Notes on Matters Medica

When I was five years old I was ‘lucky ‘to be sent you a boarding school then situated in the Phoenix Park in Dublin , an annexe to Mount Sackville the well known girls school. The place was run by a stout red faced English woman Mother Elizabeth and was run more or less on military lines with a classical education. The uniform of Blue blazer white shirt and tie ,short grey trousers and knee high grey socks black shoes was examined as often as ones knowledge of Algebra and Latin.

The nuns themselves were wrapped as I later got know mummy style layer upon layer of sacred bandages of one sort or another all white ,quite a shock for a 7 yr old having stumbled into Mother Elizabeth’s cubicle one evening on my way to the loo while she was in the process of decloaking , a such complex process that I was unnoticed ,over which they wore black billowing skirts and black billowing veils .I say billowing as I think they weren’t allowed to stop and were in nearly a state of perpetual motion going thither or praying, constant forward velocity.

Trust me when I tell you that ‘Freddie’ holds less fear for me today. Mother Elizabeth was relentless and ruthless for she truly believed that God had called on her to beat every child in the school at least once a term,On the occasions she really lost it she would pray while she beat you….. ‘Hail Holy Queen,Mother of mercy ,our life, our sweetness and our hope’,she would begin ,one boy that I recall David T she beat every morning as he wet the bed needless to say on a nightly basis after which he would be made to wash the stain out of the sheet and bring in to the laundry room. The laundry room was run by a Mother Celeste who I am reliably informed was George Lucas’s inspiration for Darth Vader( picked her out of a photo line up of nuns at Lourdes).She was also a lurker a silent lurker in the maze of grey corridors that connected the whole place up,and like Darth Vader could appear from nowhere, for a while I thought the reason you couldn’t hear her coming was that she did not wear shoes I now believe it was that she had no feet.Her eyes were black as coal and and her voice monotonic and forbidding .Among the crimes one could commit that she particularly kept watch for was that you were seen with your socks (knee high grey) down around your ankle. the punishment for this was a caning on the backs of the calves. From here comes the expression ‘Keep your socks up’ and so the beginnings of a life time habit which includes a disproportionate dislike of buying socks and so I have established a routine of buying 24 pairs at a time. normally this gives me about 2 yrs between event horizons given that 1 in 9 socks in a laundry bag dematerializes. Only the fittest and toughest socks survive to their replacement date.

About two and half years ago I started having trouble with my feet stiffness at first then pain ,pain in the bones and joints and so I hobbled off to see my G.P and after examining me declared ‘it might just be that you are getting older’ He is a good sort , I am not absolutely sure what he knows about medicine but he is very well connected to those that do and a phone call from his office can get you in front of the right man in a day or two and that’s the principal reason I go to him. So within a blink my Consultant Endocrinologist and his two lovely assistants were caressing my feet and so forth,Lab technicians worked feverishly. nothing could be found. the Endocrinologist took me off my minute dose of neo mercazole which underpinned my sanity in case it was an adverse reaction. Several visits to a chiropractor a cheerful Canadian man who eventually proclaimed ‘Beats me’ did little to help. I even found myself in front of a man in Stillorgan with several degrees in electrical engineering who wired me up to a Barberella type machine before producing several bottles of medicine which had to be stored in the dark . The eminent Gastroenterologist consulted did so without charge exclaiming ‘No idea how you ended up here’. And so the prescription for painkillers from my G.P. slid across the desk into my hand ‘Eat a little food each time you take one’ was his advice and still is three years later as he leads me to the door ,pay downstairs.

I digress ,too much twitter : ) about 10 evenings ago as I retired for bed as I was taking my socks off I noticed corrugated ridges from my ankle to below my calf ,Ho Hum ,I thought time to go for a couple of dozen as by now the 24 had become only 6 but 6 of the toughest.Momentarily I thought I heard a remembered ghostly whoosh that would signal the arrival of Darth Vader all those years ago and those black beady eyes that chilled one to the core but decided it was Bear @billionairedog having a crafty fart.

As I settled into bed I found myself thinking … I wonder could tight socks affect the circulation of the blood in any appreciable way and resolved to go sock less for a couple of days before falling asleep. Three weeks later not even a twinge of pain remains in my feet. So if you know someone who knew Darth Vader when she was only a nun ……….Pass It On……..Pass it On                                       c 2010

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Published in: on February 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm  Comments (31)  

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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good to see you blogging now. I look forward to reading more 🙂

  2. “Now listen, young man,” Mother Superior boomed, “You’ll need to pull your socks down if you want to make your way in the world.”

  3. When I was 3, my mom went into a nursing home to give birth to my baby sister and I was allowed to visit. The only thing anyone seems to remember about the day was that I lifted the nun’s skirt to check if she had legs. I guess if she had legs, she probably also had feet, but I understand your concern about Darth Vader. Totally.

  4. Ken, I hope all those strange people with a ‘sock fetish’ will be making this blog a shrine now after that.I’ve had too many of that kind visiting my blog when I mentioned those two words.

  5. A socking story. Absolutely socking.

  6. Pulling my socks up, I confess I knew another footless Darth Vader 😉

  7. David is an awesome artist, a humorous twitter friend and now a heartfelt author. Through this blog post I can see David as a wide eyed little boy pulling up his socks and hiding from the Nuns. David’s accounts make me wish I could travel back in time and steal him away from that boarding school. Yet, we are what we live and if history were changed he wouldn’t be who he is…

  8. Great blog, hope to see it continue.

  9. NOW I understand why it was so important to wear our navy blue knee socks firmly scrunched around the ankles, when I was at Catholic high school (1980’s). What a horrid school life (I have an 11-year old chronic bedwetter, poor thing). At least you ended with a solution to the foot pain! Thanks for writing – please keep going. Cheers.

  10. Just realized my last wasnt Twitterable! Thx for writing your experience, pls keep it going!

  11. Come join he blogging world with @thepainterflynn and enjoy.

  12. Gosh that brought back so many memories! I went to prep school in England straight from my Belfast primary school and rapidly had to lose my accent! Then I remember the school matron and her iron clad bosom when I was upset; not very comforting!!

  13. I agree with everyone else, wonderful to see you blogging. You write with so much detail, I love it. Look forward to seeing more.

  14. nuns – i have to resist the urge to run them over if i see them by the road. Convent school will do that to a girl.

  15. Careful not to be socked into the Dark Side.

  16. Good to see you blogging – I am sure you will enjoy it!

  17. I always thought of nuns themselves like Daleks, footless and floating while enforcing sock wear to maintain supremacy

  18. Thanks, David,
    I got a shlap from Mother Elizabeth too. I had been reading a bit of Longfellow (as one does) and such was my pleasure that I began to beam. Uncontrollably. She thought I was laughing at her, called me up, and instead of saying, ‘What on earth or in heaven has caused you such bliss?’ she just slapped me across the face. I had no idea what was going on. I may have temporarily lost consciousness… I think some spittle may have escaped from one of her unbandaged orifices as well.

  19. The devil is in the socks! Enjoyed your post.

  20. And you know what occurs to me, David, is that all these years later your body could have been manifesting the pain which you had to endure at that boarding ‘school’ on the matter of footwear… albeit ably aided by tight socks to set the trigger of the beatings from Darth Vader.

    Poor love!

    And great that you’re blogging…

    Richness to you… Sharon

  21. Twitterable comment…

    Of socks, mummies, Darth Vader, leg attire & psychological happenings – @thepainterflyn blog http://bit.ly/aXmqZ2 A must read!

  22. Welcome to the world of blogging!! Great post, look forward to returning to visit. Those damn socks ehbtw M&S have a pairs with light elastic (Dad loves these).

  23. Nuns, disrobing, socks, this blog rocks http://bit.ly/be9CJE

  24. Great post David, was there with you in the corridor watching for Darth Vader. Re: the socks! I will buy 24 loose top pairs

  25. The nuns made it for me. Absoultely Ace squire.

    Keep up the blog young fella 🙂

  26. good on ye David. No socks in bed.Good writing o;d buddy

  27. Socks, as we all well know, serve to protect ones humility and regardless of the suffering they may inflict, it is in humility that we pursue purity. 9 out of 10 Nuns cannot be wrong!

  28. Decloaked Nuns, billowing mummy swathes and knee-high, tight socks. It’s a bit like Mills & Boon meet Ann Summers!

    Great post though you ought to put a link from your other site to this and vice versa.

    I would have commented sooner but wanted to wait until your competition was over lest I find myself being judged!

  29. What a great blog post – almost like reading a chapter of a book. I went to a convent school in Wales as a day girl for 3 years between age 9 and 12. I hated every minute and think my father finally allowed me to change to the comprehensive because of six months of constant arguments and upset. I wrote an essay at age 13 for a school competition. I wrote about the nuns and how they came down in a space ship as they were extra terrestials – not nice ET’s at all. Your Darth Vadar reference just reminded me. I remember it was very tongue in cheek but getting my angst out about the three years I was in the convent school. It won best essay of my year and the whole school and I remember meeting the headmaster many years later and he still commented on it. I’m very disappointed to say that the essay was never kept and I cannot remember it now, 30 years on. But I feel your sock pain David 🙂

  30. Ah this is how it’s done. I was silly but now I am leaned. http://kathymb.wordpress.com/

  31. Dave Fenton said it first, but it would be great to link your site to this. Also because it would make the blog accessible through Twitter?


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