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Thursday, 31 January 2019
An English friend of mine was telling me recently that back at his home in London he always makes his own beer, and has a brew permanently on the go. It reminded me of the following.
When I was at school, at the end of each Trinity Term (Summer), we boys would host a special meal at which we were allowed to drink beer. The 'basic menu' was approved by the kitchen staff, and it was a very jolly affair with speeches, specially invited guests, back slapping, and 'sad' goodbyes. Those who owned fancy waistcoats were encouraged to wear them.
The beer was better known as 'small beer' and was brewed by a couple of senior boys; probably those who were leaving.
The beer was tested by our Housemaster before being given its blessing. If it was over a certain percentage of alcohol, it had to be watered-down.
When my own turn came to leave school, in 1964, the beer was declared unfit for consumption, both on account of its alcohol level, and appalling bad taste. It was replaced by shop-bought cider.
Many years later I met a fellow alumnus and asked him if the tradition still existed; he hadn't a clue what I was talking about. I imagine that the new Headmaster (who'd arrived the term after my departure) had called a halt to such archaic traditions.
The drinking of beer (even 'small beer') by 14-18 year old boys, may not be sanctioned by the good matrons of the local Townswomen's Guild, but it was part of a tradition that I imagine traced back to times when it was far safer to drink beer than water. I'm not saying that I wish the tradition still continued, but I'm very sorry that it's stopped.
The more we lose such traditions, the poorer we are. Of this I am convinced!
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The difference between an optimist and a pessimist, is that the optimist enjoys himself whilst waiting for the inevitable! I AM that optimist!
This is a daily, optimistic, 'photos and comments' blog. I make no judgements (only occasionally), just notes. If you wish to comment in any way at all, please feel free. Everything and everyone (except the obdurate and dictatorial) is very welcome.
I was born just south of London, but for the past 46 years I've lived in S W France. I am a painter by profession, and writer by desire. Lady Magnon and I live in an ancient cottage, in a tiny village, in perfectly tranquil countryside. We have a vegetable garden called 'Haddock's' (this may crop up from time to time), plenty of fruit trees, and a view that takes the breath away; we also have a Border Collie called Billy. I try to treat our planet with respect, and encourage others to do likewise (without preaching).
Contentment is a glass of red, a plate of charcuterie, and a slice of good country bread. Perfect!