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In a school, I make lumpy custard

  Thu 1st April 2021

Three days' work in a school canteen. Young Italian chef who was once told by an Indian hotel manager that he was "doing the pasta wrong". A brigade of middle-aged women, some of the anonymous saints who do the poorly paid work that holds up everyone else's vanity.

They were friendly, funny and foul-mouthed. Their manager is off on long-term sick which they are all hoping will become final; she insists on throwing food away rather than letting the staff have a meal.

"It doesn't matter, we all take the piss out of her behind her back," said Jules, before going into an exaggerated dance where she thrust her hips forward and crossed and uncrossed her arms in front of them, accompanying it with a sforzato "take, that, bitch!"

The sous chef was a cheery Rasta who, seeing a new dog in a pack, had to establish his place in the hierarchy. We got on fine; all I had to do was nod and say "wow, really, did you?" all the time. I felt a bit sorry for him at the end though because out of nine hundred children only two chose a pot noodle thing he made, and it's shit seeing the food you've made getting sluiced.

We walked back to the bus stop together and the unenglish cultural pattern of constant touching came out. I normally welcome any tactile punctuation (Kitty is lovely at it), but there was something a bit challenging about the way he kept putting him arm against mine. I wished it were the women I were walking with.


I'm going up to Lancaster later this afternoon for essential travel reasons, as these Lindt bunnies are going to melt soon if they don't spend four hours on a train. Me and my shit telly and red wine little boos will all be together for the first time since Christmas.

Eldest has landed a TEFL job in the state school system in Russia, middle one is looking for acting jobs (she's a graduate of a well-known drama school down here), and doing FOH in a Manchester theatre as soon as it re-opens, and youngest is doing Chinstroking and French at mine and her mum's alma mater, and playing in two bands. Then there's our semi-adoptee, who's had to stifle a few tears in her young life and is counted as one of us now. I love my little clan of girls.

12 comments »

12 comments

Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

Being a rasta is really hard - so many expectations.

Thu 1st April 2021 @ 14:09 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Says a baldie :) I know, he said something like that as we were walking back to the bus stop. Makes you value being vanilla for a moment.

Thu 1st April 2021 @ 14:19 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I must say that little clan of yours sounds lovely :)

and back when i was a walking dread i had a nice drunk gentleman start waving his gun at me cuz i was a white kid with dreads, luckily i knew my shit and when he started asking questions i knew the answers, then his friends grabbed him and told me to haul ass… i then did my Usain Bolt imitation and got the flock outta Dodge.

Thu 1st April 2021 @ 19:19 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

That must have been a bit of a hairy experience.

Fri 2nd April 2021 @ 08:05 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Wow - that Moscow job sounds interesting!
Meanwhile, you have reminded me of a crush I had when I was a teenager. He used to walk and rub shoulders. Sigh. Happy days.
Sx

Sat 3rd April 2021 @ 12:05 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Did you give him the cold shoulder?

Yes, I’m looking forward already to my November trip out to Moscow. Flights at the moment are 60 quid return. It’ll be my most distant, and cheapest, city break.

Sat 3rd April 2021 @ 13:52 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Christ, promise you’ll behave when you’re out there - but really looking forward to your posts about Russian lives now.
Sx

Sun 4th April 2021 @ 05:51 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I’m more concerned about my daughter given the hostile environment for girls of her bent, but I’m sure well be fine. She’s said shell be hunting out the best underground clubs as sin ad she gets there, so no danger of violent police raids there then.

Sun 4th April 2021 @ 15:52 Reply to this comment

I had to Google sforzato. You are still teaching me things.

I’m glad I had 2 daughters and 0 sons. Daughters rule. I’d be a miserable da for a son. I don’t play sports, fix cars, shoot guns or any of those manly pursuits. I barely qualify as male here in the New Jersey suburbs. A friend of mine went on a Boy Scout overnight trip and had to sleep on a submarine. From his description it sounds awful (for me).

I got my second jab yesterday. Soon, I can eat all the bats I want.

Mon 12th April 2021 @ 01:49 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well done, at last the jabs seems to be getting out. You must feel a bit relieved.

I also have a complete lack of competence and interest in manly pursuits. I’m sure having boys would have been ok, but I knew all along I wanted at least one girl. Then three turned up!

Hopefull the galleries will be opening soon and you can return to your real job, of New York Art Correspondent.

Tue 13th April 2021 @ 12:02 Reply to this comment
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

It’s wonderful to see your children find their footing - so very different! My daughter had two offers after getting her teaching certificate. Moscow and Izmir, Turkey. Not a fan of cold weather, she chose the sea and sunshine. 12 years later, one husband, and a baby, she’s still there. Thriving!

Love the description of the kitchen crew, too! And that an effort is made to feed children tasty food! Good god, when i was a child, school cafeteria food was notoriously horrid! Pizza on a rubberized crust, served with corn on the side.

Tue 20th April 2021 @ 14:57 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well this is because we are hard in Lancashire and our offspring prefer hardship :) It’s great that she’s slotted in so well into Turkish society. I liked your description about the respect you got over there as the pregnant girl’s mum.

The food wasn’t bad, but as is usually the case in schools, the female brigade is what’s best about the job.

Thu 22nd April 2021 @ 22:10 You are currently replying to this comment


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