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School days

I was never academically minded. I had passed the 11 plus exam and gone to Grammar School, but hated every minute of my time there. Some of the teachers were little more than bullies and sadists and, not being very studious meant that I often fell foul of them. This was in the mid to late 1960's when we all had to wear school uniforms, including caps, which we despised.

Smoking was one way in which we rebelled and sneaking a cigarette behind the bike sheds was a reality. We earned the money to buy the cigarettes by doing a paper round before school and in my case I also started even earlier and, when the newspapers were delivered to the shop, made up the rounds for the other paper boys, before doing my own round. If I remember correctly I was paid 13 shillings for the round and another 13 shillings for making the other rounds up. It sounds ridiculous now but the equivalent of £1.30p was, in those days, a decent sum of money.

Problem was that all of the things we did to rebel, were punishable by detention, or a caning, for which we were sent to the headmaster, or instantly by the teacher administering a severe clout usually to the head. I recall one particular teacher used to grab the hair at the side of the ear and lift to pull you up from the chair. Once you were part way out of your seat, eyes streaming from the pain, he would let go and with an open hand, smack you round the ear as hard as he could, as you dropped back into your chair.

The canings were cold blooded. You were sent into the headmasters study where you had to bend over a large stuffed armchair and rest your forearms on the opposite arm of the chair. This had the effect of tightening the buttocks and the trousers covering them. The Headmaster would then deliver six slashing strokes of the cane across the buttocks and tops of the thighs, each stroke commencing with a short run up across the study, to get the maximum impetus. If you cried out you received a further stroke for good measure.

It became a point of pride, for those of us who were regulars, to show no outward sign of the caning having any effect at all. So never make a sound during the caning and, when the six strokes were done, we would stand back up, smile at the Headmaster and say, " thank you sir ". As if to say " is that all you got"?

We then used to compare the wheals in the showers after P.E.

Our music teacher was famous for being the brother of Diana Dors ( she was a British film star and sex symbol in the fifties and sixties ). He was great fun and also used to run after school boxing classes, for those of us who wanted that. Mainly though, the lessons were dull, delivered by elderly teachers who thought Latin was still relevant and that constant repetition would lead to understanding.

So when I had the opportunity to leave, I jumped at it.

More later.

The Project Master.