Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sunday Evening Musings
It was one of those things, saying something which brought back a flash of memories. Talking to Kate I said something along the lines of, “If you don’t eat now you might be hungry at midnight.” And immediately I was distracted by thoughts and memories of what we used to call the “Midnight Feast.”
Rewind some (oh my!) forty five years. I was in the third form at Kings, and a “day-bug.” We of the fifty percent of the school who were day boys would learn of the culture and traditions of the boarders, which included the time-honoured ritual of the Midnight Feast. It would involve secreted food from the school house pantry, augmented by crisps (U.S. Potato chips) and pop (U.S. Soda) bought at the tuck shop. We, us day-bugs, would hear of such feasts after the event, usually whispered with triumph by their participants at morning prayers or along the back row of the Latin class on Monday – always the first lesson.
So those of us who had the burden of living at home had to surely create our own version of this rebellious meal. Yet we could not do so together. Instead we depended on our own siblings. And our own resources.
Remember that for a schoolboy in those days, and how I hate that phrase (once I thought it the phrase of my parents’ generation,) midnight was late. And I mean late, seriously late. The hour almost took upon itself a aura of mysticism – plus the challenge of staying up so late, an act of rebellion in itself.
My younger brother David was not too sure, but the prospect of pop and crisps (and whatever else I had managed to procure. One time there was cheddar cheese, I think) would persuade him. And I would somehow stay awake until 11.55, and then wake him to sleepily drink and munch. The food was irrelevant. The act was deliciously subversive. And hiding the packets of Walker’s crisps and the empty bottle of Corona lemonade, I felt equal to those snotty boarders who boasted of their rites.
This is a quite beautiful part of the world at this time of year, but as always I am aware that different people appreciate our God-blessed portion of creation in ways that are (let’s just say) disconnected with reality. I was walking Labradors 2, 3 and 4 this afternoon when such neighbors drove past. They always admire the dogs, but ot this occasion they were rushing “To meet people. To squeeze the last drop out of the Hamptons before the season ends. And there's a chance we might get invited to join N club”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. But then Bertie dragged me into the woods to do his business, and reminded me that these social climbing people are full of the same.
Posted by Tim Lewis at 9:22 PM