Réveillé here is at 07:30 since the clocks changed. There’s no rest for the wicked so I must surely be very bad.
I’m ready and on parade in under two minutes. No slacking here!
There are grumbles from others who are less than prompt. Tardy more like. Where is the hardship in getting up in the morning when you’ve had several hours of sleep. Sleep I might add that has been deep and well earned. There’s nothing quite like six or seven hours of undisturbed sleep to make you full of the joys come sun-up.
I heard someone saying it must be something in the water. Allegedly bromide. Whatever, I’m certainly up for whatever the new day holds.
It’s time for scran. Always a rushed affair. Get it down ya! I’d been brought up hearing sayings like ‘chew every mouthful twenty times’, but I really don’t have any time for that now. Bolt it. Yet before I’ve finished, I’m being shouted at to get outside. Move it! Look lively! Stop slacking!
I love the outdoors. The orange globe in the southern sky is just peeking over the horizon.
‘Winter is coming (John Snow)’ muttered the chap nearest to me. Sniffles and sneezes in the cold morning air are plentiful and the coughs produce a plethora of globular clusters on the hard surface beneath the stomping feet. I sniff.
Kitted out in autumnal gear, there is plenty of kicking through the golden leaves and rummaging for fallen prizes.
A month earlier it was pears. Fallen or plucked from the singular pear tree on site. Searching, searching, always on the lookout for treasure, for fodder.
The grounds of which we are but temporary custodians have to be kept neat and tidy. Stones are moved and then moved again. It seems like a daily task that has to be performed with a religious zeal. Mind you, when it is wet, the stone moving seems to stop and other work is detailed within the grounds.
Grounds that have witnessed miles of marching back and forth. Curses like ‘Why can’t you produce a straight line?’ and ‘This is the second time this week this has had to be done!’, float about like jewels on post meridian air. However, once the strict line has been sought and found, the lines are to be admired once perfection has been achieved.
External marching is a daily routine here. Unnecessary halting, reassembling, march on, waiting and plenty of name calling is par for the course on any given day.
I get screamed and shouted at on a regular basis, so I’ve learnt my craft. One of their pet hates is when I look down too much. ‘HEAD UP!’, ‘MOVE!’, ‘GO ON!’, ‘GIT GOING’, are all shouted at me on most days, but having said all that, I’m told that I’ve been told I’m doing very well and there’s lots of praise.
I’m the grey one you see. Middle of the road, yes I can play up, perform, be the star of the show or annoy in equal measure, but at the end of the day I’m grey.
Where did the saying ‘Three square meals a day’ come from? The only square plates I’ve seen have been the ones reserved for when we have visitors of a certain standing or rank. There’s nothing square from what I drink from or eat off usually.
I’m always hungry. That’s why I’m always thinking about getting extra rations. Head down, foraging. This time of year there’s plenty. Half way up the track there’s a Walnut tree that has dropped loads of the black shells. I heard mention that the shells of the walnut were used as an effective method for killing someone as they lacerate your insides due to the fragments being very sharp causing you to bleed out internally. Nice! Something to be careful of then.
Then there’s the Nutty.
Think of your most favourite childhood sweet or snack. Happy memories eh? That’s what Nutty is. A cornucopia of plenty. A Tuck Shop crammed with all the most wonderful comestibles imaginable.
These wonders can only be found by looking. You have to sniff them out like an animal trained to find truffles.
I get screamed at for eating Nutty between meal times! Apparently going on a march is not the time to forage for Nutty.
The grassy verge is a classic place to find Nutty. Sometimes it’s warm and steaming, sometimes cold. I really don’t care. Mainly it’s chewy, not chalky. I dream about it. Treasure, prizes, whatever you want to call it, the winner takes it all!
Lately the surrounding fields outside the grounds have been awash with it. It has driven me mad with antici…………………………………pation!
Whether it is from a chicken and been spread over a field or from a dog at the side of the road, I’m not fussy. It’s Nutty!
Crack on! Stiff upper lip chaps! (It will be after all I’ve managed to scoff today!)
Carry on regardless!