JT Wakes

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JT Wakes last won the day on February 7

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  1. Dear Hearts, Just a short response today…oh yeah, pull the other one, it’s got bells on... (Hang on, why would the likelihood of someone being somewhat economical with the truth result in the recipient of such a communication feel that not only had one of their lower limbs been subject of a yank – not of course receiving attention from one of our brethren across the broad Atlantic. No, not that sort of Yank, more of a jerk. Although thinking about it, which I try not to do but seldom succeed, in the case of the present incumbent of Maison Blanc you can see why the two might be synonymous one – and the other limb be festooned with bells?) Still following me? Really?!? OK… Historians, Folklore Experts and Linguaphiles will now no doubt refer back to jesters, shaman, one-man-bands and others with an unusual musical bent, and no doubt wax lyrical about legs with bells on and other similarly musical limbs. But with a surname like mine, I can’t afford to pursue the theme of bent, musical or otherwise. So, onward, ever onward… First an apology. Margie, I was mistaken. I had left the trombones last year (I’d been on the slide long before then however. See, musical bent again. For heaven’s sake control yourself. Sorry, bit of a sour note there) – and in April I’m about to leave Sunset Strip. This means saying goodbye to Efrem Zimbalist Jr. who played someone called Stu Bailey I believe (he may have been originally from Dublin I suppose, which would of course have made him an Irish Stew. But I doubt it) as well as Cookie, Suzanne and Jeff, all of whom inhabited number 77. Please blame my abacus (which needs a new battery anyway) for misleading you about my age. Yes, it’s forward to the old LP speed - and from thence, who knows? However, I was distressed to read about the discussion concerning LPs that followed (and their speed which was indeed 78rpm). Fancy melting down that wonderful music, especially James Last of blessed memory. And using them as frisbees !!. Didn’t your Mum tell you that you could have had someone’s eye out with that, especially if you were running with scissors at the time. Most probably trying to get away from a swan that could break your arm with its wing. Which may or may not have had bells on. Somebody should really try to find that swan and tell it to stop it. And it’s no good telling me it was ‘armless. At my end of Bilborough we were very much into recycling at the time. Melting plant pots and flattening them out to make LPs. Where do you think Flower Power music began? Not in Haight Ashbury my dear friend. No, it was from downtown Bilborough! There were lots of cakes left out in the rain in those days, oh yes. If not Smokin’ then we were certainly Smouldering. Of course we were all high in those days, either from sniffing Bassets Sherbet Dabs or climbing ladders. In the dark. Health and Safety gone mad. Nurse, the screens. Quickly! Now, where was I? Oh yes. Loppy Lugs. You’re right It was John Lightbown who was the Area Manager, and he had Raymond Smith as Area Secretary and John Thompson as Area Accountant. When I joined the EMEB it was in Creditors Accounts at Carrington Street and I had to do payroll runs that included Caythorpe and Talbot Street, so I may have paid you at one point. Which reminds me, you didn’t pay up for incorrect use of white and coloured wipers so you owe EMEB £1.17s 7d. However, I’m prepared to let you off if you can reassure me that Smyrna still has the best mint juleps. I loved it when I was there. Whilst in Creditors Accounts under Tom Seaman, (no not really under him, just figuratively. Try and keep up for heaven’s sake) I literally bumped into Mr. Smith (management were like Gods in those days weren’t they? You could scarcely speak to them without an appointment) and I instinctively threw out my arms, which accidentally went around him, to prevent myself from falling. So there we were, clutching each other in mutual astonishment and all I could think to say was “Shall we dance?”. Shortly after that he recommended I work in the showrooms instead of accounts which, I believe, became the making of me (obviously bad workmanship there). And of course the showrooms came under the Area Commercial engineer. Derek Kenworthy, remember him? Oh, and did your Lonnie Donnegan loose his Chewing Gum on the Rock Island Line overnight? Or was his Old Man a Dustman at the Battle of New Orleans? We all know what was on the B side. It’s wings, just like on the other side of the bee. Or was “Wings” Senator Paul McCarthy, late of the Reds under the Beds and other colourful carpeting? Now DJ360….”and whether pigs have wings”. Whilst I can quite understand why you should spurn James Last, possibly because you fear it may be true that the Last shall come First (which in that case might mean that “a load of cobblers” will be at the front of the queue), and that you are rightly remorseful about your disgraceful treatment of the charity to whom you dedicated you mint condition album set, do I detect from your profile information quoting Tweedledum and Tweedledee that your preference is for the Carpenter or perhaps The Carpenters? Certainly not walruses (walrusi?). And wasn’t “Of Cabbages and Kings” the debut album of the Blue Oyster Cult Tribute Band called Bilborough Boys? Clearly I will l need to walk a little faster……. Nonetheless in doing so I step back in awe of your knowledge and experience of audio equipment shown in your later posting, and see that Loppy Lugs, Mees, letsavagoo and others share your commendation of the Dansette. Though he, like me, probably never actually owned one, we clearly both enjoyed those of others. In my case it was on the rug with members of the fairer sex, despite their oft stated penchant for Billy Fury or somebody called Presley. Dear Readers, do I need to explain the reference to “on the rug” (not cutting a rug) further? Surely it must be self-evident that this was the preferred position for listening to a Dansette as it was closer to the speaker and made changing the record easier. At least that was the explanation I gave to the parents of the young ladies with whom I found myself in that position from time to time. Nonetheless we did have a radiogram. And it did have an auto-changer. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the make or model, but it did at least have Kalundborg, Hilversum, Droitwich and – of blessed memory – Luxembourg, on the radio dial. This in turn enabled me to learn how to spell Keynsham with Horace Bachelor’s Infra Draw Method, hear the Mekon really, really upset Dan Dare, and of course hear the latest top twenty from the late 50s onward whilst cleaning my shoes in readiness for school in the morning. However, notwithstanding its many attractions in terms of depth, tone and slow closing lid, it gradually lost its appeal to me with the onset of reel to reel tape recorders and the dominance of Grundig and Telefunken (the LG and Samsung of their day). I made mention in an earlier posting of my time lugging a Grundig TK30 to Wollaton from Bilborough (and it resulting in my just avoiding a hernia, slipped disc and unnaturally long arms) but omitted my Grundig TK1 – a truly portable reel-to-reel tape recorder which enabled me to play Wonderful Land by the Shadds on deck during a particularly rough crossing of the North Sea on the way back from Sweden. Remind me to mention sometime my vox-pop recording of steam trains on Midland Station and my precocious interview with an engine driver about the change to diesel. Clearly though I was Lo-Fi compared to other contributors. Mind you, I did have a green light tube on the tape recorders which flickered back and forth and told me that whoever I was recording was screaming too loud. Could this perhaps qualify me as Mid-Fi? No? OK, I’ll remain Lo-Fi and shut up. But oh, the never-ending pursuit of pure sound and the inevitable disappointment that failing hearing brings with age….What’s that? Alright, no need to shout, I will put some clothes on. Enough of this Percy Flage! What about the crazes? Last time I asked if anyone remembered the crazes that seemed to suddenly turn up out of nowhere during our Golden Lives In Bilborough (GLIB for short). And not one of you responded to this. Am I wasting this deathless prose? These golden epithets? This epigrammatic cornucopia? Or did no one else in Bilborough ever hula hoop, hopscotch, make catapults, drag half a tree and rubbish through the streets for the bonfire, swap comics or indulge in any other craze? Or was I all alone, palely loitering, waiting for Whirligig with Mr. Turnip and Humphrey Lestoq or The Rangebusters with Crash Corrigan, to start on the television? My parents couldn’t afford a television set for years until we rented a 21inch from Wigfalls, and so like Blanche Dubois, I relied upon the kindness of strangers (well not actually strangers, although many had parents that were. Strange I mean. No, they were just good friends actually) to see the “telly”. So, crazes. Answers on a twenty-pound note please. And remember, they won’t let me have anything sharp in here. Toodle pip! Trevor
  2. Dear Hearts, How very kind some of you are. At least three kind postings have flooded in and I’m overwhelmed (do we know of anyone, anywhere that has ever been underwhelmed – and what is a whelm anyway?) with the encouragement and warmth of your responses. Perhaps it would help if I nailed my colours more firmly to the mast. Although I should add that I don’t always remember to separate my colours from my delicates (steady!) and whites. Of course this in turn produces some rather patchy dyeing on various garments, but with the added benefit of what would appear, at least to the public eye, to be an ever-changing wardrobe of colourful clothing. So much so that I have recently been offered a flute-and-away-day-package to Hamelin to assist with some sort of problem there. How they came to hear about me, I’ll never know. Unless of course someone ratted on me. But to return to matters of colours and masts. Incidentally, why are the colours always nailed? Surely these days super-glue would be more appropriate and less harmful to the fabric. Or perhaps Velcro?....Anyway, to answer a question flatteringly put, no I’m not an author or writer, and yes, I’ve had a variety of interesting careers. As must be self-evident from earlier postings that included my later schooling at Forest Fields Grammar School on Stanley Road, (and from where we lads, who were also wee lads, could still catch an occasional glimpse of netball practice at the Manning School), I am rather too close for comfort to being an octogenarian. For the avoidance of doubt, this does not mean I exist solely on a diet of octopus (octopuses?, octopi?), rather it means that this April I shall be saying goodbye to rather a large number of trombones and saying a spirited hello to the speed of an old fashioned LP. Oh, come on, surely you can work that out! And in regard to my background – apart from being brought up in Bubbling and Bountiful Bilborough, of which more anon, my earlier posts (where I’m affixing my colours as opposed to nailing them to a mast) have alluded to my time in the Civil Service - where I achieved the rare distinction of being asked politely but firmly to resign as they had never, ever, fired anyone before - followed by brief unemployment (and thereby hangs a tale with which I may regale you at a later date. But only if you’re very, very good), then the EMEB, where I worked in Carrington Street, West Bridgford and Hucknall, and where I met my first wife and mother of my two sons, of whom I’m inordinately and quite justifiably proud. Again, as previously posted, I moved to the South Wales Electricity Board covering N.E. Glam. (remember, we established before that this did not refer to the exciting lifestyle of Newcastle or Gateshead), thence to their HQ at St. Mellons outside Cardiff. During that time I met my present lovely wife of nearly 40 years at Bangor University, and together we moved to Brighton when I was appointed the town’s Tourism and Development Manager. Dear Reader, to avoid terminal boredom at this stage please feel free to go and make a cup of restorative tea or coffee - or indeed pour a large glass of something short - during which I will drone on to your empty chair….. In Brighton my responsibilities included, amongst other things, the world’s oldest electric railway, the campsite, the deckchair service, the London to Brighton rally, the beach patrol, an ancient and a much-revered lift and several other challenging events and activities. My principle responsibility however was the marketing and publicizing of Brighton as a tourist destination to both home and international markets, including touring the USA and presenting to American travel operators in various states. I’m told that after hearing me, many of them were. In various states that is. Both mental and physical. Leaving Brighton, we moved to here in Torquay where I opened my own business, Devon Home Care Ltd., for which I’m still the MD. For more about our company, and to while away a rainy afternoon if the TV offers nothing better, you can visit our website www.devonhomecare.com. So, here endeth my CV. There have of course been several interesting diversions along that career path, including marketing for three charities and WW1 battlefield tours, representing and chairing organisations, and from time to time being interviewed on television and radio. Apparently without, I’m given to understand, frightening the horses. And on a purely personal note, I should perhaps add that we have nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren – so far. All of whom of course are fabulous. Ah, you’re back. Feeling better? Good. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll continue….. So, with colours well and truly affixed and ensuring, hopefully, that you are all now fully whelmed, I’m going to conclude this Epistle to the Bilboroughans by asking “Who started it?” Cast your mind back dear reader to those golden schooldays around Bilborough and remember the crazes. You know the kind of thing I mean. Suddenly everyone was playing the latest craze, albeit conkers or making bamboo spears with cigarette-packet-flights, (these bamboo sticks were usually liberated from their use for training peas on the allotments. It was a kindness really, I mean just how much training does a pea need before it can stand up for itself?) or whips and tops…..No, no not that sort of activity with a whip. Or indeed a top. Steady now, remember the blood pressure…alright, feeling better? Good. No, I mean the short stick with string attached that made the whip, and the wooden spinning tops that you had to whip to make them spin. Surely you remember? Didn’t you draw patterns with coloured chalk on the top of the top. Oh, alright, for the pedants, on the upper flat surface of the top. And of course you ended up with the chalk all over the knee with which you had had to hold the top upright, before sharply pulling away the string, previously wound as tightly as possible around the top……..Hang on. Now I’m getting confused (not an unusual phenomena) are we confusing this whipping and topping with Dream Topping. No, no, no, that’s just you getting your just desserts. Anyway, from memory there were two types of tops which we called either turnip tops or window breakers, the latter nomenclature quite obviously deriving from the result of an over-vigorous whipping (Steady, steady… ) and the former because of their distinctive shape. That particular activity seemed to arrive around Lent of Whitsun, but who started it? And what has happened to Dream Topping. Or Mansion Polish. Or blue bags of sugar… Sorry, I drifted off there for moment…. Then there was the sudden craze for putting fag (sorry, cigarette) packets on your bike wheels to make a clattering noise as you pedaled along. Or a sudden resurgence of marbles. Or making matchbox guns by fixing a lolly stick to the end of the matchbox with strong elastic bands, inserting a matchstick between the end of the matchbox and the lolly stick, then pulling the bottom half of the lolly stick to fire the matchstick…….But why am I telling you all this? Surely you too must have used your own Archie Andrews lolly sticks in a similar way? Or joined the sudden urge to be the same as everyone else who had the I-Spy books, or to go back to trainspotting looking for a “namer”. For the latter there was of course both the Midland and the Victoria stations in those days where you could get as soot and grime encrusted as you wanted whilst you coughed, sodden, through the smoke and steam at the end of a windswept, bleak and empty platform clutching your Ian Allen spotters book. Such fun. So come on, join Uncle Trevor in this jog or stumble down memory lane and tell me about the crazes that suddenly appeared in your part of Bilborough. And if possible, “who started it?”. But no clackers please. Too many bruised feelings and other parts of the anatomy to be reminded of them. Oh, and if you have been, thank you for reading. Toodle pip! Trevor
  3. Dear Fiends - sorry, Friends Well another bright, shiny day in paradise! And Happy Valentines Day! Thank you for all the cards, many of which would make a Bishop blush. Do Bishops blush? Or do they merely glow with a kind of celestial radiance? We need to know these things. Here I am again, looking out over the rain sodden, gale blown vista of Lyme Bay (actually I can’t see it unless I stand up – not something to be attempted lightly at my age – but I know it’s there. Unless the latest amber-warning gusts have swept it away) and tapping away on my laptop. Yes, it’s a laptop day today. My main computer is “working on updates” and is at 30% and so it’s time to blow the dust off the laptop, turn the clockwork key to fire it up, listen to the grinding of cogs and the hiss of steam and see the latest headlines on the screen. What’s this….? Thank heavens, Mafeking has been relieved! I do love to get the latest news on these bright new technological breakthroughs. No doubt Kitchener will bring the lads home soon. Where’s my Union Flag (notice, not Union Jack, for the purists) to wave from the window? “Nurse, he’s out of bed again” Who said that? Is there no peace in this mausoleum? But yes, I hear you say, but what about memories of being brought up in Bilborough? Alright, I’m getting there. New readers begin here. Previously our hero had wandered into Browns Woodyard on his way to Wollaton Hall and was startled to see our heroine (played with such pathos but feisty resolution by Miss Ann Droid) strapped helpless to a saw bench whilst a huge circular saw edged closer and closer to her struggling form. Feeling an instant flood of recognition because he had once been in a struggling form, specifically Lower 4b at Glaisdale Secondary Modern before being called to higher things at FFGS, he sprang into action and immediately phoned the Health and Safety Inspectorate to report a serious breach of operational regulations. They in turn promised to look into it within the next 14 working days. Pausing only to reassure our heroine that such a serious safety breach had not gone unreported, our hero continued cheerfully on his way to Wollaton Park. Now read on………… You see, you said I could stray into other areas. It’s your fault. No doubt you were thinking of that old hymn “Perverse and foolish oft I strayed and yet…” , but as our hero is on his way to Wollaton, in this case he was carrying a Grundig TK30 tape recorder, we must perforce enquire why. Well, apart from remembering that the Nottingham City Police had their stables there and the gorilla mentioned in earlier epistles stood by the main entrance, he may in this instance be carrying his Grundig TK30 to the home of his then girl-friend, later fiancé and even later, first wife. Why? I hear you cry, (you did cry, didn’t you? I’m sure I heard something. Sort of a strangled gurgle? Oh, well, never mind) is he carrying that huge and very heavy appliance up Beechdale Road, up Hollington Road, through Browns Woodyard, all the way to Wollaton? And then presumably {yes, you’re correct to presume it) all the way back. Because dear reader, in those days, if we were fortunate enough to own such an appliance, paid for on HP over several years - am I still paying for that I wonder? - we placed the microphone in front of the wireless (for younger readers, and surely they have better things to do than read this tosh), a “wireless” was what we called a radio. Yes, yes I know they still had wires and that the transistor was just a twinkle in some Japanese gentleman’s eye, but that’s what we called them. They carried seminal works across the airwaves to us, such as Dick Barton, Special Agent – did anyone ever explain why he was a “special” agent as opposed to a secret agent or an estate agent? I mean Jock and Snowy were always getting him free from some smoke-filled room, and they were much more special. Cheerful, resolute, never wavering in their….oh, never mind. They or course were replaced by the Archers, an everyday story of country folk. I ask you! I knew that would never catch on as I said at the time. And where are they now? Don’t answer that. Then there was Educating Archie, Mrs. Dales Diary, Workers Playtime, Music while you work, and of course Top of the Pops. With the microphone in front of the wireless – oh, alright, radio – we recorded the latest pop records, making sure everyone in the room was quiet, stopping and starting the tape when Alan Freeman or Tony Blackburn made a comment, then further editing by splicing the tape – yes, with a razor blade. Health and Safety gone mad. They didn’t call me three-fingered Jack for nothing. Actually, they charged quite bit for calling me that because my name wasn’t Jack and I still had all my fingers. But we did have a three hour tape spool of non-stop rubbish – sorry - the greatest era of popular music ever. Agree? I should add that the continued editing was unfortunately necessary because Porty, our parakeet, often chimed in with a few well chosen squawks as Helen, Marion, Cilla, Frankie, Johnny or Marty warbled on. So, then to carry this dead weight – sorry – cornucopia of music to the girl-friend’s house in Wollaton with the aim of sitting around listening to it all with her in blissful enjoyment. Only to find that they only had a 5 amp three-pin socket available and the TK30 tape recorder was fitted with a 15 amp plug. And me without my Boy Scouts jack knife with a spike for getting stones out of horses hooves. Ah well, such is the nostalgia of another Bilborough day and a misspent youth. Perhaps I’ll remember more next time. Now, whatever happened to those Archers? Toodle pip! Trevor
  4. Dear Friends (if I may be so bold as to address you thus on such a short acquaintanceship) I feel I owe you an apology. Whilst I began by correctly addressing the rare privilege and unalloyed pleasure of being brought up in Bilborough, I fear I strayed unthinkingly into the unchartered territory of EMEB showroom colleagues, N.E. Glam and FFGS (Forest Fields Grammar School to the uninitiated – and who wouldn’t want to be? – uninitiated I mean). Nevertheless, it would be helpful to know what are my Bilborough boundaries. Am I for instance allowed to stumble inadvertently into Aspley? Or Wollaton? Or Bramcote (not much fear of that however as I have only the haziest recollection of Bramcote and the possibility that Roger Moore lived there at one time. Probably during his posing for knitting pattern days as opposed to being a Saint). I mentioned Aspley because I started my working life in the Government Offices there, although the Google map now shows the site to be a war museum (strangely appropriate considering the internecine conflict between departments, especially over appointments for the on-site barber), and because my parents moved from Beechdale Road to Robins Wood Road. Gosh we moved in elevated circles in those days. We sometimes didn’t have bread and butter with our tinned peaches and stopped having bread and dripping on Mondays. I must stress however I never moved to Robins Wood Road. No, I flew the nest with the intention of feathering my own with my then-bride to Hucknall – but there I go again, straying out of Bilborough. Referring back once again to the Google map, I see that what was once the library at the end of Beechdale Road and almost on Western Boulevard, is now a temple. Of course for us, the library was also a temple. A temple of learning where we regularly proffered our tickets in exchange for a fortnight’s devoted reading of the great classics of literature - Biggles Flies North, Gimlet, Biggles Flies East, Forever Amber (racy), Biggles Flies West and …well a lot of Biggles. Fortunately, the ambulance station was just up the road on the other side and ready to provide us with assistance if the weight of books proved too much for our short trousered legs and jaunty school caps to bear. Is the ambulance station still there? And will I have to pay a huge fine for not returning my Boys Bumper Book of Things to Do on a Rainy Day to the library? I never got past page 107 and the diagram for making an origami kettle. I mean, I could see that was a disaster in the making if you put it on a gas ring. Hang on though….was that in a Rupert Annual instead? Either way, I’m darned sure Biggles would have made short work of it with the help of his pals Ginger and Algy. I tell you what though, we did do a lot of making dens in the so-called waste ground opposite us. Dens had to be below ground, waterproof and capable of containing a small fire guaranteed to smoke you out when someone put pieces of lino on the flames. Dens often collapsed of course or were the subject of raids by “The Wooders” a rival gang from over the railway bridge in Radford Bridge Road. What’s that? The bell-like tones of my beloved floats down to me in my little study (we live in a three-storey house), enquiring what do I think I’m playing at, spending all day tapping away. We’ve had a new boiler installed over the last two days and we’re only just beginning to get heat back on, and I know she feels the cold more than me. “What’s that Dear Heart, Moon of my Night and Sun of my Day?” “Yes of course I’ll come and turn the thermostat up”. No chance. It’s keyed to my mobile phone and the plumber showed me just how easy it was to operate and change the settings. Did I take it all in? Did I h…! Just like stopping to ask for directions from a stranger. In one ear and out…….who knows where. No idea what to do. Can’t play it by ear though because that was the ear into which he poured the wisdom of a lifetime in boiler installation and operation. Better go and put a few bits of lino on the fire. “Coming dearest”. Say good night to the Bilborough Babes and Boys and ask them to forgive you. OK. Toodle pip! Trevor
  5. Hi Margie, Thank you for your kind comments. Where our ages are concerned, and judging from your photo, that makes me 27! I must confess I'm very new to this "posting" but it's driven by a sudden and unusual urge to reminisce about Nottingham. I can't explain or rationalise it, although it I'm sure it has something to do with age creeping stealthily up upon me. No, no, its not creeping stealthily it's bounding toward me with quite unwelcome alacrity, but I'm just about keeping ahead of it. But only just. I have tried one other site - for Forest Fields Grammar School - under a rather lame pseudonym which has prompted a little response, and I would also like to reach anyone who worked in the EMEB (East Midlands Electricity Board) showrooms in Carrington Street under Fred Gardner, West Bridgford under George Crow, or in Hucknall (under me, poor devils) in the early sixties. I moved on from there to the SWaEB (South Wales Electricity Board) and so if anyone who worked in their showrooms (later renamed shops) in N.E. Glam in the mid-70s would like to get in touch, I'd be delighted to hear from them too. I realise at this point that N.E. Glam might need some explanation. It does NOT refer to the glamour and excitement of Tees-side, vibrant and enduring though I'm sure it is. No, it refers to North East Glamorgan District which encompassed The Rhondda, Rhymney and Cynon Valleys, Pontypridd , Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly and Aberdare. All of whom had their own allure, glamour, and somewhat idiosyncratic and strangely delayed welcome to an interloping Englishman stepping in to the shoes of a retiring Welshman. I should add that I'm no longer part of the electricity industry - which may of course explain why you haven't had a power cut for years - and that despite the aforesaid references to age, I'm still working, although almost entirely from home now. I do go to see my office staff sometimes and strangely they seem to remember me, despite my leaving a note saying "If the boss calls, get his name" . Fortunately I can Skype them and I'm sure they dread the jaunty little tune that announces I'm calling them, but they do put on a lovely smile - or is it a grimace through gritted teeth - when my grizzled visage looms out at them? But enough of this persiflage (whatever happened to Percy Flage?). My Good Lady calls sweetly from the kitchen to advise me - rather stridently I thought - that dinner is ready and so I had better go and light the candelabra, check the chaffing dishes and tuck in to yet another culinary masterpiece. Fish and Chips anyone? Toodle pip! Trevor
  6. FFGS! Ollie Barnet, Mrs. Fosterjohn, "Doris" Day, yes, yes. And all wore gowns! But what about Dr. Roberts? My time was 1955 to 1959 and well remember the roar of helpless laughter when, at the end of term when we were all a little boisterous and each had been given testimonials to present to prospective employers, in a vain effort to get quiet in assembly, Dr. Roberts thundered "Boys found causing trouble in assembly will have their testimonials removed!" A moment's stunned silence followed and then total mayhem as everyone, staff included, burst into helpless laughter. And Ollie Barnet JP? Because I tripped up the stairs on to the Albert Hall stage on speech day and fell over as he tried to hand me my prize (heaven only knows what it was and what it was for), to bursts of laughter from and the assembled pupils in the seats below, Ollie glared at me for spoiling a solemn school ceremony and snarled "Always the clown, I should have known". Ah, school days... the happiest days of our lives ??? If so, many must have had some pretty dismal lives since then. Fortunately I soon learned to come nearly last in cross country running to avoid being picked to run for the school, and also how to avoid the muddiest bits of the Melbourne Road rugby pitch on a Wednesday afternoon. But can anyone remember what were our house names at FFGS if you were there between 55 and 59? And did we have a school motto? I do remember however that there always seemed to be an Ollie-phant in the room. (Sorry...no I'm not.) Nonetheless, I wait in fevered anticipation to hear from anyone who remembers anything of those halcyon days. The Prunestone Kid