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The Dining room . . .

 

The dining room had eight tables (or troughs) where in both sittings there was a unique way of eating which could only be seen at Eshton !
Before the Spring term the larger, notorious eaters were distributed around the eight tables, which caused famine for the smaller members of the community. Then at the beginning of the Spring term, a saviour for the starving intervened, and the notorious caters were put altogether on a table at the far end of the dining room where two capable prefects attempted to maintain some sort of order!

The food, of course, had to be brought into the dining room, and at the sound of the trolley rumbling through the Marble Hall the dining room erupted into a mad, uncivilised charge for the incoming food. Imagine a farmer taking a bucket of swill into the pig-sty and you'll have a pretty good picture of the "Eshton trolley charge."

Wo' betide the unfortunate person bringing the trolley in if he attempted to intervene or get past the oncoming food crazed crowd. A certain act of suicide.

To clear away the food after it had been "eaten" proved no problem to an Eshtonian. This operation was performed in two easy movements. Firstly, everything on the table was piled into the arms of the duty boy who then deposited it on the nearest trolley regardless of how full the trolley was as long as it was the nearest one, then he would put his hands into the dirty, greasy water of the cloth bucket for the cloth with which to wipe down. If he failed to find a cloth a crust of bread proved just as efficient The table would then be ready for the next meal

The amount of noise during a meal depended on whether the meal was good or bad ; if bad, a member of staff would attempt to gain silence (usually the "King" obtained "a sort of silence"). If of course the meal was good there would only be a low murmur accompanied by the clanking of cutlery on the plates. Two members of the senior school, at breakfast especially, were honoured by spare staff meals, "extras," or experimental delicacies from the kitchen. They were eyed eagerly by "the notorious eaters" on the adjoining table. Creeps? they fed well though.

A favourite sweet at lunch was plums, not so much because they were tasty, but because the stones provided admirable ammunition after the staff had left the dining room. Somewhat like a mud fight between two rugby teams!
Yes, indeed, it was a unique gathering of eaters.

J. FOX, Form V.