Ducks Love Bread Sir! Honest!
I struggled with this post, not in the writing but in the ‘series placement’ it could have sat in either ‘secret Journal Musings’, ‘carry on chef’, ‘the joker’ or even ‘animals by accident’ as there is something from each if you are familiar with my series. However l chose Postcards which is for those stories that don’t really sit in any of the other series with a concrete base.
It happened whilst l was at catering college in 1981, and it’s not the longest tale, but a tale it is all the same.
On occasion whilst at college, my class of HC1C would find themselves without a tutor which meant as young adults that we would have to be very responsible and mature ….. you know what l mean l am feel sure?
Furthermore on occasion, we ”’might”’ find ourselves in possession of a certain amount of ”commodity” from our previous class. On this particular day we found ourselves in a tutorless class with an unhealthy amount of ‘bread rolls and even more unhealthy and substantial amount of butter’. It was an extremely hot day l recall, and whilst we were supposed to be studying the ins and outs of top class and elistist forms of housekeeping, quite ironic considering everything really, we weren’t, we were flagging.
The class duration was 90 minutes and after the first 45, no, perhaps 30, no, l mean come on no tutor l guess after the first 15 minutes we realised that if we didn’t do something fast we would all be asleep, through absolute heat boredom!
So Debbie, my best friend decided it was time for ‘bread rolls and butter’ and lashings of them all around. How to give you an idea of quantities, our class was 16 strong, we had enough rolls for 3 each and enough butter for a legion of roman soldiers. Debbie was a superb chef, but an absolutely appalling mathematician!!
Anyway, so someone produced a knife [What we were chefs? We can be magic like that!] and pretty soon we were all chomping our way through our rolls like cool dudes from something Enid Blyton might have written, and the only thing we were missing was Timmy.
I am really not sure how the first bread roll jammed with melted butter got thrown, all l know is that it wasn’t me, but l do know that l was the first one hit! never one to back down from that kind of free for all carfuffle l promptly picked it back off the floor and threw it back at who l thought had thrown it, the dead giveaway was the strangest looking sneer on the funniest looking face. Irrelevant whether it was male or female or WERE guilty!
That’s how it happened, and for roughly 45 minutes this food fight carried on at full throttle until we had expended all our energies and we realised that as it was the last lesson of the day, we were to go home. So we picked up all the bits and bots and slips and slops and cleaned up as best as we could and off we went.
It’s irony l guess that as supposedly top housekeepers that we DID NOT clean up that well, because the very next day, our entire class was hauled up to the deans’ office where we had the missing tutor and the janitor alongside the dean all looking rather sternly at us.
Gradually after they rigorously interviewed us, they were able to weedle us down as a class of 16 to what they considered the guilty four. I was in that small group, as was Debbie, Charlotte and Peter. It was in fact Peter who had instigated the whole thing, but there was no way l was going to rat anyone out, and l knew the others well enough to know they were not going to do it either.
It was fast becoming a Mexican stand off!
There were threats being badied around of expelling , and all they wanted was the one person responsible and the others could go!
Something had to give or someone!
“It was me sir, on account of the ducks sir, they eat bread sir, they love bread they do sir!” The others mouths dropped so fast they nearly hit the floor as they gasped at me in shock.
“What? Ducks? Are you saying Matier that the ducks were responsible for the mess that was left in that classroom last night? Ducks, do you take me for an absolute fool?”
“No sir, not at all sir, that never once crossed my mind sir!”
“Will you stop calling me sir, and just call me Dean?”
“Yes Dean, sir. Of course. let me explain. As you may recall yesterday was an exceedingly hot day. I normally have a vast and substantial amount of bread rolls in my bags to feed the ducks in the pond outside the college every lunch.”
“This was the last class of the day Rory – if you had fed your ducks, there wouldn’t be that many rolls left surely? According to Tom here [janitor] he reckons he picked up at least six rolls in various bit and pieces scattered around the class and it’s not that which is the real question, but the butter – great puddles of the stuff how do you account for that?”
The others looked at me, suddenly Debbie spoke, “Well actually Dean, what Rory is NOT saying to you is that we four in fact feed the ducks on the pond, but occasionally we have some lunch and afternoon tea.”
“Afternoon tea, after you finish college?” The Dean looked bewilderingly at us all.
“Yes Dean, that’s right!” Peter chipped in. “You see the ducks get the surplus bread at lunch and what we don’t eat during the day, we feed before we go home.”
“You are having a laugh!” The Dean joked.
“Oh no, not at all Dean.” Charlotte smiled sweetly. “The ducks in the pond are just so cute, they have ducklings now you see, so they need as much as we can give them. we all chip in every day and buy loads of rolls.”
“Really? And the butter?” He asked.
“What about the butter sir?” I asked innocently, now gaining my confidence back.
“How did it end up on the floor, the ceiling, the blackboard, the desks and the door? Answer me that.”
“I slipped sir, and then Debbie fell on top of me, and Peter fell on top of her and then Charlotte fell over us all – l accidentally dropped the butter and slipped sir.” I answered him trying to look sincere and obviously failing.
“You are absolutely an appalling liar Rory, do you know that?” The Dean said.
“Well good job l am not lying then sir isn’t it?” I said staring at him defiantly.
“I can’t prove that you are lying, but l am bloody well sure you are, however, l will have to give you credit for the most ridiculous story l have ever heard in my entire life! the lot of you out of my office now, but and however you will spend your next lesson making that bloody classroom shine! Got it??”
“Oh yes sir, thank you sir!” I answered as we all filed out the office.
We were all lucky that day, however, every lunch time for the first week, the Dean came to see us at around lunch time asking if we needed a hand to feed the ducklings in the park?