Abdul was the manager of our Children’s Home. He was of mixed Scottish and Bangladeshi origin and he used to be a teacher before taking on this even more taxing role.
He was the one who had to sort out appropriate sanctions when somebody misbehaved and co-ordinate searches for contraband in our rooms. Contraband was a sort of catch-all phrase covering anything from food through, I suppose, to class A drugs. He was spectacularly bad at searches!
Anything we wanted to the hide from accidental discovery went in our knickers drawer which he and/or the lady assistant manager would just look in rather than rummage through. Sometimes we would feign indignation at him touching our underwear just to unsettle him.
Anything important like chocolate went in the box of "female hygiene products" which we left open and in full view. Nobody ever looked there properly. Certainly it was never emptied out and Abdul never seemed to notice it. Actually we didn't have much to hide anyway it was more the principle.
Getting contraband into the home could be trickier. But Ella was an expert at going up to a male member of staff, it had to be male, and saying, while trying to look slightly embarrassed and with one hand on her tummy, “I REALLY need to go to the ladies” It worked every time, into the toilet, hid the goodies and come back later. The staff used to go maddest if you brought glitter into the home. My finest hour was smuggling a (medium sized) tube of glitter into the house “internally”. Only the once in my wild youth - honest boss!
If somebody misbehaved in a minor way they would be given jobs like cleaning the cookers (usually boys) or sweeping up the leaves or cleaning the windows (girls) but Abdul always gave you a choice of 2 different punishments to pick from. His wife used to take us shopping sometimes although she wasn’t really an employee of the home. I think she must have had a soft spot for us.
Not very long after we left the Home Abdul went back to Scotland to a similar job. He was popular with the young people in his care and it was something of a mystery why a decent leaving event wasn't organised for him. Ella and I would certainly have gone along to say goodbye and thank you.
I haven’t heard anything about him in ages, which is a pity because he was a good bloke.