For some time now, I have been following a blog written by someone who went to the same primary school as I did. Recently it became apparent that we were in the same year group, but not the same academic stream. After completing the 1st year in class ‘1a’, I was moved down into the ‘b’ stream where I stayed for the rest of the time.
The main memory that this blogger’s post triggered was leaving Primary School and moving to Secondary School. The year is 1965 and I’m thinking it is around September/October time. My father had left his job as a reasonably well paid coal miner because of health problems, and was now working as a bus conductor for what was then the West Yorkshire Road Car company. Times were beginning to get quite tough. Our house was heated by coal fires and as a miner we received, every three months a concessionary supply of coal. What I mean by the word ‘concessionary’ is free. Every three months we would have 1 cwt of coal dropped into the street, which was quickly shovelled into the coal cellar. After leaving the coal industry, this free coal stopped. That and the reduction in dad’s wages were beginning to bite a little.
I seem to remember both my parents and me sitting in the classroom, with my form teacher (may have been a Mr Woods, but I cannot remember) discussing my Secondary education. It was quite plausible it was said that I could go to the Grammar School at Roundhay. I had heard through my school friends at the time that this would be an expensive time. I would have to have a full School Uniform. This consisted of a blazer ( least one) two pairs of black trousers, a number white shirts, a school tie and a pair of black lace-up shoes. There was also a football kit, rugby kit and a PE kit. There was no way my parents could afford that amount of spend. There was a discussion around the fact, that all this uniform was available at a certain store in Leeds, but … it was possible to buy the same clothes as second hand from the school. That was a non-starter, as I had heard on the school grapevine, that everyone would know they were second hand, simply by their condition. This would automatically lead to bullying. I was not going to have that. I began to hope that I would fail my “11 Plus”.
The two subjects that I was apparently good at were Arithmetic and Religious Education. I began to wonder what would happen if I made a mess of those two subjects and I decided to ensure that I would answer some the questions incorrectly. Which is what I did. To this day nobody believes me, but I know I did get some questions wrong on purpose, so who knows. All I know is that I ended up going to the school I preferred and not the Grammar school.
I have been wanting to write some kind of auto-biography some some time now. But I had largely been put off by reading an old work colleague’s attempt. Believe it or not he started the thing the phrase:
“I was born at an early age …”
This was a miss-quote of a quite well known Groucho Marx statement. To be honest, I don’t remember much of my early childhood, and there are not too many people left to ask these days. So I decided that the ‘then’ would be my work start and the ‘now’ would be basically be the start of my current part-time job.
In order to clarify a few points that may or may not crop up in this tale, I need to go back to school. It’s 1966 and I in the 2nd term of my 5th year at Harehills County Secondary school. It was just after Christmas and we were having our obligatory “Careers Advice” meeting. This took place after school an involved my form teacher, some very old bespectacled gentleman from the Careers office and my parents. Oh, and I was there too. My only role was to say what job I wanted to do when I left at the ripe old age of 16. That’s all I did. I said I wanted to be a draughtsman. It was my best subject and the one I enjoyed to most. After stating this, I was totally ignored for the rest of the meeting whilst the other three parties discussed why this was not going to happen. To this day, the only clue I have is that I was not expected to get 2 grade 1’s and at least 2 grade 2’s (these were the CSE or Certificate of Secondary Education. If I had gone to a Grammar School, it would have been the GCE or General Certificate of Education which was the old ‘O’ level.) That was the one and only official Careers Advice I was ever had. In those days, kids who only obtained a CSE normally did not go onto University, and after nearly 12 years in a classroom, the idea of more education certainly did not appeal.
What was to become of me? What else interested me?
The inspiration came from a rather unexpected source. We had a geography teacher, whom most of the class detested. He never seemed very good at his subject and was the most arrogant person I ever knew. But he had a habit of asking kids if there was anything worrying or bothering them. He asked me and I hadn’t realised that I was worrying about my job/career prospects. His advice was to look at interests and hobbies outside of school and consider if there was any opportunity there. I told him my three hobbies and he replied that plastic model kit building would get me nowhere and that at the time, there would be very few opportunities for a male knitter. But cooking, if I was good at it could ‘…take me places…’.
So that was it. I was going to be a cook/chef. Now all I had to do was find a way of getting to that status.
To be continued …
The computer task I had scheduled to run as a test, this morning, went without a hitch. The routine started, did what it had to do and finished. A couple of things were different from the usual, but it is nothing untoward. Part two of the testing will happen next week. I have set the routine to run at 1 minute past midnight on Monday morning. If all goes to plan, and I don’t see why it should not, then our notices will be ready for printing when we get in.
Youngest is not very happy tonight. Mrs H said he was upset when he got home, and that he had been upset on the bus. We are guessing, as he cannot tell us, that someone on the bus is causing him a problem. Of course, the escorts can’t say what upsets him, just reports that he is out of sorts. Mrs H is seeing his teacher tomorrow, so may get more of an idea. Could be the length of time he is on the bus that’s the problem. It is silly really. We only live a mile and a half away, but he has to go by the school transport because there is nowhere to park to drop him off.
I uploaded a video, to Facebook from the gig on Saturday night. Looks quite good, and already B** tagged his flatmate in it. Well pleased ……
It has been a difficult day to describe today. On the one hand, my day has not been too bad, not too much to do, but enough to keep me going. On the other hand, Mrs H had to have a tooth out, and it was not an easy ride. She is in a lot of pain, and it took the dentist quite a long time to get the tooth out. From what she says, the tooth just crumbled, and there are still some bits of tooth in there. She is on an anti-biotic and ibuprofen, so not looking forward to a good night.
If there was a third hand, it would be that school forgot to give the youngest his medication this lunchtime. From all accounts, he was fine, and to some extent his teacher had not realised the he had not had it. This may pave the way to reduce his (our) dependency on it. Especially after the way he was over the Christmas holidays.
Now, looking for a fourth hand, my line manager (aka Spilligoon) was up to his old tricks again. It is my considered opinion, based on previous knowledge, that he hid D***s keys to cause trouble. He has done it before, and it his way of ‘teaching us a lesson’. What an ar*e !!! He will hide the keys, and then humiliate the key holder, until they turn up. Usually on someone’s desk, or in a place where nobody would put them. It is a form of bullying, and it is something that he is known for. One day, it will backfire………
It was a little late when I got back last night, and I was more than a little worse for wear. Not drunk I may add, just rather tired. It was about 00:45 when we finally got in, where the time went to is anybodies guess, and I was just not up to writing even one line.
I realised this afternoon, that I never said how Sundays dinner turned out. The lamb was cooked to perfection. It was in the oven for just over 4 hours, and it just fell off the bone. Really tender and surprisingly moist, in spite of the length of cooking time. It is a dish we may do again.
The meeting with R***’s consultant went better than expected. He did seem to have some clue after all, although I got the impression, that whilst he knew all about the condition, he knew very little about R***. We shall see what happens from here. The parents evening went well also. His teacher appeared to be very keen on what we had to say. So again it is a wait and see time.
Mrs H has bought R*** an IPod touch, and has paid a fortune for an app that is supposed to be good for kids with Autism. Trouble is, I don’t think he will have anything to do with it. According to ‘the experts’ it can do lost of things. However, the only thing I can see with the app is that it is some kind digital PECS system. He does not use PECS, which to my mind is a communication tool for kids with no speech. If someone has some speech, and you give that person a tool that basically speaks for them, what will be the outcome ????