Me and my smoking


Hugh Paxton’s Blog has had a mixed relationship with tobacco. It began a long time ago in the boiler room beneath Foundation North in a school in St Bees.

My beloved brother has just informed me that St Bees is now one of the most prestigious addresses in the UK. When I was there it wasn’t.

My school was a Public school. In England that means it was a private school. I have comprehensively attempted to explain to bewildered people worldwide about English education and have consistently failed. Logically a private school should be called a private school. Not a public one. Comprehensive schools should be called incomprehensible schools. Grammar schools are public but you can go there if they haven’t been closed by nasty little socialists.

St Bees was a public school. Your parents paid for you to be there and you arrived feeling small and thwarted by large, unlit, ominous buildings. Lots of corridors. With nobody in them. Just the echo of footsteps.

The boiler room contained several tons of junk, a threatening, but somehow soothing boiler and this old weathered looking chap who brewed tea, had a large pile of porno mags and a strangely comfortable world designed by him for him. He smoked a lot. And apart from the boiler didn’t have much to do. He was kind to animals. He was probably the last person a concerned parent would want infecting their child and we all liked him. There was a combination of grime, unruly behaviour, noble if sordid withdrawal from the Foundation North above and just a hint of menace. He was a grimy old bugger. Probably unstable. The Yorkshire Ripper applied for a job at my school but couldn’t fill in the forms to the satisfaction of the review board. I think our boiler man had been there long before anybody had thought about review boards.

Up above we were taught French by a fat fart I loathed. I was taught Latin by a slender man who had spent a lot of time de-Nazifying Nazis.

He would be given a Nazi and would stop him being a Nazi by making damn sure he didn’t start being a Nazi again. He was probably effective. But he couldn’t control his class and couldn’t teach Latin. I had no sympathy for the man, nobody did, and we ridiculed him.

The boiler room was warm.

And there he was with his smokes. And that’s where I learned to smoke.

It was…enjoyable!

(To be continued)

4 Responses to “Me and my smoking”

  1. sandra Says:

    Sounds very unsavoury to me, I bet some boys were doing lots of other things too hey Hugh!

  2. Jane Woodstrover Says:

    Oh my God! It makes my flesh creep. I wish you hadn’t.

    • Hugh Paxton Says:

      I wish I hadn’t,too, but I’m glad I did! Experiencing the more ghastly parts of the planet makes the better bits all the more wonderful. Re smoking I purchased an e ciggie but the current military junta is planning to make them un-lawful. Another un-wise investment on my part! Love from us as always! Midi going down a storm in Sabah! A real success!’

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