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Did you get a "play piece"

(87 Posts)
paddyann Fri 07-Jun-19 08:55:47

I suppose that Scottish grans will be the only ones who understand this.When we were at school we had a snack for playtimes a "piece" being a sandwich.On another site I read about folk having cold toast or chocolate biscuits .Mine was usuallly a piece and jam .My late mother who was thought to be delicate all her life had her playpiece in the staffroom bovril and toast build her up.I'd forgotten all about the sandwich wrapped in greasproof paper tucked into my satchel and the swapping them for something a bit more exciting like a cold sausage roll .

ninathenana Fri 07-Jun-19 09:16:35

We were not allowed to take anything to eat at break at my junior school. When I got my sweets out of my pocket on my first day they were immediately confiscated.

wildswan16 Fri 07-Jun-19 09:16:36

I certainly had a play piece. My children also had their's in the 70s. I can't remember now what mine used to be although I do remember sitting on a wall in the playground to eat it!

My children had the little boxes of raisins, or a packet of crisps (hang my head in shame). I know a lot of swapping went on and many mums who thought they were being "healthy" would be horrified with what actually got eaten.

On days when they went for swimming lessons they always took a "shivery bite" which was two digestive biscuits wrapped up in tin foil.

harrigran Fri 07-Jun-19 09:22:43

No, I was never given any food to eat at break.
GD is at a school that has a tuck shop and serves warm pizza at morning break.

Lazigirl Fri 07-Jun-19 09:28:43

I went to school in Scotland from age 5 to 10 and I remember taking a play piece. When we returned to England the other kids didn't know what I was on about and thought I was speaking a foreign language........I was!

Witzend Fri 07-Jun-19 09:30:17

When I was old enough to make it for myself, I'd take a Marmite sandwich to school for break. Most of us had something of the sort.

At my first school there were fruit buns you could have with your milk. 1d for a whole,one, 1/2d for a half bun, since they were pretty big.
I really used to envy the children who had them, but was aware from a very early age that money was tight, so never asked.

Witzend Fri 07-Jun-19 09:31:07

BTW I'm not Scottish, but I've certainly heard of a 'piece' before.

Largolass Fri 07-Jun-19 09:31:56

Two digestive biscuits spread with butter was my play piece throughout my school days

annodomini Fri 07-Jun-19 09:40:44

Oh yes. I had a play piece, even in secondary school. Mine was also digestive biscuits sandwiched with butter. I still hanker after that 'piece'.

KatyK Fri 07-Jun-19 10:05:24

Well I am in Birmingham and always have been. I don't remember a play piece but we always referred to a sandwich as a piece.

Caledonai14 Fri 07-Jun-19 10:15:52

In the north-east of Scotland, a piece can mean anything from a lunchtime sandwich or a biscuit, bun or scone. A funcy piece is a highly decorated or rich cake.

I'd no idea the term playpiece had travelled outwith Aberdeenshire and am delighted with the memories here.

The origins of the term "piece" go back to the days of hill townships and drove roads. Farmers and shepherds would be away all day and the staple diet was oatmeal and kale (barley being largely reserved for the illicit stills) and the long day started with porridge or gruel.

Some people would take a handful of oats or meal in their pocket and there was briefly a rather sloppy way of placing oatmeal and water in a skin tied to your leg. By lunchtime the motion had turned it into a more easily digestible gunge.

However, an unknown person came up with the bright idea to pour leftover porridge into a wooden drawer and let it set. It was then cut into thick slices (each one them becoming a "piece" of porridge) and transported with some ease to the shielings or fields.

Historically, it's a proud boast of our wee area that delivery lorry drivers never have to "tak a piece wi them", which translates as "we will feed you". This is usually accompanied by a warning that, in a neighbouring glen, lorry drivers "aye hiv ti tak a piece wi them" which is meant as friendly rivalry in the hospitality stakes.

It's a bit like football though. Supporters always think our/their team is the best.

EllanVannin Fri 07-Jun-19 10:17:20

I often have jam between two rich tea biscuits. Mum used to put her home-made choc spread between biscs for school breaks in the 50's.
Her choc spread was golden syrup mixed with dark choc powder.

grannyqueenie Fri 07-Jun-19 10:20:14

Oh yes, I had a play piece! One of my earliest memories is of crying on my first day at school in the “baby class”, nowadays know as reception class. My mum had carefully wrapped a slice of her home made apple pie in grease proof paper and put it in a poke (paper bag). It was safely tucked away in my coat pocket for playtime, but when we got into the classroom we were all told to sit on our coats. By playtime the longed for apple pie wasn’t that appetising and I just wailed with disappointment!

Davida1968 Fri 07-Jun-19 10:20:56

In the Midlands, when I was girl, a "piece" usually meant a slice of bread and butter (or bread & marg!) or a sandwich. But I don't recall these being brought to school for a playtime snack. That was usually a biscuit or two.

Grandma70s Fri 07-Jun-19 10:47:51

I had marmite sandwiches and an apple, every day. It was called ‘lunch’, although it was eaten at morning break and a proper meal came later.

My grandchildren aren’t allowed to take sweets, chocolate biscuits, crisps or any other packet snack food into school. No such rules in my day!

Squiffy Fri 07-Jun-19 11:19:56

Thanks for that information Caledonai1. I love learning snippets such as that, they're fascinating.

kittylester Fri 07-Jun-19 11:29:52

I knew my childhood was deprived!

lemongrove Fri 07-Jun-19 11:33:05

In England this isn’t ( or wasn’t) done.Although at morning break teachers sold small biscuits ( like a few Ritz crackers)
To any child with a penny ( four biscuits) and those without a penny went without.There was the small bottle of free milk though.

rockgran Fri 07-Jun-19 11:40:05

A jammy piece! Heaven!

SirChenjin Fri 07-Jun-19 11:51:54

We had a play piece in the late 70s/early eighties but it was fruit, biscuits or crisps rather than a sandwich. I’d moved up from Kent to the NE of Scotland and having a snack at play time was a new concept - we didn’t have one down there

Caledonai14 Fri 07-Jun-19 11:59:47

Thanks Squiffy. I do too.

On a lighter note, when I was 3, my nursery playpiece was usually two Rich Teas with butter. Mary Smith, who sat next to me, always had a piece of delicious-smelling home-baking with coloured sugar decorations.

To add insult to injury, every playtime we had to clasp our hands, shut our eyes tight and sing "Thank you for the world so sweet etc...." when only one of us was about to eat had anything remotely sugary.

After I'd complained about quality at home, one day my mum gave me two chocolate digestives squashed together and I tried to convince Mary that my mum had baked these specially.

Mary was briefly impressed (she rarely got chocolate and I was managing to make the most of squidging it and eating it slowly) until she asked how my mum had got the writing on the outsides, whereupon two others at the same table pointed out that their shop-bought plain digestives had exactly the same "marks" - we couldn't read of course, but I was rumbled.

To the snorts and laughter of others at the table, Mary pointed and yelled: "MISS! Cale's telling FIBS about her playpiece. That's very naughty, isn't it?"

I should just have kept on silently wishing she'd choke on a lightly-baked wodge of cake, but I was a bit firey at three.

Face aflame, I did the straight-arm, pointy thing back at Mary so we were both in the pistols-at-dawn-but-not-close-enough-to-thump position and yelled the only thing I could come up with that was worse than a lie ... disrespecting God.

"Well MISS," I yelled, "SHE kept her eyes open ALL the time we were singing Grace!" ... Take that Maryblabbermouth, I thought to myself with a smirk.

As the teacher enquired gently how I could possibly have known such a thing, I realised I'd just had my first lesson in the art of stopping digging when you find yourself in a hole.

Nonnie Fri 07-Jun-19 11:59:53

We didn't have break time snacks but, as others have said, in Birmingham a piece was a slice of bread and butter. Unfortunately when I went there as a teenager I had no idea what they were talking about when they asked if I wanted a piece. I wanted to ask a piece of what but was too shy!

Grandma70s Fri 07-Jun-19 12:12:28

My brother once had a Scottish girlfriend who had used the term ‘jeely piece’, meaning bread and jam, when she was a child, and yes, that is jeely, not jelly.

SirChenjin Fri 07-Jun-19 12:16:57

Jeely piece is a Glasgow (or roundabout there) term - do you know if she was from that bit of Scotland? There's a very famous song called the 'jeely piece song'

Caledonai14 Fri 07-Jun-19 12:32:28

The best-known part of The Jeely Piece Sang by Adam McNaughton

Oh ye canny throw a piece oot a 20-storey flat.
Sivin hunner hungry weans'll testify tae that.
If it's butter, cheese or jeely. If the breid is plain or pan.
The chunces o it reachin earth are ninety nine tae wan.

Traditional children's song dating from when the tenements were cleared and families went to live in high rise flats in Castlemilk, Glasgow. This was about the then-lost tradition of throwing sandwiches out to children who had played outside all day