Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1978 – Boarding School, Sussex, John Travolta, Olivia Newton John, Gloria Gaynor

I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

1978 – Boarding School, Sussex, John Travolta, Olivia Newton John, Gloria Gaynor

Well here we are again on my journey to record my memories in case encroaching old age leaves me with only selective hearing and recall!

So last time; we left it that my marriage was well and truly defunct and I have been offered a job as housekeeper/caterer in a public preparatory school in Sussex. I was due to start in the first week of January before the 110 boys and girls arrived back from the school holidays.

I had a staff of ten who worked either in the kitchen, gardens or on the housekeeping staff taking care of the cleaning of the dormitories and classrooms. My role was to manage the upkeep of the buildings; as well as plan and cook the meals for the children and school staff which in total numbered approximately 140. There was to be a cooked breakfast, lunch and high tea with a supper for live-in staff at 7.00pm.

This required that I get up at 6.00 am every morning and walk from my cottage back door straight into the new modern kitchen attached to the dining-hall. I would cook porridge if the children were not having cereal. Then 140 eggs either poached, fried or scrambled, with sausages or bacon, with grilled tomatoes and at the same time watch the 140 pieces of toast on the grills remembering to turn them. So in the course of the next 15 months I cooked six days a week except in school holidays which comes out at about 42,000 eggs!

As soon as breakfast was cleared away it was time to prepare lunch, which also came with a homemade dessert everyday. Most of it was ‘cook from scratch’ and having been catering for the yachting crowd in Cowes for the last two years; I introduced the children to Coq au Vin, beef bourguignon as well as some regular favourites such as spaghetti bolognaise, shepherd’s pie and Chicken Princess. All with rice, pasta or potatoes and of course lots of vegetables.

High Tea would be something on toast or homemade burgers with cake, fruit and tea.

By the time I had served the staff their suppers I would be usually wiped out and so socialising in the first three or four months was rare. But eventually I got into the swing of things and even managed to knock out a couple of Rugby or Cricket teas a week as well.

The teaching staff, including the headmaster and his wife, were wonderful and I really felt at home right away. Within weeks a group of us drifted together. We were about the same age and would manage a night down the pub and even a quick trip to the movies on my night off. Because of my personal circumstances, I remained in my cottage during the summer holidays and only went home for a few days at Christmas. I loved my job and after the emotional and physical dramas of the previous five years; I felt I had won the lottery.

I had a tape player in my cottage and had finally managed to recover some of my belongings from storage. This meant that I had my favourite armchair, my music and the rest of my clothes. I enjoyed listening to the radio while I worked in the kitchens and the hits of 1978 included Night Fever by the Bee Gees, Three Times A Lady by The Commodores, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart, Le Freak by Chic, Y.M.C.A by Village People and I Can’t Smile Without You by Barry Manilow. Certainly when peeling and coring 140 apples for crumble, the Village People are hard to beat!

I had come through a rough patch and there was to be a few more glitches to arise from the past; but for the first time in several years I felt that I was finally back to being myself.

Which is why for me 1978 as far as the top single went was Gloria Gaynor and I Will Survive. Gloria Gaynor

My cottage was on school property but attached to a very busy and smelly pig farm. This made the first intake of breath as I left my cottage very interesting and I would hold said breath until I reached the safety of the kitchens shutting the door firmly behind me.

This was not my only contact with livestock. During the holidays I enjoyed walking back and forth to the village, listening to my music and of course reading. There would only be a skeleton housekeeping staff and so it fell to me to look after the school mascot. A rather large male goat. During the daylight hours he would be in my garden and I would sit on the bench and read whilst he munched away at his feed and any flowers or weeds that took his fancy.

One day I put my almost completed book face down, opened to the last ten pages and popped in for a cup of tea. On my return I found the book had been eaten. There were a few tatty pages on the ground and I picked them up in the hopes that he had left me the final part of the book. Sadly not. All that was left was the front cover and the acknowledgements. Still I have fond memories of our times together.

The movies of 1978 were legend..Superman, Halloween, Grease, The Deer Hunter, Midnight Express, The Boys From Brazil, Jaws 2, Watership Down, Every Which Way But Loose and Damien: Omen 11.

In honour of some great music of the time here is You’re the One That I Want by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.  John Travolta – Topic 


Thanks for joining me down memory lane..please join me tomorrow for a change of direction at Easter 1979. Sally

48 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1978 – Boarding School, Sussex, John Travolta, Olivia Newton John, Gloria Gaynor

  1. I love this, I am from the same time, but only came to the UK later, still I knew the music, and otherwise it is so British, and that reminds me how lucky I am to have been accepted by this country as then a political asylum seeker.This would make a great book.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a great memory.
    The music is certainly from my youth too.
    I had left college and at that time I met my future husband.
    One thing I want to know.
    did you ever get to read the end of the book?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t think I could have cooked for that many people, Sally. Wow. Just peeling the apples would have taken my all day. Thank goodness you had the right attitude and music to keep you company. Funny story about the goat. Did you ever read the last ten pages? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 21st – 27th November 2021 – Thanksgiving, Relationship WrapUp, Toto, Christmas Book Fair, Book Reviews, Memories and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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