Posts Tagged ‘happy days’


you loved the light entering my bedroom
every morning turning on my light
falling down from the middle of the ceiling
blinding me momentarily
confusing me before i rub the
sleep out of my eyes to see you
silhouetted against the morning sun
holding a curtain in each hand
a saint on a cross
opening the gates to heaven
stepping aside to let
the rays of life touch her son
breath new life into him
and start a new day


Teaching in the 70s and 80s at state run schools in the North of England was a vastly different experience to the ones I read and hear about today. Teachers were in charge and they let you know it. We called them sir or miss, no names to ensure there was an invisible barrier between us that we could not cross. Yes the teachers were in charge and they let us know it. I remember one teacher who would trip you up if you ran down the corridor and simply say ‘don’t run boy’ as you lifted your face off the floor. Another teacher would hit you over the head with a piece of wood covered by a newspaper and when you asked him why he did it he replied ‘because I can’. One incident I remember is being in maths and the lad behind me was talking so the teacher threw the board rubber at him which bounced off the desk and smashed the window. The teacher just pointed at him and said ‘that’s your fault boy’! and it wasn’t worth going home and complaining to your parents because you just got a clip round the ear and told to behave yourself if you did. There were plenty of other experiences that I have forgotten now and a lot of the teachers were very nice and didn’t do anything they shouldn’t but it was a very different time and I’m glad I experienced it.


It’s my first year at Tong and I’m doing well academically. I’m getting top grades in all my subjects and soon will be progressing to the top tier. I’m still living on Holmewood at this point and walking to Marks everyday to call for him and go to school with him. I’m enjoying life, enjoying school. Everything seems so easy, so much fun. Little do I know how life is going to take a turn that will forever alter my life and turn it upside down. Life won’t be as easy after this event. This is when life gets hard for me.


It’s January 1977 and I’m on a school trip to Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. Like many kids journeys when you was younger seem to be much further away and take much longer than when you grow up and the world seems to shrink around you. I remember this trip well as it was one of the first school trips I went on. We went down Capnut cave which I remember for the freezing cold water pouring over the top of my wellies and onto my feet turning them from red hot to ice cold in an instant. One of the teachers Mr Exely had to carry one girl out of the cave as she couldn’t stand her feet being cold and wet. Another instance was when we stopped up late one night in the hostel thinking we were the biggest rebels who had ever lived! We were all playing games until we heard a noise at the window and looked out to see the teachers there coming back from the pub very drunk with a large case of beer in their arms! They said that if we didn’t tell on them for coming back late they wouldn’t tell on us for stopping up late. Of course being young kids we were scared stiff of getting into trouble so said nothing to anyone not realising until later on in life that the teachers would have got into far more trouble than we would have done! the most memorable incident though was when we walked up Ingleborough in snowy and icy conditions over 20ft snow drifts wearing nothing more than a jumper, jacket, jeans and Doc Martens. We got to the top and Mr Exely told us to hold hands. When we asked why he said that Gaping Gill the deepest pothole in Europe was somewhere around and he didn’t want anyone to fall down it! That was health and safety in 1977!