Sticky Buns All Round Please

Thursday 29/7/2005


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Diary and Notes

Today, Tubby Snodgrass, Bingo Chippers, Spoons and I, skipped prep to go into town to buy sticky buns for a midnight feast. Being off grounds is forbidden during weekdays, so we had to hide our blazers and caps and dress in the garb of the common man - if we were caught it would be conkers & paddles from head boy at least - and if you don't know what conkers & paddles is, you should be glad, the soreness can take weeks to go down. Tubby, who knows a thing or two about cakes, said we should go to his favourite cake shop where Mrs O'Grady will have baked some sweet and sticky cakes and wouldn't tell house master that we had been bunking off. So off to Mrs O'Grady's it was.

We had been saving for our midnight feast for some time, Bingo gets sixpence a week from his Mater and Pater, and Spoons has an allowance from some trust that his ailing grandmother set up. I had a shilling in my piggy bank and Tubby always seems to have money for cakes and sweets, so we were expecing quite a sumptuous moonlit repast - as long as we didn't get caught sneaking back into the dorms with bags full of cakes and fizzy pop.

And that was where we came a cropper.

It wasn't really Tubby's fault, but he is a clumsy oaf sometimes. Bingo and I had already managed to climb through the dorm window and the cakes were safely inside as well - but when Tubby tried to climb up, aided by Spoons pushing and me pulling, he slipped and fell, landing on one of the flowerpots and smashing it. This was of course accompanied by a loud crashing noise - time to hurry.

I shall skip too lengthy a description of the debacle that ensued. We did manage to get Tubby through the window and onto safe ground before housemaster managed to find the source of the noise, but sadly Spoons was still outside when he did arrive. I suppose we should have all stood shoulder to shoulder, 'One for all and all for one' sort of thing with our unlucky accomplace, but there was no sense in all of us suffering, so poor Spoons had to take the medicine for all of us - and good old Spoons never turned any of us in, not even clumsy Tubby who had been the cause of all the trouble in the first place.

We did save our poor, sore friend the best and biggest sticky bun of all, but I think a cold compress and a soft cushion would have been much more appreciated.


For those who may be interested 'conkers & paddles' is a form of punishment whereby one is bent over to touch one's toes and a large conker, still encased in its spiky green shell is inserted between one's cheeks. The head boy then takes a rowing oar and thwacks the conker with the paddle end, until the green shell breaks and the conker falls to the ground. It is not uncommon for the conker and shell to become severely lodged (often called a 'sticker' or 'widget') and the conker and shell must be removed using a teaspoon or some other such implement - this of course being the manner in which our unfortunate friend 'Spoons' got his name.

Cake Blog

Fitzbillies' Chelsea Bun: Fitzbillies (52 Trumpington Street) is apparently Cambridge's oldest bakery and is a favourite of undergraduates skiving off for something sticky instead of going to lectures. The Chelsea buns were recommended to me by the head of Manchester School of maths who was at Cambridge some years ago. These are a real work of art - quite the stickiest bun I've ever had. It was almost as if every cliché from Tom Brown's schooldays, Martin Chuzzelwit and the Famous Five were made into pastry, baked with fruit and spice and then completely covered in syrup. Quite excellent - by far the best Chelsea bun I have ever eaten. I was also thinking of having a Cambridge Eight Cake, but when I saw they were £15.50 - and that's for nothing bigger than a Mr Kipling Dundee cake I thought "What a rip off" and didn't bother. Truly excellent buns however and I'm not talking about my bum.


  • Vegetable Soup
  • Lamb Steak with redcurrant and wine sauce
  • Dauphinoise Potatoes
  • Swetcorn and carrot

  • Cheese, biscuits and grapes