Porridge for Breakfast


In 1830 there were two distilleries in Comrie and thirteen public houses. One of the distilleries was located at the East end of the village, and the other at Tullybannocher on the St. Fillan's road. As employers the distilleries provided work to many but they were also often seen, especially by the wives, as employing their own best customers. Drinking was common and the rules of “not having one before the yardarm” did not apply, and some men would be seen hanging around the premises in mid morning hoping to get their “morning.” This custom was possibly a precursor of elevenses!

As there were no applicable licensing hours in public houses at that time, some of the men would sit in them until their wives would come to fetch them. For some it was a social occasion, whereas for others it was a serious business. There were certain rules to be followed which were unwritten but understood. A £1 note would be placed on the table or stuck on the wall and when the landlord came to take the orders his attention was directed to the note. When the quantity of alcohol consumed reached that value he would detach it and put it in his pocket. Others, who had outstanding debts for other matters, and in no particular hurry to pay them, were quick to pay their share for refreshment.

A crowd of them got together one evening for an all night drinking bash and one, whose wife, normally came to collect him, decided just to go to bed, and when she arose in the morning found that he had not returned home. She milked the cow, cleaned the house and made a porridge breakfast which she took round to the public house where she found him still sitting with all his cronies. She placed the bowl of porridge and some milk in front of him and told him that no doubt he would need some solid sustenance. She then left and continued on with her day. His pals all laughed at him and said that they wished they had wives like his, with one saying that the only breakfast he would get would be “tongue, of a doubtful quality.” The man quietly arose and left them looking at the bowl of uneaten porridge.


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