An eternity changing beds — 9 Comments

  1. You make me laugh, Ian – though heaven knows your school can’t have been a laughing matter at the time!

    I also remember lines of identical beds and chests of drawers, and rules about how they were to be made. I remember much hilarity when the House Matron, a Miss Hugolyn Pigott, publicly ticked off a friend with the words, ‘Ross, if you don’t make your bed properly you and I will fall out!’

    The school itself was in the Woodard group and high Anglican – daily chapel with fine music, but not oppressive, and disciplinary arrangements were designed to minimise bullying. After a couple of terms of misery, being unused to boarding, I settled in and remember my time there with affection. It was a privileged existence, which moulded me to be selfconfident with high expectations of myself, but cut me off from most of my fellows – it takes a lifetime, they say, to live down a public school…

  2. I think the sense of isolation is what persisted after leaving the school – the feeling of belonging nowhere; the world at home had moved on and people had grown up and changed and the friends from school were scattered far and wide (and there were no mobiles and Facebook!)

  3. I’m assuming the housemaster is the same one that came searching our room on the night of the fire. Looking back I can see your description as being accurate, nowadays I would probably just tell him to f*** off. The sense of isolation is something I can sympathise with, as I felt much the same. It was not so much that people at home had moved on, more that we had moved in different directions. A fine distinction perhaps but it was the way I felt at the time. I enjoy the pieces you write about school days, your memory seems to be a lot better than mine!

  4. You are spot on with the bullying Ian, the comp that I went to (you know where) was run on a regime of bullying where once you had moved up a year the younger ones were bullied and all the kids thought this normal behaviour !!!!!!…the teachers..yes turned a blind eye…I remember for the third year no-one bullied me anymore!!!!!

    The bedsheet thing I guess was an attempt at some type of discipline????………….thank-goodness now for duvets, fitted sheets and duvet covers……..

  5. There’s a novel called ‘Engleby’ by sebastain Faulks which is scary in its insights into bullying at school. I don’t know why everyone put up with it for so many years.

  6. He died of cancer on 31 December 1995 aged 52. That puts him in his early 30’s when we knew him. Very young for the position he had, looking at things from nearly 50 years old. I’ve come across very few people since with quite such an explosive temper.

  7. There is a picture of the gravestone on the school Facebook page. Looks like it’s in Manaton churchyard. I went to Becky Falls about 10 years ago and his wife was working in the gift shop.

  8. Extraordinary, he seemed so old, those middle aged jumpers and trousers and sensible shiny shoes.

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