Saturday, July 07, 2007
Ordinary Life 2
This is quite scary folks. When you write down early memories they start to multiply, already I realise that what I wrote a day or two ago just scratches the surface of what I still carry from those times.Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast...
One immediate big effect on me of the break up of my parents marriage, was that I changed school. My mother resumed her education and trained to be a teacher. Off every day to St Mathias college in Fishponds. For her to go backwards and forwards to college in Bristol it was much easier if my sisters and I went to school en-route. From the two classroom village school of twenty four students I was thrust in to the much larger environs of Bitton County Primary. Here there were four classes and more than a hundred students. Many of the students were quite rough and tough. As well as the children of farms and hamlets I was now mixing with the hoodies of the late sixties.
At the age of nine, I had the only fist fight of my life, with Earl Brailsford. We were pulled apart by the woman from Bitton shop. No real harm befell either of us but, the next day, I learned that whoever got to school and told the tale first, was the one that wrote the history.
While singing in the school choir it became clear that someone was rather beyond the description of 'a little bit off key'. The voices of the angels had been joined by a troll from under the bridge. After hearing a few of us in turn, Mr Field decided that I wasn't going to the Colston Hall to sing the Daniel Jazz. He robbed me of confidence in song and it has really never returned, save in moments of alcoholic bravado. I also remember, though thank God the full circumstances escape me, Pamela Harris being astonished at my pubic hair. Followed quickly by all her mates. I was an early developer in that regard.
In 1969 Neil Armstrong walked upon the moon. I watched this through a gap at the top of the stairs door. Unintelligible flickering grey shapes. I have a lifelong passion for space and astronomy. I now own thousands of pounds worth of astronomical equipment. I scored a full house when Magnus Magnuson asked an astronomy set. I even correspond with Patrick Moore.
I watched every scrap of Apollo long after it became tedious for most, and even now bore the pants of my students with tales of tinned heroes. At the age of nine I knew more of the moon than the country beyond my terrestrial vision.
I was a voracious reader, still am, loved mathematics, still do, but my writing was appalling and my boredom threshold low. For this reason it came as a surprise to find that I was one of the few that the dying eleven plus selected to go to the grammar school. If I had been just a few months younger, comprehensive education would have sent me much closer to home.
Some time along my way Margaret Thatcher came along and robbed the school milk. She continued, 'metaphorically' to do this to me for the next twenty years.
The currency changed from lira, sesterce and denarius to the new pence. The nineteen seventies arrived,and with them, a brave new world.