3231 days ago
I was chatting to a chap in the grim North today. Snow was falling and he said that at 7 AM this morning with less than an inch of global warming on the ground the kids had been texted: School is closed. We reflected how life had changed.
Even during the winter of 1979, I cannot remember Warwick School for Boys shutting down. When we are at the junior school snow meant that Headmaster Jack Marshall would allow us to wear long trousers rather than our normal shorts. It could have been minus 5 but if there was no snow, it was shorts as normal for the younger boys.
If the rugby pitches were covered in snow we played anyway. Snow is soft. When snow turned to ice it was a freezing cross country run instead. Boy did I hate that.
The point is that the school never closed. And snow meant snowballs which is not quite the harmless game it sounds. The sixth form would amass on the centre of a rugby pitch and the rest of the school would advance from a car park to throw snow balls. And then in snatch parties, as in the army, the brutes would rush out and try to catch an advancing “nipper” who would promptly find himself having snow shoved up
3330 days ago
The nature of my mother’s death has been raised by certain “admirers” of mine on Bulletin Boards, the circumstances of my Aunt’s death I have mentioned en passant here before. There are no secrets in the era of the interweb. Both deaths were mentioned in an article by their brother, my Uncle Chris (Booker) in the Daily Mail last week. Slowly I read it early on Saturday morning as it brought a number of thoughts to the surface. Matters not suppressed just forgotten or not reflected upon for a long while. My mother killed herself. My aunt was murdered. There you have it. A shocking couple of sentences.
My mother died when I was eight and my sisters seven and five. She had become terribly depressed in that amazing sun drenched year of 1976 and – as I discovered only later – first tried to end her life at the height of summer while the rest of us were out walking. My father found her, revived her but thereafter she was confined to various hospitals in Northamptonshire, Banbury and finally in Oxford, the City where she had studied, met my father and where I was born. I saw her once that autumn at the Trout at Godstow and she seemed happy. She clearly was not and within weeks she had hanged herself. I remember being taken out of class by a lovely teacher who was almost in tears as she told me that my mother was dead. I cannot remember how I felt or what happened next. I did not find out how she died until I was fourteen.
Not having a mother was a little unusual in those days