The sound of Reveille echoing up the stairs through the corridors; time to stir from deep sleep and sweet dreams.
Young lads shuffle along to the bathroom, cold and wearing only pyjamas, rubbing their eyes in the knowledge that
another day is about to start.
The sound of water from the taps, a quick lick and promise, and even quicker the drying of face and hands,
and so the more awake lads trundled back faster footed to their dormitories, on with their clothes and proceed
to make their beds in uniform fashion "neat and tidy".
It is now off to Breakfast, down the winding stairs, plodding along the cold corridor with the noise of chatting
echoing as they make their way. The huge dining hall, plain coloured walls, the hotplates and urns spotlessly clean,
howls of "pongv" porridge, white plates, door step slices of bread, unspreadable chunks of margarine;
filling the nostrils of the empty young bellies was the aroma of fried bacon, fried bread, beans and tomatoes.
Whilst breakfast was being devoured you would frequently realise that Joe Patch with his Alsatian dog Wolf would
be stalking the rows of tables not missing a trick or wrong doing. After breakfast it was back to the dormitory to do
the chores supervised by the House Captain and the prefects. each boy was allocated a job to do, the Ronuking,
Bumping, Sweeping, Polishing etc. The floors shone like glass and so as not to spoil the shine of the floor, pieces of
rag were put under the feet so you would shuffle along to your bed space.
Looking back I would say we were proud of our achievements. All were relieved, I must say, to hear the five
minute bugle warning for the chores to end. "Mount Stephen shone with pride", and so down and out to polish
your shoes. There was always an abundance of polish and brushes and this task was done communally under a long
covered lean-to. Then came the morning assembly. All boys in their respective houses formed a neat U shape
comprising of . Somerset, Cairns, Aberdeen, Mount Stephen, Buxton and McCaul all six houses called to attention
by if I remember correctly, the School Captain. All was silent until the arrival of the Headmaster Mr Wheatley to
deliver his daily messages after which the school was dismissed for the boys to go to their respective places of work
e.g. Cookhouse Gardening, Tin Bashing Printing, Engineering, and my own chosen vocation Shoe making and
repairing under Mr "Buck" Randal and Mr Tordoff, and for those who were not feeling so good off to Sick Bay,
On the way to the workshops in winter, many a bump or graze was sustained due to the frozen slide from the
cookhouse to the band hut.
At the end of a hard day at trade training, 4.30 would bring an air of relief as the stampede was made for a nice
wash and brush up to revitalise yourself for a wide choice of activities, swimming, footer, cricket or any mischief
one could dream of getting up to.
The sound of the bugle for evening meal was a welcome sound to a crowd of hungry kids. They were drawn as if by
a magnet to join the queue for their fill of Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, and for sweet,
"hard bake" bread pudding.
For us in the Cadets and Cadet Band it was practice and drill with the much loved and respected Skip Culver
smelling of his beloved pipe. For the rest of us it was off to the top field playing conkers etc. or just romping
around with one's friends.
Night is coming in fast. Back into the house to enjoy a hot bath and join in with the laughter and banter with true
friends as will only be found at a Dr Barnardo's Home. Climb wearily up the Stairs to your Dormitory after a long
day's work-out and tired climb into bed. Last Post was played by Stan Evans or whoever was playing the bugle
Lights out, goodnights echoing around the Dorms and so to sleep for most of us, but for a small few it was time to