Earl's Colne Grammar School Boarders’ Memories, 1960s The following memories were provided by Grant St.Clair- Armstrong (left) and Martin Leith (right). Additional material was provided by Ian Edgar and Paul Blythin. As you will see, the recurring themes are girls, music, bullying and explosives! Romantic Interlude Peering through a man-made hole in the wooden ceiling to watch Judith Yelton undressing. (We got caned!) Notable Event Cousins‟ model plane crashing on its maiden flight at Top Field…straight up…. straight down. If God had meant Balsa trees to fly, he would have given them wings. I never witnessed this momentous event as I was gated at the time by Cousins…BASTARD…I‟ll get him back one day. A close second was Goldstein‟s boat sinking on its maiden voyage. More Notable Events Balloonatics, the movie that involved a huge balloon filled with gas from the chemistry lab. Joe‟s Café painted on the roof of the woodwork shop by … who was it? Was Jeffreys one of them? (No, it was John Row and accomplices.) Brian Firmin had a little black Austin A30 or something similar with the number plate PUE, which was his nickname. One day we somehow carried it into the main corridor in the school. His reaction was a delight and well worth the punishment. Other great gags Putting a pair of shoes on the floor of each toilet cubicle. There weren‟t any locks on the doors, so if the door was closed you knew there was someone in there. If you weren‟t convinced, you looked through the gap under the door to see if there was a pair of feet in there. What fun! Early one Monday morning I went into the form room (was it Room C?) of Ian Stewart, Clive Adie and co, and put caps in the joints of the seats. Their form master (anyone remember who it was? Wainwright perhaps?) was very strict – no one was allowed to sit down until he gave the word. That Monday he said „You may sit‟ and as the boys lowered their seats, the caps went off. He was livid and I was tracked down and forced to confess. I got a beating in front of the whole of that class. But it was worth it … I only wish I‟d been there to see the whole thing happen! Most hated punishment Gating…arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Crucifixion. This entailed being hung on the boghouse wall with a coat hook under each armpit. You could put a sprog up there and walk away; there was no way he could get down without help. On being caught in the act of some misdemeanour or other, Sykes or Yelton saying: „See me in my study in the morning.‟ Being sent to Coventry. Worst bit of intimidation Charles Lewis was in Room F, sitting at Bloyce‟s desk, and prep was in full swing. (“Prep” and “swing” don‟t really belong in the same sentence.) A note was passed round: “When Jeffreys coffs (sic), everyone get up and slowly walk towards Lewis.” Jeffreys coffed (not sure what he was doing in prep as he would have been a prefect, and on this occasion Lewis was in charge) and everyone moved in on Lewis. He freaked out and left the room. I can‟t remember what happened next … did this lead to some sort of breakdown? Most memorable music “Go Now” by the Moody Blues. There was a record club to which everybody contributed sixpence per week. If you didn‟t contribute, you were not allowed within earshot of the music. Illogical really! The older boys used to rig the voting process, which began with that wonderful phrase: „Any nominations for a record?‟ Some weeks there would be enough in the kitty for two records, which meant the rigged Buddy Holly vote winner and something decent (such as Johnny, Remember Me by John Leyton) as well. Later in life I learnt to love Buddy Holly … I still play some of his tunes. The opening bars of “I Feel Fine” … the introductions to Carol and Bye Bye Johnny on the first Stones LP. Best TV programme Dr Who. The TV was in the art room. What a day that was when the TV arrived. Best radio station and programme Jimmy Savile on Radio Luxemburg, under the blankets, sound faded in and out. Sunday afternoon, Alan Freeman, Pick of the Pops. Must have been called the BBC Light programme back then. Radio Caroline (or was it Radio London?) that played Beatles songs the day before they were officially released. Most hated custom The first three forms lining up before meals in complete silence, while having an inspection from one of the sadistic, older boys. Transgress…. walk the line and get a nice punch from everybody…including your classmates…Jeez, we were sick! Most fondly remembered boarder I hate to blow sunshine up your arse Martin but it was you. You never bullied, you smiled and laughed a lot and you entertained everybody with your love of the drums. Mustn‟t forget the chipped front tooth and your footwear…black leather Beatles style boots. Most hated boarder One of the Cousins‟ twins (the one who didn‟t wear glasses). He was the epitome of the school bully and was eventually expelled by Joseph, (Syph) Yelton for this crime. Bullies can scar a child for life, as we have all read from time to time in the newspapers and his expulsion was long overdue. (Note: The 1964 school photo shows both Cousins twin in glasses.) Most envied pupil McDermitt, lucky bastard had a black and white, 3-wheeled Messerschmitt. I dreamed of getting one to pull the birds with, as I had high aspirations then! Fortunately for Lynda, I can just about afford to run my Lexus Soarer, as I marginally prefer the Japanese to the Germans. Most unenvied pupil I can‟t remember his name but he had the worst acne I can ever remember seeing on a human being. He was three classes above me. Favourite teacher Definitely George “Charlie” Pointer, the geography teacher. Always had time for you and was a happy chap most of the time. Was known to exaggerate profusely. Drove a beige Rover 90 and had 2 sons, Bruce and Ian, who both taught at the school when teachers were in short supply. And what about Lefty Wright? Physics master. Great teacher, lovely bloke. Used to call us “Gentlemen”. Sadly he departed around 1964. Most hated teacher Danny Goldstein, a nasty welsh git with a Labrador called Thor. Always having trouble with his knees…shame! Taught PE but filled in on History I think from time to time. Burst in on him once groping his girlfriend. Quirkiest cinema The Savoy in Halstead, just past the station on the right. The same person flogged you the ticket, showed you to your seat and worked the projector. They sold cups of tea during the interval. People had their own mugs hanging up on hooks. The Empire in Halstead (right turn before the station) was another fabulously quirky cinema. It had a back row of double seats – if you took a girl there, she knew exactly what was coming! Sometimes the biology lab was turned into a cinema to show some mind-numbing documentary. I still remember the smell of that room. Greatest pleasure Jane Higgleton from Halstead Grammar! Nicola Howe from the same establishment. Suzanne Bowley, yet another Halstead Grammar girl … lived in Sible Hedingham … dad was a police sergeant .. used to go there for Sunday afternoon tea and snogging. She‟s now a grandmother and living in Canada. Best Sunday afternoon tea venue Brian Higgleton‟s (no relation to Jane so far as I know) house in Mount Bures on a Sunday – Brian‟s mum‟s sandwiches and Pick of the Pops on the radio. Then a very fast bike ride back to Earl‟s Colne in time (God and White Colne level crossing willing) for high tea. (Weird name. It never made me high!) Suzanne Bowley‟s house in Sible Hedingham – see above. Best boarders’ band The Hobloes, starring Ian Stewart on rhythm guitar, John Burgess on lead guitar and Martin Leith on drums. I don‟t think we had a bass player. Our moment of glory was playing Bocking Village Hall, near Braintree. We had to call ourselves The Jokers for that gig … I‟d borrowed a drum kit (yes, a REAL drum kit with snare, hi-hat, tom toms and everything!) from some wannabe drummer who had delusions of forming a band called The Jokers, and had the name painted on the bass drum. We played Chuck Berry numbers, crappy pop songs by The Merseybeats, the old Howling Wolf song, Smokestack Light‟nin‟, and some great Tamla and soul tunes. Other musical memories The village hall dances. We never seemed old enough to be allowed to go. The bands were probably crap, but listening through the dorm window, the village hall could have just as well have been the Cavern Club. The fabulous pink Dansette record player, rather like this one: Great scams In phone boxes (they had a big black box with Button A and Button B), we tapped the telephone receiver rest to make calls for free. You had to tap it ten times for a zero. Martin‟s system of stringing dialling codes together so people like the Lawley brothers could phone their mum in Oxfordshire for 4d. You had to shout though! Another of Martin‟s systems – this one enabled you to go into the village without an Exeat and not get caught. We took it in turns to be “on duty”. This person had a list of who was where they shouldn‟t be, with the phone number of where they were. If Yelton, Maggie or a prefect was looking for one of these people, the duty person would climb over the wall to the phone box and alert them. Worst fear “Wilfred”, Banger Bloyce‟s slipper! At least he always shook you by the hand after he had taken a running jump at your arse from one end of the classroom to the other. A crack shot with the chalk…I‟m blind in one eye. (Just kidding). Roderick Little throwing my socks out of the dorm window (that long dorm with lots of beds – what was it called?) onto the croquet lawn. This was a favourite game of his. I had to retrieve them without getting caught. And if I did get caught, I had to make sure I didn‟t sneak. Most impressive bit of chutzpah Certain boys were persistently arriving late for supper. Such a serious offence called for a strict punishment. Yelton (or was it Sykes) announced that anyone arriving late for would have to pay a fine of one penny. This was before decimalisation, when there were 240 pennies in a pound. The fist time the fine was imposed was when Jeffreys came in five or ten minutes late. The penny fine was demanded. Jeffreys proffered a pound note, saying that he now had 239 credits! Best spot in the boarding house The little room under the stairs, where people kept their boots and guitars. Lee Ling‟s was the best one to “borrow”. I had cash box with a lock that I kept in there. It was full of dialling code booklets that I‟d nicked from phone boxes in strategic towns (see telephone scam). Worst sprogging job Being summoned to the prefects‟ room to do their washing up. Plates with caked-on baked beans that had been solidifying for a week. Saucepans with nasty burnt stuff on the bottom. The smell in that room was vile. Favourite food Most definitely sausages, chips and beans, followed by bakewell tart. Fish and chips then apple stodge. Most disgusting food. Most definitely breakfast. Porridge every other day followed by a half slice of greasy fried bread with either a rasher of streaky or a rubber, fried egg. A close second was the only white custard I have ever seen to this day. What about Period Pie? Most civilised adult in the boarding house Twoddle (T W O‟Dell), the maintenance man. Most pointless ritual This was called Routes, and happened after lunch on Satudays and Sundays. We‟d assemble in the common room and some unfortunate prefect would have to write in a little book the places where everyone was planning to spend the afternoon. Unless we had an Exeat we had to stay within three mile territorial waters. I was never sure if this meant as the crow flies, or distance travelled, and therefore if Pebmarsh was inside or outside the exclusion zone. Ditto Greenstead Green. (Anyone remember the Ballad of Greenstead Green, a.k.a. The Ballad of Iris Webb, sang to the tune of The Ballad of Bethnal Green? For legal reasons I‟d better not quote the whole thing here – I can‟t remember it anyway – but it began: “I tell the tale of a sex-starved male and a lass of sweet thirteen. [Really? Thirteen?] She was blonde and dumb and she slept with some on the fringe of Greenstead Green.” I remember more of it and am feeling reckless: “And her one delight was a Friday night when someone stuffed her hole.”) So back to Routes. Favourite locations included Brickfields (see Paul Blythin‟s Recollections) and Hillie Bunnies (great place for blowing up cowpats with potassium chlorate and sugar). But the entire scheme was a total waste of time and energy, because how could anyone possibly police a rural area with a three mile radius? The airfield and the raft I have vague memories of the airfield, a mysterious and alluring place beyond Top Field on the back road to Coggeshall … it had a pond or a lake … some of the boarders made a raft out of oil drums. It‟s all a bit hazy. Do you remember more about this? Highlights of a boarder’s week When the mail was handed out, particularly if there was a letter from mum containing a Postal Order. Sykes or Yelton coming into prep on a Friday night to dish out the pocket money. Some lucky bastards got half a crown! Getting an Exeat signed to go to the pictures with Suzanne Bowley or Nicola Howe (see above). Around teatime when the bus from Halstead to Colchester passed through the village. If you saw someone you fancied, you got a friendly Halstead girl to pass her a note. This sometimes led to misunderstandings. (See “Best bet”.) Friday lunch – something with chips followed by some kind of stodge. If you were lucky you got to sit at the window table, where the portions were bigger. One Friday I got away with going into first and second sitting. Best bet Eating a whole tray of smoked haddocks one suppertime. I (Martin) got something like a shilling for each one I ate. I needed the money to take a girl to the pictures in Colchester. When I got there I found I‟d been fixed up with the wrong girl. (Should have been the very sexy Tina Hales, Chisel‟s daughter.) Can‟t remember her name but she had very thin legs. I was really horrible to her. Ian Edgar’s memories Romantic interlude – Getting caught by Siff with my girlfriend (Zeta) on the premises & being threatened with expulsion. I‟m sure he wanted us all to turn out gay. Days out with Mary accompanied by Robert & Judith (Yelton) followed by sneaking back to the prefects‟ room just outside Goldstein‟s lounge for a cuddle. My undying gratitude to one Nigel Perkins who stood guard for us on more than one occasion. Notable event – The great Colchester shoplifting spree. I seem to remember that Alan (Stevenson) even stole a bog roll from the local gents. On inspecting the haul when we got back it was like Aladdin‟s cave save for the fact that it was mostly useless junk. Other great gags – Filling “nodders” (condoms) with water & lobbing them out of the first floor bathroom urinal window at passing sprogs. Pipe bombs made from “liberated” chemicals from middle lab set off under the old bridge on the cross country course. Richard Neville (Rubberhead) climbing out of top back bedroom window & letting a banger off outside Goldstein‟s lounge, needless to say he got a severe caning. AWOL excursions - Taking one of the large copper coloured metallic jugs to the rear window of the pub, the Lion I think, getting it filled with bitter & guzzling it while listening to Hendrix on the Dansette. Midnight skinny dipping in the scout swimming pool opposite the church down by the youth club. Most memorable music – My first single “Come On” by the Stones bought off the record club at the end of its days & much the worse for wear. I still had it up until a couple of years ago when the stylus was swapped for a laser. Best TV prog – TOTP definitely Best radio station – Is it my fading memory or was Radio Caroline really available to my little tranny under the pillow? Favourite teacher – A toss up between “Happy Hindman” who drew the short straw & got Bloyce‟s rejects to teach French. Most of the time French never got a look in as we were too busy discussing world events & having a laugh. Or Jock Merson, a true gentleman & brilliant English teacher who got me through both Lit & Lang “O” levels. Most despised teacher – That‟s an easy one, it has to be Goldstein. The sadistic bugger hit me round the head so hard one day my head cannoned off the nearest wall, all because he didn`t like the way I was looking at him. Also made two boys bend over waiting for the cane during a football match at top field whilst he sent another boy running back to the school to fetch his cane. All for throwing a piece of mud. A great pity that particular Captain Bligh never went down with his boat. Most hated boarder – It would have to be Cousins (see psychopaths), his expulsion was a result of a savage attack on Robert Blick (one of my classmates) that for once could not be ignored by the powers that be. Weirdest swimming pool – Halstead Baths, the water was like pea soup, or should that be “pee soup” - you could never see the bottom even in the shallow end. Greatest pleasure – Judith Yelton, what a little darling, went out with my mate Robert & got me a date with her mate Mary. Sad to say she is no longer with us, God rest her soul, she made that lousy school a better place to be. Worst fear – As a sprog, getting caught over the week-end by any of the numerous psychopaths posing as senior pupils & having physical & mental pain heaped upon you in equal measure. Best spot in the boarding house – Has to be the wire cage over the gas fire in the common room. Many happy hours spent warming the arse sat on the top in the winter months. Worst sprogging job – On a Sunday being sent to buy two (four for a penny) chews & then on returning being sent off to buy the other two. The only shop open in the afternoon was right down the other end of the village, what a waste of a life. Favourite food – Fish, chips & beans Most disgusting food – Spoilt for choice really. The list has to include the Infamous Spam Fritters, how the fat oozed when stuck with a fork. The crunchy icing on the white custard of the trifle. The tray of minced beef with the 2 inch layer of oil floating on the top. The jam from tins labelled “Red Jam” or “Yellow Jam” (hadn`t they heard of flavours?) & the brylcreem posing as margarine. My God, the list is endless. Jamie Oliver where were you then? The Airfield – Many happy hours spent playing on the raft (& often off it) on the mini lake in front of the large earth mound where the aircraft used to test their guns. Got us away from the previously mentioned psychopaths for the whole day. Paul Blythin’s recollections Colnditz, 7 years !! I came as a working class kid (urchin) and left pretty well clued up (urbane, you said). Most of the clueing up came from the mixed bunch of heroes that were the boarders, broken families, forces families, general nutters etc. I was sent by the child guidance people as an ill behaved little git that had done well in their intelligence tests. They thought that “discipline” would sort me out. For an eleven-year-old the regime was bloody hard and it did “sort me out”, I worked and got to university – no chance if I had continued as I was at home. I had to polish as many as three pairs of shoes before breakfast and then stand to attention (they gave you a spot to stare at on the wall) for hand inspection. Any residue of shoe polish and the prefect on duty gave you a “banged head” i.e. slapped you around the earhole, forcibly! You always knew who was on, and made bloody sure you were spotless when the masochists were on. There were grooves in the concrete above the sinks where kids had rubbed their fingers to get them clean. Sometimes the fifth form, if they got bored waiting for the bell, would ding you for looking away from your spot ! We used to think the motto was Crappy Day. Jeff got so pissed off with “Maggie” dinging him for coming into supper without combing his hair that we wrote a song. We were convinced the old bag watched to see us go to the bog and deliberately rang it then. Bits I can remember … “You‟re a Boarder” (to the tune of the Beatles‟ “All My Loving”) They ring the bell for your tea while you‟re having a pee-ee‟ So you have to go in with it bare. They don‟t mind if you go in with your chopper showin‟, So long as you‟ve combed you hair! You‟re a BOARDER, from your asshole to your earholes. You‟re a BOARDER, from your earholes to your toes. There were some good laughs though. We were forced to show potential kids and their parents around the place – you could laugh inwardly when explaining that the only heating in the whole of the boarding house occupied by us was the mingy gas heater in the common room. And they made you have the bloody dormitory windows open ALL year. One morning I woke up and there was snow settled on my bed. ( on top of the two ATC great coats I used in addition to blankets). Afterwards they would ask, “do you think little Johnny will like it here?” I just loved to say something like … “When he gets used to it. The first four years are the worst !” Smashing watching their faces. Punishments were bloody cruel – prefects would creep up the stairs to catch you talking after lights out (F***ing Joke – 1st &2nd forms went to bed at 7:30 – broad daylight often!! No wonder we talked) then they could print Pirrelli on you arse with a slipper. Bloodywell hurt through pyjamas – and some of them were vicious buggers. One time I witnessed a poor sod forced to stand at the foot of the bed and hang his wedding tackle over the rail whilst some sod on the bed flicked them with his tie !!! Masochists, and perverts ! A lot of the fagging and seniors-imposed discipline went when Yelton turned up. He tried to make the place a little more civilised, coloured blankets, carpets, giving the dorms names etc. He tried to do away with fagging and corporal punishment from prefects. He reversed the order of getting up !! Previously 1st yr sprogs got up at about 6:50 and then every 10 minutes the next year followed, with the sixth form just falling into breakfast as the bell went. He had the duty prefect up first – installed Balchin head boarder as his patsy to make it all happen. Goldstein’s boat was amusing – pillock built it in the garages next to the woodwork shop and we gathered to see it hauled out for the maiden voyage – delighted to see that the top of it was a good foot higher than the lowest part of the door opening and it wouldn‟t come out !! I got bored with the process of sorting it out and didn‟t see the resolution to that one. We did note that he had filled with glue, the holes in the bilges that allow water to flow from section to section and hence be pumped out – perhaps that‟s why it sank. He was a complete prat that bloke – see entry in “Colonian” comparing him with Ernie ! Remind me to tell the story of the arrival of the French assistante, his attempts to impress her and Bloyce‟s shock reaction, discovering at the last minute it was a cracking beautiful girl about 21yrs old, long shiny black hair, Miss Mariotti. We were all in love – I took French a year early and got a 2!, having shown no previous inclination in that area. I speak passably well now ! Prep Your note re intimidation – Prep was in Bloyce‟s classroom – F. Jeff, a prefect, would have been there because it was run by one – sitting at the master‟s desk. We had to work in silence for about an hour and a half, then they would announce “Bath boys may go”, then big deal “You may write letters and read library books” for f**k sake !! still in silence. As you say there was always the humorous interlude on a Friday when Sykes would dish out pocket money, 2/- a week !! Extra if a haircut was required. He always trotted out his joke to people like scruffy Mann, with “beatle” haircuts (screwing his nose up and speaking with a nasal high pitch snooty accent which struck chills down my spine when caught out): “Boy, You‟d better make a visit to the barbers – if only for an estimate.” We didn‟t laugh, on principle. Then followed the record club vote – I remember when it was 3d each! One time the juniors fiddled it and managed to swing the vote to buy “Brontorsaurus Stomp”. All hell let loose, but they had to buy it – legal etc. Halliwell was mad keen on Buddy Holly [look at the photo – he was Buddy Holly!], so much so that he went to sleep (Bottom Front, I was in Bottom Back) listening through headphones to his autochanger work its weary way through a stack of LPs – solely Buddy Holly. This pissed us all off, especially as, in the otherwise silent darkness, we could hear the bloody tunes through the needle chatter. One night, however, we woke up choking on black smoke, leapt out of bed, threw all the windows open and somebody chucked a jug of water over the charred mess that had been his record player – it had caught fire, much to our relief. Common Room I can remember when the common room acquired its first soft chair – as a result of some parent being gob-smacked by its harsh accommodation, paint in various shades of yellow-brown. The colour scheme was greatly enhanced, I remember, when one pillock, might have been Fraser, strode in with a fat test tube in his hot little hand. It was half full of potassium permanganate crystals, on to which he had poured hydrogen peroxide, and he was griping that the text book said there was supposed to be a reaction, but nothing was happening. (Germans used that reaction to drive turbines to pump fuel in the V2 rocket, shifted 1500 Kg alcohol in one minute) F***ing ace to watch his panic as the warmth of his hand got it going – blew a plug of wet purple crystals straight up to splat all over the place as it ricocheted off the ceiling – wonderful!! Nearly as exciting as my stupidity involving potassium chlorate and matches. I was proud of my ”Single Crystal” formed from dangling a seed crystal in saturated Pot Chlor solution and carried it around in my blazer pocket. This was ok until one day it came into contact with the phosphorus on a box of matches inadvertently placed in the same pocket – f***ing great jet of flame sideways towards the unsuspecting twat walking with me down the corridor. I got it off fast and Maggie sewed it up after a fashion but it was seriously buggered, and so, nearly, was I. Can‟t remember the punishment. Foolishly they seemed to accept complete inanity like that but punish harshly misdemeanours like having your tie undone! There seemed to be a lot of chemical lunacy – one bloke nicked some phosphorus and put it on a radiator – another time there was a fad for booby trapping lockers and desks with nitrogen iodide which was reckoned to go off if a fly landed on it. It left iodine stains everywhere. Radio stations I rigged up a crystal set using the bed as an aerial and listened to Jazz on Voice of America – Ace! There was a pop programme on the Light Prog – as you say. Sunday mornings about 11am, signature tune was “sign of the swinging cymbal” Alan Freeman “Pick of the Pops” ?? I loved it, one day in church, some poor unfortunate knelt forward in prayer causing the earphone to be dislodged from his tranny allowing full blast pop to interrupt the service – slung out ! Didn‟t enhance the reputation of the boarders with the church goers – they had only recently traced the odd clinking during services to some wankers playing shove ha‟penny in the hymn book shelf. I was a bell-ringer. As an atheist (Sykes wrote in my report “Blythin is too young to be a free thinker!” ) prime motivation was to get out on Tuesdays down the village ostensibly for ringing practice but mainly to meet girlfriend. Great scam was to offer to ring the “tolling in bell” – solitary dinging immediately prior to the start of the service. When you finished Sykes had completed his inspection of the boarders pews and was installed at the organ so you could slip out the front of the ringing chamber into the churchyard and snog girlfriend in the brickfields. This entailed getting back through same route before the service ended and mingling with the mob on exit. I was never caught but had some awkward explaining to do as to the mud on my trousers, once! Scams I was so chuffed (chuffed as a newt, we used to say, can remember long debate as to why newts might be so) to avoid playing any serious games on Wednesday afternoons, by claiming we were doing Badminton. Usually hiding somewhere listening to the radio. This lasted quite a while until Charlie Pointer discovered that there was only ONE racquet and hence this was impossible! So we were forced to go on cross country – f***ing miles, from the logs in Earls Colne, down the valley, through cow shit, barbed wire and brambles to the bridge over the Colne, up the other side to Colne Engaine and back by a similar parallel route, the other side of the village. HORRIBLE I cracked it, though, when I took on the camera club. The local photographer from “Camera Art” came and gave lighting demos at the school, using the bird that worked for him as a model. (I still have the bloody pictures I took of her!) Naturally as organiser I had best access to her and she became my girl friend. She lived in Colne Engaine and had Wednesdays off. So I organised my best ever scam, which was never detected and made cross country bearable. I got a sprog to run a bath for me at a later time, commensurate with having flogged around the course. Borrowed as much warm sports gear as I could, then set off earnestly from the logs, dropping to a leisurely pace out of sight of the master in charge, had a fag under the bridge (smoked then) and arrived at Jean‟s place about 2:30. After a cup of tea and a snog, I borrowed her bike, rode back to Earls Colne, dropped the bike at her aunts, then staggered in the gates for the bath – Ace!! She picked the bike up next day. She was great – used to bring me coffee sponges that she made to the bottom of the sixes pitch under cover of darkness. Couldn‟t get a full blown shag though! Such is life! Bullying Our biggest problem was with Hodson. He was only a year above us but a right sod. We ganged up on him in the end, lured him back to his form room, beat him up and turned his desk over. This was ace at the time but he sneaked and the sixth form decided to restore the balance by setting up a boxing ring in the gym for us to fight him individually. Not so funny as he was a big bugger and fit. Bubble Car I managed to keep a bubble car (Isetta) in a farm building just outside the village (5/- a week) and Yelton never knew !! Lefty Wright was a great bloke – reason I did physics at University (although I couldn‟t get into his college!) We had a band “Gutbucket Syncopators” with Gordon Angel on banjo, Gray on Clt and me on C Melody sax, as far as I can recall. (If I‟d kept it – worth a few quid now!) Worst Food – that f***ing cocoa that the dinner ladies put on at 2pm and we drank with biscuits that had sat out all day! At 8pm on a Sunday. At one time I used to go out with Sheila Hood, the cooks daughter, so had sunday lunch at school and then go to their house for a proper one!! Her brother was actually christened Robin !!, no joke. Tom Cheney was the gardener – remind me to tell the story of him and the clarinet that Mike Summers lent me.