1966: Finding friends for life.

Thursday 21st April 1966

In 1966 the World Cup was about to be ours but at the time I was more interested in playing than watching it on the television. A Thursday in April would have been a fairly typical school day for this 7 year old. By now I would have been in Mrs Hayman’s class in the old bit of school. During that year a few memorable events stand out that wouldn’t have occurred exactly on this day but typified the education we received and had a lasting part to my life.

This diary page therefore combines events of different days in to one dream like day that represents school in 1966.

We caught the bus from the bus stop by the island. The fish was outside Frank’s Chipper when we stood under his front door keeping dry from the rain. The big boys were in the bus shelter and we didn’t go there. I went upstairs and got a seat at the front. Ian Barton was given the bus roll by the driver. The bus missed the trees on Green lane but they will soon hit the window when we go past. When we got to school we went straight into the game. Before school it is easy to score goals because the Hallen bus doesn’t get here ‘til later.

We always start the day with assembly. Colin Done was told off for talking again. We had to sing hymns but the older boys just giggle and we all get told off. We are making a model of the Severn Bridge. It will open in September and our bridge is red and very big. (This would have been nearer the date). At ten o’clock we did music and dancing in the bottom room. The radio is turned on and we have to pretend to be trees and things like that while the music plays. Today, while I was a kettle, Mrs Studley came into to school with her boy Christopher and their dog Mitzie. Christopher would be joining our class and I had to be his friend. He has glasses and is very very clean. I had to call him Christopher in full. That’s O.K. because my Mum always says I am Richard, not Rich and definitely not Dick. He has moved to our school from Northwick. He lives in the new houses in Vicarage Road.

At break we played on the full pitch in the playground. We won 8-6.

After break I had the job of handing out the Milk. This meant I had two because Hazel Miller never has her milk and gave it to me. We did some writing about trees and the wind. Next came sums and I did the times table test before everyone else.

For dinner we had cabbage and meat. I don’t know what sort of meat it was but I covered it with gravy that was good. It was prunes and custard for pudding. I just had custard. We finished first and Mr Lewis let us go early. We won the football 12 -8 and I scored 1. Choke and one of the Scriven’s had a fight. Everyone got round and shouted Fight! Fight! Fight! until Mr Lewis came and broke it up. I just carried on playing football.

After dinner we had gym in the hall. We had to do dance moves and fill the corners of the room with shapes and rubbish stuff like that. I can do backward rolls but don’t like doing forward ones. The girls are good at doing hand stands and cartwheels. I don’t see the point and don’t do them.

After Gym we had story time. Some of the class just go to sleep until they get shouted at for not following the book. We have to share a book. To stay awake I read as much as I can to the rest of the class. The others moan when I read. I think they must be bored.

Gerald went home on the bus and was told to tell Mum I was walking home. She knew I was going to Clem’s to get gobstoppers. We then went with Mark Humphries to watch the trains going through the tunnel. We go up the bank by his house and wave at the trains. When I got home I had to tell Mum what we did. I told her we won 20-14 and I had a new friend and I saw three trains.

pilning school football

Our Pilning School Football Team C 1968

Timmy Miller, Chris Kettle, Gippo, Greener, Dibby, Cooky

Three older boys, Me, Nunny

Colin Brown and Studs (Without his glasses)

Chris Studley (Studs) became my best friend throughout school and beyond. We still meet up at cricket matches and I count him as the best of mates. We were lucky enough to have similar interests even though he was a City fan. We played in school teams together. He was in the same classes, if not always the same form group. We were pretty inseparable at Patchway School. He taught me many a lesson. Let me give you one example. At Patchway I was throwing my weight around in a playground football match when he came up to me and quietly said that I was a being a bully. He must have talked to his Mum about this and no doubt she told him to do that. It hurt badly that Chris thought that of me and I had a long sulk but apologised as quickly as I could. I like to think I stopped any form of playground bullying right there and then. His house and his friendship was my junior school escape. A long bike ride with Chris, or playing around the garages at his house, were things that I did and no one else in our street or family could. I owe him thousands of car lifts because in later teenage years he had the car that got us to pubs and beyond. Marriage and jobs took us in different directions, that was more my loss than his.

 pilning school today 2Our school playground today.

 The Music / dance lesson was in the right hand room. Mrs Hayman’s class was in the middle.

I am still not sure whether Pilning School was good at the time. I know it was good for me personally because there was enough flexibility for this youngster to do much as he liked and I was never forced to do much I didn’t. I look back after 20 plus years as a teacher and recognise many of the issues of a relatively large village school undergoing modernisation at the time. The curriculum had far too much music and creative thinking than would be allowed today. Eventually the school was split as the new Severn Beach School took us off in our sixth year. By then the school had many of us not only in ability based classes but also in mixed year groups. Many of my year were taught, in what is now Year 5, with pupils who were at least a year older. I know that when we went up and met again at Patchway High the top sets and school sports teams were disproportionately full of Pilning school pupils. My teachers  ranged from newly trained teachers like Miss Eccles and her Bun and Messrs Winfield and Taylor to traditionalists like Mrs Hayman and Mr Lewis. I had 3 men out of 5 class teachers. How many schools have that nowadays? The school did a lot of dividing of pupils. Singers or instrument players? Choir or Football? Bright or not so bright? Artists or actors? It is no coincidence that as well as filling top classes Pilning Boys and Girls also had a large representations in the AD end of ADWINTLE streaming at Patchway.

On this day:-

1976       Filton School L 0-1

1977       Filton School W 30no

1981       Swansea H 1-2

2001       Oxford H 6-2

2003       Oxford A 1-0

2007       Lincoln H 0-0

2009       Essex in the morning and Brighton H 1-2

2010       Sussex

2012       Port Vale A 0-1

2014       Rochdale H 1-2

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