FOWC with Fandango: School

Spitalfields Market

This photo was taken some years ago in London with my two sons. It was a place where my grammar school was, in the City of London at Spitalfields Fruit and Vegetable market. Behind the metal fence were the remains of the building which was once a place for 500 girls attending their school daily. Today it has become part of modern London, our school building was occupying land that was too expensive for a school. Today it has become a modern market to attract the tourists.

This was not my only school. My first school was an infants school. A very old building in the East End of London for boys and girls aged from 5 to 7. It also no longer exists as it was. It was reorganised to a boy’s primary school for ages from 7 to 10, and so I also have no remains of this school.

Lawdale School, Bethnal Green, London
And from the age of 8 to 11 I was at a primary school in East London. Yes, that no longer exists. It was demolished to make way for high rise apartments. London has changed rapidly in the last 60 years. Buildings have been removed that were in the way and no fitted modern developments.

I seemed to have left a path of rubble and destruction behind me, but it was really not intentional. I got my education, and it has served me well during life. I still have contact with a few school friends, even if we are all golden oldies today. Through the computer everything is possible.

And my school days? They were OK. I came out of it alive, even if the buildings no longer exist.

FOWC with Fandango: School

Share Your World – 2016 Week 16

And a few more secrets from the Angloswiss chamber of horrors.

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts?  Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected?

glassesHere they are, together, my two pair of Vari-focal glasses. Why two, a very good question. It just sort of happened. I got the one on the right, was not very happy with it, although Mr. Swiss found it looked good on me. I went for something lighter and got the one on the left. On a day where I present myself to the public I wear the one Mr. Swiss likes and otherwise for the general housework and playing with the computer I wear the glasses on the left. It never entered my mind to have cotacts. My son also wears glasses, but he had a problem when playing pool. either he would have to get the special glasses which are sort of upside down balanced on the nose to prevent them obstructing his pot shots, or contacts. He settled for the disposable contacts because he otherwise did not need them.  I mean you have to make sacrifices if you want to be the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise type of player.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

bovi stop
I do not know if you have this sign in the States, or anywhere else for that matter. A “Bovi” refers to one of these,

He posed for his photo

meaning that if you are on your way somewhere in cow land, in the swiss mountains usually and you see this sign it means that the cows have to stop. As cows cannot read it is for the humans to tell them the cows now have their own path to take. The path looks like this


and with my experience, it is not easy to walk across. The cows manage quite well, might even make a recycling stop on the way, but it just drops through the metal slits. What does this have to do with me? I am accident prone and taking a walk always has its dangers. My last fall was about 6 weeks ago where I arrived in the ER. Luckily no bones broken. I just happen to make a false step whilst taken a photo of a horse. The horse survived but on my way down I gripped his fence which was unfortunately under an electric current, but luckily a weak electric curren. This made no difference, you get the pins and needles feeling all the same. Now you know what a bovi stop is. I have seen many. By the way the cow is my photo and the other two Internet, but I knew what I was looking for.

Was school easy or difficult for you? How so?

Lawrence Infants school

Third from the right with the side bow in my hair (my mum had a thing for bows) in the second row from the back at infants school, age about 5 probably. Of course it was easy, no problem. Just no gymnastics, then everything was OK. As the years progressed I discovered I could speak foreign languages better than my own, and was quite good at maths, beause it was all figures and no grammar. I still hated gymnastics and at last mum gave up the idea with the bow. Nothing was really difficult, I just found some of the teachers were over taxed with my genius.

Would you rather take a 1 or 2 week vaction with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice?

At my age, no thankyou. I get sea sick on a boat on the local river and being organised is not my idea of a holiday. I now spend my holidays in the garden, and on a good day I have a view of the Bernese Alps.


Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

My father, who is now 100 years old, has been in hospital for the past month and I was grateful to my friend in england who visits him regularly and keeps me in the picture.

At the moment I am taking things day by day.  I am satisfied with my life, could not wish for anything better, but just hope that everything goes well next week, especially with my father.

Share Your World – 2016 Week 16

Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet – It was all about education I suppose

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?


I had no teachers that made a real impact on my life, but I hope I made a real impact on their lives. My life took its course, all my own work, and no-one pushed me or advised me and if they had advised me I would have done it my way in any case. So having established that I am not the type that lives in eternal thankfulness for the words of a teacher,

As I am now a golden oldie and my teachers at school were at least 20 years older than me, most would be averaging the age of 80 or something like that. My last school was a so-called grammar school existing in Spitalfields market, bordering on the City of London. I think the idea was to educate us girls to become young ladies following some sort of good profession. Approximately one third of the school was of jewish faith so they had their own assembly in the morning with jewish prayers and also their own school dinners following their customs. I remember their knives and forks were embedded with the letter “K” for kosher. The rest, like me, did it in our style which was OK.

In any case there were no problems. The only problem was when we realised those of the jewish faith had more holidays than us, due to passover and a few other celebrations. The only thing extra we had was Ascension Day and that was definitely not a holiday, but if you wanted to, you could take the morning off to go to the school church service. Yes, we even had a school church, St. Botolphs in Bishopsgate and I remember the annual Christmas Carol service and the Annual Fanmakers Guild celebration. Ok, who are they? I did not know either, but something to do with the school foundation. They probably donated some money now and again.

It was a sort of private school, but supported by the state, so we did not have to pay for the education, although we had to buy our own uniforms The school colours were basically green and red. The photo was taken mid Summer, so we are wearing the summer uniform: a dress of red or green gingham. The “X” in the photo shows me. They always seemed to put me in the middle, beginning with the tallest in the class and arranging the others around me. The teacher on the photo was Miss Ransom who taught mainly French and I think a little bit of German. She was our class teacher at the time and I remember she left the school to spend a time in Russia learning Russian. I don’t know what happened to her, but she did not reach the headlines in our newspaper for winning the Lenin medal and also was not put in the Lubyanka prison in Moscow for espionage.

Now to the bare facts about our teachers. You must remember it was the swinging sixties when the Beatles made a few records, the Rolling stones started rolling and our main problems as teenagers were whether the skirt was short enough and tight enough and how to board the London bus by making a clever hop onto the raised platform. Saturdays were probably spent in Carnaby Street viewing the latest fashions and the evenings at the Mecca Dance Halls where if you were lucky you might pick up something worth going out with.

However, during the week education was the idea. Our teachers were OK. I remember Miss H. especially, the history teacher.

“Good morning girls, today we will be dealing with the Manor.” This was a farming system in the 13th century in England. Whilst the other two parallel classes were reading about the beginning of the first World War, we were left with economic history. Apparently they only had enough money to equip two classes with political history books, so we were left with the economic history of England.

Miss H. then began the lesson.

“Turn to page 40 in your books. Read and make notes.”

There was a scuffling noise as we all turned the pages and then came the mighty words of intelligence.

Did we learn anything – not really, I remember I learnt the text book from memory when taking the final exam and even passed with a good note. If our lesson had been current affairs with Miss H we would have all joined the communist party and probably the KGB. Miss H. was a communist and she did not hide it. I remember it was the year when Fidel Castro decided to allow the Russians to build rocket bases on his nice tropical island. J.F. Kennedy was not impressed and told him to forget it or there will be trouble.

Miss H entered the class There was no time for making notes. She let out a tirade against the foolishness of JF Kennedy and he was a warmonger and should leave the nice Cubans to their ideas etc. etc. Actually I think someone opened the converstion in our class and asked what she thought about it, as we knew it would make a change from a boring “Made Notes girls” lesson.

Once a year my old school has a meeting of old girls and teachers if there are still some around. I cannot go, but am in touch through Facebook where we have a site. Our cookery teacher is still amongst us, now probably around 90 years of age. She is shown in the annual get together photo in the middle surrounded by golden oldies like myself. As a teacher she was not my favourite, but she is a memory of how I was not happy in the cookery class.

If we have this prompt again, which will probably be in a year or two, I can tell you about the others.

Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet 2 – It was all about education I suppose

Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!

Me about 8 years old

You see at the age of about 8-10 I was even photographed at school with a book. What the book was and whether I actually read it is an open question, but it made a picture perfect, the school photographer probably hoping for a Pulitzer prize for his work. He probably did not get one, and I also did not achieve any prizes for my English. Yes, the secret is out. According to the science of pedagogic, I did not make the grade with English. Of course, I was convinced that my talents were so good, that it was just beyond the understanding of the teaching staff. They were overwhelmed with my gift and I was misunderstood. My essays were ignored, red lines crossed out words and the insult to end all insults: there was a splattering of question marks all over my efforts. Is it a wonder that I lost faith, submitted compositions where the ink was diluted by the tears I shed? And I was sure I was good, excellent, the best, but even Steven King and Dr. Seuss had their disappointments until their talents were recognised. I am sure if my teachers could now read my 51 Shades of Blog they would be impressed and tear their hair out realising that an undiscovered writing talent had been overlooked.

I read all the good books, my interest in horror and mystery was profound. The school were just supplying the wrong material. I did not want to be a second Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte and definitely not a Jayne Austin, they were just not my thing. I was more in the line of Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood and Dean Koontz with a sprinkling of Nate Kenyon, but it was not to be. My school was shocked and found these writers not to be the essence of good education. Perhaps they were scared by the unclaimed body parts that were sometimes left in my writing efforts.

I was misunderstood and instead of my natural writing talent being encouraged, it was scorned, ignored. I should be up there on the pedestal with Orhan Pamuk, Harold Pinter and Doris Lessing, but school ruined everything. They failed me in my English GCE examination in English, and I had to retake the examination. I took the University of London GCE first of all, but it was obvious that the experts were not trained to recognise talent. On my second try with the University of Oxford papers, I succeeded. I did hear rumours that the Oxford University paper was slightly easier than that of the London University, but they were just rumours, circulated by teachers wanting to spoil my chances of recognition.

Today I stand unrecognised, battling for the appreciation I deserve, but my chance will come: I am sure.

Of course school life was not only English. I was the best in school. My biology results were the first step to life as a qualified doctor, but this was not to be. Knowing the difference between an amoeba and mammal did not seem to be the solution. If Bill Gates had not discovered Windows before me, it would have been mine, I just needed time. I was cleaning windows already as a teenager, so what could possibly go wrong. The idea for the micro wave oven was already in existence in my brain, but again someone did the patent work.

I re-invented history at school, but there again the school tutors did not accept my ideas. I was convinced that Queen Elisabeth was an imposter and her family tree was a forgery. I was misunderstood.

I had bad luck from the beginning, but I will have my revenge one day. I will write my 51 Shades of Revenge, they will all receive their just deserts. In the meanwhile I will continue to write my daily prompts with my perfect command of the English language slightly laced with grammatical misunderstandings. Some people just do not recognise good English when they read it.

Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

Confused Pingbacks

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  9. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion | Under the Monkey Tree
  10. I Just don’t get it. | Hope* the happy hugger
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  13. Daily prompt: !%!%*&! Math! | The Wandering Poet
  14. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion, 02.04.14 | Markie’s Daily Blog
  15. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion | Blog of the imaginator
  16. Imagined Irrationality of Numbers | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  17. DP Confusion: Giorgia | aliabbasali
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  24. How My Struggle With Math Killed My College Career – WANGSGARD
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  30. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion | I Loathe Nothing | Shawn Daily
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  32. Daily Prompt: Math:My Land of Confusion | A Day In The Life
  33. English It is! | Navigate
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  45. Me + Arithmatic = Fail | djgarcia94
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  76. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion | My Other Blog
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  79. Enigma | zaphnathpaaneah
  80. Exile in Silence | vic briggs
  81. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion| My History With History | Random…Yet Not So Random Thoughts Of Mine
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  87. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion | Basically Beyond Basic
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  89. Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion | My Atheist Blog
  90. All the reasons I HATE Physics | Life of MeII

Daily Prompt: The New School

You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SKILLED.

If you were a bee, you would not have to go to school. It is all in the gene, you got it from mama, who got it from her mama and so on. Being a human we arrive with nothing and it all has to be supplied by a teaching system.

We start with home life, mum and dad telling you what to do and what not to do, but mum and dad do not always know the answers, so we eventually go to a place called school and then the problems begin. My mum was one of those completely convinced that “your school days are the best of your life”. As mum left school at the age of 13 to work in a place where she sorted foreign bank notes that were printed in England, I do not think her school days were long enough to stay in her memory.

My grandfather was apparently thrown out of school (mum’s dad) for swearing at the teacher. I can believe this, although whether this was a family story, or if it really happed I do not know. It seems his spare time in the evening was spent watching the men at the corner of the street gambling and their language was quite flowery at times, so this was the reason (said my mum).

Eventually I went to school. Being born in the so-called “boom” year of 1946 when the masculine population in England returned from the war, we were on average 40-50 children in a school class, so it was survival of the fittest. I survived, battling against discouragement and arrived at a high school.

The idea is now to redesign school. Who am I to do this? I was once in the position in Switzerland of teaching English at evening classes, having an English mother tongue. Sounds easy, but believe me it is not. Of course I grew up speaking English so the basics were there. Unfortunately I had never had a pedagogical training. I was not in charge of the class to show them what I could do, but to impart my knowledge so that the class would learn. My class liked me, but I realised what was missing on my side. I did this for a year, but decided being a teacher was not my thing.

So now I have my own school, the children being the victims of my training. Where to start?

“Good morning, I am your new teacher. There are going to be a few changes in your timetable. Today we are beginning with a new subject known as “Blogging””.

“What’s that Miss?”

“You do not know what blogging is. You have never written a blog? This is a large gap in your general education. Today it is a matter of survival to be able to blog. How many of your have a computer at home?

Very nice, I see you are all fully equipped. Any Mac owners here? Two – ok no problem, all . basically the same thing.

Is anyone in Facebook? All of you. You see we are already half way there. Do you even post photos in Facebook? What did you say Johnny, your mother forbid you to use the computer because you showed a photo of your mother in her dressing gown with curlers in her hair. That was not nice Johnny, you should have asked before showing the photo to all your faceboook friends. Do you have many? Oh I see, well with a thousand friends, perhaps your mother was not happy.

To continue. Blogging is something like Facebook, but you have more room to say what you want. I will give you a subject and you will write an article in Word this evening about it and load it onto a memory stick. Tomorrow you will bring the sticks and I will show you on the school computer how to insert them in a special blogging programme. You may use photos to illustrate the blog.

Would anyone here like to suggest a subject?”

“Yes Miss, what about my day at school.”

“A good idea Mary. Remember you are writing for the public so make it interesting.”

They made it so interesting with photo illustrations of me that I lost my job. Education is just not my thing.

Daily Prompt: The New School

Educational Pingbacks

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  6. A Salute to Teachers and the Art and the Love of Learning | meanderedwanderings
  7. S. Thomas Summers | Jesse James Takes the Gun
  8. Killing Creativity | 61 Musings
  9. A new school | Sue’s Trifles
  10. We Need Dumb Teachers To Get Smart Kids | The Jittery Goat
  11. Redesigning School: My Viewpoint on a Herculean Task | Eyes Through The Glass – A Blog About Asperger’s
  12. The new school – inspired by the Daily Prompt | Kicking On
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  14. Footie Smoochie | Retrofocus
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  33. Daily Prompt: Skilled | Different Isn’t Wrong, It’s Just Different
  34. A Meandering Look at My Ideal of Education/Daily Prompt | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  35. Epistemology | vic briggs
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  43. Daily Prompt: The New School | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)
  44. The New School | lostguy35
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Daily Prompt: First!

Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEGINNING.


Remember I am now a golden oldie and this all happed approximately sixty-three years ago

My first school, the photo taken on a trip to London a few years ago. It has not changed very much outside. It was originally a so-called infant’s school catering for children from 4-7 years of age, the first experience of education in the brain. It was a mixed school, boys and girls together. The school has been transformed over the years and is now for boys only. Actually it is the only school still standing from my childhood. The other schools I visited have been deleted to make room for something bigger and better, but no longer schools: more high rise blocks of flats. New schools are to be found in other places.

So there I was, ready to go, be educated and mix with the others. Mum was also ready to go. She gave me a good face scrub in the morning just to make sure I was nice and shiny when I arrived at the school. She accompanied me on my first day, and accompanied me on my second as well. I think she actually walked with me through the complete first year until I told her I now knew the way. It was a five minute walk from home, but you never know. I could have been hit by a car, held for ransom (we actually had no money), or got lost. Mum was not alone, there was a complete army of mums bringing and fetching their children from school. I suppose it was a dangerous neighbourhood, although I never really noticed it. Jack the Ripper had left at least eighty years before.

I remember entering the class on my first morning and being shown to my place. We were all new (all had shiny faces) and it was quiet. Probably we were nervous, although I think the mums were more nervous. Then it happened, it was time for mum to go (at last). I had no problem, I was free and could embark on the adventure. One girl I remember very well, she was not happy. What did she do? She screamed, grasped her mother by her skirt and pulled her back. She was desperate, hysterical. The mother also became hysterical and the teacher did her best to calm the situation. I suppose it was fun for me really: a complete distraction to the nervosity of the first day at school. Eventually the mother left her tearstained daughter, who was still moaning, but she seemed to calm herself eventually.

Funny thing was I remember this heap of hysteria quite well. We became schoolfriends until our schoolways parted. She was a very thin girl, practically no flesh on the bones. The next time I saw her we must have been about 17 years old. It was from a distance in the local market and she was about six months pregnant, so it seemed she had overcome her childhood anxieties.

Now we were on our own. I do not remember what happened next, I do know it was not the age for writing in books and each of us were given a small blackboard and chalk, that was the way things were done at that time.

We soon had our first playground break. We were confronted with a crate filled with small bottles of milk, and each of us were invited to take one. Milk was free to school children. It was a remainder of the olden days when children suffered with rickets, bone weakness. Milk was good for you and so the schools supplied it, making sure you actually drank your bottle of milk. My first problem: I hated milk, especially the sort that had a think chunk of milk cream on the top. I managed to tip it away or give it to a milk addict in the class. A couple of times I actually had to drink this disgusting liquid, although my stomach refused to accept it (it was all psychological I suppose). I do not remember exactly the outcome of this force feeding, but the problem followed me through school life until I went to high school.

Mum picked me up and took me home for dinner (lunch was not invented in those days) and brought me again to school in the afternoon. And so school life continued. We were all products of the year 1946 meaning the baby boom. Imagine thousands of soldiers returning from a woman-starved wartime army. They did their best to replenish the population. We were on average around 40-50 children per class.

This was the first day of many, I even made it to high school. It is a strange coincidence. I have a school photo on a “friends reunited” site on the computer. I almost forgot it was there, but today I received a notification from one of the boys in the class who had discovered the photo talking of some of the others in the photo. Must look him up on facebook.

Dails Prompt: First!

First Pingbacks

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Daily Prompt: Fifteen Credits

Another school semester will soon begin. If you’re in school, are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us LEARNING.

Elena, Bettina und Pat

A photo taken a few years ago when I decided to let my hair grow (some sort of post hippie phase I was going through, thinking that long hair was being in – forgetting at the same time that it would have been better in another colour except for grey). At the time I was learning Italian. I already knew the basics of the language, but a friend had enrolled for the course, which had become an advance course and due to other things, could no longer carry on. She had paid for the course, so gave the rest to me. I finished the rest and enrolled for two further courses, hence me sitting in this class as a golden oldie.

I have been out of school so many years, that the three schools I visited no longer exist. The infants school is now a boys only school, the primary school (ages from 7-11) has been demolished and my high school in the middle of London was built on such expensive land that it too was removed elsewhere to accommodate high office towers which brought more profit. The land was a very expensive zone in London. The hall still exists, being transformed into an expensive French restaurant in the meanwhile. It was really not my fault, they destroyed the schools to make money, to organise a new school system and not because I left a negative effect or tried to blow it up (although the thought often passed my mind at the time).

My mum always said “school days are the best days of your life”. Not that mum was wrong, and they probably were the best days of her life. Her schooling was finished when she was thirteen years old and she had to learn the hardness of real life. In the early 20th century growing up in a working class family in the East End of London, you had no choice. There were four children and money had to be earned, especially as granddad was not exactly the pillar of society. He had a good job as a carpenter, collected his pay on Friday and drank most of it away on Friday evening. The family had to make do with what was left until the next Friday.

I was lucky. I grew up in the post war years. We were still not rich, but I could take advantage of what I knew. The world was at my feet, but my feet were not so sure. It seems I was intelligent enough to pass exams and reach high school. A school uniform was bought, I had my first leather bag for carrying school books and other such articles and it was ready, steady go. To be quite honest “go” was the main word. I did not like school, full of learning things that I did not want to learn, and travelling to and from school on the London busses.

We had games once a week, which meant and hour’s travelling to some isolated sports ground on the edge of London, or in a part of London which was complicated to reach with public transport. We arrived at the sports ground with a coach supplied by the school, but most of the time the coach driver would stop the coach and tell us if we did not behave he would throw us all out of the coach. That driver just did not have humour. Apparently a coach full of 30 teenage girls was too much for him, especially when we all spoke at once. We had to complete the home journey at the mercy of the London Transport system.

Time passed, and at the age of seventeen/eighteen for me, school was over and the earnest of life begun. My last year at school was a secretarial year. I could type; write shorthand (Pitmans system) and cope with the basics of office life. When I left school I was not sorry, now I could learn what I wanted to and not what I had to.

The first part of my non-school life was spent somewhere in an office in London during the day and evenings mostly in the local library (I enjoyed reading) or week-ends at West Ham United stadium watching a football game. Saturday evening was usually in the local dance hall or in the pub according to what was organised with my friends.

Was I missing school? Forget it, I missed it like a hole in the head. I was having fun. What I missed, to be quite honest, was nourishment for the brain. Living on Beatles songs, meeting people of the other sort (do not forget I spent my school life at girls only schools, co-education was not so common in my years) was in order, but I had my hobbies. I loved learning foreign languages, one of the few ideas that school gave me on the way. I learnt six years French at school, although I wanted to learn Italian. Eventually I enrolled in an evening course for Italian. I spent two weeks holiday in Italy and they understood me.

As the years passed, I immigrated to Switzerland, met Mr. Swiss and decided to have a family. I learnt how to bring up children who also went to school. I found I hated the school system in Switzerland even more than that in England. They had Saturday morning school, you know the day when you do not do anything you have to. The week-end, reserved for some shopping, relaxing and even spending more time in bed on Saturday morning. The Swiss school system was based on sending your children every morning to school. On Sunday they were allowed to stay at home. There are also the complicated time tables. Your children do not go to school at the same time and come home at the same time, it depends how old they are and which class they visited. With four children this was complicated. One child still at home, and the other three coming and going all through the week, each child needing mummy to be there when he/she came home or left.

You were also expected to help them with homework. I remember my mum gave up with that when I started bringing Algebraic problems and Pythagoras home. My dad knew how to do it, but he did it different to the way I was taught at school. His mathematics were more based on football permutations and working out the odds on horse racing bets. I did actually understand my children’s homework, even if it was in German. When it came to correcting grammar, I passed it on to Mr. Swiss. Somehow I got this all behind me one day, but I found sending others to school was more tiring than when I visited school myself.

One fine day my kids did not need me anymore. Some had moved out (I even helped them to go) and others were thinking about it. Now I began to catch up on the things I always wanted to do. I learnt Russian at evening classes for about twelve years, and did a year Arabic. German I learnt as a side-line because I had to, living in Switzerland. I even found the six years French I learnt came in handy.

Summing all this up, I do not miss school, but even as a golden oldie I found it is never too late to learn. My last escapade was Tai Chi, but that was more a necessity to keep me moving. I learnt how to drive a car at the age of forty. I learnt how a computer works and how to do a web site at the age of fifty. I have discovered in life it is never too late to learn anything really. You just have to want to.

Daily Prompt: Fifteen Credits

How to do a Pingback

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Daily Prompt: Back to School

If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MASTERY.

Jesuit Church, Solothurn

Not that I ever wanted to be an architect, but the ceiling of the Jesuit Church in the town of Solothurn, Switzerland is the perfection of mastery.

Photography is the subject I would like to master. We always had a camera at home in the dark ages, but they were only used for holiday snaps. No great Ansell Adams works of art. You took the film to the local chemist and had it developed. After a week the result was delivered and either you took a perfect photo of your thumb that was hovering over the lens, or you had the objects you wanted. Taking photos of landscapes, buildings, events were not the thing to do. You had a photo of mum, dad, aunt Lil, cousin Steve and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all.

Eventually my chance came, digital photography was invented and I was no longer restricted to holiday and family photos. It was Mr. Swiss that brought home the first digital camera. When he bought his second better camera I became the hand-me-down for the first camera. That was the beginning. I was taking photos of everything that moved. My turnover in photography was double Mr. Swiss turnover after the first month. Over time I progressed to a bigger better camera and enlisted for a course at the local day/evening school. I still did not have a DSLR camera, but a so-called “bridge” camera which was a sort of interim solution before the DSLR.

After the course the time had come for the DSLR. I was annoying the felines with taking photos when they were eating, sleeping, walking, and fighting to the extent that they hid when they saw me coming with a camera. They were not keen on close-ups, I was in paw distance and that could be dangerous. I was taking photos of food, flowers in the garden and even the insects started to hide when I approached with the camera.

In the meanwhile I was saving and eventually the time had come when I announced to the family and felines that I was ready for the DSLR camera. Everyone uttered a sigh of relief realising that the days when I was breathing down everyone’s neck with the camera were almost gone. With the DSLR and long range lens I could take my close-ups with a twiddle of the lens. Armed with Mr. Swiss, for support, we visited the local handler and afterwards a few thousand Swiss francs lighter, I became the proud possessor of a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera with two lenses. My felines were happy not having a camera stuck under their noses every so often. I could stand back and take my monumental prize-suspicious shots. I still have to get close for a good insect/flower photo, as the macro zoom does not work so well from a distance. Oh yes, I am saving now for a macro lens. I learnt in my course that a proper macro should be taken with a proper macro lens.

I enlisted for two further photo courses at the local school with my new camera. Both were cancelled due to too little interest, but I have not yet given up.

Of course, I had to find something to fill in the time when I was not learning to take my prize winning photos. In between I studied Arabic for a year, but had to give up. That one really got me. I learnt to write and read arabic, but unfortunately Arabic is not Arabic. Every arab country seems to speak its own dialect, even own sort of Arabic language. Learning high Arabic was OK, but it seems it is only spoken on radio and TV, or in the Gulf States.

I managed twelve years Russian while I was bringing up the kids and working a full time job: once a week for three hours in the evening. This was one of my teenage ambitions. I stopped about ten years ago, but can still read and write Cyrillic and hold a basic conversation with a Russian lady that works on the till at the local supermarket. I also found Russian to be a key to understanding Serbo-Croat, Slovenian and Serbic or how they are all called. Ex Yugoslavian languages all seem to have their basis in Russian.

What else did I learn? My cats taught me Meow, so now I know when a plate of tuna fish is required and when the cat tray has to be emptied. I even learned to cook and enjoy it; Swiss/French/German/Itallian style and can still knock up a plate of fish and chips English style.

I attended a dress making course fifteen years, one a week three hours in the evening and at this time made all my own clothes. There was a reason for this. The boutiques and dress shops did not realised that there was a species of tall women with strange proportions, so I decided to do it myself. Today I can buy jeans in all sizes and my need for wider shapeless clothing for the top is covered.

My life seems to have been one long educational trip. I have been permanently mastering all my life. I am now in the golden oldie stage. I think I saw an advertisement at the local evening school advertising a course in quantum physics which would be something completely different.

Daily Prompt: Back to School

Daily Prompt: Alma Mater

You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater — about the path of life. (Whoa.) Draft the speech.

Kantijazz 027

Our local high school big band

I have been asked to speak on a serious matter, something concerning how your future life will develop, the individual paths that you will take. I did not ask to be asked, it just happened, so now listen to what I have to say.

The first fact is that none of you have anything to lose. If you are from a wealthy family, then you have less to lose, so you can take your risks as you feel like it. Daddy will pay. If daddy does not pay, then you will have to pull yourself together and start thinking for yourself which puts you in the same position as those that do not have such a rich family to back them up.

Stay cool at all times. If your colleagues are spending their time in the bar, or having a joint in their spare time, then they are the wrong friends, so avoid them or do not tell mummy or daddy. Such complications are not necessary on the way and this would shorten your path of life considerably. Look around you and observe your surroundings carefully.

Take into consideration if your town, or country, is what you want. Read the newspapers, see what is happening in other countries. Distance today is not a problem. Just think it over and decide where you want to go. Do not ask your parents what they think, they will want to keep you where you are probably. It is your life now and you have to make the choice.

If you decide to stay where you are, then look at the opportunities you have in your surroundings and make use of them. Your learning process does not finish here, this is just the beginning.

You can do anything you want, but it is up to you to take the path and go on your way. No-one will do it for you.

Reflecting on my own past, I spent many years at this establishment. At the time I found it a drag to be learning and taking examinations, but today I am glad I persevered. I am not a millionaire but my path was fruitful (with two children). Time goes quicker than you think, so prepare yourself for a path that will turn and twist for many years, it will rise and sink. You may marry, have a family, but afterwards the path continues. Life is a learning process until the end.

With these wise words, I will close my speech. Those of you that smoke, there are ash trays for your convenience just outside the entrance, please do not drop your cigarette ends on the floor. If any of you would like a few private words with me filling in the gaps left in this memorable speech, you can meet me in half an hour at the local bar, where we can discuss matters in a relaxed atmosphere.

Daily Prompt: Alma Mater

Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.


Not very difficult, considering that most buildings were bombed flat in the East End of London during the second world war. It was in the dock area which was a dangerous place to be between 1939 and 1945. The schools were evacuated out to the country, where it was safer. However what the bombs did not destroy the builders did although after I had left London for Switerland. The actual school was half in the City of London and was founded as some sort of charity school some time in the 18th century. Not really sure anymore why and how. It was a grammar school and I qualified for entry when I was 11 years old, having passed my 11+ scholarship exam as it was then known. I spent my school days there between the years 1959-1964.

It was a girls only school. The masculine part also existed, but in another area. Reflecting I must say we did have a good education and they did a good job of getting us through the GCE examinations as they were then known. The photo is a class photo, taken in our playground, as they all were. And me? – in the second row from the front, fifth from the left. Yes I was the tallest and I remember that when they took a class photo they always started with me in the middle and sort of planned everyone around me. It was a very old building in the middle of Spitalfields Fruit and Vegetable market. Memories remain of our morning break outside in the playground, being bombarded by soggy tomatoes and smelly oranges from the market boys thrown over the wall. It was an interesting place to go to school, just about ten minutes walk from the bank center of London.

We were all girls from the East End of London, cockneys if you like, so of course the school had the job of forming us into young ladies. I do not know if they succeeded. I still have my cockney accent if I am not careful, but living in another country I had to speak my english clearly for the foreigners to understand, although today I am bilingual in German and english, so no further problem. We had quite a high jewish percentage of girls in the school meaning that the morning assembly was divided into two places. We had our assembly in the main hall, and the jewish girls had theirs in the room. School dinners existed although I would take my own food and could eat it in a room provided for the girls that brought their own sandwiches and whatever. The jewish girls also had their own kitchen which prepared kosher food. I remember their cutlery and plates being marked with a large “K”.

The Main Hall

main hall

This hall is the only part of the school still standing, and the last I heard it had been converted into a French restaurant. The complete market no longer exists as such and has been redeveloped as one of the nicer parts of London to visit, especially if you are a tourist. As you can see the hall was also our gymnastic area. In the morning we would have benches to sit on. There was a stage at the far end where the headmisstress would read something religious from the bible, the music teacher would play the piano and we would all sing a few hymns. Those were the olden days.

As I said we had a dining room, quite large, with a stage. The teachers would eat on a table on the stage and the girls would eat in the surroundings.

dining room cfs

So farewell Central Foundation School for girls, Spitalfields. Everything has to go eventually. The fruit and vegetable markets of London have moved out of London. I is all part of modern London. I grew up playing on bombed out buildings, remember London with war ruins, but eventually all was remodernised. I still know my way around London, I am a Londoner, but it is no longer the London I knew. I left in 1966 and when I return it is a bit of a shock. Something somewhere is different. You just cannot stop so-called progress I suppose. I could have written this blog about my infants school. That still exists but is now a boy’s school. My next school was a so-called primary school. That was also in the East End of London and no longer exists. It was demolished to make way for housing, appartment blocks which I would not qualify as the quality of life. So goodbye school years.

And yes, we have our own private little site in Facebook, where I took the photos, which all have their copyright sign on them. The school class photo is mine, the only one I have from the school.

The remains of the school

Central Foundation Girls school, Spital Square

Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground