And here is the news (1)……

I thought just for once I would keep you in the loop about what I am doing at the moment. As some of you will know, I am trying to become an author. I used to be a French teacher at Nottingham High School and on their 500th anniversary in 2013, I masterminded a book about the occasion. Helped enormously by lots and lots of other people, I managed to persuade both boys and staff, if they so wished, to write 100 words describing just one minute in their day. These were all put together to produce an account from 12.23 am to 23.57 pm….

From the beginning…

“I’m at my desk having a coffee and waiting for the arrival of unwell, injured or just Friday tired boys. I never know what real or imagined symptoms will come in but I am prepared – a headache, a grazed knee or a sore throat or it could be one of the more ‘interesting’ ones –a tick attached to a scalp from an adventurous trip to the Cheviots which needs removing, a glass pipette that has gone straight through a finger or just someone that needs a chat and encouragement– coffee drunk, ready to go!”

to late morning…

“I have double maths and I myself think I am doing very well that day.  Firstly, I finish off a piece of work from the day before called C2 temperature. Then I move on to Junior Maths. I finish that pretty quickly and what I have to do is use a ruler and write out the number of centimetres in our books for sections A B and C. Finally I move on to exercise eleven point two. I only do two questions on that because it is a bit more complicated. “

to very late morning…

“I am practicing my handwriting. It is getting much better! We write with capital letters and full stops.”

the best bit of the day…

“12 noon.  It’s Friday.  Fish and Chip day!!  Probably the most popular day in the School dining hall!!

After lunch, a brisk stroll around the Arboretum with a colleague, admiring the sunny spring-like day and the hundreds of spring flowers starting to push their way through for another cycle of life.
Who’d have thought that less than a week ago the Arboretum (and a lot of the entire country) was smothered in 4 inches of snow?”

An exciting afternoon

“2.20  We are told that a visitor is coming into school. We find out that this person is a Para Olympian who swam for the Australian team in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic games.

Elizabeth Wright shows us the medals; they looked amazing. I have the pleasure of asking questions about how she began swimming and about her disability. This is an amazing insight to a Olympian lifestyle.”

Boys just think about food…

“I am having my dinner and I am having chicken nuggets. They are my favourite!”

Some think deep thoughts…

“As I gaze up and stare in awe at the School building, my mind drifts back through the years to ponder over what the first lesson will have been like 500 years ago.   A few children with some desks in their local church learn about their world whilst a gentle snow flurry comes down outside.  Nevertheless, the school looks grand; as its size and majestic architecture dwarf the people who inhabit it.  Each brick, each tile and each window are testament to a different age and the people of it.”

Some perhaps not quite as deep..

“I am eating my sausages with chips and I’m getting very full.”

The book was used to raise money for charity and it did quite well. It’s still there on Amazon but I don’t know if it still sells. The cover was a photograph taken by a young man called Rishabh Motiwale:

As you know, my second venture was “Nottingham High School : an Anecdotal History”. Details about that, and my plans for the future in the next blog post.
















Filed under History, Nottingham, The High School

23 responses to “And here is the news (1)……

  1. The deep thinker will go far – I hope

  2. This was a great idea, John. Visions into the minds of teenage boys! Some thoughtful and some typical!

  3. What a fabulous way to record the history of the school. There certainly are some very deep thinkers there and some not so deep, a real mix of characters that are reflected in the buildings fabric.

  4. Wonderful idea and good that you got so many responses.

  5. Success in your writing endeavors, John 🙂

    • Thank you. As most of us find out though, many are called, but few are chosen! I would say though, that with self-publishing and publish-on-demand at least we all get our chance. have also managed a really professional looking end product.

  6. What a wonderful way to document the narrative of the British Schoolboy! The ponderings of historical significance, balanced by the implication of ‘fish and chip day’ was a particularly nice touch.

  7. Fish and chips on Friday was quite clearly just a succinct coded reference to our fish days before the Reformation and the actions of Henry VIII. Never underestimate a chip eater!

    Look forward to hearing your plans – I thought you already were an author. 🙂

  8. Great idea! One has to wonder what students would have written about 200 years ago. Food would probably still be a popular subject. 🙂

    • I’m sure it would have been. And probably military matters of some kind as they were all boys. Wellington, Napoleon, the Battle of Waterloo perhaps but, yes, food would have been top of the list!

  9. Great idea. Was there much editing of scandals and libel?

    • No, nothing at all although I did refuse to includes around a dozen which were clearly conceived just to show off and/or shock the reader. I also left most of the spelling mistakes as I thought that they might be of interest to somebody in 2513. I’m still not sure if that was the right thing to have done.

  10. Describing one minute in their day, that sounds very interesting. Regards 🙂

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