Saturday, 31 March 2012

I'm Not an Educated Chap

I am not an educated chap, I have difficulty stringing words together to write down, let alone sepllign them correctly, so I find the spell checker on the computer an absolute must.

These blogs of mine on the FWI & Blogger were the first writing I have done, since the essays we did at school some sixty years ago. For me it's a one finger job typing, which is about the same speed as my thinking, and as for putting in the full stops and comers, I get short of breath these days, and I am told, every commer is for a pause for breath, hence, the, numerous, c,o,m,e,r,s, . Okay I am over doing it a bit, but you will know what I mean eventually some day, if you don't already.

This picture is from the corner of our house, we are looking across the front lawn, over the trimmed hedge is the road through the village and the other side of that is the village green. The building on the right is the village school where my mother went from the age of three (1910) taught by Miss Pye who and also taught me 35 years later in the same class. My son also went there from the age of four only having literally yards to walk to school.
I Remember Miss Pye

Miss Pye was our teacher, in the infant's class,
Taught all us to write, everyone en mass,
With big bold loops, and Capitals a Flourish,
We all did our best, so as not to be punished.

Mother she taught, To write same way,
Looks like my writing, as I write my essay,
Holding the pen, and biting my lip,
Concentrate on writing, without a slip.

Numbers and tables, we did recite,
Chanting each morning, without respite,
Letters and alphabet, practiced each day,
Till words we could write, then go out to play.

In winter when cold, big coal fire she had,
And pulled up our chairs, when learning to add,
Kind teacher she was, no cane in sight,
Cared for us all, no matter, how dim, the light.


In the "Big" school that we went to at the age of eleven in town, we had wood work and metal work lessons. A whole half day for the whole term, in fact the class was split into two, half the class went woodwork, and half to metalwork, then swapped over at the end of every term ( a school term is short of 3 months).

Everyone, that is the pupils, got on well with Harry Nutter in the metal work class, he was kind and patient with those who were not very practical, he guided and helped them and he aloud us who had finished our item, to help those who struggled.
We started by making a round washer, then a square washer, and on to make a brass toasting fork (Toasting forks went out of fashion years ago, I doubt if most of the younger generation now know what one even looks like let alone used one) .

 Then we made a round copper bowl with a brass bead round the edge and the same round brass rod soldered on to make the base. The copper had to be rubbed with soap then heated until the soap went black, to soften the metal, then it was beaten on a leather pouch filled with sand with a ball pane hammer, this process was repeated until it was deep enough, and the shape that was desired.

We even helped Harry Nutter to cut panels out of his Morris Thousand van, an ex post office van, and helped him fit the glass in the sides. This was done in his lunch hour, and he was glad of a bit of help. Eventually we were shown how to work the lathe, on which I made a tractor drawbar peg complete with a pointed end and a small hole in which to put a retaining clip, a thick washer was brazed round its neck then the handle was shaped and heated and bent across almost 45degrees to form the handle, it lasted for a good many years before it got lost.

The wood work teacher was another matter, he was almost the opposite to Harry Nutter, his name was "Bulldog" Lees, he had a permanent scowl on his face and all the fours years at that school I never saw him crack a smile. He did not seem to mix with the other teachers, at break time he would be tatting about his immaculate classroom checking on how sharp his chisels were and touching up the saw blades. (There were twenty of every tool and ten benches with two vices on each)

All the tools were arranged in two wide cupboards at the back of the room, so that when the doors were wide open, small tools were in racks on the doors, and larger one on the allotted shelf, any tool missing would be spotted before anyone left the classroom. There were no power tools back then, he showed us how to saw without putting pressure on the saw, "if the saw is sharp, its own weight is enough to do the cutting" we were told, and he could soon tell if we had not listened.

His response to any deviation from what you were told came in a loud booming deep voice that almost shook the glass in the windows, and anyone who dare to cross him more than once (in a lifetime), he had your card marked for good.
Bulldog even demonstrated his anger one day by throwing a chisel, from the front of the classroom into the back of an open store cupboard on the back wall dagger fashion. It was rumoured that he had been a sergeant in the army where he trained men hand to hand dagger fighting, and dagger throwing. I can tell you when that happened it frightened all the class ridged, and no one dare even ask a question.

We Had a Woodwork Teacher (1950 ish)

We had a woodwork teacher; we called him Bulldog Lees,
Had stern face and bad temper, no one dare to tease,
If he could not get class attention, throw a chisel hard,
Hit the back wall cupboard, like a dagger stuck and jarred.

All the class it stood and quivered dare not cross his path,
The respect was thrust upon you; dare not stir his wrath,
No one liked his lessons, even those who could push a plane,
Perfection in this man and all his tools, but he was a bloody pain.


Natural ability without education has more often attained to glory and virtue than education without natural abilityCicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your lovely posts. Could just imagine all the sights and sounds of the workshops! Glad there was a nice teacher to off set the not so nice.