Conrad Roe 1951 - 57

Who remembers Current Affairs - with JHM?
On the particular ocassion that comes to mind - I cannot recall the news item I clutched, but I do remeber the consequences of not raising my hand when asked a question - the answer to which I was unsure. The question was, "Who knows the meaning of 'Economics'?" There was the usual shuffling of feet and worried looks around the Great Hall. Feeling very self-conscious and certainly not brave enough to volunteer I kept my peace and hoped someone else would answer him. A few hands went up as I recall, but to my consternation and horror he ignored them and addressed the qustion to me personally! I was very flustered and - off my guard, but managed to stumble out a few words along the lines of, "I - I th, th, think its something to do with the exchange of money - Sir!"

He was outraged - like an enraged bull - powerful and without mercy! As I recall - though my memory may be distorted due to the trauma - he bellowed back something like. "Well, if you knew the answer, why didn't you put your hand up?" I think this is where I learned the meaning of 'rhetorical' because as I drew breath to answer, he carried on, "Go and stand outside my study and I'll deal with you later!"

I stood there and waited through the whole of Current Affairs. Later he brushed past me completely ignoring me with his gown and a puff of smoke in his wake (the last may be poetic licence). I waited and waited getting more and more distressed, when Mrs Kate Mosey came up the stairs and asked me what I was waiting for and had I rung the bell - I explained that Mr Mosey knew I was there. She thought I had been punished enough waiting in trepidation of what would happen to me at the hands of her husband. She went into the study and I imagined pleaded my case.

As she left the study she indicated that I should go in - Mr Mosey offered no apology or explanation except to say he would not ask me to 'bend over' but would cane me on my hands instead. There's an odd saying - he caned me on my fingers where it, I admit unashamedly - not being spy material - brought tears to my eyes. I remember being late for some lesson in the Stable Block - but thankfully not the misery of getting feeling back into my damaged fingers!

[As a codicil to this event I always wondered why nowerdays I am so quick to 'own up' or to ask a question when the lecturer asks. This memory says it all - fear of punishment!]

The Cocoa Urn and Tuck Boxes
Although sited elsewhere on this day, it was usually located outside the Dining Room by the Servery. I remember in my time it held either soup or cocoa in the Winter and what was termed 'lemonade' in the Summer - I think the lemonade was made from crystals disolved in water and the result was a clear yellow sweet tangy liquid. At the same table we had bread and meat paste or Marmite as Supper.

This is the same area where we used to open our 'tuck parcels' under the watchful eye of the duty master, no doubt looking for contraband. We kept the tuck in the large cupboard opposite with a baize covered door, if I recall correctly. We were only allowed access to our tuck at morning break and on certain days of the week when we could take it into tea. Was it Tuesdays and Thursdays? Items would be cakes, biscuits etc.

We kept our actual Tuck Boxes elsewhere in the school - I think when I was there, in the room we also had the table tennis table. The boxes were around the edges of the room. I still have my Tuck Box - although many people had standard Tuck Boxes mine was an amunition box my father had obtained from an Army & Navy clearance - it now rlegated to the garage. Tuck Boxes were always sent ahead of the boy along with the huge clothes trunk by PLA (Passenger's Luggage in Advance) through the British Rail network. This tended to have more easily eaten items like sweets - I remember some of the Turkish boys had real Turkish Delight, Salami and Pistachio nuts in theirs. If I was lucky I would be given some Turkish Delight, smelling of salami but still wonderful!

'The Caves'
I recall one evening when it was dark; the whole school - it seemed to me - put on their dungarees and made their way to 'The Caves' which were designated "Strictly Out Of Bounds" as being dangerous were automatically a honey pot for those brave enough (one might say foolhardy enough) to enter their jaws. Looking back it is incredible to think that the teaching staff were unaware of such a mass Exodus.

I recall that by the light of a flash-light making my way through the woods - quite eerie in the dark - to the Second Woods and the looming caves. As we entered we saw moving shadows forming almost surreal pictures on the walls. Once deep inside... at this point my mind goes blank. Looking back I neither remmember if we had a feast or indeeed how or when we made our way back. What I do remember was that for me it was very exciting and a little scary, but one of those things I was glad I did. Next day there was no all-school punishment which was all the more anazing.

My Diary of Spring Term 1957: Written in the same 'short line' format as my Letts diary. [Square brackets] used to comment on then now. Re-reading the Diary shows me just how mundane my life was at school and how I survived without television, mobile phone, Social media, hand held games etc.

Tues 15 Jan
Back to school. Walked down lane to school.
Foot and Mouth disease in fields.
Height 6'-3". Weight 10 St 3 ¾ lbs.

Wed 16 Jan
Handed 16/7 ½ in. I unpacked my
Tuck Box. After Prep - unpacked
trunk. Freezing cold.

Thur 17 Jan
We had to write out and
learn hymn 31 for not singing
very well.

Fri 18 Jan
(10) [weeks to end of term presumably].
Had a bath. We had 1/6 pocket
money. Ismail is not back yet.

Sat 19 Jan
1/6 of sweets. Film - "Malta
Story." Ismail got back.

Old. T.O.M. comes and
goes every night.

Sun 20 Jan
Wrote a letter. Did some
Prep. Listened to the wireless.
T.O.M.'s Assembly.
[Dormitory] 57 raided [Dormitory]55.

Mon 21 Jan
Received letter & leads [for pencil perhaps].
No PT due to rain.
Very tired as I listened to Top 20 last night.

Tue 22 Jan
C.A [Current Affairs] quite interesting.
Got a boil on my shoulder.

Wed 23 Jan
I had a game of Chess with
Ashworth. Received a letter from Mummy.

Thur 24 Jan
Art all after-noon. It was a very nice
morning but it rained in the afternoon.

Fri 25 Jan
9 weeks. T.O.M. took 9d
of our pocket money to pay for
Juniors breakages.

Sat 26 Jan
Someone defaced notices and T.O.M.
gave us 1-hour Copy book [writing]
and they DID own up!

Send home for 2 St. V Cards.

Sun 27 Jan
Wrote a letter home.
1 hour Science lesson.
Did Arith [metic] and Grammar Prep.
Listened to radio.
Discussion group: Rock n' Roll in
Study, easy chairs.

Mon 28 Jan
Alan played us his fiddle top tunes
(by plucking). I pulled once - 3 springs
[chest expander!]

Tue 29 Jan
Nurse put a dressing on my
shoulder with out plaster,
but with Colodine Flex.

Wed 30 Jan
Beat Little Rissington Mens
Hockey team 7-1

Thur 31 Jan
Punishment. 1 st **am. Central
Heating has been turned off.
Ran out of tuck.

Fri 1 Feb
8 weeks. No, bath water was cold.
P.M[ pocket money]. 1/6, LP
[Lost property fine] 2d.

Sat 2 Feb
2 Films - "Abbott & Costello in
The Foreign Legion" and
"Fit as A Fiddle."

Sun 3 Feb
Wrote a letter. Went to church
and took Holy Communion. Did
Language Prep. Sat in Shower
room and listened to the radio.

Mon 4 Feb
Mr Mosey gave us a telling off.
Punishment on Wednesday.
Letter from Jennifer [my sister].

Tues 5 Feb
It poured with rain. The barbers came.

Wed 6 Feb
Daddy sent me a card from
the Bahamas. Copy Book all
afternoon [presumably Monday's punishment].
½ hour break. Mummy sent me a
tuck parcel.

Thur 7 Feb
Daddy sent me a card from Miami.
Boots' sent me a card to collect pen-top.
Write them to send it me as
arranged before.

Fri 8 Feb
7 weeks. Bath at 9.15. I had some
sunray on my boil. PM tomorrow.

Sat 9 Feb
2/- pocket money. No sweets.
Did part of Arith Prep. 9-0 versus
Ragley Ladies at Hockey.

Sun 10 Feb
2/- sweets. Wrote to Mummy,
Daddy, Boots'. Listened to radio
in the afternoon. Took to dorm for
Top 20.

Mon 11 Feb
Costing Trig. Ex. Listened to
wireless after Prep. Did PT. A 14
min [ute] run towards Farmington.

Tue 12 Feb
I received my pen-top from Boots'.
Wrote V Card to Anne.

Wed 13 Feb
Send V Card to Anne. I went for a
walk to Farmington Church. It rained.
Nice walk anyway.

Thur 14 Feb
'Tuck Tea' - I had an egg, also some
biscuits. Tuck nearly all gone. Letter
from home.

Fri 15 Feb
6 weeks. Am fed up with French and
want to drop it.

Sat 16 Feb
Went for a walk with Salim and 3 other
boys. Went to A40 road-side café:
had Coca-Cola, coffee and sweets.
Mr Mosey's films

Maths - nil, Accountancy - not much
good. Other things.

Sun 17 Feb
Wrote 4-page letter home. Went
for a walk with Hassam towards
Windrush. Went for a walk to
Windrush with Salim and 6 other boys.
An Evangelist came and gave us
a Service - illustrated [with felt appliqué pictures.]

Mon 18 Feb
Got told-off by Old Man for fooling.
Went for a walk in village.

Tue 19 Feb
I had a card from Daddy 9" - 6 ½".
Mr and Mrs Mosey did not come.
Foot and Mouth over. Gobe gave
me a map to copy as punishment for
leaving it on the desk.

Wed 20 Feb
Sat outside in the sunny afternoon
and listened to the wireless. T.O.M.
did not come or T.O.W.

Thur 21 Feb
No tuck except an egg. Mummy
sent me a letter and 10/-. Went
for a walk.

Fri 22 Feb
5 weeks. I played a game of football.
PM 2/-.

Sat 23 Feb
Received strap from Bell & Webster
[for my camera]. Went to café - 2/6
sweets and cup of coffee.
Sun 24 Feb
Took 9 pictures with flash. Wrote
letter home. Didn't go to Discussion.
Did Prep.

Mon 25 Feb
Went for a walk up the woods.
Now we are not allowed in the
woods. Played football in PE.

Tue 26 Feb
CA. [Current Affairs]
Watched Blake fly his plane [with]
control line.

Wed 27 Feb
I was a Marker on the run a Top

Thur 28 Feb
1 egg. ½ day Holiday. 1 wee
to exams. Had a letter from Mummy.

Fri 1 Mar
4 weeks. Bath. 2/- PM. Revision.

Sat 2 Mar
Saw the films: "Popeye" and
"Entertainment" and "Never Take
No For An Answer."

Revise. Exams Thursday.

Sun 3 Mar
Went up the woods and revised
½ Science Notes. Went to
church Evensong. Then listened
to the radio.

Mon 4 Mar
Went for a walk. Did PE.
Beautiful day. Revised a bit.

Tue 5 Mar
Went for a walk up the woods.
Revised History to 10.40pm.
Nice Day.

Wed 6 Mar
Poured with rain early morning.
I wrote a piece for the magazine.
Bought Ink, 2/6 nut chocolate,
1/- nut chocolate, Frys' 4d,
Total 3/10.

Thur 7 Mar
Daddy came back. Mock GCE
starts - Arithmetic - hard, French -
hard, History - Fair. Revise
Science & Literature.

Fri 8 Mar
3 weeks. Science - hard, Essay -
Fair, Literature - hard. Revise
Geography and Algebra.
Bath. PM 2/-.

Sat 9 Mar
Algebra - hard, Geography - hard.

Sun 10 Mar
Went up the woods. Did not
do any revising.
Mon 11 Mar
Language - not too hard, French -
awful, Geometry - ? Had a letter
from Anne.

Tue 12 Mar
Geography - no good, Science -
OK, Art - OK Quite a nice day.
Exams nearly over.

Wed 13 Mar
Art - OK, Art - not OK. Had a
letter from home. Nice day.
Listened to my wireless.

Thur 14 Mar
H. Read BD. Washed my hair.
French oral - horrible. I had a
letter from USA from Shannon
Emila Davenport. Had an egg
at tuck-tea. Exams finish.

Fri 15 Mar
(14)[days presumably - countdown]
2 weeks. PM 2/-. Bath. Essay
marks - I was 2nd with 53%
with Salim (Great minds think alike.)

Sat 16 Mar
(13). 3 springs 7 times. Went up a
tree with my friends and listened to
the radio. Rev Lowe brought 5
birds in cages and gave us a lecture
on them.

Sun 17 Mar
(12). Wrote a letter. Sat up tree
listened to radio. Evening 3
springs pulled 9 times.

Mon 18 Mar
(11). Morn: 6 times. Eve: 10 times.
We had a ½ day. I went up the
tree with Salim & listened to the
radio, talked and climbed and read.

Tue 19 Mar
(10). Morn: 6 times. Changed my
jacket - 2 buttons off and 2 small.
Nurse would not let me repair it

Wed 20 Mar
(9). Papo went to London. Gave
Papo 2/- to get me a bottle of cider
if possible. Had a letter from home.
Rather cold today. Read Superman

Thur 21 Mar
(8). Parcel from home: 1 pen, 1 pencil,
1 biro, 1 torch, 8oz chocolate, 1 box
of figs, 1 pkt dates, 1 pkt gt. Crisps,
2 pkts of pea-nuts and apples and
oranges and 1 tie (silky). Cider from Papo.

Fri 22 Mar
(7) 1 week. PM 2/-. Pay Ashworth
1/- (OK). LP 4d. Spill 2d. Bath night.

Sat 23 Mar
(6) Went up the tree. We had films:
"The Kidnappers", Entertainment", and
"Car Maniacs" with Abbott & Costello.

10st 8lbs. 6'- 1/8" Shrunk 5/8" (Joke).

Sun 24 Mar
(5). Wrote a letter home. Old Boy's
Hockey Match. The Old man's
Assembly. Stage has been put up.

Mon 25 Mar
(4). No PE - it rained. Scenery
being put up. 3 more days to go.

Tue 26 Mar
(3). Play tonight. We had one of
them a few years ago. I packed
today. Sweets 1/6 on credit.

Wed 27 Mar
(2). I packed my tuck-box and
transferred tuck to dorm.

Thur 28 Mar
(1). Wrote up 167 Rules - and
there are more. We had school

Fri 29 Mar
We break up. 9.15 bus. 10.24
or 11.48 train. Mummy will be
at Birmingham at 12.30. Went to
see a house. I have a wonderful
tripod [for my camera and telescope].

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