Don’t Know Much About Algebra

schoolI don’t know much about a lot of things, but what I do know is that it’s Sunday!!! And that means SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY! Jim Adams aka Newepicauthor (the creator of A Unique Title For Me) has chosen the theme of School/Books/Learning for today.

As soon as I saw this my first thought was “Schoooooool’s oooout for summer!” But the weather has been pretty atrocious here in the UK since the one week of summer we had back in February. So I have chosen another song, a very beautiful song. I have a feeling a lot of us will be choosing the same songs today – but it’s all fun.

BAKESpeaking of fun…we have just published the details of the challenge for THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF.  Next Sunday we are we are hosting a day of fun for our wonderful blogging community, so please feel to get involved in any way, whether it is baking or supporting the bloggers who are baking. If any of you would be kind enough to re-blog one of our BAKE-OFF posts, we would be delighted.

IMG_20180722_123051 (2)Here is my choice of song – and naturally, I am thinking of a wonderful Goldfinch over in Australia – who I do love indeed – if only there was a way to be with him – what a wonderful world this would be! Australia never felt so very far away! But there are plans in motion. Hopefully it will not be too long until I can be with him again. I am sure I will be keeping you posted.

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took
But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me, too
What a wonderful world this would be 

Don’t know much about geography
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra
Don’t know what a slide rule is for

But I do know one and one is two
And if this one could be with you
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don’t claim to be an A student
But I’m trying to be
For maybe by being an A student, baby
I can win your love for me

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me, too
What a wonderful world this would be

La ta ta ta ta ta ta (History)
Hmm-mm-mm (Biology)
La ta ta ta ta ta ta (Science book)
Hmm-mm-mm (French I took)

Yeah, but I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Written by: Lou Adler, Herb Alpert and Sam Cooke


Puddings And Press-Ups

Mr Turner was a riddle. There was a very jovial side to him. He clearly had a sense of humour as indicated by his huge guffaws, which made his belly wobble and his face crimson. Yet he had also won the reputation of being one of the most fearsome teachers within the school.

I remember my English lessons during the first year of high school vividly. He would ask a question. If you didn’t have your hand up he was likely to single you out for attention, which was always rather embarrassing. So I quickly learnt it was better to raise my hand, even if I did not have anything to say – and just hope he would not pick me.

It did not always work though!

You,” Mr Turner said as he was looking over in my general direction. I looked around at my classmates sitting around me to see if he could be referring to someone else. “Yes you…you have your hand up. What’s your name girl?

Melody Finch Sir.”

Well come along Finch, speak up, we don’t have all day!”

What was the question again Sir?”

What was the question? Finch, why did you put your hand up if you don’t know what the question was?”

My mind has gone blank Sir.

Finch you are a pudding. A right pudding. What are you?

A pudding Sir.” I could hear some of my classmates sniggering.

That’s right. A real pudding. Can you spell that backwards?

Erm, G-N..erm..E, no I mean I-D” I did know how to spell “pudding”, but under pressure, I struggled to think clearly.

Wrong! I asked you to spell “that” backwards, not “pudding” backwards! Finch you really are a right pudding. Look at me when I am addressing you Finch! Do you know what you are?

A pudding Sir!”

Very good, but you’re a right rum pudding too. I am only teasing you Finch, don’t sulk. Now who can tell Miss Finch what the question was?”

There was silence. Nobody else was willing to hazard a guess. Mr Turner’s stare rested on a boy named Henry Wilson who sat at the back of the classroom. “Wilson! Are you asleep? You look as is you have only just crawled out of bed. Stand up! Shirt! In! Tucked in! Do you own a comb? Tell your parents to buy you a comb so you can straighten your hair in the morning. Don’t scowl Wilson! Come here, bring your exercise book. Come on lad, we don’t have all day!

Although, I felt some relief now that Mr Turner seemed to have forgotten about me momentarily, I felt a sickening anticipation of what was about to happen. Almost every lesson somebody ended up at the front of the classroom. Mr Turner would find some reason to humiliate them in front of the class. In the case of Henry Wilson, it was the dishevelled state of his exercise book. Before long Henry was made to do one hundred press-ups at the front of the classroom with a dictionary on his head. It kept slipping off, and so Mr Turner rested it on his back instead.

It was usually the boys who ended up doing press-ups. None of us escaped being called “puddings”. As a group of students we were divided in our opinion of Mr Turner. I guess in some ways we found his lessons funny, but we all had nervous knots at the same time. He gave me very poor grades for months, until I wrote a very long character study on Ruth Balacki from the book we were studying “The Silver Sword”. He gave me an A and wrote that it was the first time my homework had not sent him to sleep.

I have to admit I was glad to find out that we would have a change of English teacher for my second year at high school. We had Mrs Lawton, who told us she was a humanist and a was very kind and encouraging in general. She taught us English until she ran away with Mr Colbook the games teacher when he moved over Buckinghamshire. But that’s another story.


This was my response to the Genre Challenge provided by Teresa aka The Haunted Wordsmith:

Today’s genre: School Story

Everyone Adored Him

On the road we call life, we pass many people. Some only briefly share the road with us. But all will leave their mark on us in some way.

I think most would agree that leaving primary school and starting high school at the age of eleven is frankly terrifying! When other students are friendly and help to put you at your ease you are so grateful.

One of the most super-friendly students in our high school was Carl Sanderson. He was a handsome young man. But what everyone would remember him for, was his smile. When I was eleven, and beginning high school as a Year Seven student, Carl was fourteen starting Year Ten of high school. He was friendly with everyone, not just me. Yet it made such a difference to know there was a friendly face and a cheerful smile, belonging to a fellow student who was going to look out for me.

On my first morning of high school, while I stood nervously at the bus-stop waiting for the bus to arrive, he was one of the few that said hello. At the end of the day he saw me again and asked me how was my first day of school. How many of the older students care to ask a younger kid how they got on during their first day of school?

I quickly realized that Carl was one of those boys who was everyone’s friend. Everyone adored him. He was soooo cute (too old for me to worry about how cute he was). The teachers clearly were very fond of Carl too.

I don’t have many memories of Carl in all honesty. Just that he was super friendly and always had a smile and a greeting for you. I wish I had more to tell you about him. It kind of makes me angry that I know so little about this lovely young man. After I had been at school for a few weeks something happened that shocked me and the whole school.

Carl Sanderson was killed when a motor cycle hit him. The driver was speeding of course. I was told he was travelling at around 80 miles per hour when he hit Carl. Apparently Carl died at the scene. He had been crossing that road on the way to collect a younger sibling from school.

Carl made an impression on me in the short time that I knew him. I realized how much it means when you are nervous or alone, to be greeted by a warm friendly smile. I realized how much it means when another human takes the time to show interest in you. During the brief acquaintance I enjoyed with him, it struck me how warming and encouraging another person can be just by their friendliness. I decided I wanted to be like Carl.

When I look back at the brief time Carl and I were at the same point along the road of life together, I still draw inspiration from that lovely boy and remember how it feels when a warm and friendly face shows a little personal interest in you.

I would love to meet Carl again one day and to be able to tell him that despite our brief acquaintance, I had never forgotten him and had actually tried to be more like him.


Favourite Subject?…

Sarah the creator of the blogging site Sarah Elizabeth Moore has a writing challenge called “The August Write Away”.  I have been struggling to keep up with word and picture prompts this week because it has such a busy week for me, but it was easy to write in response to this one:


My favourite subject…hmm…

…well, it all depended on the teacher.  And that changed from year to year at high school.  I think I am going to review my teachers during my first year of high school when I was eleven year old.

I had a lovely kind geography teacher for a while, which meant geography was one of my favourite subjects when I first started high school and found everything harsh.  But the following year we had an obnoxious geography teacher, so my fondness for geography evapourated. My art teacher completely destroyed any glimmer of hope I would one day exhibit my productions in a national gallery.

My history teacher was fine, I just found the syllabus that year (English history) was not as interesting as history books I had read at home (I had read about the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and the incredible story of the Jews which fascinated me).

bunson burner.jpgIn our science lessons we were able to play with bunson burners – I accidentally set fire to my school blazer, which didn’t go down well with my parents.

My first year English teacher was terrifying.  He used to call you a “pudding” if your answer to his question was wrong, and if you had the misfortune to give several wrong answers, he would call you to the front of the classroom and make you do press-ups with a dictionary on your head.  He obviously did not like my stories about sunshine and rainbows and fluffy bunny rabbits.  He also gave me low marks right up until the first character analysis I was assigned to write.  He loved my twenty two pages about Ruth Balacki (from The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier).  He gave me an A* and wrote on the bottom of my essay, that at last I had written something that had not sent him to sleep.

My first year maths teacher was loopy!  Seriously, loopy!  She just let us wade out way through the text book on our own and she sat there snoozing until we took a completed page to her desk so she could mark it.  She was as gentle a soul as you can imagine and just let the class do as they please and try to work out the maths text book for ourselves. I had an advantage (it turned out that I was a maths genius, although I had no idea until high school).  I would race through the questions and my best friend would copy my answers.  Then she and I would have fun.

Now, my best friend was the brains of the outfit, when it come to spontaneous fun…I just carried out her ideas and gave her a sort of confidence that a side-kick should do.   So her idea…and together we performed it…was to sing “New York New York” and dance to it across the back of the classroom.  We sang it with rulers in between out teeth, and we would do high-kicks and twirls.  I can still see the two of us now:

“Start Spreading The News,

I’m leaving today…”

Poor dear maths teacher would be nodding off to sleep and we would be re-enacting scenes from famous musicals.

Which reminds me…did I tell you about the time we did the can-can on our French teacher’s desk?  You didn’t see me as bit of a renegade did you?

That was all part of my rebellious teenage stage…none of the above behaviour would I ever condone.  I remember telling a gorgeous young man I was having dinner with once what my best friend and I used to get up to at school.  He looked horrified as I was telling him.  With a dismayed tone to his voice, he told me his mother was a teacher and was shocked we had behaved so poorly at school.  I quite agree with him!

I guess my favourite subject was cooking class (well, it was called Home Economics) – I learnt to make vegetable samosas, chocolate truffles and a Victoria sandwich cake.  That was probably one of the most useful classes of high school.


Day 22 – 2018 AWAC

via Renegade — Word of the Day Challenge

First Day Of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for one of our house-hold… there was so much excitement.  For the little one here it seems as if it was a great success.  But of course, it led to all of us who have survived the school experience to reminisce over our own first day of school.

First Day Of School

I remember that when my mum dropped me off that morning her hair was long as it seemed to have always been.  When she came to collect me it was short, above her shoulders, a little bob.  I was balling my eyes out insisting that she was not my mother, that I didn’t know who she was.  Poor mum!  She must have wondered what to do when I claimed I had never seen her before.

I had difficulties understanding the school thing.  Mum clearly needed my help at home with my two younger sisters.  I enjoyed our walks to the library to read and go shopping.  Everyone seemed to know my mum so we chatted with many town folk.  We had a very contented routine.  Leaving mum to go off to be with other children was not my idea of a happy state of affairs.  Mum and Dad could see how perplexed I was about this arrangement.  One of them put the idea into my head that the headmaster had put a special request to have me at the school so that I could teach the other children how to behave.  When I asked questions about this, the reply was things like teaching the other children to use a knife and fork (this had been a major challenge for me up to this point but I had recently conquered it and was very proud indeed).

So at my first lunch-time I sat down and started with my task.  I announced “children, listen to me, I am going to teach you about knifes and fooooorkes” (I was terrified of mispronouncing the work “fork” so took pains to make sure I lengthened the vowels)….the other kids were staring at me.  The girl opposite me, whose name I remember very well (and years later we played netball together) took the flask cup of orange juice she held and threw it at me.  I realized I had my work cut out!

I didn’t like school.  But I was told that if I didn’t go to school my parents would be put into prison.  This I found very distressing indeed.  I felt as if it was a bit of a nightmare situation.  I contented myself with the thought that I had already worked out how to get to the swimming baths if my mum and dad were ever killed in a car accident (I know this thought sounds very morbid for a little one only it had happened to some good friends, so I was very practical and realistic that anything might happen to us).  So I decided to keep going to school until I could no longer cope and then if mum and dad had to go to prison, at least I knew how to get down to the swimming baths on my own.  (Never crossed my mind that me and my sisters wouldn’t be allowed to stay at home on our own and who would pay for my swimming lessons?)

The only way I settled in my mind this separation from home was feeling I had a role to fill.  I was always tidying up after the other children, helping them put their coats on, putting straws in milk cartons at “milk time”.  I also had issues about the uniform – well it was grey…as some school uniforms are.  I said to Mrs Richardson “Yes, I know all the other children have to wear a uniform, but what I don’t understand is, why do I have to wear a uniform?”  I didn’t see myself as one of them but that I was being forced against my will to be at this school.  Well….whatever I said to the teachers, I was allowed to attend school throughout the infants and wear my choice of clothes rather than the uniform.  What did I wear?  I had so many pretty little girl dresses that had been given to my mum by my dad’s customers and friends.  Quite an impressive wardrobe.  I remember some of them vividly.  Although I also loved wearing shorts and T-shirts at home, I was too proud to wear shorts for school, I did want to be smart.  It sometimes strikes me as odd that although I was such a tomboy in so many ways – I always loved my dresses.

What would the other kids think of me?  Bright blonde hair.  Pretty dresses in white, pale pink, peach, lemon, baby blue (I had some that were darker coloured but I preferred to use them as play clothes as when I was climbing trees or playing football I would get quite muddy).  I am helping every child I cross paths with, breaking up fights, sharing my crisps with everyone, doing all these jobs to help the teachers and tidying up.  I remember sobbing to my parents that the children were bullying me.  When my parents looked into it this is what was Angelhappening.  The children were following me home and asking me if I was an angel.  I was very upset.  In our classroom, there was a golden book about the Bible the teacher used to read stories from at story time.  The angels in the pictures were all men with beards and big muscles and huge wings.  I thought the kids were being unkind calling me an angel.  Mum and Dad tried to explain that some of the children were just fascinated by me.  They were not trying to be unkind at all.  They thought angels were like little fairies.  I had been reading books like “The Famous Five”, “The Secret Seven” and “Mallory Towers” – they didn’t have little fairy angels in them….so my understanding of angels was big burly men with bulging muscles – so I found it an insult they were asking me if I was an angel.

Sometimes I was overwhelmed with challenges.  I am one of seven – the fifth in order.  Number four – my brother is eight years older and number three, one of my sisters is nine years older than I am.  So, my Dad had done a lot of playing with us and had treated us a bit like little boys.  It was all climbing and sports.  But he hadn’t taught us girly games.  We went to a lot of parks and went to the beach a lot and to the swimming baths and picnics with other families, most of whom had sons so I remember huge games of hide & seek in the woods and building dens with them.  At last here was a reason to be at school.  The girls taught me two things I never had experienced elsewhere.  But the other girls at school knew how to do handstands – it took me a long time to master them.  They also knew how to make daisy chains.  You wouldn’t believe how much patience and effort I put in to trying to make them.  I went missing several times, and although twice I was found fast asleep in the wendy house underneath the clothes for dressing up, I was more often than not found on the cricket pitch behind the school – which was not allowed.  I know why I went there.  The grass around the cricket pitch was a little longer than our school field and the daisies had longer stalks.  The longer the stalks the more chance I had of being able to make a decent daisy chain.

Daisy Chains.png

Then there was the wetting myself issue.  It happened twice that I can remember.  It happens to a lot of children doesn’t it.  But it was the way it happened to me that seems memorable.  Both times it was a fear thing.  One time a very upset teacher (I have no idea why she was upset that morning) was marching everyone through the school and she turned around and said to me to stand still and not to leave that spot until she returned.  Now, she just happened to have parked me right next to the large container containing sand and toys – so I occasionally let my fingers play with the sand.  But out of obedient fear….I did not move from that spot.  I have no idea why she left me there for so long (I think it was the other children that were in trouble), but by the time she came back to find me in the same spot, I was standing in a yellow puddle.  She asked why I had not gone to the toilet and all I could do was repeat her words to me.  Off to the headmaster’s secretary for some replacement underwear from the “lost and found” box.

The second time I remember it happening, I was in Mrs Russell’s class.  She could blow the whistle so loudly and sometimes when she was cross her voice would screech and it made me think of that whistle.  Well one day, lots of children kept asking to go to use the toilet.  Her patience wore thin and she said that the next child to ask to go to the toilet would be in trouble.  A few minutes later…I was sitting working at my table and another little girl pointed at me and the yellow puddle under my chair.  When the teacher asked why I had not asked if I could go to the toilet all I could do was to repeat her words.  Off to the headmaster’s secretary for some replacement underwear from the “lost and found” box.

Aaaaah schooooooool!!!!  Life at school became a bit more interesting when I was asked to leave the rest of my class one morning each week and join the children in their last year of primary school who had weekly swimming lessons.  My sisters and I were part of our town swimming club so the headmaster wanted to see whether I swimmingcould keep up with the children three years older than me. Sure enough they entered me, in my first year of juniors (Year 3) into a couple of the races in the county swimming gala. I was swimming for the school competitively with the Year 6 kids.  Our school won so many races in the county swimming gala and I remember winning mine. The headmaster was delighted with me. We had a number of awards on display in the school lobby after that swimming gala.  Ours was a small school, so it seemed quite a victory that we had won so much.

During the six-week school holiday I had been allowed to borrow a book from the school library.  It was Heidi.  The headmaster had told me that I must be sure not to lose it, I must bring it back at the end of the holidays or else I would not be allowed to borrow a book again.  Can you imagine how devastated I was when my Dad broke the news one morning….our school (which by now I had grown to love) had been burnt down by three boys?  Two were fourteen years of age and the other had just finished year 6 – he must have been eleven.  I still remember his name, but not the other two boys.  So for the next three years, while they were re-building our school (which I never had a chance to be at but my younger sisters did) we were picked up by double-decker buses and taken to a high school on the other side of town where they had some spare classrooms.  They were well known for their brilliant sports facilities, especially the huge cross-country track they had.  It was a center of lots of sporting tournaments.  Later, when my parents had managed to get me into a school for clever clogs in a neighbouring town – we often came back here to play sports competitions.  It was always nice to be back at a school that was so familiar to us.

Well….I am getting rather boring now….I think there is a definite limit to how much you can cope with another person reminiscing hey!!!  But I would love to know what you can remember of schooling life.