(Some extracts from my diary.)
Wednesday 22 January. Freezing fog. I have lost my History of Science book. (Note of 15 February: I still have!) In afternoon we go stone picking. I have written this poem.
Saturday 25 January. Biology. – Nematoda, horrid hook worms, etc. Maths. –Decimalization of money. Art. – Looked through BEAVER’s books. (Beaver was my art teacher). DINNER (or lunch). Joint of beef, sprouts, boiled spuds, cheese and biscuits.
Bruce Douglas’s Memorial Service in Chapel today. Would have picked stones in the afternoon but there were no sacks so it was cancelled. Bought two tins of Coke from the tuck shop after lunch. I had to clear out the House workroom later, putting all the stuff in an awful tip by the cycle sheds. It’s just like a slum back there.
Sunday 26 January. After lunch Gordon Haylett goes out to play hockey and Benny Young goes off to his campanology. Royds Jones has gone off on my bike, so I am left to write this. Wragge goes off as well. Nobody liked the Observer last week so this Sunday we had the Telegraph; nobody likes this either, but I refuse to have the Express. The Tuck Shop was open from 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock. It is evening chapel this week.
Thursday 13 February. Music lesson 1st period, I played the “Soldiers” and “My Favourite Tune”, also scale of G and some theory. A house game in the afternoon, our side won.
Saturday 1 February. I start painting the “Stockport Viaduct”. Wragge who knows the area well insists I change the name to the Sowerby viaduct. Send Jerry Falkus off to post my parcel (he is bell fag so has to do the post as well). After House Leagues game against Old School House (we won 2-0) I practiced the piano for half an hour. In the evening we saw the film “The Mouse that Roared”; very enjoyable.
Thursday 6 February. I got Punch magazine and a letter from Dad in the morning post. The wind group plays the hymn in Big School at prayer this morning. I miss PE to have my music lesson 4th period. My music teacher Mr West gave me two new pieces to practise. We did some more stone picking in the afternoon and then I went to practise my new pieces. Art films tonight – they were useless.
Friday 7 February. Biology test today. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. The school magazine The Gresham came out today. I practised for an hour, pieces and scales. The history prep is an essay on economic history (I must do it before the eleventh hour this time).
Saturday 8 February. The house master Bernard Sankey took house prayers this evening – he did it rather well. I finished my picture of Stockport Viaduct and now I must choose a more original subject (this one is copied from L.S. Lowry). In the afternoon we have a house league hockey game Farfield versus Tallis. I am in the 3rd game and we loose 6 – 2. They scored first and we equalised about 30 seconds later. We scored our second goal just before the end. The 1st XI had a home match today. The new chapel seating list has gone up.
Sunday 9 February. I listened to Beyond Our Ken on the radio this afternoon. I went to the music room and did some practising, then Royds Jones turned up and played the piano. Then I went to the chapel and in the organ loft with him he let me try the various stops and hear their effects. After tea we played the hand bells in study ten; all in all quite a musical day.
Monday 10 February. I must see about joining the sailing club. For the hockey I was captain of our side in the Junior D game; Jimmy Dodd (our French master) always seems to make me captain of one side or the other. Anyway way we won although they were the better side. I managed to fit in a piano practise after this – it isn’t easy on Mondays, it is the hardest day. We had a Latin prep which took me all the time, but 0n Wednesday I got the highest marks for it.
Tuesday 11 February. Shrove Tuesday. We had pancakes for lunch. Gosso (Mr Mosley our Latin teacher) got squirted in the eye by a lemon. An easy maths prep but I got it all wrong. English prep; we are doing Chaucer (The Pardoner’s Tale) with Mr Rayner.
Wednesday 12 February. In the afternoon 30 boys were due to do stone picking – I was one. We are getting on quite well with this. Farfield has picked more stones than any other house! There was a lecture for sailing club members. The Lent Address was given by the chaplain the Rev D. C. Argyle (‘Dubby’). There were 2 hymns, a lesson and a short sermon.
Thursday 13 February. Lenten address at 6.35 p.m. The speaker was the curate from the Round Church in Cambridge. His style is very intimate. He stayed at Farfield tonight. I had a bath but the water was cold.
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I should explain some things; 1. The school had bought a new field next to the Eccles Field, and all the term the Houses took turns in sending teams to walk across it and pick stones, prior to grass being sown. 2. Saturday was an ordinary working day, periods in the morning and sports in the afternoon; the only difference was there was no prep in the evening. 3. Decimalization of money was an exercise that is now redundant as all money has been decimal since 1971. With pounds shillings and pence (which were based on the figure 12) decimalization was diabolically complicated. 4. Campanology was started by Paul Cattermole who was doing his teaching practice at Gresham’s in 1964 He led the enthusiasts out on their bikes to local church with a good ring of bells – Bale church was a favourite; the vicar was of course known as the prophet of Bale. The late Paul Cattermole spent his tacking practice at Gresham’s and his teaching career at the Norwich School, where he was teaching my son almost 40 years later!
I am still in contact with several of the people mentioned above, with whom I was with at school at Gresham’s. Royds Jones (now a retired GP) is a friend on Facebook; Gordon Haylett (retired accountant) and Jerry Falkus I met at the Farfield centenary dinner in 2011. Benny Young and Giles Large (semi-retired journalist) I had tea with in Big School a year or two ago. Bill Wragge (still working full time in 2016) has been a close friend for over 50 years and I speak to him several times week and see him two or three times a year.