Now this isn't our school but it is a shot of school dinners in the seventies and reminded me exactly of our own version! Look at the metallic plate stackers and the big tray of steak and kidney pie, which we always had straight after dissection in the biology lab. Suspiciously the biology lab was next door to the dining room.... Their puddings look a bit posh though....

Below is of course is the most famous dinner lady of them all...my mum! She worked at Carlton le Willows for a good few years until she retired so anyone who gave her cheek I hope you feel guilty now! She used to bring in sweets for me every day which was very useful but not too good for my teeth! She didn't cook the stuff from school at home so I didn't get lumpy custard and table sized flat trays of steak and kidney pies at home! She apparently showed favouritism to all my mates as well as Bert testifies below - and I thought it was only me that got extra eccles cakes....

Now these were the things that reminded me most of Tom Browns schooldays! Not for the taste but for what we had to do when we were little first and second years. There were two from each year sitting on a table so were stuck with the horrible big kids and us youngsters had to do all the grotty jobs like fetching stuff and clearing away. And the older ones got all the seconds and basically could order the first years about. What really sticks in my mind is those horrible metallic water jugs which we used to have to go and fill up!

Later on it got better and I actually really like the food we got. Steak and kidney and gravy and all those funny tart like puddings we had. The only thing I didn't really like was lumpy custard! I did have the advantage that my mum was a dinner lady for a long time at the school and use to slip me packets of extra supplies like Opal Fruits with my pudding - she obviously didn't think much of the dinners!

The best bit about dinnertime was actually playing football outside the dining room, on the road between the bike sheds and the school buildings. One of us had to be on duty and watch out for cars coming round the drive at which point we'd all scatter!

I can't remember what we had for all those puddings so I think I'll run a competition for the best and worst ones - email me and let me know what your favourite was, and the one that broke the most of your teeth and I'll publish the results here!

Thanks to Bert for the following recollection of the dining room -

"Tats and I used to have competitions at dinner. First was to see who could eat the most dishes of semolina and secondly, who could get the most eccles cakes - your mum used be a great help with that. I used to get a right bollocking from my mum because of all the crumbs in my blazer pocket".

And thanks to John Peel for the following -

"On the subject of puddings, I can never, ever forget what we always called "concrete pudding". I'm not sure exactly what it was, except it was hard as a rock, brown and an inch or so thick. We used to drown it in custard to try and soften it (which never worked!), and then had to hack it apart using forks and spoons to try and eat it. I had many a stain on my blazer from custard when pieces of the pudding ricocheted around..."

I still have a blazer with those stains hanging in my cupboard....now I can identify what they are!