Escapades at 3.00 am

Three am seems to be the time of  critical turn around for me in this post op recovery period.  I wish it was a critical turn over time but unfortunately the foreign bodies lodged in my legs where my knees used to be will not allowed me to turn over in bed without pain worse than child birth! The term turn over is not completely accurate either. “Turn out” is closer to reality – 3.00 am finds me turned out of my snuggly bed and heading for the recliner in which I am currently ensconced.

Little did I know that my 3.00 am escapades as a boarder at school would be preparing me for my current state of wide eyed bushy tailness nearly fifty years later!

The post visiting day midnight feast was a most memorable, if illegal activity at school.  Infrequent as they were, the risk of being discovered by a night duty nun in her black dressing gown and bonnet ( these were the days when nuns shaved their heads as a means of giving witness to casting off the trappings of earthly vanity and assuming humility) were too great, a midnight feast was a magnificent event!

We would smuggle contraband in after visiting day and hide it somewhere in our locker or wardrobe in the dormitory. As seniors some of us had access to ” the cubicles”. These were the equivalent of five star hotel rooms in comparison to a bed in the dormitory and offered a level of privacy that was the envy of those who were not one of the 12 girls who were allocated one. Big enough for a bed and a cupboard only, they had the luxury of  a curtain covered doorway which provided enough privacy to enable you to get dressed without having to use the compulsory boarding school skill of keeping your nightie on while putting on your underwear – undies, bra, petticoat.

My friend Margaret was the occupant of cubicle number 1 and for a very brief time, she was the envy of all! The beds were a mattress on top of a built in timber base. The top of Margaret’s base, on which the mattress was placed, could be lifted up. This created a brilliant hidey hole for masses of smuggled contraband! Biscuits, cakes in tins, lollies – junk food on tap!

After one visiting day Margaret brought back some delicious slice, for which her mother was famous, in a Tupperware container. It was 1968 and Tupperware was like plastic granite,hard, impenetrable which required the strength of ten men to break the seal on the lid! Carefully secreted away in the “bed box” on Sunday night, we plotted our course towards our midnight feast.

The next morning, an unusually frazzled Margaret announced that disaster had befallen her mother’s slice and that she had had the worst ever night’s sleep AND was going to have to explain, to her mother, why the Tupperware container was no more! She had been kept awake all night by strange sounds eminating from the ” bed box”. As soon as it was light enough to check she opened it up and to her horror found  a hole in the side of the container and A RAT gnawing it’s way through the side of the container helping itself to the contents!

All our wonderful scoffs had to be disposed of , of course, without letting any of the nuns finding out.  No mean feat but absolutely essential if we wished to live to tell the tale and enjoy another midnight feast!

One response to “Escapades at 3.00 am”

  1. Wonderful bit of nostalgia, Louise. Shame it had to arise from your ongoing saga of discomfort and drawn out recovery.
    The tale of the rat does not bear thinking about. I don’t think I could ever have slept restfully in that bed again.
    And, oh yes, those cubicles were everyone’s dream, especially the end ones that had windows to the great outdoors! Never did get to participate in the midnight feasts but they were legendary.
    Keep up the writing. I don’t always respond but quite look forward to seeing what you have to say.
    And don’t forget a catch up over coffee when you are up for it.


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