Ladies Page

Something for the long suffering Ladies

Jottings by Jane of a Boarding School Cook

This is a tale in two halves and starts in October 1968. After attending Trowbridge Technical College for two years, where I studied Domestic Science, I decided to spread my wings and become a Mothers Help, (I know; nothing to do with Domestic Science) with a family in Esher, Surrey. After eight months I decided that that life was not for me, so I asked Mrs. Mitchell, the head of department at college if she knew of any cook’s positions. To my delight, St Mary’s school for girls in Caine Wiltshire needed an assistant cook. (Evidently, if a position became vacant at the school, they always asked the college first).

I travelled down by train from London for my interview, was offered the job and started four weeks later.

Let me set the scene. St Mary’s was a private school for girls in the Wiltshire town of Calne. The school was on the outskirts of the town, occupying extensive grounds. The girls slept in large “Houses” of which there were four or five. The sixth form girls had their own rooms in a new block adjoining the main school.

In the grounds was a beautiful large outside swimming pool, tennis courts, netball and lacrosse pitches. Lacrosse to me, is the deadliest game on the planet and involved catching a hockey type ball in a net on the end of a stick and then hurling it through the air to be caught by your teammate. No helmets were worn.

The school employed three gardeners and a lot of the fruit and veg we used was grown in the gardens. The gardeners lived in cottages in the grounds. Two caretakers and their families also lived in cottages in the grounds.

There was also a large cottage which was the Sanatorium where the nursing sister lived. If the girls were ill, they went over there and slept, and sister dealt with all the day to day cuts and bruises.

A dormitory above the kitchen was where the maids lived. Their job was to lay the tables and take the food to the tables and wash up the glasses, plates, cutlery and serving plates. I think there were eight in total.

There were about twelve “Women” who cleaned the main school and dormitories, and they were provided with lunch. There was a matron, assistant matron, and secretary who all lived in along with most of the teaching staff, a head housekeeper and assistant and the Head mistress. This meant there were a lot of mouths to feed besides the pupils.

In the kitchen was the head cook named Margaret, Mrs. Lewis, (Known as Lewie) who lived out. and little old me, we both lived in. I had one and a half days off a week, and every third weekend off. Life was bliss.

The kitchen was large, and we cooked on a bank of solid fuel Agas. This consisted of six large ovens and there were probably twelve hobs in groups of three. The outer ones were where you brought the pans to the boil, the middle one was where you moved the pans to simmer. You controlled the temperature for the ovens and hobs by “riddling” the bottoms, quite a skill. In the corner of the kitchen was a large gas cooker, that must have been the first gas cooker ever made. It was used for more delicate cake making like sponges and next to it was the large steamer, which looked like it belonged in a submarine.

The kitchen had a large walk-in larder was well equipped with an enormous food mixer, a bacon slicer which terrified me when I had to if I had used it or take it apart and clean; a deep fat fryer and a large gas grill that you could toast twenty-four slices of bread at a time. The only modern thing in the kitchen was a gas potato boiler. Our workspace were two enormous tables, which only two months earlier were covered in Formica, which had to be scrubbed clean. These two tables were set on blocks to adjust the height, Margaret and I were tall, poor Lewie was a short arse.

In the passage was a walk-in fridge and lined up in the passage to the back door were the milk churns. Milk was delivered daily, and we ladled out the milk as and when we needed it. It was always cool, full cream in those days, none of this semi skimmed nonsense. The jam cupboard, which housed all the tins of preserves and any exotic dry ingredients like nuts, marzipan, and chocolate. Across the corridor, was Lewie’s office, which also housed all the fresh fruit. After I had been there about six months, the school bought its first freezer. This lived in Lewie’s office and as you can imagine, was enormous. With no freezer, there was no frozen veg, or ice cream, if the girls had fish fingers they had to be delivered in the morning, ready to be cooked for lunch that day.

Mealtimes were family service, this was a table that seated twelve, a member of staff or a sixth former, sat at the head. Everything was on an oval platter or in dishes with enough for twelve and the head person served each girl.

We had two hundred boarders and one hundred-and-twenty ´day´ girls, aged between eleven and eighteen years, plus 60 ´babies´ – infant and junior age. They used to lay up the tables in the sewing room to accommodate them.

St Mary’s was noted for its excellent food – no skimping on quality, or quantity. Can you believe it, Lewie never really had a budget to follow? Just a little thought, out of all the hundreds of people we fed, there was not one person that was allergic to anything, although as I left a new girl was starting and she was a diabetic, very interesting, don’t you think? No fads or fancies in those days.

Breakfast was cereals, or in the winter, one morning a week, porridge, followed by something like scrambled eggs on toast, or even kippers would you believe! If there were to be boiled eggs, we would fill the pans of water and bring to the boil the night before, close the lid of the hob and stand the pan on top of it, so next morning you opened the hob and within ten minutes the water was boiling. We would put the eggs into large round baskets and lower them into the boiling water. The eggs cooked perfectly.

Sunday breakfast was different, half an hour later. On Saturday evening, a village baker would deliver delicious bread rolls. Sunday morning, we would warm them, slice breaded gammon ham, and lay it on oval platters. This would be served with pots of fresh brewed proper coffee.

Lunch was the main meal of the day and would be meat and two veg followed by delicious puddings. The girls would have tea at 4pm This was cup of tea, bread, butter and jam with homemade cake.

Supper was at 6.30 and could be something like egg mornay, cauliflower cheese or cheese salad and was always followed by fresh fruit. At suppertime the teaching staff would eat in the staff room and have something like gammon steaks, roast chicken or lamb with veg and lovely desserts. I used to cook the most wonderful creme caramels.

Sunday lunch would be rotated, wonderful huge joints of roast beef which made the most amazing dripping. Roast Pork or roast chicken (we used to have whole boneless loins of pork. The supplier would cut off the skin – crackling, but always let us have it and we would cover the chickens with it when we roasted them) The roasting tins were a yard square, and we had to cut the lengths of pork to fit the tins. It took two people to lift the tins out of the oven. Some Sundays we would make steak pies. We would cook the meat the day before in huge cast iron oval pots which took two people to lift. Then on Sunday morning we made the pastry and made the pies.

The school liked to buy local, so although we had a large wholesaler who would deliver catering sized things, we also bought local. All pork and bacon products came from C&T Harris, a large factory in Caine who held the Royal Warrant. All other meat came from the local butcher. Occasionally Harris would supply us with Cornish pasties which were lovely. They made a special wooden box which we called the coffin, and they would deliver them hot, using a three wheeled van called a Scammel mechanical horse. Any fruit and veg not produced in the school gardens and smaller stuff came from a local supermarket. Eggs and milk came from the local dairy, bread rolls came from a village baker.

When the day arrived for me to leave Esher, John and I were courting. He took the day off work and drove to Esher to fetch me, and my suitcase which was one of those huge expanding ones that you could fit two bodies in, plus several bags and my trusty Singer sewing machine that had belonged to my mother and took two men and a boy to lift. We arrived at the school, and I was met by Lewie, and she took me upstairs to my room, which was very large and very comfortable. Margaret had a room opposite me, also on the corridor was Miss Gibbs who was an ex-army major and was head housekeeper, and Mrs Ashworth the assistant housekeeper. Everyone was so helpful. As I was classed as “Staff’ I was allowed to have John in my room, (Very racy… ) The maids were not allowed boys on the premises. I was then then taken to see Miss Gibbons the headmistress. During the war, she took a group of children to safety in Singapore, like Gladys Ailworth

Next morning, I was “On parade” in my white overall and apron after observing breakfast and eating my own, Lewie said to me, “Right Jane, today you will be making the pudding, which is steamed syrup sponge. Go to that cupboard and get out the aluminum basins, about forty-two of them.” When I got them out, they were peppered with lots of tiny holes. Lewie obviously saw my confused look and told me I wasn´t to worry as we didn’t put the syrup in them because that took up too much space. I made a plain sponge mixture using what seemed to be hundreds of eggs, filled the basins, put the greaseproof paper on the top, and put them in the steamer. To open and close the steamer door, you had a big wheel to turn and on opening the door, it was as if the Flying Scotsman was passing through the kitchen. I was still concerned about the syrup, but all was revealed on serving. The syrup came in gallon cans and about 30 minutes before serving, you took the lids off about two cans and stood them on the simmering hob to warm. Then you turned out each pudding out onto an oval platter, and poured the syrup into plastic jugs, one for each table.

The cooks only cooked but would wash up in an emergency. Vi, the wife of Geoff, one of the caretakers, prepared all the veg, (If there were fresh peas, it was all hands-on deck to shell them) Mrs. Tilley, or Tilley as she was always known, cooked the veg, and washed up all the pots, pans, dishes and cooking utensils.

As a cook, you were always looking ahead to the next meal, or anything that had to be cooked for the next day’s meal. When it was something like Scotch eggs, or egg mornay, hundreds of eggs would be boiled, then we would sit at the big tables and shell them, and have a good natter, (the eggs in those days always shelled perfectly, not like today, I think it must be something to do with the hens’ diet). When we had salad, we made our own salad cream. This was a white sauce made in two large double boilers, seasoned with add salt, pepper and dried mustard, then thinned with vinegar, it was lovely.

Custard was also made in these double boilers, but we would use four of them. Occasionally we would serve what we called “Workhouse Pudding” it was a bread roll, a piece of cheese and a banana, the girls really liked that.

I had only been at St Mary’s a couple of weeks, and it was my first weekend off (you finished Saturday lunchtime and then were on parade Monday morning for breakfast). This particular Sunday they were having meat pie for lunch so I had to cook the meat. The large pots were plunged into a sink of cold water to cool them down more quickly. Off I went for my weekend off. When I returned on Sunday evening Margaret told me I had forgotten to put the pans of meat into the fridge, and the meat had gone off. They had to have egg and chips for lunch, and they had to get two of the gardeners in to bury the meat. I thought I would be collecting my P45, but Margaret said it was her fault as she should have checked especially as I was new.

There was always a little bit of friendly rivalry between Miss Gibbs and Matron, as Matron was also ex-army, and she was a rank above Miss Gibbs. Mis Gibbs was a brilliant needlewoman, she used to go on cruises. She made all her own evening dresses, with matching beaded evening bags. She used to teach some of the girls how to make soft toys. At Christmas, she would send to a company that sold all the components for making Christmas crackers. She would get some of the older girls together and they made all the crackers for Christmas lunch, which they had the weekend before they left for the holidays. I remember she made a box of crackers for a man friend, they were black and red, on the top of each cracker was a saucy “Can- Can girl”.

If I wasn’t working in the evening, at 6 o’clock I would meet in Miss Gibbs room with maybe Mrs. Ashman for a glass of sherry.

When it was Wimbledon fortnight, the sixth formers would go by coach for a day at the tennis. We had to make sandwiches, tray bake cakes, and dozens of bottles of squash for them to take. Occasionally, the sixth formers would go to Marlborough Boys’ College for a social evening and when they returned, we served them hot chocolate and biscuits.

St Mary’s was quite a musical school and they had specialist teachers come for an afternoon, for one-to-one teaching. One of the teachers was a young man from Armenia, he was not very tall, but had a mop of dark curly hair and always wore a very sharp suit, he was like an Adonis, and everyone clamoured to get a glimpse of him. All these teachers used to have a dainty tea tray served to them, (Miss Gibbons had one every day). In November, the school held a music festival, and the parents would come, so afternoon tea was served. The sewing room was turned into another kitchen, where dozens of loaves would be turned into sandwiches, the “Women” used to make them. Us cooks made dozens of fancy cakes. It was a very big occasion. Two weeks later it was all repeated again for the girls’ Confirmation.

When the Investiture of Prince Charles took place, the girls had the day off and a TV was hired so they could watch it.

After I had been there about eight months, Margaret, the head cook moved on to pastures new, and I was made head cook. Once again, the school contacted Trowbridge College and a girl named Joan came. Joan was the eldest of six or seven children; her Father worked on a farm, and the furthest she had been was Swindon in the north of the county. She was very jolly and good company.

John and I decided to get married in December 1970, so I had to leave, because it was too far to go on a daily basis. I was allowed to make and decorate our three-tier wedding cake at school, (one of the maids got married while I was there and I made her three-tier cake). In the June of 1970, Miss Gibbs told me that John Lewis in London was having a one-day fabric sale and that I should go up and get the fabric for my dress and bridesmaids dresses. By this time, the girls had gone home for the summer holiday, but we had stayed to cook for the staff who were gradually drifting home. Lewie said Joan and I could have the day off, so we packed sandwiches and went up to London on the coach, then took the Underground to Oxford Street. Well, Joan’s face was a picture, I nearly had to hold her hand, she just couldn’t believe what London was like. We bought everything; material for my dress and netted petticoat, head dress and veil. The material for four bridesmaids’ dresses, plus material for the muffs they were going to carry. I also bought material for my going away outfit, plus all the zips, cottons, lace, buttons, and binding.

We struggled home and showed everything to Miss Gibbs. She suggested that I put all the tables together in the sewing room end to end and cut everything out, I borrowed her big dress making shears, It took me two days to cut everything out and I had loads of blisters. I put everything in a big box and took it home and spent the entire holiday sewing in my little bedroom. My trusty Singer sewing machine I had to put on top of my chest of drawers, (No table) and stand to turn the handle. I had to sit on the bed to pin and hand sew, as there was just room for an iron and ironing board. I had everything made by the time I returned to school; I took it all back with me to show Miss Gibbs

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at St Mary’s and was very sad to leave. It would be sixteen years before I went back into a school kitchen. That would be working for the County Council and that was a very different kettle of fish.

Sir Douglas Bader was a RAF ace who went down in history for both his victories in the World War II air battles and the fact that he achieved them besides the fact that he had lost both his legs in a plane crash in 1931.

He won at least 22 aerial victories, up until 1941, when he was forced to bail out his aircraft over Nazi-occupied France.
Despite his disability, he attempted several times to escape, forcing the Germans to transfer him to the Colditz Castle prison.

Sir Douglas Bader was finally released in April 1945, when the Castle was liberated by the US Army.
He retired from the RAF in 1946.

He was once invited to give a talk at a my daughters girls’ school in Cheltenham, about his experience as a pilot during World War II. Bader: “So there were two of these f**kers behind me, three f**kers to my right, another f**ker to the left“.

At this point, the principal turned pale and intervened saying: Principal: “Ladies, Fokker was a German aircraft“.
And Sir Douglas Bader answered:
“That may be madam, but these f**kers were in Messerschmitts“!…

All good things – Sarah Riach

A Cautionary Tale

Dear Members, 

The late, great Frank Muir told a story of driving his beloved Lagonda on St Anne’s Hill in Surrey, up from Thorpe and down into Chertsey, when round the corner came a woman driver at speed in a clapped-out, dented Morris Minor, missing his beautiful car by a centimetre. She wound down the window furiously and yelled at him ‘PIG!’ ‘Women drivers!’ he snorted, drove on round the corner and hit a pig.

All good things, 

Sarah Riach

This is aimed at you long suffering girls out there
How many times have you heard these words?
“I have just seen a so and so advertised, I have been looking for one of those for years” or “So and so knows someone who has got a classic, whatever for sale, it only needs a new thingy , (Which you have never heard of) and it will only take a few days to do ¡¡¡¡” ha ha ha
You shudder, because if you have lived in Spain for more than a couple of years, any job, no matter how small or simple, takes at least three times as long to do.  Put a classic car into the mix, and you know that this little job is going  to turn into at least a two year project.
So, the car is purchased and brought home.  It is drooled over, cosseted, and loved.  Of course it needs it’s own little house, so one has to be modified, or if you are really lucky, a new one is built.
Then the work starts.  Oh my life, having spent months scouring the globe for this obscure part, it is found, and it has to come from Outer Mongolia, well, it might just as  well for the time it takes to arrive.  The cost of the import duty is nearly the deposit for your first home, and so it goes on
Can you girls please tell me what pleasure there is in buying all this work, hassle, and stress?  What pleasure is there in buying bad tempers? We try to raise their spirits when things go wrong, trying to avoid our heads being chewed off in the process, but then “Boys and their toys” I suppose it does make them happy, and in the end, we do love them, that’s why we married them.
But oh, brave is the man who says, “Not another pair of sandals”
From Jane Shergold, Lorca

About eight years ago, I wrote a little book for our young Grandson, silly little stories really. I wrote a story about the owls that nest in our garden, Jane.


Guess what Charlie

One day about seven years ago at Jane and John’s house in the country, there was a terrible commotion.  Jane could hear Sophie and Archie, our brother and sister large dogs barking like mad.  Jane wondered what all the noise was about, and so went off in the direction of the barking.  Sophie and Archie were underneath the Pepper tree out the front and barking like mad at something in the tree.

“Oh,” thought Jane, “I bet there is a cat up the tree, this is going to be a bit tricky, as it is usually quite difficult to get a cat down from a tree.”  John had tried once before and had been scratched for his troubles.  “Right, Sophie and Archie, come away like good dogs,” and Jane looked up into the tree, but could see no cat.  Then guess what Charlie, what do you think Jane saw? She saw two owls sitting on the branch.  She was beside herself with excitement, and went running indoors to tell John, but she was talking so fast, he couldn’t understand her.

“Wooah, slow down,” he said, “Start at the beginning,”  “Well Sophie and Archie were barking up at the pepper tree, I thought there was a cat up there, but there wasn’t, there are two owls up there, come and see.”  So they went around to the front and had a look, it was quite difficult to find them again, because they blend in with the leaves, but eventually they spotted them, they had quite tall pointed ears, and when John went indoors, he switched on the computer to find out all about owls.  After a while, John called out,  “Found them”, they are long eared owls.” “Well that’s good, at least we know what they are called,” said Jane.

Meanwhile, up in the tree, the two owls, whose names were Boris and Maria, were having a little chat.  “You know, we have been flying over this house for a little while now,” said Boris,” and I am jolly glad we decided to stop in this tree,”  “I am too,” said Maria,  “My wings were getting so tired, it seems a nice place, lots of trees to sit in, and plenty of fields for food,” said Boris.  “Those two dogs were a bit noisy, but the lady came out and sorted them out.” Said Maria.

“We could try out that big fir tree at the front, it might make a nice change now and again,” said Boris,.  “Yes there are so many trees to try here, I think we are going to be very happy here, who knows, we might decide to raise a little family, “replied Maria”

Next morning, Jane very quietly went out to see if the owls were there, but was disappointed to find them gone, “Oh well,” she thought, “maybe they were just passing through,” but then she looked up in the fir tree, and low and behold, there they were, but it was even more difficult to see them, because they were so camouflaged by the fir cones.

The days passed, sometimes they were in the Pepper tree, and sometimes they were n the fir tree.  One day Maria said,” I think it is time we raised a little family, where do you think would be the best place for a nest? I don’t really want to leave this garden, because it is so nice here, we don’t get bothered by anyone, and even the dogs are used to us now.”

“I have been thinking about that,” said Boris, “What about the Cyprus trees, there is a nice bushy one at the end, it would be ideal, nothing could see us in there.”  “That sounds good, we will move over there to-morrow,” said Maria.

The next day, Jane went to see the owls, but they were nowhere to be seen. “Oh dear,” she thought, “They have gone, I do hope we have not frightened them away.”  The weeks passed, and every day, Jane searched the trees for the owls, but they were nowhere to be seen, she really thought they were gone for good.

Meanwhile, Boris and Maria had built a lovely cosy nest in the bushy Cyprus tree, even when the wind blew and it rained, they were still warm and dry, and at night they went out to find food.  Owls have very, very, good eyesight and they are able to see very well in the dark, that is why they are called nocturnal birds, they are awake at night, and sleep during the day.

For a couple of nights, just Boris went out for food, and when he came back at the end of the second night, Maria said, “Guess What? I have laid three eggs.”  “How wonderful,” said Boris, “You are a clever girl.” “You are going to be so busy now,” said Maria, “because I will have to sit on the eggs to keep them warm, I will only be able to leave them for a few minutes  at a time to stretch my wings, you will have to bring me my food.”  So that is what happened, poor Boris was kept very busy, fetching food for Maria.

Then guess what Charlie? One night as Maria was sitting on the eggs, she heard a little noise, and felt the eggs starting to move, after a little while, guess what happened? Yes, the eggs hatched, and Maria could feel three little owl chick, damp and squirming beneath her.

“Oh, my little darlings, aren’t you beautiful.”  Just then, Boris returned with some breakfast for Maria.  “Boris, the eggs have hatched, would you like to have a little peep, there are two little girls, and one little boy. “She said”.  “Oh yes,” Boris replied, and he had a little peep, “Ooh, they are tiny, and they don’t have any feathers.”  “No silly, the feathers will soon grow,” Maria told him.

So for the next three or four weeks, Boris and Maria were kept very busy, looking after the little chicks, and keeping the nest clean.  “These chicks don’t half eat a lot, and they are growing so big, and making such a noise, I think it is almost time for them to learn to fly and leave the nest.  I think they will be OK, as it is starting to get warmer at night now.” Said Maria.  “I know what you mean,” replied Boris, “I am fair worn out trying to find enough food for them to eat, I hardly get a bit to eat myself.”  “Right,” said Maria, “To-night we will give it a go.”

So when it got dusk, Maria gently called to the little chicks, “Come on my littles ones, hop onto the branch, you will be perfectly safe,”  So very nervously, one by one, they hopped onto the branch, they wobbled a little bit, but they managed it.  So every evening, they came out of the nest and hopped a little further along the branch, and each night, they got a little braver.

At the end of April, Jane and John had some guests arriving for a holiday, their names were Gordon and Marisa, and they were very keen bird watchers, so Jane told them all about the owls.  The next day, Gordon said to Jane,  “Seen them, we were sitting outside, and when it got dusk, we saw two adult owls and there re definitely chicks, because we can hear them, they are very noisy,”  “Oh how wonderful,” said Jane,  “I thought they had gone, they were obviously hidden away on the nest, that is good news,” and off she went to tell John.

Each day, the chicks grew stronger and became braver, and Gordon and Marisa managed to take some lovely photos of Boris and Maria, so they were a little sad when their holiday came to an end, because they had enjoyed watching the owls.

One night, Maria managed to get the owls to flap their little wings, Boris sat in one tree, and Maria was with the chicks on a branch near the nest and Boris started calling.  “Booo, Booo, the first two chicks flapped their wings, and managed to fly the short distance over to the tree where Boris was, but the third chick, the little boy, was very frightened.  “Come my sweetheart, you can do it,”  “I can’t Mummy, I just can’t, I am so frightened.” Cried the little chick.  Take a deep breath and flap,” said Maria, with that the little chick took a deep breath and, flapped, he took off, but oh dear, he didn’t get as far as the tree where his Daddy, and two sisters were waiting, he floated down to the ground.

“Mummy,” he squawked, “What do I do now, I am so frightened.” Maria was now very worried, and flew over to the tree where Boris was sitting, “Oh Boris, what are we going to do, our little boy is on the ground, and I am worried about that cat that sometimes comes in the garden, and what about the dogs.”  “Calm down Maria, we will keep calling to him, and we will watch him carefully, if the cat comes in, we will chase it away, he will soon learn to flap his wings and take off, we will give him lots of encouragement.

As it was now warmer at night, Jane and John now slept with the bedroom window open.  All of a sudden, Jane and John wer awoken by a lot of noise.  “What in heaven’s name is that,” said John,  “It sounds like a cross between a frog and a small dog yapping.”  They also heard Booo, Booo,, “I reckon it is the owls, I think they are teaching the chicks to fly,” said John  “Well, they are very noisy,” said Jane.

Next morning, Jane got up early, and when she looked out the window, she gasped, she could see a little owl chick hopping around.  “Oh, my life,” she said to herself, “I had better get John up, if that cat comes in the garden, we will be in big trouble, slos Sophie and Archie might chase it,”  So she woke John, (Who wasn’t best pleased,) but when he realised the problem, he soon sprung into action.  “Right,” he said, “Don’t let Sophie and Archie outside, they must stay indoors, or go over to the pen, I think I will try and pick the chick up and put it on top of the pillar, or on the branch of the tree.”

So John tried to pick the chick up, but the chick wasn’t having any of that, it started to spread it’s little wings, its eyes opened very wide, and its beak, which was very sharp, went clack, clack.  John said, “Well, sunshine, you are going to have to take your chance, you are not going to bite me”.

So the little chick spent quite a while hopping up and down the garden, keeping close to the fence.  His Mummy and Daddy watched him very carefully to make sure no harm came to him.  Eventually, he went and sheltered under the large Yuka plant, where he was out of sight and it was sheltered from the hot sun.

That night, the noise continued, and Maria and Boris kept encouraging the little chick, calling to him.  “Come on sweetheart, get those little wings flapping, you can do it,” his Mummy said.  “Come on son, I’m waiting for you,” called his Daddy.  Even his little sisters chirped in.  Finally, the little chick made an almighty effort, and he took off, just enough to get him up into the safety of the tree.

“Well done,” everyone called.  “Oh, I am so tired,” the little chick said, “I think I will have a long sleep.”  “Yes you had better,” said his Mummy, “because you three little ones have got to practice your flying, because the next lesson, and this is the most important one, you have got to learn to catch your own food.”  “Oh,” they all said.  “This sounds very difficult.”  “It is,” replied Daddy, “but we will help you, let’s hope you learn quickly.”

So the three little owl chicks grew daily, they practiced their flying, and gradually they learnt to catch their own food.  One night, when Maria and Boris were watching their three offspring, Maria said to Boris.  “Well, it’s been hard work, but I think we have done a good job raising our first family.”  “Yes, we have” replied Boris

Lying in bed, John said, “I shall be jolly glad when those owls make less noise,”  “I know,” said Jane,  “but not many people can say they have a family of Long Eared Owls in their garden, can they.”  “No they can’t ,” said John, as they finally went to sleep.

De  Jane, que vive en Lorca

One of the Babies