Jun 09 2012

Two Old Ink-Wells…

Published by at 12:06 am under News

I never saw an ink-well until the day I started in Finbar’s school. I remember my teacher had a box of ink powder that he had to mix with water to make the ink. And of course the first thing I did was to stick my finger into the ink to try and figure out what it was. From being in the Convent School I was always used to writing with chalk and pencils, this pen and ink was a new invention. The handle of the pen was made of wood and it had a little metal holder that fitted on the end for the nib to slide up into. Some days the teacher would ask me to hand out the nibs to the rest of the boys in the classroom. The nibs came in a small cardboard box and it held a gross of nibs, that’s 144 nibs in total.

And then there was the blotting paper to complete the set. People used to say of you put blotting paper inside your shoes you’d faint. Well I can tell you here and now that it never worked, not for me anyway. Another thing you’d be told was to never drink the ink because it thins out your blood. The best one of all was to scratch your initials on the surface of your skin with the nib and rub ink onto the scratch. It turned out like a tattoo. Now I have to say if the teacher saw it you were sure of getting a smack of his hand across the ear.

Now one of the most famous bits of devilment to get up to was to take a piece of blotting paper, dip it into the ink and drop it down the back of the boy’s neck who was sitting in front of you. Now speaking of which, do you ever remember seeing loads of little red spots on the collar of the shirt that the boy in front of you wore?  They were blood spots from the hoppers eating him alive. They used to come to school as well. We always had fleas and hoppers, the fleas were in your head and hoppers were in your bed. Hold a minute, be the jakers I’m starting to scratch already…

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