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A Shout From The Attic: Return To Zin - 8

Ronnie Bray tells of his deep aversion to ham.

Ham And Chocolate Biscuits

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! When I was soldiering at Sudbury, I drank a bottle of limeade and was immediately as sick as a dog. Fortunately, the window above my bedspace was open or I wouldn't have made it. For the next fifty years I would not touch limeade even if I was dying of thirst.

A similar thing happened to me with tinned ham. I have never been a keen ham eater, for reasons that I donít understand apart from the fact that I found it less than appealing, and if there was an alternative, such as beef, chicken, or tripe, I would avoid ham like the plague. It was with some apprehension, therefore, that I received my first tin of ham from Arthurís friend, a lartge young ma, affectionately known as Tiny.

Living at Holays with no income meant that meals were few and far between. I had left Southampton with a coach ticket and nothing more after hocking my treasures. My mother would feed me any time I wanted a meal, but I didnít always enjoy visiting her in Ernestís home for the simple reason that I felt both she and Ernest were too hard on the children. Tiny worked for the Huddersfield Co-operative Society somewhere and had ready access to tins of ham and boxes of Jacobís Chocolate Club biscuits, and would bring me some of each on his way home.

I roped Arthur and Tiny into Joining the Social freedom Movement in an effort to bring justice to emerging nations, to which end I wrote to the Home Secretary relinquishing my British Subjectness. The British are not citizens, but subjects, hard for foreigners to understand, I know, but we understand. I didnít receive a reply from the Right Honourable Gentleman, so I donít know if they struck me out of the big Book of Subjects that the Queen keeps in a locked cupboard in her bedroom (Her Britannic Majesty has, I believe, the only key, not even Philip is trusted with access this important record.), so I donít know if I am struck off or not. However, when I applied for a British passport, there was no hint that I was not a person not so entitled.

I suppose I could write and ask her if I am still in it, but she is getting old and looking through a big book for the name of someone she hardly knows might prove too much for her and give fresh hope to Charles.

The chocolate biscuits were welcome, but they say man cannot live on chocolate biscuits alone, and so I tucked into the ham. The tins were one pound tins and not having a fridge meant eat it or throw away what you donít eat, as the house didnít have a refrigerator Ė few British houses did in 1964.

The ham, like the limeade, made me violently sick, and so I swore off ham for many years, fearing a repetition of the awful retching with my head down the toilet.

The Lordís Day Observance Society wrote back to my letter demanding that they cease their activities immediately, asking me who I was and how large the organisation was. Knowing there were three of us and that none of us had paid our dues, I did not respond to their letter, so I suppose they won that round.

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