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'Breakfast was a solemn affair. The landlady ran the place on strict military lines, it was even rumoured that she had been thrown out of the SS for cruelty '
Mike Mahon recounts his memories of the boarding house he stayed in during his salesmen traineeship in England.
Trinity College Dublin
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I once took a job with an English company as a trainee salesman dealing in office equipment. Their factory was located in one of the seedier parts of the East end of London. We were accommodated in a local boarding house and each issued with an identical black imitation leather briefcase (no doubt to match the black Morris Minor we were promised on successful completion of the course) and other paraphernalia essential to the budding salesman. There were ten of us on the course from all over the UK and one other Paddy from Dublin. The boarding house had a full complement of lodgers. What they did, who they were, where they were from remained a total mystery as they never spoke. I learned later why, we had never been properly introduced. Breakfast was a solemn affair. The landlady ran the place on strict military lines, it was even rumoured that she had been thrown out of the SS for cruelty. Brave was the soul who dared to ask for more marmalade or toast . The offender would be greeted with a scowl 'Yew fink this is a bleeding 'otelThere was a sideboard in the dining room on which withered a meager selection of staling cereals. I made the mistake one morning of helping myself to some 'Malted Golden Crunchy Oats, not realising they were the sole property of one of the grumpier residents . When I returned that evening I was immediately accosted, 'Was it yew, yew that stole Mr. Braithwaite's Malted Golden Crunchy Oats. They're his own personal supply and for his own constipation. 'E's very particular is our Mr. Braithwaite. A proper gent , 'e is. In future stick to the corn flakes and rice crispies. Well I never!'I readily admitted guilty to the crime , promising to replace them later. This placated the oul' biddy somewhat.
Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)
Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)
Senior Research Associate
Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)
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