When I was in the fourth form we had a common room which was split into two levels with a large under-floor space between them. The common room was decorated with hanging tie-died sheets and carpet tiles from the carpet shop sample catalogues. The common room was pretty much our own space and we were, for the most part, left alone, to do what we wanted in it.
Someone, I can’t remember who (honest), had the bright idea of making our own alcohol and we set trying to make cider. In those days there was no internet and we were boys so we didn’t do books! This left us at a slight disadvantage as we had only learned the very basics of making alcohol in biology.
The following poem is my memory of a couple of terms spent making cider. I hope you enjoy it.
Early Memories Guernsey V
In biology we’d made alcohol
which sparked the great idea;
to make our own cider
to drink at end of year.
We scrumped and crushed the apples
and collected all the juice,
which we stored in a glass flagon;
purloined for just this use.
One lad acquired some yeast
on a trip to the brewery.
A great big yellow lump of it
which made it bubble with fury.
The sugar came real easy
as tea was served at break
and pockets full of sugar
were delivered with a shake.
So juice, yeast and sugar
were mixed in a bubbling flagon
kept warm under the floorboards
by leaving an electric bulb on.
It made a murky, frothy potion
which needed to be strained,
so we made a filter with a loo roll
through which the mix was drained.
The result was pink in colour?
The loo roll without a doubt!
The first few sips drew gasps
as we choked and spat it out.
Five minutes later, our precious brew
was tipped into the gutter;
and the evil smelling pink concoction
down the drain did splutter.
The next few weeks a funny smell
pervaded the whole area.
The masters tried to find the source,
While we - kept silent - of course.
John Carré Buchanan
23 March 2012