Thursday, 16 June 2011

I don't like green things ...........

And after reading this I can understand why Mark.

I am truly sorry for making you re-live this traumatic episode and I sincerely hope that you found it a cathartic experience and can now put it behind you.

Well Sarah has advised me that she's going to publish my response in its
entirety so I will try and do her wonderful writing style justice...

My fear of green is deep rooted - like many traumatic things that happen in
your early life you try and repress it but you can't always keep it away
from your daily life.... I suffer every single time I go to the supermarket.

The source of the trauma... Something as innocent as a 9 year old's school
trip. My school was one of those wonderfully overcrowded inner city schools
with 1 teacher to every 45 students. They did their best though and often
would take a crowd of unwashed urchins to visit the local farm (where, when
asked the next day what sounds were heard at the farm in assembly, mixed in
with the baa's, moo's and neigh's there was a solitary voice that yelled
'get of that fuckin tractor you little bastard....')

Anyway I digress... During the spring term we were invited to the canning
and processing plant for Sprackleys Processed Peas as part of our science
lessons. In the mid 70's no one had really heard of Health and Safety and 90
screaming kids were encouraged to charge round a canning factory looking at
everything they could and asking stupid questions of a couple of very bored
teachers. In fact the only person who seemed to be asking anything of any
interest was Norman Pettigrew, who at best could be described as dull, he
wanted to know if the peas were picked by hand or by a machine, how long
after they were picked were they canned, how was the lid put on the can, how
was the label stuck on.... The list of questions was endless... One of the
teachers actually asked him why he was so interested and his proud answer
was 'because processed peas taste better than chocolate' (I did say he was

Norman spent all day running around the factory climbing the rickety wooden
ladders to the stirring platforms of the pea vats.

At 3pm when the teachers did the headcount to head back to school it was
discovered that we were one person short... After an inordinate amount of
time asking is such and such here and little voices chirruping yes miss it
was finally discovered the Norman was the one missing.

The usual Noooormaaaan calls had no effect and it was decided that we would
all go in different directions to look for Norman. I decided that I couldn't
be arsed to look around boxes and behind cupboards and that I'd get a better
view from the stirring platform on top of the main vat....

Staring around in all directions gave me no further insight and I decided to
make way back down to the rest of the crowd. 

Just as I was about to put my first foot on the ladder I heard a 'gloop' from the vat. 

Being a curious 9 year old (or nosey bugger as my Dad always called me) I decided to look in
the vat.... BIG MISTAKE... It turns out that Norman had been leaning over
the barrier about 30 minutes earlier and had slipped into the vat. 

I don't know if you've ever tried it but swimming in processed peas is like swimming
in quicksand... Norman had been sucked under and over the course of about
half an hour had been worked back to the surface of the vat - the gloop was
him breaking cover... 

The most shocking thing was his hair was green, his
skin was green, his strangely bloated tongue was green and the cream velvet
trousers that he was so proud of were also fucking green.... I still have
nightmares where I am chased by a pair of pea dripping green velvet

I went back last year and although the factory is now closed, you can still
see through the grubby windows a faded brass plaque attached to the largest
vat. It's not possible to read the inscription from the window but the
words are forever with me "In memory of Norman Pettigrew - a little man with
a huge love of processed peas" ......


Nel said...

"Norman Pettigrew" ahahaha

Have the names been changed to protect the innocent?

Sarah Mac said...

Well, I did text Mark to ask Nel but he's at the Mobo Awards getting pissed again on Laurent Perrier Rose (alright for some!)and seems to be suffering from fat fongerz.

(I suspect everything's been changed to protect the guilty.)

Sarah said...

OMG! thats horrible!

Sarah Mac said...

Couldn't agree more Sarah, processed peas??? Blurgh