighting weight who dealt out with gloves punching a very sound message while others watched on. My keen observations have found a host of Old Cottonians became leaders in the many facets of worldly undertaking.
Count our blessing and with confidence believe PATINA will deliver GOOD!