Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sister Morgan and the poached egg

Sister Morgan

It’s strange how food can stir memories long buried.
Take fried eggs. I hate them, along with porridge.

But a poached egg?...well that’s different. Every time I eat one I think of Sister Morgan.

I had not been in Craig-y-nos long, perhaps a few months, certainly less than a year, when it happened.

We had been given a fried egg for our supper. Food by the time it reached us from the bowels of the castle, or wherever it came from on its long journey from the hospital kitchen to Ward 2, was cold.

So it was this particular evening the fried egg for my supper was not only cold but it had turned an unpleasant shade of greenish/blue around the edges.

I took an instant dislike to it and set about demolishing it in a technique I had perfected since my arrival in Craig-y-nos with food I didn't like, which was most of it.

I cut it up into small pieces then spread it around the plate thus creating the impression that I had made some attempt to eat it.

Those girls who were up could wrap uneaten food in paper and feed it to the swans on their next walk. Those on the balcony could stuff it down the drain, except porridge had a nasty habit of gurgling back up if it rained often which of course it does in Wales.

Having dissected my cold fried egg into many pieces all it needed was for a sympathetic member of staff to take it away. Nurses I knew from experience, wouldn't but orderlies, especially Mary, would. She took pity on us. Also she wanted to clear away all the plates so she could finish for the evening. Mine was the last as usual.

Would she or wouldn't she?
Mary took it without a word.

She had barely gone out of the ward when I heard the iron gates of the lift crash open.

Trouble. Big trouble.
Within seconds the loud, angry bellowing voice of Dr Huppert could be heard reverberating throughout the corridor demanding to know whose plate Mary was holding and ordering her to take it back.

I am in tears waiting for the return of the offending fried egg.

But instead in walks Sister Morgan a few minutes later brandishing a plate with a warm freshly poached egg and a piece of hot toast with some butter on it.

“Eat this!”
I do .
It tastes delicious. Why couldn't food always be like this I wonder trying to eat and cry at the same time.

Even today I cannot eat a poached egg without remembering Sister Morgan's simple act of kindness that evening many years ago.

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