Friday, 17 January 2020

Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man - CHAPTER EIGHTEEN


What is the earliest memory you have of eating ?  That's a strange question.

I remember my Nan preparing a rolly-polly suet pudding. What are you making Nan ? As she rolled the pudding in cloth, tied each end with string then dropped it into the saucepan of hot water she replied: Rolly-polly in he goes. For years suet pudding to me was always rolly-polly-in-he-goes.

That Nan was my Mum's Mum. Both of my Nans made amazing bread pudding, my Dad's Mum made the best bread pudding in the world. Nan's bread pudding features heavily in my book The Bridge House.

Winding back the clock to my earliest childhood post World War Two food rationing was still in place when I was born. rationing ended on 4th July 1954, I was three and a half years old but I can not say I remember it.

I do not ever remember there being a shortage of food in our house, there was always food on the table. I assumed that was the norm for all families in the first half of the 196=50's but probably it wasn't.

I am told, although I can not remember, that as a child I loved a cup of tea. Perhaps but not from the age of four or thereabout when I could not stand the evil smelling brew. Today I never drink hot drinks, how can a hot drink refresh you ?

Eating fish gives you brains. Eating carrots helps you see in the dark. Eating the crusts of your bread makes your hair curl. Myths, I suspect, put out by the government to encourage children to eat food which was not in short supply, it had nothing to do with encouraging children to eat healthily. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, perhaps that did.

Rambling on about this was not my intended subject material for this chapter but right now my pen appears to have its own agenda as it probes the aging recesses of my mind.

Another thing the government did to keep children healthy came in small bottle of milk, one third of a pint every day to every child in school. Horrible stuff delivered every morning in crates of one third of a pint bottles.  I am sure this was deliberate in every school throughout the country, these crates were always stored adjacent to a radiator until children were invited to drink at morning playtime. Milk makes your bones strong, another myth. Not a staff room, not a teacher anywhere in the country ever had to buy milk for their homes, all provided free of charge in those little one third of a pint bottles we kids avoided drinking.

When Margaret Thatcher was Secretary of State for Education she stopped the supply of free school milk and was dubbed Maggie Thatcher The Milk Snatcher. Thank you Maggie, you did a great service to the nation's children.

Eating fish gives you brains. Which dunderhead thought that one up ?  Fish served for school dinner every Friday, its cooking sent a stink all the way through the school. Nobody ever ate it. It's amazing that anyone of my age today eats fish. I don't, I am a fishetarian and have been for decades and decades and decades.

Vegetarianism, did you know that human beings abstained from eating animal flesh long before Pythagoras. Wow he was waving his triangles about five hundred years before the birth of Christ !  Was he a vegetarian ?  Pythagoras ? What about Christ, was he a vegetarian ?  Here's a question for you: Was Saint Francis the Patron Saint of Animals a vegetarian or did he like to pop to his local McDonald's for a quarter  pounder  and large fries ?  What about Noah, if he had only two of each species on board his boat he must have been vegie mustn't he ?

Here's a bit of trivia you can add to your general knowledge. The term vegetarian was coined on 29th September 1847 in Ramsgate, England, when the first vegetarian society was formed.

1947, Wueen Victoria was twenty-eight years old, she wasn't a vegie.  No way, she was a glutton. Goodness knows how many animals were executed to fill her dinner table.In modern times apparantly Princess Beatrice is a vegie.

So is the silly old man a vegetarian ?  Yes, I am. I didn't nip down to Ramsgate and sign up on 29th September 1847, I couldn't make it as I was in Burger King munching my way through a Big Whopper.

How do you like your steak done ? Very well done then grill it a bit more please.

What is your favourite meat ?  Pork, defo pork. Roast pork, crackling and apple sauce. A gammon steak with pineapple.

Yummy, yummy !  Well it was once but not now. Yuk ! Yuk !

For more than sixty-five years I was a meat eater, bacon sandwiches, hot dogs, the lot. For a couple of years I kept chickens in my garden, a time during which I found it quite impossible to eat chicken meat. When our little dog, Jake, came to live with us the chickens moved to a new home and I returned to eating chicken maryland.

So when and how did I become a vegetarian and why did I stop eating meat ?

It was an accident or perhaps it was destiny taking control.  I realised I had not eaten meat for a couple weeks so I stopped almost by accident and slipped into this new lifestyle.  I looked at my little dog Jake and thought how disgusting it would be to eat my best friend. I would protect Jake with my own life.

Could I eat my neighbour's dog ? NO. A cat ? NO. A horse ? NO. A pet rabbit ? NO So why eat a wild rabbit ?  Why eat a cow ? Why eat a pig ?  Why eat any living creature ?

I began my life as a vegetarian in a subconscious way.  Now I am so conscious and proud of my lifestyle change.

I am rambling these notes in January. In a few weeks we will delight in watching the spring lambs dance happily in the fields. Then almost as soon as they appear these cute white bundles will disappear. Where will they have gone ?  They will have been murdered. Murdered and turned into lamb chops.

Now here's a thought. Had evolution not followed the course it has, say sheep were the ruling species on Planet Earth. We simple humans skip about in the fields oblivious to the fact that one day our throats will be slit, our bodies butchered then bits of us cooked for the sheep to eat.

When I was an undergraduate our college Principal Doctor K W S Garwood had a pet dog and a pet cat which ere vegetarians. or so Doctor Garwood thought.

Adam and Eve were vegetarians you know. Of course they were. They ate apples and surely munched on the fig before they sewed the leave from the tree together to make the world's first underwear.

Even the last supper was vegetarian wasn't it ?  Bread and some liquid refreshment of the alcoholic kind.

How about turning cannibal and dining on a bit of human flesh ?  Obscene.  You silly old man, have you rambled into the stupid ? What is the difference between eating you own species than any other life form on the planet ?

I am a vegetarian and proud of the fact.  I am proud to have been a vegetarian for around 4% of my life. I am ashamed, utterly ashamed that for 96% of my life I was a carnivore. 

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