Patrick Delaney 1949 - 51

  1)   1950 Diary - Canings
  2)   Mouthwash (Sic.)
  3)   Important lesson
  4)   What 'really' happened in Scarborough?
  5)   'Savage'
  6)   'Taxi'
  7)   Scarborough, girls and another King's School
  8)   Imitation - a form of flattery?
  9)   Breakages!
10) "Sunny Sherborne" and Cycling
11)   Teaching subjects, Hellfire, etc
12)   All whistles & bangs! (Seale, Pascoe and Mr Thompson)
13)   Katsonutos discovers apple pies!
14)   Defence of Freedom
15)   And all that Jazz!
16)   Films 1949
17)   Marx came in a 2.5 litre Alfa Romeo
18)  Haircuts for someone who does not like haircuts
19)  Mr Chadwick and lazy 6th formers
20)  "The Sexy Secretary"
21)  "JHM-man"
22)  Freedom
23)  Prefects and Teachers
24)  Reflections on Al Hawkes article
25)  Mr Brooks
26)  A few more thoughts prompted by Alwyn's anecdotes

1) "1950 Diary:
Wed 1 Nov.  Old man became fierce, efficiency campaign begun. Caned 2 boys.
Thur  2 Nov.  2 more boys caned.
Fri     3 Nov.  2 more boys caned. Slowly the lust for BLOOD is overcoming 'Him'."

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"On another occasion two junior boys who'd been caught swearing were brought in front of the whole school to have their mouths washed out. There was all the ritual of a table being brought to the front, bowl of water on it, bar of Lifebuoy soap and face flanel.

He soaked the flannel, rubbed the ghastly soap on it, grabbed the first boy, made him open his mouth and rubbed the flannel around in his mouth. I can't remember how the boy reacted, because what happened next has never left my memory. The second boy started crying and trying to back away, but 'The Old Man' grabbed him. A struggle ensued, with the boy crying and struggling desperately while T.O.M. was roaring like a bull."

I was one of his bete noir. In fact at the start of the Spring term 1950 he put up a list of boys who were being punished for a load of unspecified misdemeanours, under the heading 'The following is a list of the delinquents under their leader Delaney I ....blah, blah, blah.'"

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I must say that my brother Michael (D.2) liked TOM and thought he was basically a warm person. But then Mike became an establishment man and I became the permanent rebel, with a great suspicion of power. Lord Acton was right: Power tends to corrupt. One of the most important lessons I learned at school.

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I did meet an old boy a year after I left school in 1952 at a village fete - saw the Old Boys tie - who said he thought Mosey was a business man and not a teacher. It puzzled me. The Old Man was very pleasant to me in the last two terms after he said 'so you do attend Delaney' when I passed my exams easily. This is a problem I've had at a number of places. My wife says I've always given the impression of 'inatention' to the point of indifference. After the Summer Holiday in 1950 he called me into his office and said smiling , 'I've been to Scarborough and I found out what really happened.' I thought, well he slagged me off in front of the whole school, so he should apologise in front of the whole school. When I left he said 'You don't like injustice, do you Delaney? Well, that's something you'll have to get used to.'

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I recall about Trimby 1, that Anton Veverka hit him once. They were both prefects and I think Veverka must have been severely provoked, but I was, and am, biased and was not a witness. Mosey hung a notice round Veverka's neck saying 'Savage. Keep Away' and made him stand on a table during lunch. Nice, eh?

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Mr C A Benn. was known as 'Taxi' He taught Maths after Mr Perry left, in 1950. Boys used to annoy him by shouting 'TAXI!' One day I heard that someone (who?) brought in a clockwork toy taxi, wound it up and put it on the floor at the back of the class, sending it up the gangway. Apparently Benn rushed at it and snatched it up. I don't remember what he did then. Perhaps Bob Gabaldoni knows???

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When I returned after Summer hols 1950 and Mosey had me in his study, to say that he'd been to Scarborough and found out what 'really happened', he also said 'You like girls, don't you Delaney' (thinks: ' oh lord, gosh sir, only a childish hobby sir, I've tried to be terribly British and Public School and like boys, but they're ugly and stink and have the wrong sort of bits, sir. I don't think you like boys either, sir, do you, really? or you wouldn't have sooo many lovely nurses, hem, hem.)

Anyway, I said 'yes' guiltily, wondering what was coming next, and to my amazement he said that he was hoping to arrange dances with some of the nicer sort of girls schools (though I'd have much preferred bad girls). Nothing came of it, so I decided to leave (he he!). I expect Mosey knew I'd been chucked out of my previous school because of a girl, and unlike that particular Head, Old Buggins!, who liked boys (everyone knew what went on), Mosey probably thought I wasn't a bad egg after all, and I expect it was the main reason he said 'you don't like injustice, do you?' when I left school.

I was very pleased to read that Patrick Leigh Fermor*, the writer and SAS man in Crete during WW2, who captured a German General (the story was made into a film 'Ill Met By Moonlight), was kicked out of King's School Canterbury, because a master saw him sitting among the apples at the back of a greengrocer's, holding hands with the greengrocer's daughter. Ah, those were days of living dangerously! Roger Allen sounds a good sort. Could have been in my 'gang of delinquents.'

*Anyone interested can look him up under his name in Google. He had a pretty wild unorthodox childhood and went to various eccentric 'progressive' 1920s schools before ending up at King's School, Canterbury.

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Once in 1950 we heard from one of the masters that The Old Man heard a lot of boisterous noise coming from the staff room as he walked past and looking in saw one of the masters standing on a table giving a JHM-type rant, waving his arms about, and all the other masters standing and laughing. JHM just gave them a 'look' and walked away.

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I saw someone's anecdote about the charge for breakages on the school fees. One term someone in our dorm discovered that on their parent's bill, and since no one had broken anything, on the last day of term we broke up the dorm chair belonging to a boy named Checkley, so that we got our parents' money's worth. I don't remember how we broke it up (hammer, saw?) but we put the bits in a small suitcase and took it down to Sherborne Brook and chucked the bits in. That was fun!

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I must start by saying that my days at Sunny Sherborne, as my friends and I called it, really were the happiest days since leaving my idyllic tropical childhood in Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). I must add that the head master of my school in Ceylon was far more frightening than anyone else I've known - and the whole regime there was still stuck in the 19th century. Boys were caned for getting less than 4 out of 10 for homework, or was it 4 out of 20? The whole ritual of going to the office to get the cane and great big ledger in which it was kept and the ritual humiliation in front of the class are something I'll never forget. I was lucky I was OK at lessons, but one rather dull boy was caned on a pretty regular basis. The headmaster of my first school in England was - well I've mentioned him in passing in a previous anecdote. There were various things you'd automatically be caned for, regardless of excuse: breaking a window, spilling ink, etc. Boys under 16 had to take off their trousers and underpants - he didn't hit hard, I think it was just his little sexual gratification. In these more aware times he'd be imprisoned. And he had the nerve to kick me out over something to do with a girl!

However, I've been grateful ever since, because I came to Sherborne and was made to feel at home from the evening of my arrival by the friendly relaxed atmosphere among the boys and staff. Even the hostility and suspicion between JHM and me were not so bad that I expected anything really nasty would happen, even including the crazy punishment regime at the start of term in January 1950. My two previous headmasters were really warped. I had more faith in the Moseys, especially Kate M. There wasn't the cold institutional unpleasantness of my two previous schools.

JHM wrote in my report for the Spring 1950 term, 'Stubborn and argumentative towards advice and other things.' I've always regretted not having had the chance, after growing up, of asking 'what precisely do you mean by ''and other things''? Hm? ... hm? Sloppy thinking - be precise, boy!'

I was interested in reading about The Old Man's background from what you've written. One feels sad that he had such an unhappy childhood. Some people use others as scapegoats for their traumas. But I feel more warmly about him now.

I was touched to read Colin Fry's submission (5.11.06) that he actually remembers me and my brother. And embarrassed that I can't recall him. Unfortunately older boys were not very aware of those in junior classes. I hope he'll forgive me. About what he wrote: yes, our mother was in Ceylon still, though our father had died there a year before we came to Sherborne. In those days of Empire children were sent to boarding schools in Britain while their parents were abroad and one didn't expect to see them for years, as sea journeys took so long. No, I didn't like 'Games' - as opposed to sport. I'd been very good at cricket in Ceylon and loved cycling and running. There weren't any proper athletics at KS, but I was in the winning Eddington-Ross 4x110 yds relay team for 1949 and '50, and also first reserve of the KS Cross Country team, although not basically a long distance runner, more 200 & 400 (or Imperial equivalent). By then I found cricket and football dull and unglamorous compared with my greatest passion - Grand Prix motor racing! When I read that my boyhood hero, Dick Seaman, wouldn't play cricket or rugby at Rugby, although he'd been very good at his prep school, I decided I wasn't going to either. Besides, having become very anti-establishment I wasn't damn well going to have my freedom interfered with by any 'authority.' A book was published some years ago about sport becoming compulsory in Public Schools in the 19th Century. It was to keep boys under control even in their 'free' time. I felt just that when I was at school and one of the things I loved about cycling was the freedom, apart from everything else.

In fact it wasn't I, but Martin Horner and S. Hunt who'd spoken with the sports master, who approached JHM about having cycling officially recognised as a school sport. I was put out, because 'They' were taking over 'Our' sport, rather like Constantine taking over Christianity for the Roman State. In fact there wasn't any interference from 'Them.' As for my winning races by 'a mile' - I didn't do so in the last three races (except the hill time trial). I won all the races on the first course, which had a couple of hills where I broke away and finished on my own, but some of the others decided that the 13 mile triangular course through Aldsworth was on nicer roads. There was a slight slope after Aldsworth, but not steep or long enough to give me a big lead until the finish. I was a hopeless sprinter and Martin Horner won every time after that, with Hunt usually 2nd. Recently, I showed a colleague a photo of me finishing second in my last race at KS and he said, 'that's what happens when you don't take drugs!' I should've known. I'm sure that nice Nurse Loxton would've given me some amphetamines and cocaine. As for the 10 mile zone: I'd forgotten about that, but like everything else, I ignored it. A colleague of mine some years ago said to me, 'the most important thing you learn at Public School is that it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you're not found out.' An axiom I've lived by most of my life.

There's a lot more I'd like to say (I can hear you groaning from here), but it'll have to wait for another time. (Oh no! Not even more!!). Well, that's because School really was family for me - didn't have a family after 13, and just under 10 for my brother.

Any spelling errors, you can put down to Schooling. [There was only one and - I corrected it! Ed]

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Roger Orrell, my best friend was there before me - don't know when he started, but it would have been pre 1949.

Mrs Kate Mosey taught Maths and Art, in the 5th form at least, not just Algebra.

Mr Perry taught Maths from '48 - '50.
He also told shaggy dog stories and other awful jokes as the lesson was drawing to a close and wandered idly towards the door, opened it, walked outwards, told the punchline and then shut the door before the groans got to him. Grrrr! No wonder some of us have grown up with warped senses of humour!

... when I started at KS I was told that Darcy Dashwood (what a great name) had been there just before. A descendant of 'Helfire' Dashwood of the infamous 'Hellfire Club'. Apparently his family knew Raymond Mays (motor racing fans will know who he is), which was why I was told about him and things he said about Mays. Does anyone remember Dashwood, or am I the oldest person who's survived with guts damaged by KS uncooked dehydrated peas?

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In autumn 1949 a new boy, George Seale came. He'd been at a very 'free' school, Horsley Hall which had been closed after some scandals (News of the World stuff).

One night he was late coming out of his bath and Pasco threw a bucket of cold water over the partition on to Seale. After drying himself an angry Seale was walking back to the dorm after lights out, when he saw the tall silhouette of Pascoe coming towards him, punched him in the stomach and said, 'What the hell do you think you're doing?' and was answered by Mr Thompson's voice, 'What do you think you're doing, Seale.' Luckily Mr Thompson realised it was mistaken identity.

DG Thompson was a master I've always had a great admiration for. He never got angry, and never had any problem keeping order. I remember just once, his calling out, 'Delaney!', and I can even now vividly see that face staring at me! If I could've been like that I may have taken up teaching.

Mr Thompson had been a paratrooper in WW2 and survived the Arnhem drop. No wonder he coped with the Bonfire Night which got out of control in 1950. A firework set off a lot of others waiting on the table and Mr T. went forward crouching to separate them, then some more went off. He retreated for a while, but went back again with more and more fireworks going off all over the place. He had to give up as everything was up in bangs and whizzes all over the place. I thought it was the most exciting battle zone I'd seen! I expect Mr T. thought it was tame compared with dangling from a parachute at night, with German guns blazing away at him.

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Katsonutos, a Greek Cypriot boy, was a large shambling sort of person and never learned much English. He was only at KS for about two terms, and was in our dorm of boys mostly with parents overseas. He spent a lot of time writing things secretively. Joe Rahbe, whose home was in Cyprus and knew Greek, told us Katso was designing a rocket to go to the moon. That was in 1950!

One night someone made him an apple pie bed. That annoyed him - he couldn't make it out, never having come across this gross English behaviour before.

Shortly afterwards someone found a hedgehog and put it in his bed, right at the foot. He was always late for bed. This time he got very angry. He stood on his bed, waved his arms about and gave a long speech in Greek at us, in his slow grumbling, rumbling voice. Joe translated that Katsonutos, among a lot of complaints and threats, said he was not going to take us to the Moon with him. Oh dear! That's why Dorm 56 didn't get there before Armstrong, Aldrin, and co.

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Defence of Freedom or JHM and the Russian threat: In March 1951, at one of TOM's current affairs talks to the whole school, he spoke about potatoes being an all round food one could survive on indeffinitely.

Well, apparently the grounds of Sherborne were going to be planted with potatoes and when the Russians came we brave boys (hurrah!!!) and masters would be patrolling the grounds with sub-machine guns, while others would be on the roof manning anti-aircraft guns. Roge Orrell drew me a marvelous cartoon of the scene. Unfortunately I've lost it! I particularly liked his depiction of the anti-aircraft guns on the corners of Good 'Ole Sherborne Castle, the last bastian of Freedom, Democracy and classic liberal Learning in the whole world!

Who remembers that? I certainly always remember it. I was in the sick-bay, so I'm recalling what I was told by other boys, no doubt embroidered for better story telling. ('If the facts contradict the legend, print the legend.' A prize to the boy who knows where that comes from.)

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Roge Orrell, Pierre, Piero and I formed a jazz club. We played records in the shower room with socks used to muffle the sound. It was a weekly ritual to keep in touch with spontaneity and warmth. Younger people don't know how rebellious jazz was considered then. It has become respectable and academic now. I heard a musician saying, 'well, in those days jazz was about having fun, having a good time.' Yes, and older people were about stopping you having a fun. As Roge and I said, 'we want gin, girls and jazz.' I often quote (along the lines of) the guy in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, 'All I want is a good time - everything else is propaganda.'

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I've had a look at my old diaries and, sure enough, we did have films nearly every Saturday night. When I was first there in 1949 they were documentaries, then feature films. Here are a few examples from the start of each year:

15.1.49 - 'Welding Helps the Farmer'; 'Country Policeman'; RAF Recruiting'
22.1.49 - The war in Sweden, 1941; 'The Glen is Ours'; 'Heir to the Throne'; cartoon 'Sinbad the Sailor'
(On 29.1.49 I missed films because my mother came to Bourton, before returning to Ceylon)
5.2.49 - 'Captains Courageous'; 'Mickey Cuts Up'; 'Instruments of the Orchestra'
28.1.50 - 'The Black Sheep of Whitehall'
4.2.50 - 'Men of the Timbertops'
11.2.50 - 'Oliver Twist'
18.2.50 - 'Scott of the Antarctic'
1951 - very few diary entries (don't know why), except:
26.3.51 (Mon. Half-Day) - 'Wild Bill Hickock'; 'That Man Reuter.'
31.3.51 - 'Sea Hawk'

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My diary says that on Sunday, 7th May, 1950 'Marx came in a 2.5 litre Alfa Romeo with Farina drop-head 3-seater body, and reached 135 km/h speedo reading on top road.'

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The barber came to school towards the end of term and cut our hair in what was Form VA / the Library when I was a boy (typical Moseyspeak - 'When I Was a Boy'), in 1949 - 51. Mrs K. Mosey used to threaten me by saying that if I didn't have my hair cut shorter she'd tie a bow in it.

About 10 - 15 years ago that would have been rather fashionable. I've always had my hair as long as I could get away with: that, jazz and gurls were the only bits of rebellion we had, apart from the freedom of the open road on one's bike.

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I remember Mr Chadwick in my last two terms, but not his bubble car. He taught science (and maths?), but I was in the 6th form with 5 or 6 others. We didn't have lessons, as such: we hung out on the Quarter Deck and went to the Staff Room for a sort of tutorial with the Master we were assigned to and then went back to carry on with our work - or skive off for a walk! A practice I've always got enormous pleasure from.

I remember identifying with Mr Polly, when he did a bunk from his wife, and the glorious sense of freedom when he was sitting on a fence saying 'Hole; nasty rotten stinking hole'. (Something like that - I read it in the School library, 58 years ago and the sentiments remained with me since). So are freedom-lovers/rebels formed. Mrs Mosey can also be blamed. She taught one to analyze and ask questions in maths: basic logic in fact. That's what education is - not 'job training'!

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Miss Hawkins alias 'The Sexy Secretary'. (I think that was Roge Orrell being poetical, but the name's stuck with me.) She rescued me once when JHM was ranting 'What's THAT ? That's not how you write four!!!!' And Miss Hawkins (at her desk, typing) said, 'I write four like that', although she obviously couldn't see what he was referring to. JHM didn't look happy!

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19. Dec. '50. Start of X'mas holiday. We'd missed the bus to Cheltenham. There was deep snow and Miss Hawkins, the Secretary, who was driving us to the bus stop in the van, skidded off the school drive and couldn't get back. We'd nearly toppled over! But Superman was on hand - in the guise of JHM who took over and with engine racing and clutch slipping, slowly got back on to the driveway. In this picture we are on the icy road by Bourton Lodge, wondering what was going to happen. Eventually Mr M. drove us to Cheltenham Station in the van.

L. to R: Chris Isseyegh, Samimi, Roge Orrell, Joe Rahbe (pointing at me), Mirashrafi, Tehrani, N/K, my brother Mike (in dark raincoat), N/K (squatting and trying to slide on the ice), Stevens, Pat Crook (legs crossed, facing), N/K.

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In the summer I went out on my bike at any opportunity - during sports times, after prep, and any time, regardless of regulations. The prefect in charge of the cycle shed lock let me have the key. Freedom has always been 'life' to me.

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I'd twice been approached by Paul Burg to become a prefect, and flatly turned it down. Two terms before I left, my friends Roger Orrell and Piero Padulazzi both agreed to become Prefects on Probation, so I reluctantly agreed to be one too. But I said that although I'd stand with the Prefects in the Great Hall I would not tell-off any boy I saw 'misbehaving' (whatever that meant). I do however remember being very controlling when taking Junior forms for Prep…

We did have some excellent teachers, who taught one to think. Mrs Mosey was endlessly patient at answering maths questions. Mr Shorter taught Roge Orrell and me, as President and Vice-President of the Debating Society, to question and analyse everything. And Mr Pfaff was excellent as an English teacher. I think the point of education is to teach one to have a clear analytical mind.

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Reflections on Al Hawkes article:
Although he was in a younger form, I remember young Hawkes very well, as a funny, mischievous boy. I've never forgotten his performance in 'Ten Little Indians' [name changed in line with political correctness. Ed.] by Agatha Christie. When he was exposed as the murderer he hammed it up hilariously - just like the evil villain in a Victorian melodrama.

I have some thoughts prompted by Al's very informative Essays. The stoical boy, 'F', in Part 3, 'Organisation and Discipline': who was he? We ought to be told, especially as he's a professional actor. I'm glad that some OBs went into the arts. Al is too discrete in not mentioning anyone's names.

At the end Al asks whether we were happy. I, for one was, as I've mentioned before. It was the fun, friendship and loyal solidarity I longed for after I left school. But, as an adult I had occasional nightmares that I was back at school, being harangued by JHM and then thinking, in my dream, 'Hang on you're an adult now', and feeling ready to let fly a tirade ... but my anger would wake me up.

As for sending a son of mine to a boarding school - absolutely not! My mother was insistent that my son should go to a proper Public School (luckily she was not aware that KSS was merely a Private Grammar School), ... I have fond memories of Mr Evans, who taught Eng. Lit. in my first year. He sometimes wore colourful shirts and corduroys and once (at least) used a tie as a belt. It was a striped tie - University, Regimental, something like that - very off-beat and stylish! When he left I was told that he went to work in Exeter Library, in Devon. I often thought of visiting him.

Not having had a home, except for school, I don't have much concept of 'family'. I've told many people that one of the advantages of my going to a boarding school is learning that if you're hungry you can eat any damned thing. That too is freedom.

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Yes, I remember poor Mr Brooks. He had no control whatever of the boys, who made his life hell. There was frequent uproar in his classes, as he tried to control the boys, who revelled in winding him up. On my way to the loo one day I heard uproar coming from a class with Brooks yelling and the class responding with more mayhem. Mosey was listening outside. On my way back to class nothing had changed. Mosey was still listening to Brooks trying to shout above the uproar.

After I left school my brother Mike, who was a prefect by then, told me that Mosey told Brooks that he couldn't keep coming to his classes to keep order and that Brooks would have to learn to do so himself, or leave. The next day Brooks had disappeared: he'd cleared off during the night, without a word. I thought that he was frequently on the verge of tears with frustration. He was a Good, Earnest Christian and a pacifist. Some time around 1955-57 my brother ran into him in London. Brooks was going to Africa as a missionary.

Boys can be extremely cruel. There was a balloon debate one evening. JHM, Brooks, Mr Thompson and the sports master (was he Mr Moore?) took part. Brooks chose the part of a cricketer, who was a pacifist. Anyway, Mosey wound up the debate by saying that Brooks, given his beliefs, should obviously throw himself overboard! The school overwhelming voted for that, with I remember, great glee and poor old Brooks was humiliated. I think Brooks made a great mistake in choosing to take the part of a good self-sacrificing martyr, but that's what he wanted to be.

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A few thoughts prompted by Alwyn's anecdotes:

Both Roger Orrell and I obtained Matric Exemption in the 1950 School Certificate - the last year before the introduction of the easier option of 'O' and 'A' levels. That meant we were eligible for university entrance without sitting Higher School Cert. or A levels. But when Mr Mosey asked me what I wanted to do when I left school, I said car design (I was obsessed with motor racing from age 14 to 23). So he fixed me up with an apprenticeship at Rover cars, where George Seal's father was chief designer, and eventually my boss. I hated engineering from the start. I was institutionalised by life at boarding school, and was quite unprepared for a world where people were materialistic, talked about money, and horror of horrors, hadn't been educated to School Certificate, or 'O' level! I'd learned at a very early age that it was 'vulgar' to talk about money. I had no family in Britain, so Mr Mosey was my Legal Guardian and I couldn't ask him for advice on anything. After my mother returned from Ceylon I took off for art school. - the best thing I've done.

Alwyn mentions the school library. He was right in that there was little modern literature. We had a horribly old-fashioned education. The only two books of fiction I read with interest, apart from Homer's Odyssey, were HG Wells's 'History of Mr Polly' and 'Ordinary Families' by E. Arnot Robertson. That had 'D N Thompson' inscribed on the flyleaf, was published in 1933 and was the only novel I'd read about growing up as a teen in a relatively modern setting. Mr Polly was written in 1910, had a depressing setting, but was about a man going on the run from his boring circumstances. I liked that! A library book I referred to many times was one on athletics training by the Oxford University athletics coach. We had no athletics training whatever during my time at KSS.

As for Shakespeare, The Old Man lead to my hating it: what would one expect, given his intolerant, bullying ways and habit of giving us Shakespeare speeches to write and learn as punishments. I agree with Bertie Wooster: 'It's like Shakespeare - sounds good, doesn't mean anything.'

For School Cert I was lucky, in that Mr Evans took us for Eng. Lit. in the Autumn 1949 term, with Mr Thompson taking over in 1950 after Evans left, and and we did R L Stevenson's 'Travels With a Donkey In the Cèvennes', and a collection, 'Narrative Verse' - I dreaded Chaucer.

I've written before, that I thought Mrs Kate Mosey, in teaching maths, taught one to analyse and ask questions. Her husband JHM, on the other hand, TOLD one. Mr Perry, also a maths teacer, taught Roger Orrell and me to question the meaning and origin of statements, when the Debating Society was set up with Roger as President and me his deputy.
(Emboldened characters show amendments.Ed)

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