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Boys and their bacteria

Wow, it’s been a very busy week and now Saturday afternoon finds me and my boys snuggled up watching a Disney movie. My eldest adores dancing and gymnastics and with a couple of shows in the pipeline he’s feeling rather overworked and underpaid,  I can’t say I blame him, he’s working very hard and more than ready for half term! I am equally exhausted, the week has seen busy classes, an evening with the local cub group talking about food safety and a chat on cooking with kids on the local radio.

The cub group was good fun, I don’t get out much, can you tell? I was asked to give a talk about safety and hygiene in the kitchen to go towards the boys cooking badge. I sat for many an hour pondering how to make this less than deathly dull. It’s not particularly the most scintillating subject, especially for a group of ten year olds that would rather be playing football, so I grew some mould, got some pictures and gave it my best shot. We covered basic things, where you need to be careful in the kitchen, types of burns, knife safety all the usual. We talked about what to check the food for and I showed them my mouldy baked beans – much boy over reaction of urghs and yuks ensued, they weren’t even particularly mouldy. How does that work? You leave some beans in your fridge for a few days then when you go to finish them they’re all green and furry – you deliberately leave some beans to get mouldy and they last for an age! I must admit I was slightly nervous of a health and safety spot check in which I had to try and convince them that the mould was supposed to be growing in the fridge.

We went on to chatter, and with a group of boys chatter really is the only suitable word, about personal hygiene and why oh why Mums always tell you to wash your hands so question one, put your hand up if you can HONESTLY say you never pick your nose. Well, of the ten kids about two put their hands up, then slowly lowered them back down again. Why did that matter? Well because our noses are a haven for the lovely Staphylococcus aureus.

We looked at several bacteria, asked how many of them ALWAYS washed their hands after going to the toilet and obviously the word poo was mentioned more than once in relation to the spread of germs causing much merriment amongst the boys who made the very most of the opportunity to legitimately say this most desired word out loud, in public without being told off! The favourite of bacteria was the now renamed hexbug – known more commonly to you and I as Salmonella.

I’d like to say that my little chat has made the boys more aware of why we must be hygienic and that each and every time they go the toilet they’ll wash their hands, and that there will be a few more lads about town whose fingers aren’t constantly lodged in a nostril, but alas, I fear that instead they may be actively collecting bacteria in an attempt to see who can win the race to their own, private stinky boy badge!

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