Friday, 28 June 2013


Tomorrow, the grammar school I attended back in the late Seventies/ early Eighties is celebrating its 125th birthday. And I am being dragged along by some of old friends to go to the Open Day.

 There were four of us who used to hang around in school together and we've kept in touch over the 30 years since we left the school. I was the sensible, studious one, Alison was the popular sporty one, Suzanne was the one who got all the boyfriends and Sarah had an imaginary dog called Sebastian whom she insisted on walking home through town, in public, every day as we went to catch our respective buses home. Nuff said!

Now, the grammar school happens to share the same site on which the school where I currently work is situated, so this excursion is going to be a bit of a busman's holiday for me. I see the school every day. I tut at the shortness of the girls' skirts and think, 'Miss McCabe would NEVER have let us get away with showing off our pants in public.' I look at the driveway leading to the imposing front door and I can still see Miss Strudwick standing there in the morning shouting, 'Run, girls, run - you'll miss assembly!' And I still remember the enormous dark brown PE knickers we had to wear, and that I was in Saxon House which was represented by the colour yellow, and I hated yellow and wanted to be in Vikings because they were red. Oh, and Miss Price, the PE teacher who seemed obsessed with country dancing, especially The Gay Gordons.

And occasionally, because I am in education, I have been into the school for various reasons and I have seen all the changes that have happened recently and had the embarrassment of bumping into staff who taught me and are STILL there. (And, more worryingly, still wearing the same clothes and hairstyles.) And Heather went there, too, so all in all it is a place I haven't really lost touch with and therefore it will hold no 'ooooh - aaah' surprises for me.

But I shall go nonetheless and see what other blasts from the past turn up in the form of ex-pupils. Some I shall be happy to see because generally I got on well with everyone. One or two I am likely to tell EXACTLY what I think of them, now that I am 35 years older and have the age and confidence on my side which I lacked when I was 13 and they were making my life miserable. Sarah has just phoned to make sure I am still coming. I said, 'If Julie Hollands turns up, you may have to hold me back lest I try to punch her lights out.' Sarah said, 'Hold you back? I'll be filming it for You Tube.'

Oh, how times have changed...

And then on Sunday, we are meeting up with some of Andy's old uni/ vet friends, at Cliveden, because we are all of an age now where National Trust memberships are de rigeur. Five children will be tagging along, too, none of whom will belong to Andy and me. I wonder if we ought to take Kayleigh along and say, 'Look! We have one, too!' Plus I think Andy's friends will be highly amused to hear her calling him 'Grandpa'!

The weather looks set to be good for this weekend of social activity. Unlike this morning when I nearly drowned in the rain because I had a sudden whim to go and prune the lovage which had grown wildly out of control and will have to vacate the herb garden if it can't keep its growth in check. 

I have to go now...Tybalt is staring at me with a purposeful look in his eye. He may be trying to tell me that Skippy is stuck down a well again, so I'd better go and check because I do not want the death of an innocent kangaroo on my conscience.

But Julie Hollands...well, she might be a different matter...


Countryside Tales said...

You go girl! Ps Sarah sounds brilliant. My mum had an imaginary friend when she was a girl who lived in a wall, and I had a "husband" who worked in Africa. We drank gin and smoked cigarettes all day long. Nothing wrong with me! CT x

Denise said...

Sarah is brilliant, if a bit of a handful even now we are almost 50! She spent a lot of time sitting outside the office of the Headmistress on the red chair, waiting to be 'interviewed' but now she has a proper job as a programme trainer for a well-known global computer company whom I have no intention of advertising, but is the paradox of EnormouslyHard, which just sounds rude so there I shall stop!!

Vera said...

Hope you and Andy had good times at your reunions.

Denise said...

Andy's was, Vera. Mine not so much. Brought up some memories that were best left forgotten, which I suppose is a lesson that is is best to leave some things in the past and avoid reminiscing altogether. Still, it was an experience.