Earl's Colne Grammar School

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					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. 

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