Dixie's main function on the Hill was culling boys which he managed to do quite magnificently after applying for the job as cook which was previously held by some old biddy that suddenly died one day after falling into a vat of porridge although it was speculated that she was pushed after reinventing bubble a squeak and semolina pudding and serving it up three times a week and twice on sundays instead of bread and jam and...well bread anyway.

Dixie was a jolly kind of fella , as cooks go that is, and survived his post for many years which was once explained in an advanced scientific research into boarding school food that this was only made possible by not eating the stuff himself.

When we were on dining hall duty this included washing up - if you can call dipping plates in and out of cold water washing up - and on these occasions Dixie would reward us all with an extra slice of bread pudding which urgently required the back up of a quick dose of Matron's Rhubarb and Soda not only to help it go down, but for it to stay down once it had.

Nobody ever once saw Dixie anywhere other than in the school kitchens, day or night, night or day, when climbing in through the windows to lift hundredweight tins of jam, or, in the most sensible cases, putting it back.It was his domain, his turf and woe be tide any one that challenged him otherwise.

Can't ever remember seeing a bed anywhere and it was widely speculated that Dixie didn't need one as he had mastered the art of sleeping standing up with one eye closed and the other one fixed on the store room door.

Dixie's second in charge was some ancient old crone who hated all boys with a vengeance and threatened to do with us what the Vikings did to her grandmother if we as much as took a bite out of an as not yet declared fit for human consumption iced bun or, more to the point, death by meat hook if we even looked at one. On one occasion a boy crept up on her blind side, the side she wore her eye patch, and lifted a swift iced bun but the boy fumbled, the bun hit the floor and the cracking of the concrete had her spinning around on her one good leg and half a good hip and the boy was never seen again from that day to this. Some folk say that she ate him raw.Others say she cooked him first. And others claimed that bubble and squeak never tasted the same for weeks to after.

Anyway, Dixie was a one off, kept the school count on an even keel of 180 boys, never faltered, could always be relied up on to keep Matron and the San fully occupied compliments of his speciality - Dixie Dean Stew, which cemented the British Empire and building blocks world wide.

Dizzy D

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