Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Early Memories Guernsey IV

Image Source

I was 11 when I moved down to what we called the ‘Upper School’, the boarding school was much bigger with 65 boarders instead of 16. During the first few years we lived in ‘New Block’ which makes the corner of Upland Road and the Grange. In those days there was one large dormitory upstairs and another downstairs and each slept 22 boys with 18 inches between each bed.

The prefects or duty house master were responsible for lights out and would usually insist on silence before flipping the light switch and going back to whatever they were doing before their duties interrupted them.

It was then that the youngest boy known as the ‘KV’ (Abbreviated ‘Cave’ = Latin for ‘Beware’) would let us know that they had gone and the fun would start. This poem records one of the activities which used to happen from time to time.

Early Memories Guernsey IV

The lights went out and the dormitory fell silent,
beyond the door retreating footsteps descended the stairs.
The youngest eyes watched from the sash window
waiting for the duty prefect to leave the building.
The word “ok” was whispered.
From the other end of the dorm a sash could be heard opening.
Silently a young lad slipped clothes over his pyjamas.
Then he ducked through the first floor window.
A shadow stole along the wall to the lamp post,
It slipped silently down and disappeared.
Footfall, barely audible could be heard padding off into the night.
Using all available cover the young boy stole unseen along the road,
hiding from passing headlamps and skirting pedestrians.
His pulse pounded in his ear as he passed the old graveyard,
he hoped his racing heart couldn’t be heard.
Slipping between the bushes he passed the tower and fire station.
His objective now in view he waited behind a bush
biding his time, watching silently for familiar faces.
Then, all clear, he slipped across the road and through the door
approaching the counter, pyjamas legs showing beneath his jeans,
he uttered; “Twenty two packets of chips please!”

John Carré Buchanan
21 March 2012


  1. Did you ever get caught? I would have thought the smell would have given you away! it! Jenny

    1. No we never did get caught. I guess they knew what we had done, but proving who did it would have been too difficult. I don't think we were even challenged about it.

  2. Lovely John, I like it. That boys must have gone to the Arsenal chippie, good F&C there if I remember correctly. Do you remember a boy called Pithers?

  3. Karen, Yes it was the Arsenal and the Chips were excellent. Sorry but I don't remember anyone called Pithers.

    1. Not sure but I think he may have been a day boy but maybe not in the same year as you!

    2. He might have been, but I still don't remember anyone by that name.


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.


Free counters!

Popular Posts

Blogs I Enjoy Following

  • Frog Army - Diane Scantlebury - From the pool And strangely squelching, A dark horde emerge In clinging black suits, Bare feet slip slapping On wet tiled concrete, As they tip water from Th...
    1 day ago
  • EAST MEETS WEST - My recent visit to Northern Ireland was primarily to attend the wedding of my nephew, Simon, to the lovely Kimiko. The happy couple live in London but for ...
    2 days ago
  • The Alley Cat - My latest poem is in the form of a, *Terza Rima* and to the prompt,* Cat*, for Guernsey Poets August open mic evening. *Link to Guernsey Poets* *The Alley ...
    4 days ago
  • Father - *To the face I can’t quite picture* *To the voice I can't quite hear* *To the smile so lost in memory* *To the moments you were near* *These are the though...
    4 weeks ago
  • Vertical Society Bullshit Jungle - Dear Japan I am tired Of vertical society bullshit This place is a jungle Balding managerial lions Lead prides of chuckling hyena recruits To the watering h...
    4 weeks ago
  • Scarborough Fear - If you should go to Scarborough fair There's a field of heather and thyme Where the breeze shall whisper the name Of a girl that used to be mine In this...
    5 weeks ago
  • Memories - I remember after moving here, all the family loved to visit. It was the place to make memories. Paddling in the river. Feeding the ducks. Watching the lam...
    4 months ago
  • Stop, Drop, and Roll - *I didn't realize how long it has been since I have been here to write* *Change often seems to create a sense of suspended animation* *where the outer wor...
    8 months ago
  • This Job, Not That Job - *What I'm reading: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon* *What I'm listening to: Incomplete by James Bay* Isn't it fun to spend your birthday ...
    1 year ago
  • ... gloriously exciting! - There is something gloriously exciting about anticipating ones next Chad assignment, sitting in the back of the relative comfort of seat 34J, the the dron...
    3 years ago
  • Time-Out - Every now and again in life we come across a bump or hurdle. It can come in our relationships, our finances or as in my case, health. Right now I've been...
    3 years ago
  • thumbs up - it was a battle. looking back i don't think we ever had a chance, but you don't just give up on a young man in the prime of his life. we had to try. he ...
    3 years ago