jimbo

Forest Fields

Recommended Posts

In the sixties I used to frequent the chippy on the corner of Ewart/Berridge Road.

I think the owner was called Carson or something like that.

He and his lady wife were members of the Salvation Army. The other lady assistant was quite large and reminded me of Betty Driver.

The shop features in the film "The Ragmans Daughter" made in the early 70's.

I've tried hard to get a copy of this film which has some excellent footage of Forest Fields.

There was a clip of the chip shop scene on YouTube a few weeks back but I can't find it now.

The other chip shop I remember was on the corner of Stanley/Berridge but it stopped offering Fish & Chips in the early sixties.

I think they then started to sell fruit and veg. The owners were called. Harpers.

There's no doubt you do mellow with age.

I was non too keen on my time at Forest Fields Grammar.

The caning, detentions, discipline, cross country and bloody rugby used to really get me down but I now get very misty eyed when I visit the area and see the old school building.

As a lab technician in the summer of 1967 I spent time in the laboratories of both FFGS and Manning.

Living on Russell Road it was a quick walk to work that summer.

When the schools went back in September I had to return to Roland Green in Wilford. Used to catch the number 40 at the top of Exchange Walk then get off at the end of Wilford Road and walk over the toll bridge.

I think pedestrians were supposed to pay 1d to cross but I never did.

In Spring 1968 I joined Boots in their Beeston labs and never looked back

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lab technicians in the Manning School laboratories...I remember two of them: one male and one female. They scuttled in and out of the back room with jars and pickled specimens of various kinds. Those labs were untouched since the school was built in 1930 and when I think of the facilities other more modern schools had, we must have been very deprived.

Anyway, I didn't like the labs- especially the biology lab because at certain times of the year there were cages of locusts in there. One year they all escaped!!! Horror. I don't like locusts (especially when they've been round Tesco's in the week before Christmas!) but I draw the line at dissecting the poor things (I am a vegetarian and very very opposed to experimentation on animals...although I am pro-experimentation on maths teachers, especially those who used to drive green Austin 1100s).

I note that the bridge outside what was the Manning School has also gone. I remember it being built.

What really did please me was seeing that the netball courts and hockey field have been built on. That was my wildest dream back in the 70s. No more running round that freezing field in the fog being 'got at' by the hockey mistress (who didn't like me but at least never tried to run me over). Any girl who did not remove her muddy boots before entering the changing room was made to go round and pick up all the clods of earth that had fallen off them which, invariably, made her late for the next lesson...you guessed it- MATHS!

Our maths teacher hailed from the Emerald Isle and sometimes spoke rather strangely. She went on inordinately about someone called "Al Gebra", whom I imagined to be some sort of Edward G Robinson-type gangster : black overcoat, black Homburg, spats and a violin case under his arm. Then she'd get started on what she called the "Pytagoras Tearoom", at the same time drawing little triangular shaped objects on the board. These resembled nothing so much as the cucumber sandwiches so beloved by my mother (with the crusts cut off!). Not understanding what the blazes she was wittering on about, my fertile imagination constructed some dodgy Italian cafe, run by Al Gebra and his Mafiaesque cronies..."You messa wi da sandwiches, we blowa your 'ead off!".

Lost in thought with a dreamy smile on my face, a piece of chalk would come whistling past my left ear (yet again), with a shrill demand that I tell the class the value of pi. "What sort of pie?" was my usual response, thinking that lemon merangue was probably my favourite but I've always had a weakness for blackcurrants.

Desk lids shot up in a frantic pretend search for pencils etc., while my classmates laughed themselves to the point of needing the loo.

"Are you trying to be funny?" came the frustrated response.

In a maths lesson? P L E A S E!

Happy days. I can do maths now. Once I'd got away from the Manning I found it was not that difficult but I still think of Al Gebra when I eat a cucumber sandwich. Bellissima!

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were not permitted outside the school gates at lunchtime until we reached the fourth year at the Manning but once that day arrived, we'd be off across the footbridge over Gregory Boulevard and cutting along to the Forest Recreation ground or even The Arboretum. Sometimes, we'd sit in the Bell Gardens and eat our sandwiches...a highly risky strategy as eating in school uniform off the premises was regarded as a cardinal sin, probably punishable by death...but we were never caught.

When I was a child, I often visited the Arborteum with my parents. In those days, there were animals in cages...I seem to remember parrots etc. I felt very sorry for them as I've always hated to see living creatures caged: there is an exception when it comes to maths teachers, of course...

Sadly, during the period 1973-5, the Forest and Waverley Street areas were becoming a bit notorious for other types of girls wandering around (and possibly wearing school uniforms) but innocents that we were, that passed us by.

There was a bit of a problem with what was known as the 'dirty mac' brigade who sometimes gathered outside the school railings when girls were on the games field. This usually occurred in summer when we were out there doing "athletics" (or "lethargics" in my case...I've always been sport-averse). Making us dress in regulation grey flannel knickers and white Aertex shirts when some of the older girls were clearly fully developed women always seemed crazy to me. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the area, it attracted some very dubious types on the other side of those railings. I will never forget the day one of our games mistresses (nameless, but looked as though she'd been weaned on a pickle) trotted up to a raincoat on the other side of the fence and, track-suited, be-whistled and in her most supercilious manner, ordered him to move on. It turned out that he was the father of one of the girls on the field (she was a bit of a Fatima Whitbread when it came to throwing sharp implements about- won a lot of awards) and he was simply admiring his daughter's prowess because he happened to be passing. He gave old 'pickle-face' a piece of his mind and we all (with the exception of the Pickle) had a good laugh.

'Pickle-face' didn't like me (did any of them?) and contrived to make my life a living misery out on that field, be it hockey, athletics or whatever season it was. I treasure the memory of the day she ran across the javelin pitch without looking, just as the spear was leaving my hand. All those lectures she dished out about "always make sure you look before you cross an area where javelins or discus (disci? discusses? what is the plural of discus? Careful, I might start declining in a minute: Discus, discus, discum, discorum...but then I've been in decline for years!) are being used..." Totally disregarded her own advice and there was me with the potential instrument of her doom in my paw. AND I MISSED!!!

"Aw, shame. You'll never get another chance like that," came the genuinely sympathetic assurances of my peers. Actually, I did. I managed to crack her on the ankle with my hockey stick when she tackled me whilst issuing accusations of complete sporting apathy on my part one frosty day on the hockey field. "You're just not a team player, are you Sparrow!" she spat. Cheek!

I seem to remember that we all collapsed in complete amazement the day Pickle-face announced she was getting married and, thus, would not be darkening our changing rooms again. Which just goes to show, there's hope for anybody provided they can get on with the guide dog!

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once a week, in all weathers, we'd trail in crocodile out of the back entrance of the Manning School, up Stanley Road and left onto Berridge Road Central, en route to Noel Street Swimming Baths. Whoever wasn't occupied in launching chalk missiles (otherwise known as teaching, though I'm not sure I'd dignify it with that term) would trickle along to keep Pickle-face company, at the same time ensuring that us girls didn't talk- especially to anything male.

The experts tell us that the olfactory sense is the most primitive we possess, dating back to the days when our cave-dwelling ancestors relied on smell to warn them of approaching danger. That's a long time ago (even before Pytagoras opened his famous Tearoom) but certain odours remain with you and mentally, now, as my olfactory bulb and amygdala go walking through the pink-gloss-painted doors of Noel Street Swimming Baths, I am assailed by the instantly recognisable admixture of vending-machine-hot-chocolate, mints and wet wool with just a soupcon of chlorine, drifting in warm waves through the lobby.

Personally, the whole rigmarole of traipsing through bitterly cold streets to be bellowed at/ half drowned/herded like cattle, got right up my pubescent proboscis but when you are 11 years old, you have to do as you are told.

There were only two acceptable excuses for not going into the pool: verrucae (which, try as I might, I just could not catch) and "time of the month" as we delicately called it. Girls claiming the latter joined the queue in front of Pickle-face's colleague. Now this lady wasn't such a bad lot: the milk of human kindness had not yet totally dried up there.

When I look at people, I often see animals (mice, birds, snakes...) I can't help it. Just as when I look at words and letters, I see colours. Called 'synasthaesia', it's related to the wiring of the brain. I've had it all my life but it's not contagious so you needn't worry.

Pickle-face's colleague reminded me of a faithful old dog with floppy ears, so we shall refer to her as "Mutt".

On her clipboard, Mutt would tick the names of all girls claiming monthly exemption and they'd troop up to the visitors' gallery from where there was a cracking view of Mutt's bald patch to be had. She had a few bare patches in her memory too: if you were lucky, she wouldn't twig that you hadn't been in the pool for the previous 6 weeks! Poor old Mutt: something so very sad-spaniel-like about her eyes.

Sadly, synasthaesia was not an acceptable excuse for not going in the pool. "I've got synasthaesia, Miss" "Oh, my poor child. How dreadful. Of course you must never go near a swimming pool ever again. For the remainder of your time at the Manning you must spend swimming sessions undisturbed in the centrally heated library with a large cream cake and a pile of books..." Listen! Being a fantasist was the only reason I survived the Manning experience.

If I did go in, I got a private lesson with dear old Mutt. Me, hyperventilating, in the 3' 6" end, grimly clutching a green plastic float: Mutt standing on the side, woofing encouragingly. Everyone else was up in the 6' depths being hollered at by Pickle-face, whose voice, echoing around the dirty sky-lit rafters, encapsulated all the sensuousness of fingernails rasping across a blackboard.

Then it was back to school: wet hair stinking of chlorine, wind biting your nose. Thank heavens for English in the North-East Nissen hut (warmest place on the site) its pot-bellied coke stove glowing fit to roast and showering us indiscriminately with red hot sparks that seared holes in our uniforms. Where was the Safety Elf then, eh?

Dear old Noel Street Baths? Does it still exist? I suspect that I may have been the only girl at Manning never to be awarded any kind of certificate for swimming and possibly the only girl consistently to merit bottom place for maths each year.

But you can never be sure, can you? There's always some swine out to steal one's thunder. Suffice it to say that being regarded as the last word in sloth isn't easy and you won't achieve it by being apathetic!

  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jill, I noticed your name on the list of new stuff, and thought "Ah, another snippet of scintillating schoolday cynicism - get yourself a mug of hot tea and enjoy!" - and I wasn't disappointed. Keep writing - and then think about putting it all in a book and publishing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I walked the dejected mile and a smidgeon along Gregory Boulevard to school each morning, I'd run the gauntlet of those lucky blighters who didn't get through the 11-Plus, en route for the bus to Peveril Secondary Modern with their cookery baskets, gingham teatowels and Tupperware boxes full of ingredients (well, the girls, at least).

We didn't do much cooking at the Manning Girls' Grammar, which may explain why it takes all my ingenuity to boil an egg.

There was a domestic science room, I recall, and a needlework room on the first floor over the main entrance. Sewing wasn't deemed very important either but there was a requirement to make two items during the first two terms: a cookery apron and a tennis skirt.

The fabric for my cookery apron was yellow (my house colour) cotton pique and the pattern was simple enough, I suppose, but...cripes... it didn't go too well. Took ages. The tennis skirt had french seams (!) beyond me.

Unsurprisingly, the cookery/needlework mistress and I didn't hit it off. Strange woman; spoke about everyone as though she and they were conjoined: "Not very good at this, are we?" "We've made a real mess of that!"

Oh, verily...another of life's shining wits.

Of course, there always has to be some paragon who can do it all perfectly and the class 'Christine Dior' had already (with one hand tied behind her back) fashioned a cookery apron, a tennis skirt and a set of loose covers for her granny's three piece suite, before embarking on a dress while I was still trying to insert the shuttle into my old Singer hand model. Well, they weren't going to let me loose with anything electrically powered- not even a treadle.

Ms Supercilious Sewing mistress cooed lovingly over Christine Dior and her five yards of Rexovar purchased at Farmer's on Exchange Walk.

"We're very stylish!"

There was no denying that. Not one of your beginnier's Simplicity Junior Miss jobs with a back, a front and a rudimentary collar. No fear. This was your Vogue ' Studio Design' Evening Elegance cocktail dress with guaranteed no less than a squillion tissuey pieces which, after cutting out, Christine had coerced back into the packet which looked as though it had never been opened. Advanced? Even the facings had facings.

Makes you sick!

"Have we still not finished our apron?" (directed at me). "We're not going to get very far with rusty pins, are we? Don't put them in your mouth, otherwise we're going to fall out..." You bet your sweet life we are!

But, sure as God made little green apples, pride goeth before a fall and came the day when Christine finished her gown, it was held up as an example to us lesser drudges. Duly praised to the rafters and glowing with unbearable smugness, Christine sallied off into the corner to press her precious creation. Unfortunately, she'd used nylon thread and, on being lifted from the table after the intimate attentions of a very hot iron, the entire garment disintegrated, leaving a bemused Christine holding a couple of shoulder pads, whilst surveying a heap of Rexovar on the floor.

Laugh? I almost choked. Who says there's no justice?

"We're not going to be wearing that anytime soon, are we?" I just about managed to guffaw: (not easy with a mouth full of rusty pins).

In the end, my older sister made the cookery apron. The tennis skirt was run up by a local dressmaker; only took her a couple a hours. The french seams were completely flat- not like the stuffed-crust-pizza of my efforts. I was awestruck...still am!

As for the cookery element: let's set the record straight once and for all. It was not me who set the domestic science room on fire!

My best friend, Helena, threw a slice of blazing toast (don't even ask!) into a plastic pedal bin full of paper and, Whoooomph....!

Just because I was fanning the flames with a spatula doesn't mean I started it.

For a few intoxicating seconds, it seemed my trip along Gregory Boulevard of a morning would no longer be necessary...and then some spoilsport doused the inferno.

Taught me a valuable lesson in life: no matter how rosy the situation might appear, some enterprising swine can always be relied upon to ruin it!

  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephen Ford...you might have a point there. Since I started writing about my days at the Manning Girls' Penitentiary...I mean Grammar School... I've been seeing a lot less of my shrink. Nottstalgia offers better therapy and it's certainly cheaper. Let's see, 38 years at two sessions a week...adds up, doesn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jill, keep putting your school memories down on this site, just love reading them, so funny!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jill our netball pitch at carlton girls school was strait opposit the fire station and as soon as the girls came out to play netball outin front of the fire station came the fire men not the dirty mac brigade but some of the sure came close we had to go to victoria baths for our swimming lessons so we had to have a bus to take us there and back the one good thing about this was it took the whole of the morning or afternoon session so no maths or english lessons for that session like nole st baths simmilar smells when you got there. and if you were lucky and got the afternoon session the bus driver would stop on top carlton hill and near carlton square to let of the girls who lived that way so ment we got home a bit earlier that day.ourpe kit was very simmilar to yours but navy blue nickers but our changing rooms were the pits under the school cookery rooms next to boiler rooms. so always dark and dirty not good for the white blouses might have been clean when you got in there but never were when you came out. our pe teacher too was a bit of a tyrant and i hated team sports too. one day one of the late members of nottstalgia who sadly died last year kat and her cousin linda locked her in the changeing room one lunch time was not found untill afternoon session they never did find out who did it but we all knew. so funny pity it was not friday afternoon i wonder how long she wouldhave been in there then.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jill, your posts about Manning are wonderful and I've really enjoyed reading them. Keep them coming please.

The grey flannels that Manning girls wore were quite unflattering and I rather think the head there told the girls to steer clear of us FFGS boys because dating a Manning girl was a real challenge!

I did manage to strike up a relationship with one Manning girl in the summer holidays of 1963.

She lived on Gibson Road and I think I met her at Noel St baths. She was very sweet and I looked after her tortoise when she went away on holiday but when we returned to school in September the romance died.

FFGS used to use Noel St for swimming too and the strong smell of chlorine is forever etched in my memory.

Lovely photo of Noel St here:

http://www.picturethepast.org.uk/frontend.php?action=printdetails&keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;NTGM003897&prevUrl=

It has now closed despite a long campaign to keep it going. http://www.partnershipcouncil.co.uk/images/uploads/noelstpr.pdf

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the weeks prior to the term of September 1969, I was dragged several times through the portals of Dixon and Parker (Friar Lane) to be kitted out with a Manning School Uniform. Old girls (Mum's friends) told me I ought to be grateful for the changes made since their day when it was grey blouse, grey gymslip, grey sash, grey coat, grey felt hat, etc., etc. Manning girls were known as 'carthorses' back then. By 1969, there was at least a tad of red and white to relieve the grisly greyness..

However, the one thing on which there was no compromise was that item despised by all - the regulation grey flannel knickers; three pairs: one on, one spare and one in the wash.

Compulsory for gym, athletics on the field, under a grey games' skirt for hockey and netball, we were supposed to wear them at all times under the grey pleated uniform skirt. This latter item was meant to touch the floor when kneeling and if it didn't, you were in trouble, brazen hussy and destined to become a member of the world's oldest profession that you obviously were!

Since the 'management' didn't trust us to comply with the rules, there were frequent random spot-inspections carried out by a lady who elevated the art of living on one's nerves to previously unscaled heights.

Middle-aged, tweed-suited and brogued, this particular Robespierre was Head of the French Department and with seemingly never a bon mot for anyone (well, not within my earshot anyway), conducted her own Reign of Terror around the draughty quads of Manning.

Heaven help anyone whose backside was slow off the chair when she entered a room. Robespierre remains the only person I have ever met with permanently pursed lips...ye gods her jaw must have ached like mad. To this day, every time I catch sight of my beloved tabby cat's rear end with her tail raised, I see Robespierre's face.

Didn't matter which subject you were engaged in or who was boring...er, teaching the class: the door would fly open and, with all the histrionics of Lady Macbeth gearing up for Act V Scene I, Robespierre would stride into the room with a peremptory cry of "Knickers, girls!"

How we longed to yell in response: "Knickers to you, too!"...but we daren't. Even the elder stateswomen of the teaching staff jumped off their chairs (not easy for an octogenarian) when Robespierre paid a visit. Truly, it could be said of her that : "There, but for the grace of God, goes God." (Yes yes, I know it was originally directed at Stafford Cripps but I was absent with a bad cold the day he did knicker inspection).

Having burst rudely in upon whatever we were studying, Robespierre made a circuit of the room, each girl (nerves still jangling) obligingly holding up her skirt to facilitate viewing. Do you realise that, today, this would be viewed as child abuse?

Any pupil wearing non-regulation knickers was obliged to report before assembly the following morning, correctly dressed, failing which it was a week of standing under the 'Dome' at lunchtime, where the Head, the Deputy Head, Uncle Tom Cobley, the world and his dog would want to know the reason why.

"Knickers," we'd reply (but without a hint of a smirk..oooh, smirking was fatal. Could be viewed as insolence and that was a hanging offence).

The only girl who refused to give in was Christine Dior of disintegrating-dress fame who, throughout her entire Manning career, sported grey nylon pants which were the wrong shade and, obviously, the wrong fabric. As we progressed through the school, Dior turned into a right little rebel: started wearing make-up, nail varnish and modelling her appearance on David Bowie (complete with facial glitter). Poor old Robespierre was speechless, for once, and the feud between the two of them raged for years with no clear victor ever emerging.

In later years, I worked with a former Manning girl who had crawled across the roof space above the needlework room and run a pair of grey flannel regulation knickers up the school flagpole (where they flapped with nonchalance over the main entrance doors) in a bid to get herself expelled. Incredibly, this strategy was not successful and she was reduced to threats to 'top' herself if her parents didn't 'buy her out', which was still possible in those days. By 1969, it was no longer an option- believe me, I'd have robbed a bank if necessary.

The most effective way to secure the Order of the Boot from Manning was to get pregnant and tell 'em you didn't know who the father was. A bit drastic and not easily achieved if you go around wearing grey flannel knickers all the time, but it did occasionally happen.

Which brings us to the one day per year when good old grey flannel regulation knickers were welcome.

Speech Day, in December, was held at Nottingham's Albert Hall. Rehearsal in the morning, performance in the evening. I tell you, the names of most of the speakers at this event are recorded in the annals of those who could bore for England, including the wife of a well-known former Labour politician who arrived gamely sporting the most ridiculous hat I have ever seen on a living person. Either she left the house in a hurry and picked up the fruit bowl by mistake or she'd had a previous incarnation as Carmen Miranda.

Ninety minutes of sitting on horsehair matting, (ouch!), listening to a stream of high-pitched drivel, willing the grapes to fall off her ludicrous headgear and land on the Head Mistress's mortar board was enough to wreak havoc with any girl's backside.

We wore regulation greys on Speech Day, sure enough. ALL THREE PAIRS!

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jill, I just almost choked on my lunch reading your latest offering to Nottstalgia !! Can't wait for the next episode ...... :-D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent Jill Sparrow!!..........................10/10 & a 'Gold Star'!!...........keep 'em coming, we love 'elokwence' on 'ere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So pleased my miserable memories are making someone smile.

Still lots more to dredge up, including Manning Girls at Goose Fair (not officially allowed), the Manning Gestapo (Pickle-Face in uniform); sports day, the Speech and Drama competition to mention but a few. Oh yes, the thorny subject of male teaching staff...few and far between they were. The Manning ethos was always very suspicious of anything found in possession of a Y chromosome (and I have to say, I'd go along with that to a fair degree).

On the positive side, I've given my 'shrink' the bum's rush...he wasn't very comfortable with that after so many years but I gave him three pairs of regulation grey flannel knickers to take the sting out of it.

See you all soon. :sleeping:

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first Thursday in October meant only thing to the Manning girl: the following day was a holiday. Goose Fair, you see. Manning was the only secondary school to enjoy this privilege since it was deemed impossible for us girls to work due to the noise. In reality, we could barely hear it and compared with the racket of of Robespierre, Pickle-Face et al bawling in one's tender lughole, the clamour of the Goose Fair paled into auditory insignificance. On the Friday, we were free to do as we pleased and to visit the Fair (in mufti, of course) if the fancy took us but, on the Thursday, it was strictly forbidden- on pain of unmentionable retributions smelling strongly of sulphur- to pay it any attention whatever.

At 12 midday (or thereabouts) upon the arrival of the Lord Mayor, Goose Fair was declared open amid much clanging of brass bells and 'Oyez-ing' by some chap resembling a Dickensian Beadle.

Manning girls were still in lessons at this time of day and to incline one's face toward the window rather than the occupant of the dais was to risk the chalk, wooden board duster, Schools' Mathematics Project Answerbook (hardback version) or even the full orchestral score of Beethoven's Fifth impacting painfully with the occipital region of one's skull.

Most staff were sufficiently terrifying/buttoned-up/hard-faced to retain our attention had the Archangel Gabriel emerged, tap dancing, from the rhododendrons outside the french doors but, during my fourth year, Fair opening coincided with a Latin lesson presided over by one of Manning's few male teachers. We'll call him 'Ulysses'.

A thoroughly good egg and benign soul was our Latin master: a cerebral type with the Joe-90 spectacles and slept-in-suit that marked him out instantly as a gentle academic who isn't cut out for teaching, which profession will eventually destroy him if he persists at it.

Manning employed few male staff (apart from the gardener/odd job man), so to find one teaching you was a great curiosity but Ulysses's novelty value was soon overridden by the discovery of his Achilles heel (if that isn't mixing your Metamorphoses a tad): he struggled to keep order.

Ulysses might have planned a cosy 50 minutes' translating a page or three of Pseudolus Noster, our Latin primer: (still have my copy, into which some naughty, naughty previous owner has drawn very unflattering characatures of poor Ulysses)...but the girls had other ideas.

Was he going to be a good chap and let us stick our heads through the railings to watch Goose Fair open?

"Er..." shifting uncomfortably in his chair, "...no."

We could discuss it in Latin afterwards?

"Er..." nervously adjusting the Joe-90s, "...I don't think so, really..."

We could write about 'Olim Pseudolus ad Goose Fair ambulat' for homework?

Growing desperate now with the realisation that he was on the backfoot, querulous voice rising slightly..."Now...look here girls..."

TOO LATE! French doors burst open as thirty juvenile Harpies spilled out onto the terrace and scrambled down the grass bank, Pseudolus forgotten, to stick their heads through the railings and gawp at the Fair.

It was cruel really and, no doubt, Ulysses felt the wrath of The All Seeing Eye in the Admin block. I certainly felt guilty about it because I recognised in poor Ulysses a fellow sensitive creature who simply didn't want to be there. His notion of bliss was probably sitting by the fire reading Virgil...

F A B Virgil...Thunderbirds are go!

No, no, no, not that Virgil: although Manning girls were somewhat encouraged to believe that he was typical of most men- hollow plastic head, shifty, staring eyes and incapable of doing much unless some female manipulated his strings.

Us fourth formers had only received the privilege of being allowed off site at lunchtime three weeks earlier, so freedom was still heady stuff. Where did we all go that day? Across Gregory Boulevard to sniff the aromae of candly floss, toffee apples and fried onions.

Our Deputy Head lived in a broom cupboard in the Admin Block. Since her visage was dotted with a generous sprinkling of naevae (that's moles to you), she put me in mind of a currant bun and we'll refer to her as 'Eccles'.

Ably assisted by uber-lieutenant Pickle-Face, Eccles scanned the opposite side of the Boulevard every lunchtime through her binoculars, looking for miscreants, but on this particular Thursday each year the vigil was particularly thorough. Woe betide any girl disgracing the uniform by setting foot on Goose Fair, eating so much as a sweet or fraternising with boys! Eccles would inform The All Seeing Eye and there'd be hell to pay.

Just standing on the opposite pavement looking at the Fair was sin enough but, somehow, our particular gang of four got drawn into walking round the attractions (strictly verboten) and thence onto the Parachute ride.

Crass decision: it was sited right at the front of the fair, directly in the sights of Eccles's binoculars. Five minutes after embarking, the mechanism jammed, leaving us suspended at the top, quaking in the knowledge that the All Seeing Eye was upon us. It took 15 minutes to un-jam the works, during which interval Denise had parted company with her shoe and Kathryn had parted company with her sandwiches: which might not have been so bad had she not scoffed them 30 minutes earlier! We could be up there for hours, Eccles waiting at the gates with a trident because, hanging beneath our little white canopies, we were going to roast for this.

Dire as the situation was, some people had other matters on their minds: "What if my shoe's full of puke?"

Regaining terra firma at last, I'd turned green, the Boulevard rising up at 45 degrees in front of me. Instinct dictated we should leg it across the footbridge as though Old Nick himself pursued us but Denise was minus a shoe and the Parachutes had started up again so we had to wait until motion had ceased before her errant (and thankfully puke-less) clog could be retrieved.

Eccles was on duty at the gates, currants bristling with indignation at such blatant infringement of the Rules. Clinging to each other, shaking like leaves in an Autumn gale, we braced ourselves for what was surely coming...

but, mercifully, Eccles was already fully occupied with two fifth formers whose flowing locks (absolutely forbidden) sported gobbets of livid-pink candy floss whilst their blazers reeked of the incriminating odour of hot dog and fried onions. Fifth formers should know better...

Disgraceful!

Fortune smiled on us that day, as we slid soundlessly out of sight, scuttling through the french doors (obligingly opened by friends) just as afternoon school commenced.

Goose Fair had to do without me the following day- just didn't fancy it- but dark rumours reached my ears, circulated by girls who ventured out after dusk on Thursday, of Pickle-Face and her cronies desecrating the dodgems with their presence, whilst stuffing their faces with brandy-snap.

Outrageous and, as Pseudolus remarked with a sad shake of his head when I told him about it: 'Qui custodies custodiet?' *

Quite!

* 'Who will guard the guards?'

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful stuff Jill I could almost smell the candy floss. You should write a book. I'd certainly buy it.

FFGS was much more lenient when Goose Fair was on. I recall visiting the fair in school uniform on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes with no threat of recriminations.

I didn't know Manning girls got the Friday off though.

You've provided me with a completely new insight into Manning. I'd really no idea how strict it was there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deservedly so, by the sound of it, we now know where Ronald Searle (St Trinians) got his inspiration from, Jill Sparrow could certainly have qualified as his 'muse', albeit she's far too young....................

Perchance Jill & her ilk were only carrying on the finer traditions of former Manning pupils.............time will tell slywink

Per arduaua ad astra Jill Sparrow!! ...........I for one, can't wait for the next instalment, her antics make this Becket boy's schoolhood misadventures pale into insignificance....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pickle-Face et al, would be justly proud today me thinks.

Modern schools are the worse for the lack of she and her like :(

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pickle-Face et al, would be justly proud today me thinks.

Modern schools are the worse for the lack of she and her like :(

Never a truer word spoken Mick, many people say that respect has to be 'earned', I think respect long ago was 'commanded', just by the staus of Teachers, Policemen, etc...........................soft teachers don't inspire!!

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree entirely that respect has to be earned but I am not sure that what we felt for Pickle-Face was respect...more like loathing and naked fear. On the whole, we were well brought up girls anyway: our parents were strict enough to have instilled in us a knowledge of how to behave. Some of the Manning teachers were completely OTT in their attitude toward discipline. As a former teacher myself, I know that there is a point where respect is lost and pupils become alienated. The fine line should not be crossed or you'll have a class full of enemies rather than pupils.

Look how serious I'm being today! Actually, I am a very serious person (honest).

But you're right...people don't believe me when I tell them what the Manning regime was like (unless they were former pupils). Children today usually think I'm making it up and I often wonder what Robespierre and her crew would have made of some of today's pupils...finely chopped mincemeat, probably.

I shall endeavour to recruit a few 'old girls' to put their memories on Nottstalgia to back me up. It was far worse in their day. A friend of mine (at Manning in the 50s) was forced to attend the interview for her first job (aged 18 and in the 6th form) in Manning uniform and white ankle socks(!!) because those were the rules. Incredible!

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:biggrin: Hi Jill, scrivelling again? Keep it up - good to see that both you and LizzieM are settling with 'Nottstalgia'. :biggrin:

:Kiss: Watch out fellas, 'cos: 'Here come the girls' :Kiss:

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the last two or three years I have begun to realise what an enlightened school Long Eaton Grammar was in the days I was there (1960-66). It was old fashioned in some ways (many teachers still wore gowns, and a lot of them had been there a long while). But most of them (a) were good teachers - even the younger ones, and (b) had a "presence" that commanded respect instinctively, rather than demanding it on pain of death. There were also some really interesting characters amongst them. By contrast, my mum went to Mundella in the mid 30s, so I have taken some interest in that establishment, and it is clear that it was a fortress of iron discipline well up into the late 60s.

A correspondent on the LEGS Reunited website (sadly no longer with us) went to the presitigious Derby School for the first two years of his secondary education, and described it as a place of sadistic brutality. On transferring to LEGS he was amazed at the difference in atmosphere. He could hardly remember anyone (teaching staff included) that he really hated. He also commented that there were just 8 correspondents from his age range on the Derby School page of Friends Reunited, compared with over 100 on the corresponding LEGS page - which suggests an interesting comparison in the degree of affection with which the old place was held.

The cane was reserved as the deterrent of last resort. (Expulsion is is an admission that the deterrents have failed!) I was only aware of its use about 3 times in the sphere of my knowledge during my 6 years stay there. The only occasion I distinctly remember was in the 3rd form (the terrible 13 year olds!) We had a fairly jovial French teacher. His lessons were held in a room that had continuous cupboards with sliding doors, right across the back wall. Well one lad got into these cupboards before the lesson started, and then started making tapping noises. After a while said teacher went to investigate and hauled him out. We all had a good laugh - including the teacher, and the lad was told "Very funny, but don't do it again". Well, he did - and was ordered severely to desist or else. The third time it happened, he was simply informed that he was now in serious trouble. I think they must have operated some sort of court martial system, because nothing happened for a couple of days. Then, without warning, the school secretary entered the room during a lesson, had a quick word with the teacher, and instructed the lad to report immediately to the deputy head's office. He returned five minutes later looking pale, subdued and vigorously rubbing his behind.

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed that the words "you like this" are wearing thin on my Like button. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...