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walrus
cheshire
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91 of 94  Fri 17th Mar 2017 1:14pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:212

Here's a combined tale of a failed school trip and a concert. In early 1963 I was in my final term of a very unremarkable career at Caludon Castle. We had a decent man, Mr. Matthews who put a great deal of effort and enthusiasm in attempting to inspire us for an appreciation of music. Mr. Matthews was normally very placid, almost absent minded and put up with our obvious lack of interest and our poor manners with good grace. He did however occasionally explode with a kind of manic fury if provoked too far and could be terrifying in his rage. Sort of safety valve I think because within seconds he would carry on as though nothing had happened. His passion was Gilbert and Sullivan. I have no idea if there was a curriculum that he should have followed but G and S was all we ever did. For several weeks he had us singing a piece from the Pirates of Penzance. Over and over again - "With cat like tread, upon our way we steal, with silence dread our cautious way we feel" and so on. Then one day he revealed his dream to us. He had arranged a bus for the following morning to take the set to a school choir festival. We were to perform our piece on stage! He was very excited. I don't know why because he couldn't have been hearing what I was hearing. The following day we boarded the Corporation double decker. When the bus reached a convenient point I decided that I wasn't singing on any stage in what promised to be a car crash so I jumped off as we slowed for a corner. A couple of others did the same. I got on with a school free day. The following morning I learned that my action was contagious. Out of a set of 42 or so only 4 stayed on the bus to reach the venue. Nobody from the school staff said a word. Nothing was ever mentioned about the incident. No recriminations, detentions, canings, shoutings at. Mr. Matthews must have simply ignored what we did. Some time later at a subsequent music lesson Mr. Matthews announced that we were in for a special treat. Three boys in our set were going to perform an excerpt from the Mikado. We all looked around the room to guess who was missing. Mr. Matthews opened the classroom door and then went to the piano and began the introduction to "Three little maids from school are we". To our jaw dropping amazement ******, ********* and ********* dressed in exquisite Japanese costumes, fully made up and bewigged shuffled in on platformed sandals. They had taken the parts of Yum-yum, Peep-bo and Pitti-sing. For a very short time there was a kind of puzzled silence while we processed the scene. Remember it was 1963, we were 15 year old boys in an all male school. We were pretty well ignorant of sexual matters, especially anything considered different. A harsh, restrictive social morality prevailed, at least in public. Everyone conformed as far as we knew. Ordinary working class boys did not wear female clothing, especially foreign female clothing. The silence didn't last long and the set erupted into a jeering, sneering, insult throwing mob, worthy of anything Golding could have imagined. Many times I've remembered those boys, their courage to perform in front of crass juvenile fools. Some of us at least should have had more sense. Even after 55 years I feel embarrassed about my scorn for those lads. I wish I could sincerely and deeply apologise and assure them that I admire what they did. Showed an interest, got involved, learned and rehearsed, obtained props, put themselves out there. Real guts. I hope you've had a successful life.
School Days, memories & outings
Roger Turner
Torksey
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92 of 94  Fri 17th Mar 2017 11:06pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:545

Walrus, don`t know if my dad (George Turner) was still teaching at Caludon then, but certainly that tale didn`t come to my notice. Sounds like a scene from "It aint half `ot mum". But school life can be pretty tribal and I am sure your experience isn`t unique, I know, I was at a training school where there was uncalled for beastliness meted out to someone (sotto voce whispering of the lad`s name en masse) I agree you look back and the self loathing and embarrassment is still fresh, something akin to "drunken remorse". rite of passage, I suppose the psychos call it!. If it cheers you up, I can reveal my dad`s leaving do was held at Kenilworth Rugby club, hosted by his `mates` Dai Davies and Ben Vickery, I had to pick him up, it was obviously a bawdy do and they virtually "poured" him into the car. Cheers
School Days, memories & outings
covgirl
wiltshire
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93 of 94  Sat 18th Mar 2017 12:07am  
Member: Joined Jun 2015  Total posts:56

I was at Whitley Abbey in the 60's and we went on a few trips, all educational, London museums, Madam Tussauds and the Planetarium, a couple of times, Lichfield Cathedral, Dudley Zoo and castle once, someone was bitten by a camel so we didn't go again😁 every year we too went to the Royal Show at Stoneleigh, always on a Thursday, I loved it, it was usually very sunny, and sitting in the sun eating ice cream or a Camp iced coffee, just great, much better than double maths or gym. There was a trip skiing but quite expensive at the time so I didn't go, that's all I can remember apart from a couple of local ones to see the Lunt Fort and Coventry Cathedral and St Mary's Guild Hall. Lots of fun these trips, the guys rushing for the back seats of the coach, one girl with a paper bag at the front, and teachers desperately trying to keep control, happy days
School Days, memories & outings
walrus
cheshire
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94 of 94  Sat 18th Mar 2017 9:10am  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:212

Thanks for your response Roger. I'm afraid I can't recall George Turner, Caludon was a very large school and many staff were not familiar. Ben Vickery was my housemaster in Segrave and Taff Davies was my housemaster in Clifford, might he also be "Dai"? There were at least three Davies and several more Welsh teachers. As for the Mikado incident, it was simply one of countless alarums and excursions (see Moderators, I'm still on topic) that occurred at the old alma mater. Ted Brown, who passed away fairly recently, took us on a day trip to London in '63. There was no educational value really, we just went to see some of the sights. He was a good bloke and I think he was giving us a jolly before leaving school for good. When we got to Euston we sort of went where we wanted with the instruction to meet up for the train back. A good day out.
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