Friday, 1 October 2010
Top 5 Achievements at School
We're currently going through the anguish of looking at secondary schools for our eldest. This largely involves visiting different schools, listening to various head teachers, and walking round a lot of classrooms. Apart from sore feet and a nagging doubt I'm about to be told to stop running and tuck my shirt in, this has brought back a lot of memories of my own school days. I was never a big fan of school. It was something that got in the way of playing football and watching TV. Possibly that's why I didn't particularly excel in anything.
1. Making my one and only appearance for the school cricket team - Clearly desperate for an eleventh man and with anyone of any ability unavailable I was picked for the school team about 2 hours before the match was due to start. I didn't bowl. I fielded on the boundary, only twice having to make any effort to retrieve a ball. The opposition were all out for 33. I came in to bat as 11th man with our total standing at 30 for 9. Having successfully Tavare'd the first ball I faced my partner scored a quick single off the first ball of the final over. Feeling a bit of pressure as I faced my second ball I made remarkably decent contact and was able to score the 3 runs required to win the game. Euphoria erupted in all directions and I was literally carried off the pitch on the shoulders of my teammates. I was never selected again.
2. Appearing on "That's Life" as part of a Gospel Choir - "Harris, you can sing, follow me!" were the words my music teacher bellowed as he flew past me in the corridor. He was collecting a growing gaggle of students and I joined the throng to find out what was up. Mr Sutton knew someone who worked for the BBC. That's Life were in desperate need of a Gospel Choir to sing a song about a man who had bought an Aero and found it didn't have any holes in it. Quite why the BBC thought that a secondary school in Surrey was the best place to find a Gospel Choir at short notice I'm not quite sure but we appeared on the show, in full flowing red gowns, and sang the funny song.
We met Doc Cox, who was funny, Joanna Monro, who was lovely, and Adrian Mills, who was a bit of a cock. We also met the men from Aero who plied us with lots of free chocolate bars. The show was recorded shortly before transmission and was shown, in a time before we owned a video recorder, as we were travelling home on the coach.
3. Winning the trophy for services to Sport - Awarded for attending one inter-school athletics meeting as assistant to my polish PE teacher Mr Grazinski. My duties were not particularly onorous and basically consisted of looking after the starter pistol and timing each race with the school stop watch.
4. Being let off School Lunch - At Junior school I used to have school dinners. They were dreadful and to make matters worse we had to ask the duty teacher if we could leave what we had not eaten. One of the least enjoyable meals was Liver and mash and there was nothing worse than being told you had to finish off a bit more liver when you'd already eaten all the mash and veg. I was a fussy eater, even at home, and the constant rotation of horrible food led me to bunk off lunch. I realised that whilst in classes they always took a register at dinner time there was no such check. I survived for a good six months without lunch before reaching the point where I felt I was ready to take on whatever the canteen could throw at me. I joined the dinner queue with my mates, my taste buds tingling with anticipation of a proper meal. I was hoping for sausages and beans or spam fritters or shepherd's pie. My face dropped when I realised it was liver and mash. I ate the potato and veg and sliced a few tiny slithers off the liver. It hadn't improved a great deal. I took the long walk to the duty teacher, who smiled as I approached. "You've not been up for ages David! Of course you can leave that". I skipped for joy as I joined the queue for a large dollop of Chocolate Semolina.
5. Playing a bush in my first Nativity - I was not the most forthright of children and was never going to vie for a lead role in any school play. Clearly this was recognised by my teachers as my very first school nativity saw me cast as a bush. This pretty much boiled down to carrying a piece of scenery on to the stage at the appropriate moment and hiding behind it. There may have been a bit of singing involved but this was fine, I had a bush to hide behind. I wasn't the only child entrusted with a vegetation based role, one of my best friends had the more prestigious part of third tree. I'm not sure we entirely got the story of the Nativity in Thames Ditton.