When I was ten, I was sent to boarding school.

I soon discovered that this wasn’t a place where merry chaps played cricket and then had a pleasant evening roasting a first-year pupil over an open fire.

This was more like Colditz – a dark place where survival was the name of the game. For this was Ring College [or Coláiste na Rinne, as they liked to call themselves] where we could only speak Irish, and you were flayed to the bone if a word of English slipped out.

Mercifully, my memory auto erased itself to spare me the nightmares of the place, but one or two still linger.

One of my memories was of Cheffy’s Vomit. This was the main meal of the day on Friday. It was revolting stuff. It had the look and consistency of wallpaper paste, and had little things like diced carrot floating in it. It was bland, and had a taste of desperation about it. It was served up in a soup dish and we all ate it or starved. I’m sure we should have been entitled to Red Cross parcels, but we were too young and scared to argue.

But why do I think of Cheffy’s Vomit now?

Strangely, it was the news of the Greens’ pact that brought the memories back.

Our current selection of political parties are the Cheffy’s Vomit of the modern day. They are colourless, tasteless, and we put up with them because that’s what we are given.

But there was always that little bowl of peas at one side of the soup dish. I don’t fancy a diet of peas, but at least it was there, providing a bit of colour, and an alternative if you were that desparate.

Now the peas have been thrown into the Vomit. It is the end of alternatives. It is the end of the mildly eccentric bit of colour. We are now stuck with Cheffy’s Vomit for the foreseeable future and it makes me want to throw up.

I know some will say that there are still different flavours in government. But it is very hard to tell the difference. Maybe a 1% difference in proposed tax rates, or a difference of opinion as to where private hospitals are built, but essentially they are all the same recipe.

What we need now in Irish politics is a bit of spice. A vindaloo on the menu, or a bit of bolognese. Even a traditional Irish stew would do to liven things up a bit.

Anything but Cheffy’s Vomit.

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Cheffy's Vomit — 10 Comments

  1. Colaiste na Rinne brings back memories. Never went there but when my parents were considering Gaeltacht trips it was always a possible. I was luckily shipped off to Spideal in Galway. The stories coming out of “The Ring” were frightening!

  2. You had a narrow escape! It was a very frightening place for a ten year old.

    I was once beaten so badly by a teacher that the headmaster had to come in and haul him off me. What was surreal was that noone ever told me what the beating was for!

    The irony is that I came out a fluent Irish speaker. I have never used the language since, and can’t speak it now to save my life.

  3. You are bringing memories flooding back to me now. Although I was a day pupil at a boarding school, we used to have a dessert on every Wednesday I think. Anyway it was ordinary bread and butter pudding but it was affectionately known as “Brain Damage”.

    Anyone who recognises that will now know which school I went too!

  4. Grandad,

    I went to a boarding school run by Christian fundamentalists on Dartmoor. They used to buy catering stuff produced by a company called Consort, the food physically resembled the genuine article, unfortunately the taste did not. The taste I remember most was the sour vinegar taste of the baked beans.

    The Vindaloo went out of Irish politics when Joe Higgins lost his seat. I had no time for his Trotskyite policies, but he was a man of integrity.

  5. Was all boarding school food the same?

    And I’m thinking of starting a political party with a flavour somewhere in the region of Chilli Con Carne. Anyone want to join?

  6. The only problem when comparing a politics to a curry is that you must not forget, that as with curry, “What goes in hot, comes out even hotter”!

  7. 🙂

    True. But politics needs a bit of spicing up [not sexing up – look where that got Blair!].

    Now that the Greens Yellows are dead and gone, all we have left is the sludge in the middle.

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