This was a post on LinkedIn with the hashtag #what did I want to be when I was 15 and I thought it would be good here too.
The year is 1970 and I’ve just had my 15th birthday, literally and I’m in the deputy head’s office for a chat with the careers master. It’s coming up to the end of my 4th year and this is where I’ll find out if I’m going to the 5th year or not. In those days, if you were considered ‘bright enough’ you could go on for a further year and then possibly a 6th year at another school. This did not happen to many kids at my school.
Up to this day, I fancied being an architect, but I’ve just been told that I am not creative enough for that job and should think of something else. The deputy head is the Technical Drawing (TD) teacher and also the class teacher for year 5. He suggests that as I have a knack for TD, then a draughtsman could be a good choice. So that was my choice, a draughtsman. Taking the architects ideas and putting them down in a detailed drawing. Sorted.
Moving on to January 1971 and the results of my CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education) mocks indicate that the 3 grade 2s and 1 grade 1, I needed for Technical College, are not going to be forthcoming. So, there is another meeting with the deputy head where I must make another career choice. Just like that. I did have a second choice, which was catering, and that is where I ended up. I was always disappointed that my first choice was side-lined, as I did get the grades I would have needed.
Whenever I talk or write about my schooldays it never fails to invoke laughter, especially among the younger people. They cannot believe some of the things that happened way back in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. You tell them about the punishments that were handed out and they are amazed. One English teacher used to have small flat bat, which was called “Heat For The Seat”. You can probably imagine what use it was put to.
On a roll here. Two posts in one day, whatever next?
This one is directly attributable to Facebook. You often get people posting maths puzzles on Facebook. The kind of thing where you get some equations and you have to work out how they get the answers. It is basic Algebra. I love reading these posts, working out the correct answer and then trying to explain to people about the ‘mathematical order of operation’. This one follows the usual pattern but is a little different. Initially, it is easy to work out what the Snowflake image is worth, it must have a value of 10 for the first equation to work. From that deduction the cane must have a value of 5 with the wine glasses having a value of 2. Easy. Then you have to work out the last equation and here, the composer has added a twist by putting a multiplication sign in the equation. This is where the order of operation comes in. From my school days, it was always drummed into me that multiplication comes before addition, unless the addition is held within parenthesis.
Without looking carefully people will come up with the answer 70, 17 or 25. However, there is another twist here. In the last equation there is an image of a single wine glass. I did not see this at first and came up with 25 :- 10 x 2 = 20 + 5 = 25. But this puzzle has fooled many people. The answer a large number have come up with is 15. Many people have made the assumption that the image of the single glass has the value of 1. For me, this is an unsafe assumption. There is no way of safely giving the value of 1 to the single glass. It can have any value except 10, 5 or 2. There is nothing to stop the single glass having the value of 99 for example which would give the last equation the result of 995. It fooled me at first look, but in actual fact, with the information given, a solution cannot be found.
Well not just Easter. The whole weekend was a bit of a flop. K*** was not working on Sunday, so we were set for a quiet lazy weekend, after the hectic Friday. But, Saturday afternoon she started with what seemed like flu. S**** and A****, his girlfriend had both been quite ill with it during the move, and now K*** seemed to have the same thing. It would only be a matter of time before I went down with the same. So she spent most of Sunday in bed, and a great deal of Monday too. R*** seemed to be fine, and by some miracle, I appear to have escaped the bug also. From what S**** says, quite a few people have gone down with this bug. K*** ended up going to see the doctor, who told her she had a viral infection and gave her an inhaler to help it clear up. It’s beginning to work, but it’s taking it’s time.
An odd thing happened tonight. I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for quite some time, and I don’t really do anything with it. I’m connected to a few people from work, a couple of random people that seem interesting and one or two Facebook ‘friends’. Well tonight, I got a LinkedIn email connection request. I usually ignore them if the the name is not familiar, but this one was different. The name was one of the (very) few names I remember from school. I checked his profile, and it was indeed someone from school. Strangely, I could picture him in my head, which given the issues I have with memory was quite a thing. It must be nigh on on 45 years since I last saw the guy, and would love to know how he found me. I think it must have been some kind of search on schools or something, but it was quite a shock to hear from him.
Work is a bit strange at the moment. There seems to be a few people that are taking early retirement. One person, who I worked with for over 20 years went last week, and another goes this week. It all seems very surreal and makes me feel old. I will really have to give it some thought, if the Councils early retirement scheme runs again this year.
When I saw todays topic, I groaned. I find it quite difficult writing to a prompt. I have tried many online creative writing courses that try to inspire ‘creativity’ by the use of prompts. All have failed up to press. I even had an app on my tablet that ‘produced’ a daily prompt. I just don’t get them. I will look at the prompt or prompts and can spend hours trying to build a story around those ideas, with no success. The few short stories that I have posted on here, and those that are buried deep within the hard drive of my laptop, have come from ideas that seem to happen.
I suppose that if there was one word that I could use, it would be ‘regret’. I have always wondered what I would have been, if only I had paid more attention to the English teachers I had at school. I know it’s probably more my fault, but back in the day teachers were different from what they are now. My first English teacher was a rather flamboyant character who I think may have modelled himself on the archetypal public school teacher. He always wore a suit, with a waistcoat, pinstripe trousers and a bow tie. He only needed a monocle and cigarette holder to complete the picture. The second one was more strict and rigid and made everything a chore. Some of us seemed to absorb very little and so now, I find things like punctuation difficult to get right (you may see that this is probably littered with incorrect commas.)
So yes, not taking English more seriously at school is a regret.
There …… did it!
(BTW this will be post 600 …. Yah!)
Well, the eldest returned home on Saturday. Me and Mrs H, have been bringing bits and pieces back from his flat since early last week. Saturday was the ‘move’ day. It took three trips to shift everything home and by the end of the day, I was completely shattered !!!! However, it is quite amazing how much ‘stuff’ you can get in the back of a 2005 Ford Ka !!! With the back seats dropped, it turns into a small van, but I did struggle when we come to put in a ‘put-me-up-bed’. I just have to locate the coach screws for his TV wall bracket and he will be sorted.
Mrs K decided that It would be good for him (and me) to go to the pub on Saturday night, so that made the day even longer ! We met up with one of his drama friends, so it was quite a good evening. I can see though, that he will be wanting to go out on more evenings, which as he has no income yet, could prove a bit expensive. I’m only used to going out on Tuesday and Fridays. Still it must be strange coming home after 2 years of living more or less as you please.
Youngest has been a bit up and down since the school holidays started. He frets about things and this leads to him being a bit aggressive at times. At the moment he is fretting about the summer play scheme at school. He will enjoy it, he always does, it is just that he will say he does not want to go, and this will become a theme with him. His latest thing, is having his laptop and TV/video running all night. Problems this morning, when his laptop crashed with an ‘out of memory’ error. It would appear that he had 4 or 5 YouTube videos running on automatic reply, whilst recording the sound with sound recorder. Six hours later I turned the sound recorder off !!
Work is going quite well for the time being. The latest initiative is set to go live next week, so there is plenty to keep me occupied. I’m trying to make some of the reports more accessible to others, which on the one hand keeps me working, but on the other hand somewhat negates the need for me at times. It is a difficult balancing act.
The Friday meeting went well apparently. Another medication !!!! However, this one appears to be having a desirable effect. What we did not want, is a drug that just ‘zonks’ him out (zonks .. is that a real word?) This one, although it is one of the ‘blahblahpram’ type seems to have a calming reaction. He appears to be happier in himself. A lot of the aggression, whilst still underlying, seems to be being suppressed. School is getting more response and work out of him. So everything is rosy !!!!! But we have been here before. We will wait and see !!!
Work is exactly the same as usual. We heard a bit of a shock last week, that part of the department, was in negotiations with a private company to run the service. You would have thought, that news like that may have shaken the ‘team’ out of their complacency !! No. We still have a majority of the office that think that second rate is good enough. Will they ever learn ?? The ConDems have got the Public Sector bit between the teeth, and I don’t think they will let go until they finish what Thatcher started !!!
I am begining to think, that I may be glad when this football World Cup is over !!!!!! There games have ranged from average to poor, with the odd ‘good’ one thrown in. The talk is that it will all improve vastly, when the knockout stage begins. I await to see!
It was the Clifford Beer Festival on Saturday. Some nice beers, and it was good to catch up with some of my old friends from the days when I used to bus to work. I only seem to see them at beer festivals !! How sad is that.
Work is the same as usual. Too many of the people think they are more important than they are. Of course, they all think they work too hard !!! When in actual fact …….
Youngest is away on respite this week, and both K*** and me are attending his annual review on Thursday. That should be interesting. I am also looking into publicising the PTA of the school. At the moment, they issue the occasional letter goes to parents, whenever the PTA have an event, and that is about all. I’m looking into creating a weblog on here, together with a regular newsletter. I’ve not done anything as big as this before, but I have a few ideas. Mind you, I’ll have to talk to them and convince them of the benefits. That could be the biggest challenge. I think I will just set it all up and them present them with it. Wish me luck !!!