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01 Oct2016

With reference to Mike Capey's entry on 21/9/16.

The lone boy was noticed as Brian was saddened to see him leave. I wonder why Brian did not acknowledge the boy and allow him to leave with some comfort.
It saddens me to think that Mike considers this would 'figure in the final chapter of the book'.

The fact is the legacy that Windsor left on that boy may have stayed with him for some time and perhaps still does.

The truth is not everyone enjoyed the camaraderie that appears on this forum. I wonder how that boy would feel if he read Mike's entry now?

I know this will be unpopular but I felt compelled to write it to let others who felt alone at Windsor know they were not the only one in that position. I know because I was one of them.

One important thing I learnt at Windsor was to include the outsider and allow them the dignity and respect that they deserve.

Yes Brian, being alone is a sad place to be.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

2 Oct 2016

It is quite appropriate that you should bring this negative aspect of boarding school life to our attention. The WGS/WBS experience was certainly not for everyone. I well remember some nasty examples of unkindness towards day pupils during my time at WGS. I taught in Germany for 20 years and occasionally met up with former WGS pupils in other SCS schools. Some of them were certainly glad to be out of the Hamm system.

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

2 Oct 2016

In my researching for the history I have come across comments from those who were not happy at Hamm. A variety of reasons. The key book for experiences at boarding schools in the period is Royston Lambert's Hothouse Society. He visited WBS and WGS in the mid 60s. The book records the views of students at boarding schools in Britain and I can see clear similarities with WBS/WGS. It is clear from comments in Concordia that the day/boarder divide was a problem in the 70s.If anyone wants to write to me about problems at the schools please do. I will absolutely ensure anonymity.

Steve Green (C66-69)

2 Oct 2016

Thanks again Bill for keeping this site going. I catch up on it regularly and read the posts. I'm really sad to read that some people were so unhappy! I certainly never saw any divide between boarders/day pupils in the 70's. I so hope that the people that carry such bad memories, have the support to resolve them, and are able to move forward in a positive way. I have really great memories of my time at Windsor, and really enjoy meeting up with people at the reunions.I hope that more people will come to the next reunions, so that they can share things, especially a glass of Joy!
Kind regard to all

Julie Preston (E78-81)

4 Oct 2016

Anyone see the BBC4 documentary (on last night?3rd October) featuring the BAOR period starting after the war? I was there from 59 to 67 (last five years at WBS).... it brought back memories. If you missed it, it should be on iPlayer somewhere. Worth watching

Tony Jobber (C63-67)

7 Oct 2016

Julie, If you check back through the years of postings upon this site, you will discover quite a number of WGS people who did not enjoy themselves and a 'glass of joy' will not be a solution.

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

8 Oct 2016

Colin Hawthorne

Thank you for having the integrity to acknowledge that some who attended Windsor found life difficult and that it was due to the culture there.

You have my sincere respect and gratitude

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

9 Oct 2016

Thanks Julie for your posting which was so sympathetic to the feelings of those who did not like WGS. No school is without it's problems and WBS had its fair share in 1960. It should be mainly up to the head and especially the staff to constantly monitor and try to remedy the situation as I believe the Wylie years attempted to do at WBS. However even those changes, although for the better, produced their own problems so even then the staff had to be 'on their toes'. Of course I could not, and would not, even attempt to speak for WGS. However I did try, as I felt it was only natural, to have lots of contact with WGS students and staff via teaching mixed and all-WGS classes, mixed hockey, D of E, Rambling Club and so on but have little idea of the day-to-day running of the school. Maybe it would be of interest to Steve if those ex-WBS students who disliked the school said so on this site.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

9 Oct 2016

There was a song by Alan Sherman about when I first went to WBS called Hello Mudder Hello Fadder and it reflects my experience perfectly. It was my first time away from home, I entered the dorm and had a pair of boxing gloves thrown at me by ( I found out later) one of the house boxing champions who proceedeed to beat me up. Just like the song though I began to realise the possibilities of being there and although times were sometimes tense (mostly toward the end of term) I am glad that I went there.

Bill Craswell (C62-65)

9 Oct 2016

I was really astonished to read Isabella's response to my contribution. I never said that the final student who left the hall was 'lonely'. I used the word 'lone' meaning simply, that whereas others had left , sometimes in groups, the boy who finally left was by himself - perhaps after a tremendously happy time at Windsor School - who knows? He may well have got into a car with his parents and said "Do you know, Dad and Mum, I think I was the last to leave- the teachers were just jaberring on - but I marked the moment when the Windsor School, one of the best schools in the world, finally came to and end."
That was my intention, Isabella, to mark the final moment of the school's existence. Brian was simply sad that the moment had been ignored - probably by teachers just jabbering on.
Having spoken to him this evening. he confirms that it was just that- teachers just jabbering on...
The response of Isabella may be irrelevant as far as my intention - to mark the end of an era - is concerned, but I wholly agree with her that there are many issues about boarding school education , highlighted, as Steve Green says, in the research of Royston Lambert (the celebrated Headmaster of Dartington Hall) which included Windsor School in the 60's. I had the good fortune to meet with him at the time, though I recall he really was more interested in speaking to the students. Rightly so. He even said he didn't want to talk to the headteacher.
On a personal note, I was sent , in 1947 aged 11, travelling alone by train , having to change trains at Eastleigh to a boarding school near Newbury, at the age of eleven, to be met by a headmaster who never turned up; seeing my parents only in brief holidays of the year, with no phone contact in term time, and just weekly letters which were vetted by staff. I can assess, I think, the difference between my (often unhappy) experience of being away from my family for seven years and being entombed with perhaps fifteen other boys in the same dormitory, from the (I believe mostly happy) experience of those of Windsor Boys School
The Windsor School closed in 1983. The Windsor Society website, thanks to Bill and all those who wish to celebrate the school, continues to the present. What other school, for Heavens Sake, has ever done this?!!
The response so far to my initial contribution have come from WGS students. I would be interested to hear from those at WBS about unhappiness at the school. I think that Mike Wylie would have had serious concerns about this.
But then, I was simply a teacher, jabbering on. Perhaps I need to be made aware about all this?

Mike Capey (C63-70)

9 Oct 2016

To Mike Capey

I am also astonished to read your response to my entry, It makes me feel the way I did when I was at WGS - unable to voice an opinion without being penalised which is one reason I was so unhappy there.
Maybe I did misinterpret your entry but the wording reflected how I felt when I was trapped in that environment.
I do have a copy of 'The Hothouse Society' by Royston Lambert.

I seldom make an entry because it appears to be a minority with rose tinted glasses who use this site on a regular basis.
Is it so difficult to accept that WGS was not Utopia for everyone who went there?

If you look there are other schools who do maintain social websites. I attended a school in London which was exceptional back then and maintains top ratings now.

I have the greatest respect for Bill maintaining this website and it should be commended. Thank you.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

11 Oct 2016

Just got back from the dentist having had a tooth pulled out and abscess cleaned out.
Today was a damned sight more civilized than what I went through at WBS when I got back from a half-term weekend with a little niggle in my front tooth. A sleepless night and and at rising bell my face had swollen up. Mr. Ross took one look at me and despatched me to sick bay where Sister Malloy packed me straight into bed. That afternoon the dentist arrived from Munster, prescribed antibiotics (jab in the bum every morning and evening plus three tablets a day) and told Sister Malloy to keep an eye on me. I spent 5 days slipping in and out of delerium - apparently my parents visited me but I can't remember their presence. Anyhow, come the following Sunday morning, Sister Malloy inspected my mouth and ran, yes ran, down the corridor. About an hour later the dentist had arrived in full dress uniform and said the abscess was to be lanced. This involved me being helped down to the surgery room where I was lifted onto the table and laid face up with my head dangling over the end a
nd my mouth open. Quote "This will hurt!" He was not kidding. He lanced the abscess with a scalpel, no anethesetic, no messing about, just wallop - job done. The pain was excruciating for about a second and then complete relief as the pressure was released and the damned thing drained. It tasted and smelled foul.
On returning to lessons a day or two later I was not expecting much sympathy but one particular runt of a technical drawing teacher demanded to know where the hell I had been when I was supposed to be at his lesson the previous week.
That was him off my Christmas card list along with my Housemaster who was a pain in the 'arris to me as well.
So, all in all over the years WBS wasn't too bad to me - particularly after Mr. Wylie arrived and our Housemaster was replaced - but I still adopted the attitude of being "the grey man" to keep out of trouble most of the time.

Malcolm Graham (E60-65)

11 Oct 2016

Malcolm (better not call you 'The Wee Malkie' for fear of getting a 'Glesga kiss' I enjoyed your dental story because it reminded me of yet another occasion when I caused a furore through no fault of my own.

After having my Heaf Test in sick bay I came out in a humungous blister which caused a panic. I was duly put on a bus to BMH Munster for chest X rays as they concluded that I may pollute the place with TB (well it was my sister who had caused the meningitis after all). When the results came back negative they were bewildered to say the least. They contacted my father who was stationed at the said hospital only to be informed that there was nothing to worry about as I was given the necessary vaccination at 1 week old as he was in hospital with TB when I was born.

It is those kind of memories that allow me to laugh at my WGS day!

The whole incident did not do me any favours and probably contributed to twigs getting put in my shoes by the house mistress - and yes that really did happen!

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

12 Oct 2016

I was also intrigued by Malcolm Graham's posting about his WBS days. To adopt the persona of 'the grey man' and' to keep out of trouble'. This is not really an endorsement of SCEA Boarding School experience is it ? Do you know it reminds me of a character i saw in the stage musical "Chicago" who described himself in words and music as "Mr Cellophane"- yes, he was never seen or acknowledged - he became invisible and off no account.

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

12 Oct 2016

I was amused by Colin's interpretation of the 'grey man' as Malcolm is certainly vocal in this forum!

Did Malcolm find himself after he left WBS? Was he 'feared o a skelp fi the hard nosed Scotsman'? Or is it easy to be vocal when hiding in cyberspace?

It's over to you Malcolm...... and any of his fellow students ......

Please DO NOT be offended as I am a total oddball with a mad sense of humour!!!!

I just enjoy the banter and pleased to see some activity on this site.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

 

12 Oct 2016

Good evening Malcolm. Thank you for your rapid and honest response.

In some ways we are similar - we both had reason to stand out at Windsor - your age and my sister. Your dad had the look while mine had the voice - they shared the same moral principles. My dad believed that a parent that resorted to skelping had failed as a parent and he voiced it often.

At the start of my working life I had 2 excellent employers. The first was a millionaire in Jersey and he treated me like family. The second was in the NHS - my manger was recognised as being at the top of his game. He took me under his wing and taught me the work ethic I have today. Unfortunately the hospital closed and I was made redundant.

Since then I have drifted from job to job in a variety of work settings but I have never found a manager who met with the standards I had come to expect although I have received recognition for my efforts. I do respect individualism but will not tolerate blatant bad practice.

I have been working in a dementia unit where the service users are particularly vulnerable and some of the practices I have seen are so appalling that I have made a Public Interest Disclosure and an investigation is on going.

While we are very different personalities I believe that we actually have quite a lot in common - 'do the right thing because it is the right thing to do'

With kind regards Isabella

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

13 Oct 2016

Had not intended to get involved but as my wife often points out 'once a teacher .....' It's obvious that neither Isabella nor Malcolm could be classified as sellophane people. They both Care, with a capital C, and the attitude instilled by their parents seems the right one to me. Good that Malcolm acknowledges that some of it came from his time at WBS as well. It may not have been obvious at the then but I always tried to get the students to have this independence. Don't be afraid to have a go, express your opinions and be prepared to fight your corner but always bear in mind how it might affect others. Probably would be considered as old-fashioned nowadays but being honest to yourself and others has always been important to me. And banter? Yes please the more there is the better. Yes even Maths lessons should be enjoyable especially for those who do not find the subject easy. Sorry Maths again but I just can't help it. The comments from students, staff and parents
in the books of 'memories' given to me when I left WBS and also in Copenhagen when I retIred in 1999 I find a very touching source of reassurance that convinces me that I had some effect. Love the nostalgia too. Isabella the 'twigs in the shoe' story really upset me that somebody 'in loco parentis' could act in this way. However Malcolm, Molly Malloy running takes some believing. Hope your latest dental visit sorted itself out more quickly.
Apologies if this is too 'teacherish'.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

13 Oct 2016

Yes Geoff it is true. Sister Molloy did run, believe me. An amazing sight, God bless her. There were witnesses, I think Dave Hawkins was one? It made me realise how serious my problem was.

Malcolm Graham (E60-65)

14 Oct 2016

Mr Hern Sir!

I don't think you ever fitted into the 'Sir' category! Old fashioned you may be but it is obvious that you still maintain absolute respect from your former students and that your methods were exceptional - you probably stood out like Malcolm and myself - but for all the right reasons. I wish you had been at WGS as it may have given me a different perspective - and that is sincere.

A question for you and not maths - the teacher who put the twigs in my shoes told me that I was 'inebriated by the exuberance of my own verbosity' - is that still the case Sir? Isabella

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

14 Oct 2016

Hi Malcolm,

Just wondering if you have had any thoughts on the latest 'banter' (light hearted conversation where there may be the odd jibe with no harm intended - the type you hear in the average Scottish public bar) iZZZi

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

14 Oct 2016

Mr Hern mentioned 'in loco parentis'. It might be that some who are unfamiliar with Latin (i.e. most people) do not know this tag- so familiar to the teaching fraternity. It actually means "in place of a parent". I suppose that it refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organisation to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. Originally derived from English Common Law, it allows schools to act in the best interests of pupils as they see fit. In my early days as a schoolteacher (in the sixties ....long before the arrival of Google), I thought it was a description of 'mad parents'.

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

14 Oct 2016

Thank you for explaining 'loco parentis'.

I think the interpretation 'mad parenting' is funny but true - I could name some but the list would go on and on and on...........
and Bill probably wouldn't be able to publish it on the site. Isabella

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

15 Oct 2016

Sorry about the 'in loco parentis' folks. Blame Miss Moodie my Scottish (no less) Latin teacher of many moons ago.
Isabelle many thanks for your kind words they are much appreciated. I too would sincerely have liked to have been one of your teachers. We would, I am sure, not always seen eye-to-eye but I am also sure that both of us would have profited from the experience. I was often drawn to those students who did not quite 'fit in' to what could be of necessity a rather rigid system and they usually gave me far more than I gave them. For me teaching was like that (as I have written elsewhere) over 40 years of enjoyment (and employment) due mainly to the reactions of students to my strange ways. Oh dear I'm being nostalgic yet again. The 'inebriated by the exuberance of her own verbosity' says far more about the teacher than it does about you. Over the years I have met teachers who tried to write such 'smart' comments on reports and have never been impressed by it.
Advice from an old man 'Don't change but be careful that those who don't know you do not misinterpret what you say'. Remember the FYTP comment? The world needs more people like you and Malcolm. Working with those suffering from dementia is certainly far more demanding than teaching.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

16 Oct 2016

I wonder if anyone has a tale to tell about their experience on the train journeys to and from school?
I boarded the Hook train at Dalheim on the Dutch /German border(my dad was stationed at RAF Bruggen.) The train gradually picked up other Windsor scholars as it passed through the Ruhr towns of eg Krefeld,Duisburg,Essen and Dortmund.I remember once being diverted through Wuppertal and seeing the overhead railway. We were all usually pretty quiet on the way back to school!
Homecoming was naturally much more fun. We had a lad with us who played the accordion most of the way so lots of singing- mostly rugby songs and WW 11 German Army marching songs taught to us by the school bus drivers!! I think a train attendant gave us all a"packed lunch" comprising paste sandwiches and slab cake wrapped in grease proof paper and a green apple.
Train windows marked Nicht Hinaus Lehnen, soldiers with Red Circle flashes marked BERLIN, and soap in the toilets of a quality and smell the exact opposite of "wonderful pink Camay"

Geoff McPate (S53-57)

16 Oct 2016

Hi Geoff, Still teaching is good and keeps the brains of all concerned active - anyone who thinks they know every thing should exit the building.

My old dad always said if people agree all the time somebody is not telling the truth. I believe truer words has never been spoken. If you are not open to ideas you become stuck in a rut and should leave the building

The question is was Miss Moodie moody????

You don't know how right you are - I have been in trouble for my humour on numerous occasions - I never intend harm but that is not an excuse.

I once asked the Doc for a personality transplant and was told there was a long queue - I'm still waiting!!!!!!
Due to the way I understand the world I have asked about the 'A' word and been told labels are not helpful - what happened to choice?

Dementia and the benefits of WGS - residents quickly become institutionalised and forced to fit into the regime. Anyone who's a bit feisty does not go down well with people who have been in the job for years (and know all there is to know). The amount of times I have heard 'well that's communal living' by people who have never had the benefit of the experience.
I love the challenge of the feisty ones, who I generally agree with. 'Personhood comes from nature, nurture, experience, ethics and values. To understand the background simplifies care beyond belief.
When I started the job I heard a senior member of staff swearing at a resident and was shocked - the resident related to that better than over forms of communication - learning curve for me.
And yes I have been assaulted by residents - there frustration is generally at themselves as they see their abilities diminishing.

Never answer for someone with dementia unless you are absolutely sure they cannot do it for themselves - 'use it or lose it'.

Here ends todays lecture. Isabella

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

16 Oct 2016

Non of us are getting any younger and I think this poem speaks for so many elderly people.

The writer of this poem was unable to speak but was seen to write from time to time. A poem about her life found in her locker when she died.

A CRABBIT OLD WOMAN
What do you see nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me
A crabbit old woman, not very wise
Uncertain of habit, with far away eyes
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, I do wish you'd try
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
and forever is losing a stocking or shoe
Who unresisting or not lets you do as you will
with bathing and feeding the long day to fill
Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes nurse, you are not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still
As I use at your bidding, as I eat at your will
I'm a small child of ten, with a father and mother
Brothers and sisters who love one another
a young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet
A bride soon at twenty my heart gives a leap
Remembering the vows, I promised to keep

At 25 now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure happy home
A woman of30 my young now grow fast
Bound to each other with ties that should last
At 40 my young sons, now grown and will all be gone
But my man stays beside me to see I don't mourn
At 50 once more, babies play round my knees
Again we know children my loved one and me

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead
I look at the future, I shudder with dread
For my young are all busy, rearing young of their own
And I think of the years, and the love I have known
I'm an old woman now and nature is cruel
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool

The body it crumbles, grace and vigour depart
There now is a stone where I once had a heart
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells
And now and again, my battered heart swells
I remember the joys, I remember the pain
And I'm loving and living life over again
I think of the years, all too few - gone too fast
and accept the stark fact that nothing can last
So open your eyes nurse, open and see
NOT A CRABBIT PLD WOMAN, LOOK CLOSER - SEE ME

Kate

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

17 Oct 2016

'Oh dear it's him again' I can hear some of you saying. Sorry but my excuse is that I was at WBS for over three quarters of its life so I've lots of memories.
Geoff I did many assemblies and dispersals in my time but they were, in the main, uneventful when compared to my baptism at the time of the emergency 'flood' dispersal in 1960. I've mentioned it on here before and it went smoothly until the last group had to be left at Essen Hbf. However someone must have read the wrong timetable and the train breezed through and did not stop until Altenessen. A group of about 20 of us retired to the station buffet until the RTO sorted it out.
Izzy (I think I can call you that now that at last you call me Geoff. Christine still won't drop the Mr Hern!) My turn to ask a question or two. How old were you when you were at WGS? Have you absolutely no good memories of your time there - friends, staff, events etc? Or did all the negative stuff overwhelm everything else? Incidentally it occurred to me that one of the acronyms that I used when marking books fits the 'inebriated ...' quote perfectly. WALOC! Perhaps Christine, or someone from WBS, can help translate that for you if they are still reading this. Polite version please. The homespun philosophy, which is often mocked by 'those that know', that our fathers had often hits the nail on the head and remains with you throughout your life.
Maths - just put that in because I know you all expect it to be mentioned somewhere in my posts.
Please join in you others. What about those at WBS who found the experience an unhappy one? Maybe you are sick of seeing posts from me. Anything but please keep this site going. Remember the old Goon Show adage 'life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends upon what you ...'

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

17 Oct 2016

Even though I did not know you Mr Hern please don't stop posting on this site as I for one enjoy your posts. I know everyone did not enjoy their time at the Windsor Schools I for one only have fond memories of my time at WGS and though I have not been able to make contact with former house/class mates, I have been very lucky to have been to a couple of reunions in Australia and met former students who may or may not have been at school when I was there but I still felt a connection with them and we had a great time. I was lucky to meet Bill Craswell at one of these reunions and when my husband Trevor and I visited the UK in 2011 he and his wife kindly had us to stay for a couple of days. It really is a small world.

Maureen Press (nee Pulford)

17 Oct 2016

I was just wondering if an excessive indulgence in Mathematics gave one a HERNIA ?

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

17 Oct 2016

Bill, thank you for keeping the site going, i do enjoy reading the messages, it brings back a lot of happy memories for me.

Steph Southall (B78-80)

Thanks Steph & all others who posted messages of encouragement. - Bill

17 Oct 2016

Yup, it's him again. Where to start? Thanks for the kind words Geoff and Izzie but I'm not sure that they are deserved. I can be evilly crabbit at times.
Izzie's poem from Kate has confirmed my thoughts about my late mother. Dementia is a terrible thing and I pray that none of us have to suffer, but it's part of life I guess.
Yes, banter is definitely part of my life although it has got me into serious trouble with the PC brigade more than once - I will not get into detail here but one was my answer to a gardeners question in B&Q "Where can I find a spade?". Strange that the two Geoffs post in the same month re railways. When I was little at WBS I thought "loco parentis" was an Italian steam train. The Flood - what a great time was had by all - I missed the fun at Essen as I got off at Dortmund Hbf. Normal journeys home on the train could be chaotic. St. Trinians could have learned a lesson or two. Who came up with the idea of trying to set fire to streaming bog rolls out of the windows? Who ended up in Duisburg instead of Koln? I know not but if you are reading this it is now time to own up and take a detention. Agreed, the journeys TO school were much more subdued.

Malcolm Graham (E60-65)

17 Oct 2016

Only just found this site. Too much time on my hands,currently recovering from getting knocked off my bike by a white van man. Resulting in damage to my spinal cord. Five months in hospital,now relearning to walk and regain use and control of my hands. So please excuse any odd spellings etc.
School days the best days of your life,absolutely. Loved almost every minute of my time at WBS.Lots of familiar names Dave Mcgurk,Ray Cresswell,Stuart Bell,Vic Donaldson to name but a few.Housemasterat the time was Mr Ramsdale who I was fortunate enough to meet up with whilst he was teaching at JHQ and share a few legal beers with.Top man.So many happy memories that stood me in good steed for the big wide world.

Steve Fairgrieve (S74-76)

17 Oct 2016

Geoff, Of course you should call me iZZZi - it is unlikely that anyone would know me as Isabella anyway.

I was 12 when I arrived at WGS. I do have a few good memories but I am still learning to appreciate the benefits from them and look at the funny side of the bad ones.

I remember Matron Schroder who gave me support and made me feel protected when things were ate their worst - she was a wonderful lady and I still miss her.
Learning independence, budgeting and laundry at such a young age have been great life skills.
I remember doing detention with Mr Sarney - he knew I was struggling with maths and spent the time helping me to catch up.
Miss Blackman was not only a great teacher but she incorporated ethics and values into her lessons.
I had 2 good friends but contact with them suggests we no longer share the same interests - I still respect and cherish the memories.
My favourite memories are FREEDOM - doing track events at 5 AM while everyone was asleep, cross country running, DofE orienteering (we might have met).
I had a lovely boyfriend and I hope life has been good to him as he helped to make my life bearable.

I am still trying to scramble my way 'out of the sewer' but learning transfer is helping with that - light at the end of the tunnel.
When I started in the dementia unit a colleague said 'you have never woken up in a strange place with strange people and been afraid' WOW!
I was verbally 'gob smacked! punched in the pus! Glesga kiss!
That statement spoke volumes to me and I vowed that I would remember my first morning at WGS every day that I went to work and endeavour to ensure that the residents did not need to experience that fear if it was with in my ability to prevent it - I keep that at the centre of my care ethic.

Train journeys - when my sister absconded from WGS she only took essentials so I had kit X 2 to take home at end of term. I was standing in Hannover bahnhof surrounded by cases and the soldier who came to assist me questioned my luggage. When I explained my sister had 'legged it' he barked at me 'tell your sister the next time she legs it to take her stuff with her'. he stormed off with some case shouting and don't move. Another soldier turned up to help me and I explained that I was told not to move. He lifted the cases and told me to get a move on. The first soldier returned to collect me and I had disappeared - when he returned to the bus I took what I got.
I never told my parents about this for fear of what my father would do to those poor squaddies.
I never went by train again and I still praise DOG for that!

Who wrote a 'Comedy of Errors'?

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

17 Oct 2016

Hi Malcolm,

When I annotated Kate's poem I didn't really expect anyone to read it but you are right dementia is part of life and with the ageing population it is likely to increase.

I work in a home that has a 5***** rating from the Care Commission yet I see the care that Kate refers to on a regular basis and it truly saddens me. Families need to be vigilant and question anything they see that raises the slightest concern.

If I may move to a lighter mood I have another poem that some may have read before and would like to say it will apply to my old age but I think I have always been like this.

WARNING - WHEN I AM OLD I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
When I am old, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit on the pavement when I'm tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children,
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

By Jenny Joseph

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

17 Oct 2016

A lost opportunity:

I had been out and returned to the boarding block with a live frog which I thought was beautiful - I still love frogs - ricket ricket!

Some of the girls' were near hysterically at the sight of the poor wee beast who did nobody any harm. The housemistress came to see what the commotion was about and promptly ordered me and my new friend to leave the premises immediately!! Ricket ricket

When I returned I was lucky to escape hanging for the offence!!! Ricket ricket

Surely this was a missed opportunity to provide a lesson on the beauty of nature and how it should be respected? - I wonder if the teacher was as frighten as the girls?

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

 

18 Oct 2016

It's good to see Izzi back again, and such a dynamic set of postings from all concerned! WGS had good and bad sides for me. After being there for five years (the longest I had ever lived in one place in my life up till then), I was quite distressed to leave - but that doesn't mean that everything was wonderful and hunky dory while I was there.

We (my older sister and I) started two weeks before the end of the summer term in 1963 as there had been a "mistake" about getting us into school after we left Gibraltar, the plus side of which had been two months sort of holiday staying with my German grandmother. The first days at WGS I was bullied by one of the other girls in my dorm. I really didn't want to go back there in September but had no choice. Maybe it taught me to stand up for myself more, but I adapted better after that. I actually enjoyed the freedom to be myself, my parents (whom I love dearly) being very strict and with their own ideas of what I should do or be. I think that living away from them allowed me to find who I am.

One of the most negative aspects was being at a single sex school with no young male members in my immediate family, so I was very shy with boys and left WGS with some real problems coping with members of the other sex - I was really thrown in at the deep end at university. I could cope with the living in halls of residence and in a strange country, but - men?! I wasn't prepared for that.

I do remember Geoff (Mr Hern) - I went on some of the rambles in the Sauerland with the Windsor Society, which I enjoyed. There were some rubbish teachers, a couple who didn't like me and made my life hard - although I got my own back by actually doing better in my exams than they had predicted, but also a couple who encouraged me and were enlightened - in particular, I would include Barry Cummings in the latter group.

So my memories are mixed - some bad times, some good times, but they made me what I am today, so no regrets. Even the bad stuff - I only ever once got asked to dance by a boy in five years of going to dances, that gave me quite a complex. To make up for that, our French assistant asked me to dance at a house social, that impressed the girls anyway.

As to travel by train, I went on the train to Herford for the first three years, that was a special train, only for the Windsor schools. The second train, to Moenchen-Gladbach, was carriages added to a regular service - it used to amaze German passengers who tried to get on to our carriages when we stopped at stations en route! A touch of the St Trinian's - get out of our carriage, you're not allowed on!

Sadly, dementia seems to affect more of our lives as we and our loved ones get older - I'm just glad I have the happy memories.

Looking back on WGS, I would rather remember the good things and the friends I made, and suppress the unpleasant times, although I do take them out and look at them mentally every once in a while. There was a boy I had a crush on, I met him again at a reunion many years later and thought, did I really spend all those years breaking my heart over him?! That was quite a release.

I think our parents' generation had such different life experiences, they would never have been allowed the teenage "angst" we had, which may also explain some of the bad situations we found ourselves in. I felt for you, Izzi, at the station with the luggage and the squaddies. Can you imagine how today's generation of teenies would behave in such a situation? On the other hand, I feel lucky to have had the interesting life I have had, including all the bad bits, which at least have the advantage of being able to be turned into amusing anecdotes now that they are a long way in the past.

Pamela Ross (StJ63-68)

18 Oct 2016

Thanks for your reassurance and support Maureen. Is that from all the way from Australia? I know that my posts, like my teaching, do not appeal to everyone but I had not envisaged stopping yet unless a referendum of members wants me to and we all know that a decision of a referendum can be ignored or can be got around in some way. How's that for a topical post after all the nostalgia?
Izzie So glad that you do have some pleasant memories of Hamm. We must have met if you did D of E Orienteering since by the 70's D of E was, in the main, a combined activity with WGS and I usually set the Orienteering courses. Can you remember the name of the WBS teacher involved? Miss Barker? We had combined camps in the Sauerland too! Oh dear nostalgia again but I'm not apologising for it.
Small world indeed. You mention Mike Sarney - great bloke - he and I were pupils at the same Grammar school in England (Windsor Grammar School for Boys now called Windsor Boys' School no less) we had the same maths teacher Mr Blow - known as Basher Blow because he did bash from time to time. Strict but fair and boy what a teacher! Mike was a year behind me but we were in the same lessons sometimes. Imagine our surprise when we met again in Hamm.
Rina Blackman, who you know has posted on this site, I worked with too on the joint WGS/WBS Rambling Club treks in the Sauerland. You also know that you are not alone in posting generous praise for her influence at WGS.
So you see we have more in common than you thought and there has certainly been a burst of activity on the site since you started posting again. If this is 'inebriation' then more of it please.
As you are Izzie to me now I'm sure you will allow one minor criticism. In defence of Mike Capey I think that you misinterpreted his posting and he certainly was not trying to lecture you in any way. The Mike I remember was in the forefront of the Wylie changes at WBS. Seeing what was wrong, making great efforts to change things and never ever trying to coerce students into a pre-conceived mold. He may not like the fact that I am trying to defend him but it could be a case of Izzieism.
Sorry everybody another long one from me but, if it's not too condescending, I think you'll agree that Isabella is worth it.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

19 Oct 2016

Hi Mr Hawthorn (may I call you Colin please?)
What did you teach? I have been trying to work out if me met?

I think the folks who understand maths have a certain type of grey matter which I definitely lack - but you can rest assured of this - the minimum damage I would have caused Mike Sarney was a HERNIA!!!
Miraculously I somehow managed to pass a statistics exam later in life and I still don't know who Chi Squared is - but I believe he is a real bad dude!!!

Hi Pamela
Thank you for your welcome back - it is a long time - if ever that I have been associated with the word 'dynamic'.
If we had all met up at Windsor we would certainly have created synergy - just imagine what the world lost out on.
Before going to WGS I had been to 4 schools in 3 years.

I wonder if those squaddies had kids of their own and how they would have felt if somebody had treated them like that? They were probably on a punishment exercise having to deal with us scholars!!! They would have preferred the birch!!!

Hi Geoff,
Basher Blow must have been some man to have had you and Mike Sarney following in his footsteps. Did you ever receive one of his Blows?
Mike Sarney was probably a wee bit softer than I gave him credit for at the time because if memory serves me correctly I was quite cheeky to him on more than one occasion.
Anyway he made my detentions productive and not feel to much like a punishment as I had achieved something by the end of them - can't remember anyone else that made detention time feel beneficial??????

I will concede that my response to Mr Capey had an element of iZZZi-ism attached but I am quite clear about the following: every bodies experience is unique. Over the years I have constantly felt that people do not understand the 'trauma' I went through at WGS after my sister absconded. I have been well criticised and told to get over it. Maybe I would be able to do that a bit better if my sister would acknowledge what she caused but she takes no responsibility to this day.
The friend I had at the time (who does not use this site) has told me that there are certain songs she is still unable to listen to due to what happened - and she was only there giving me support.

Any way can you enlighten me as to who this dude Chi Squared is and what he is all about please?

If I disappear from the sight it will be due to catching up with OU assignments which must take priority or my tutor might put me on detention!!!

Is anyone else out there still studying? I wish I had been as keen when I was at school instead of being a dunderheid!!!!

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

19 Oct 2016

Yes Mr Hern I am living in Australia after my father decided we should emigrate here in 1968 as after leaving Germany he didn't like living in the UK that's why I enjoy this site so much it gives me a connection to the Windsor Schools and the U.K. I don't know if I have told you Bill thank you for keeping this site going.

Maureen Press (nee Pulford) (B63-67)

Thanks Maureen

20 Oct 2016

I agree with you Izzi - lifelong learning is great stuff! Although I have to admit that I did enjoy learning at school (but not necessarily what they were trying to teach me!.) I completed my OU degree two years before I retired. My parents couldn't understand why I would do such a thing as study at my time of life, especially a subject I couldn't use to improve my career prospects! But even in retirement I continue, although on a more informal basis. Researching the family history has educated me on coal mining in 18th century Midlothian; Glasgow slums; Highland clearances; Jacobites - among other things I knew little about before and wasn't taught at school. I do know other former WGS pupils who are also studying with the OU (or have done so recently) - thank goodness for such opportunities in life! Although I was at WGS for 5 years, before that were 9 other schools - and I still think the reason I was made head of house in sixth form was because the housemi
stress knew I had done all the usual naughty stuff in third and fourth form - poacher turned game-keeper ;-) Had you been a little older and I been a little younger, Izzi -

Pamela Ross (StJ63-68)

20 Oct 2016

No, Isabella.... just feel free to call me Colin...at 3 score and ten years, (i.e. ancient...moving towards extinct ) I've long lost the privilege or need to be addressed as Mister ! I'm not sure if we did actually meet up' face-to-face' as my role in those long lost days was as Head Of Remedial Dept. ( 'Remedial ' is definitely politically incorrect today !) Mrs Judy Sarney, Miss Gail Stanworth and I, taught girls who found themselves struggling in the main streams with English and Maths. I did do boarding duties each week and every other weekend so I would have projected top class movies to you on Saturday nights and supervised PREP along with my late colleague, Mr Eric Harris- Head of History. I lived at the DES RES of No; 1 Am Huckenholz (teachers houses for males & families). I well remember some of the names posted by your goodself viz. Rina Blackman ( who became Head Of English and eventually became headmistress of a girls' school in Peru) and our great Deputy Headmaster, Mr Mike Sarney. Of course ,we were ruled with a fist of iron by our excellent Headmistress, Miss Pauline Brown. I have kept in touch with one of my closest friends at that time - Mr Michael Arnold who was Head Of Art in your time.

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

20 Oct 2016

Colin, Just thought I'd mention 3 score and 10 is young nowadays! Most of my service users are well into their 80s and 90s.

I had one feisty lady who was 102 when she passed to a better place - if she hadn't fallen and broke bones she would probably have went on for a good bit longer!! we called her Aunt Betty and she was a real inspiration to all of us!!! I truly loved her and really miss her.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

20 Oct 2016

Hi Pamela,

My biggest problem at school was having no idea why we were doing half the stuff and what good it would do me - well I got a rude awakening when I had to do my laundry training and figure out machine capacities, volumes, etc. That was probably when I realised Mr Sarney was not the 'devil incarnate'!

Exploring your family history sounds really interesting and beneficial in more ways than one.
I would not be able to do that with my crazy family - no kidding!!

Do you live in Scotland now?

If we had been friends at school you would not have made Head of House unless you had tamed or murdered me and got away with it

Hi Colin,

Miss Blackman certainly deserved all the recognition and promotions she could get. I was never interested in learning English but her lessons were interesting as she understood the reality of life for us girls.

I Don't think we met and I don't remember Mr Harris or Mr Arnold but you have reminded me of two other art teachers.
Miss French was a large lady in every way and she told us about the violence when working in an inner city school - it was interesting. My best memory of her was that she realised some of us were hopeless at art but she would give us abstract work to do and probably gave higher marks that it deserved. Her aim was to boost confidence and encourage. (If Geoff is reading this I have just remembered another positive - yeeeehhaaaaaaaaa)

I never knew Mr Chedgey at school but he was very friendly with my sister during her brief stay at WGS and took her to pop concerts in Hamm. I met him at the reunion in Newbury and told him she was asking for him. They got back in touch for a while.

If I recall correctly Miss Brown had the squeaky shoes and everyone said it was because she hadn't paid for them - kids eh?
She took over from Miss Ferrick and Miss Brown was an absolute delight after that experience.

Enough ranting for now

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

21 Oct 2016

Pamela Ross - interesting comments regarding your family history. My father finally told me why he joined the army over a pint of heavy just before he passed on. Apparently he fiddled his age by three years (like a lot of Scotsmen did) and joined up at Liberton / Glencorse in 1935 so that he didn't have to go down the pit in Loanhead, the only employment in the area at the time. How lucky we are today, eh?

Malcolm Graham (E60-65)

21 Oct 2016

Just to let you into a secret iZZi I do not like statistics either. Found it too dry and dare I say boring so I share your aversion. Had to teach it to IB students in Copenhagen and although they did well in their exams it didn't seem to me to belong in a maths course. I do get up-in-arms with the abuse of them however and especially the very misleading graphical representation of them, for dramatic effect, on BBCTV. Do you really think that Basher ever subjected me to a blow? Fancy you even asking the question. A quiet, retiring person like me with little to say for himself? Mr Blow was gassed in WW1 and had persistent cough as a result but that didn't stop him leaving quite a legacy at the school. His students always passed and most of the State Scholarships - important in those days - that came to the school were as a result of his teaching. Yes both Mike Sarney and I owe a lot to him.
Good luck with the OU an excellent idea and one of the positive things to come out of the Wilson years. But please try to keep posting since this old man likes reading them. Glad too that your own list of positives is getting longer. Keep working on it.
Lifelong learning Pamela? Totally agree. At the risk of sounding 'cheesy' (if that's the right word in today's world) I was learning every day when I was teaching and most of the lessons came from students. Hang on though that does sound cheesy but never mind it's what I feel so it can stay in.
Bill I want to know if the Marlborough/Caernarvon mini-reunion took place in August. It has not been mentioned on this page. PYFO - Dave Hodgson or Ralph Bennett.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

Sorry to say that I wasn't able to attend the reunion

21 Oct 2016

Hi Geoff,

Glad we agree that statistics are 'mingin'.
At WGS maths and arithmetic were all one subject - when I returned to Scotland they were 2 different subjects ,', I have an O grade in arithmetic but did not do maths - daft or what?

Hi Malcolm,
What year was your father born?
Like yours my father was brought up in a mining village but could have escaped the army as he was employed in agriculture. He hated his step father and joined up to get away from him. Little did he know he would be sent to Sierra Leone, sailing through Japanese subs on the way back and giving 36 years of his life to Queen and country.

Yes we are lucky today

Your dad could have ended up managing Ikea if he was a few generations later - just think of all the meatballs and furniture you could have had!?!

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

22 Oct 2016

Have you noticed iZZi (and others of course) over 40 posts so far this month and there's still 10 days to go? Must be some sort of record. Careful or we'll have Bill complaining of overwork.
Ikea, furniture and meatballs? Does this mean that you are fan of Big Bang Theory or is that a coincidence? For me one of the funniest shows on TV. Arithmetic without maths - seems strange but stranger things have been done in the name of education.
Dave and Ralph where are you? How about that reunion?

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

22 Oct 2016

Hello Geoff, Responding to your request for the experiences of those who overall did not enjoy their time at WBS. I offer mine for what it is worth. I spent four years and ten months predominantly in Edinburgh House and briefly in Balmoral. Probably, on average, I had an 80%-20% split negative to positive experiences. In retrospect the solution would have been better all round if I had stayed with my grandmothers in Plymouth, attended school there and visited my parents in Germany during the holidays. However, I arrived shortly after my twelfth birthday and my baptism was to be beaten up by three older boys on my second night there. Not long afterwards the experience of the cross country run. Less than three months after leaving the heat and humidity of Singapore I found myself attired in shorts and vest thrown to the mercies and vagaries of a German mid winter. I asked the PE teacher, as I had recently returned from ninety miles north of the Equator, could I wear a tracksuit? The answer was a very unpleasant no and I was sent away with a very big " flea in my ear." On finding the nearest woods, I plunged into them, covered myself in leaves and waited for the return of the runners. Smearing myself in mud, on the appropriate places, I rejoined the tail enders and puffed in. My first small victory against authority: WBS style. Perhaps the worst abuse of trust and authority I encountered over young and vulnerable lives was by the thug that masqueraded as a woodwork teacher. He was infamous for throwing chisels at boys. One lesson I was in he surpassed himself. In a fit of rage he banged a boy's head on a bench. Causing the boy to bleed profusely. I was outraged and inviting him to try it on me. Unbelievably I was threatened that I would now be "relegated" to doing Rural Science. Next week I was. By the time I reached the age of fifteen I was so fed up with it all I set myself the goal of being slippered every night for a week. So for the "crime" of talking after lights out I reached night four. That night the very decent GB Jones, language master, was on duty and did not believe in corporal punishment: sent for the Housemaster who caned me. By sixteen I was railing against the compulsory Friday hymn practice before high tea. When the parson had the unkind habit of keeping us late so we missed our high tea. In my opinion we had compulsory church services coming out of our ears; so I hid in one of my dormitory's cupboards, covered myself in coats and sat it out. Until the Housemaster took to checking the cupboards. He missed me as I was too well camouflaged. However, I never risked it again. I started in class 1W (waiting to be assigned to a permanent class) and ended up in the bottom class in the fifth year with several of the class being illiterate. This was a great shock to me. Along with two other "troublemakers/nonconformists" from other houses we were dumped into what one would term a special needs class in today's education parlance. Just before the RSA "mocks" we three had a parley and gate crashed the mocks. Without following the courses I passed three of them. Which caused great consternation amongst various staff members. A combination of events made me even more rebellious. My best friend John Franklin left the school and I failed my trial with Plymouth Argyle. I lost my confidence as a goalkeeper and lost my place in the senior school X1. Only to win it back as an outfield player. No dissent was tolerated. Draconian, inflexible rules and mores could not be challenged. My sin was that I could never accept this. Hence I was always at variance and battling with a system, that even as a young child, always grated on my sense of fairness and personal freedoms. The 20% enjoyment I experienced at WBS was rubbing shoulders with good friends and the decent, humane teachers who actually tried to understand me and treated me accordingly. The constant negative reports from the Housemaster to my parents when a different approach of trying to understand why I was reacting so would have been more productive. Moreover, this constant "put down" did nothing for my self confidence. My poor father was in despair over me. Saying you were always bright what has happened to you? On leaving WBS I spent two years in dead-end jobs and then the fight- back started. With the full support of my wonderful parents, I attended full time and part time courses and obtained six "O" levels, 4 "A" levels, a BSc (Econ.) Honours degree, a postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a number of other computing and Spanish qualifications. Finally, Geoff, I must admit, that I love statistics, having used them extensively in my career in management consultancy, auditing and local government. I'm sure that there are many more me's that fell through the net at Windsor Boys' School. Best wishes, Geoff.

John Oliver (E60-64)

22 Oct 2016

A few answers to questions I have been asked!

I live in North Yorkshire, Izzi, but go to Scotland on a regular basis - next will be a trip to Edinburgh, to the Scotlandspeople Centre for research. It was only when I began the research that I discovered that my great-grandfather had come from Edinburgh, he had a lot of skeletons in his cupboard which he managed to conceal from my Glaswegian grandfather! One of the things I discovered with regard to the mining history - in changing the law to prevent women and children working underground, there was a whole generation of women coal-bearers who were suddenly unemployed and paupers - a well-meaning law with unforeseen consequences. I also go to Scotland to pan for gold twice a year. Strangely enough, I went to work at a local pit here in Yorkshire after my husband died and I had to go back to work - became a union rep and was involved in the campaign (unsuccessful, ultimately) to try and save our coal industry - this was before I found out about my mining antecedents.

My father joined Boys' Service at the age of 16, just before the war started - one of his brothers already had a scholarship to the Grammar School and they weren't going to give another one to the same family, so he didn't have a lot of options. He ended up doing almost 30 years with the army and 19 with the NAAFI. Before he died a few years ago, I used to visit armed with a tape recorder and have been typing up his stories.

I'm sorry for those who had bad experiences at Windsor, but I know many of my friends who went back to the UK to complete their education there who had similarly bad experiences in UK schools - so much for the "best years" of your lives.

Pamela Ross (StJ63-68)

22 Oct 2016

Hi Mr Hern, The reunion did take place in late August . There was only one interloper from outside of Marlborough House , Iain (sandy) Sanderson. Dave Hodgson, Paul Sayers, Gerry Mills all met in Swindon . We intend to meet again next year too ! Paul Clay couldn't be there as he was bed ridden with a back injury. Michael Downey is coming next year , all the way from USA .
Dave, Sandy and myself had the great pleasure of meeting Maureen Rankine , a former head girl and an ex of both mine and Dave's ........at her lovely home in swindon along with her husband "foxy". That was amazing and we all reminisced for a couple of hours or so. Mo is a former headgirl, she hasn't changed and still lights up a room with her smile.
Later back at the hotel we again exchanged stories until very late . It was a fairly sober affair but that didn't stop us laughing so much that our sides hurt.
I'm reading recent postings and it's sad that there were people at either school who were unhappy.
I never met anyone in my time there that was overjoyed to be at school , at the time. Equally I don't know anyone who since then has had a bad word to say about their experience at the schools either.
I hope those who were unhappy have put the experience behind them and gone on to enjoy their lives.

Ralph Bennett (M61-68)

22 Oct 2016

Hi Geoff,

Alas! I have never watched the Big Bang Theory but I will give it a go. Meatballs are Ikeas restaurant speciality (they remind of McDonalds burgers and are equally disgusting) and it is full of furniture most of which I find quite tacky looking (Sorry Ikea fans).
However you do get some good buys in there - they do curtains long enough for my windows which I can't get anywhere else unless I have them made to order!

Other strange school facts - can't remember which was which - in one system I had to make a big match of pastry and demonstrate how versatile it was and in the other system it was a 3 course meal for O Grade/Level Domestic Science. In one you did English and in the other language and literature were separate O Grades.
I went from school in Dundee to WGS and did my O Grades in Scotland - nae wunner eh didnae hae a clue whit eh wiz daing!!! Happy Days or what???

Hi John Oliver,

Your time at Windsor sounds about as mad/bad as mine - loved your 'cane for a week' story - I think we would have got on great and probably even more trouble.

You went on to success and victory and allow hard to appreciate at times we did learn valuable life lessons during our time at Windsor didn't we? Like how to stand up for yourself if nothing else.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

23 Oct 2016

Thanks John for responding to my request. You arrived at the same time as me so you were there early in my time at WBS but, although a newcomer, I was part of the system responsible for your long list of problems. Some of the details show how the school was run along classic Public School lines with little consideration or understanding for those who had difficulties conforming to the somewhat rigorous system. There can be no excuse for some of the treatment that you and others received. I can only apologise and hope that I was not a cause of any upset. Your experience is probably just the sort of thing that Steve needs to give a rounded picture of the history of the school and I'm certain that you were not the only one to suffer under the regime of the pre-Wylie years. Of course there are bound to be post-Wylie lads who were unhappy there too since in spite of the efforts made nobody can pretend that all was perfect even then. I am sure that, unwittingly, my methods
in teaching, activities and house duty upset some especially in the beginning but I hope that I mellowed over time.
Hi iZZi
Give Big Bang a try. My next door neighbour, an ex-Marine helicopter pilot, tried it on my recommendation and now all his ex-marine mates are fans too. But be warned it is my strange sort of humour.
And Ralph thanks for the update and I'm so glad that you had the expected great time and it's good to see that Marlborough lives on. Mo Rankine I remember too.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

24 Oct 2016

Mr Hern (and NO I will not drop it!!)I am going to the Black Forest on holiday next July - a place called Herbolzheim which apparently is not far from Freiburg. Coupled with your extensive knowledge in the mathematical area, I have a feeling that you know a lot about Germany too?? Can you recommend anywhere there of interest?? We have a car so can be flexible.

Christine Willmot (M77-80)

24 Oct 2016

Hi Mr Hern (aka Geoff) Was there ever a debating forum at Windsor?

I am assuming that if would be fair to say you are a senior citizen - over 65 or whatever the retirement age is these days!

In the past it would have been polite and politically correct for me to Call you Mr Hern as a teacher and as someone older than myself.

In my current job the focus is on person-centred care (I am not suggesting for a minute that you require any care). The point is that I am required to and should address each individual in the way that they choose in respect for their personhood.
I am called Isabella at work and iZZZi by my friends (yes you may call me iZZZi),

Do you have a preference as to what you are called or do you accept everything but blows?

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

24 Oct 2016

On the subject of names, I began to realise my age when I met the Rev JJ Fielding at a reunion. Towards the end of the conversation it went like this -

Me -- "I am never sure what to call you"

JJ-- "Call me John just call me John"

Bill Craswell (C62-65)

24 Oct 2016

Hello Christine Willmot (Law?)
I see from your posting that you are planning a holiday near Freiborg and you ask about places of interest.. Having visited the area quite often I would strongly suggest that it is well worth crossing the river into Alsace (France) and visiting the wine villages. They are beautiful with their very old timbered and pastel painted houses and at the time of year you are going should have superb window boxes of flowers everywhere. The Alsace wine is excellent too ! If you are short of time then do at least try and visit Colmar, a beautiful town.
No doubt Geoff (Mr!) Hern will also offer you some advice.
Enjoy the holiday. Best wishes.

Rae Mitchell(nee Cleverly) (M77-81)

24 Oct 2016

Hi Geoff,

I had a pop at watching The Big Bang Theory - wedding episode - and it was ok enough for me to take another look.
Have you ever watched Still Game or Getting On - they are definitely worth a go. Jo Brand was one of the script writers and main players in Getting On - it is priceless! The staff remind me so much of many people I have had to deal with in the NHS and current role. I enjoyed Getting On so much I bought the box set.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

25 Oct 2016

Good Morning Izzi,
Reading your highly humorous posts you definitely have my "off-the- wall" sense of humour. Perhaps it's my genes from my Isle of Lewis grandfather?
Hamm is now a distant memory, much of which I remember vividly; but ask me what I had for lunch on Saturday? Pass! From which, as we all did, I took many useful lessons into my future life. Keep on posting Izzi and best wishes.

John Oliver (E60-64)

25 Oct 2016

Hello Geoff, It is always interesting to read your posts. You are certainly one of the pillars and mainstays of this site. Yes, we were both "new boys" covering your early years at WBS. I am sure that you too have some tales to tell about your introduction and settling into the "regime?" Reading your posts you were obviously " one of the good guys." Of course those distinctive memories are now merely a blip in the past-"water under the bridge." Looking back, I can say that the experience at Hamm was both useful for self analysis and for dealing with other people. I never made/make snap judgements and decisions when interacting in both social and work environments. I always tried/try to ascertain what makes individuals act or perform as they did and do. I too have memories of Michael Wylie indulging in his football passion. That rather large gentleman used to referee matches on his bike! Geoff how could you not love Poisson Distribution when it was devised originally
to ascertain the frequency of Prussian cavalry officers killed by horse kicks? Best wishes.

John Oliver (E60-64)

25 Oct 2016

Good to read you again Ollie - Oi'll be in touch again as soon as this abscess/tooth thingy gets sorted. I remember the "slippering every night episode" well and I remember Mr.GB Jones as being one of the good guys. He had an aura which demanded instant respect. Can't ever remembering him raising his voice. When he was on duty and the lights went out we would hear him walk into the corridor from the study, his steel tips clicking on the floor, a casual "Good night, gentlemen." Clicking heels returned to the study and the door closed. Total silence ensued, except for Ollie, of course. Dental update - two weeks on and still suffering badly. Looks like I've got a golf ball in my gob and I hate golf as much as I hate dentists. I wrote my post above as a moan about the WBS system but I now realise that Mr.Ross, Sister Molloy and the young RADC surgeon knew exactly what they were doing 54 years ago. Pity these young 21st century tooth wallahs think of the old guard as dinosaurs.

Malcolm Graham (E60-65)

25 Oct 2016

Well we've topped the 60 mark for October. Must be one of the busiest months ever.
Christine The Black Forest is one of the areas of Germany that I only passed through so I know little about it. I think that I avoided it because it seemed to be the place, together with the Rhine, which Brits always went to. One of the attractions of the Sauerland to me is that Brits are like hen's teeth in the area. However I did go to the Vosges and Alsace and can back up Rae's recommendation. Don't know what sort of holiday you want but if I was going to the Black Forest then I'd find a quiet place in the middle of the mountains, buy a walking map, put on my walking kit and walk! But that's me. Not much help I'm afraid but I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that there is a Lidl store just 2.3km away from Herbolzheim at Kenzingen but luckily no Tesco.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

25 Oct 2016

Hi John Oliver, Glad you appreciate my mad humour - not everybody does! Thank you for your vote. Keep posting and join in the banter!

Sorry to hear about Malcolms golf ball - might want to ask Geoff about the hens teeth/
Seriously an abscess is not funny and I hope it gets better yesterday.
Have to say I like going to the dentist and went there as an excuse for plugging the school!!! Mad or what???
I had an abscess in primary six and the dentist told my mother I just didn't want to go to school - my mother imploded and I got xrayed - result was I was referred to a Harley Street specialist on NHS.
I have gone private for the last 30 years and only had one bad dentist who was given the push by most patients.
I had a dentist called Haroon Ismail and he was magic with a sense of humour to match. He moved to Edinburgh - maybe Malcolm should track him down and tell him he has come on my recommendation - guarantee Malcolm would not be disappointed!!!

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

25 Oct 2016

...thought I'd add to this month's bumper crop of posts, by saying how much I have enjoyed everyone's contributions. I particularly enjoyed reading John Oliver's account of his experiences at Windsor Boys School, notwithstanding his description of himself as a nonconformist! John Oliver, if you are reading this, I readily identify with your experiences. I will not elaborate further, though I will say that I found little, personally, anything to inspire me at the school. As such, in equal measure, I received as much out of the institution as much as I was prepared to put in myself: Entirely reciprocal, though nothing of which I will ever be proud of! Something that always amused me, was the absence of the plural possessive in Windsor Boys School! So, who owns whom? Well, the explanation was: The Boys did not own the School, but the School did own the Boys! Alas, it was never Windsor Boys' School!

Geoffrey Pickles (E72-77)

26 Oct 2016

Really sorry Malcolm to hear of your dental problems - off to see mine this morning for a 6 monthly check-up. Let's hope that yours get your problems sorted soon.
Sorry too John but Statistics as a subject just didn't 'hit the nail' for me. Maybe, as is often the case of course, it was the way that it was taught at University. Prussian Calvary Officers included!! Apart from the basics and making students aware of the pitfalls I never thought that it belonged on a school Maths course. But very glad that you think that I might have been 'one of the good guys'.
Now to iZZi. Correct, but not difficult, assumption that I have reached Senior Citizen status. Many moons ago too!! I'm happier with Geoff but really it does not matter at all. I'll never convert Christine but it's always worth a try. Debating Forum? Is that part of the banter I'm not sure? The only organised debates that I was aware of were the ones held from time to time by the 6th Form Society. Sorry I'm not a great fan of Jo Brand's humour. Tried 'Getting On' and found it rather depressing but then I've not got your inside experience of the NHS. Geoffrey, as I predicted in one of my earlier posts, you obviously were one of the post-Wylie lads who did not enjoy the WBS experience. I was well and truly part of the system in the 1970's so I can only apologise on it's behalf but I hope that at least you were not treated as badly as those mentioned in John's post. Can't remember, it's my age, if I ever taught you?
Seem to be saying sorry a lot in this post so I'd better stop.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

26 Oct 2016

Mr Hern - thank you for your valuable info - obviously the trip to Lidl will be the highlight of the holiday..............but we are up in the mountains so do intend to do a lot of walking. Thank you Rae for your comments - I have noted them down and will let you know how we get on!!

Christine Willmot (M77-80)

26 Oct 2016

Now that this has become a 'product placement site' with the Hern endorsement of LIDL. I thoroughly recommend WAITROSE for the sons and daughters of gentle folk.

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

Don't forget the primary purpose of LIDL Colin, it is to keep the RifRaff OUT of Waitrose - Bill

26 Oct 2016

One thing in favour of Windsor School in my time there was that everything was "brand spanking new" : text books, library books, classroom and house furniture, sports equipment, lab and workshop equipment etc. etc.
Hot showers after games or swimming!! This was a new world and in contrast to my primary school - Montrose Academy and later, on leaving Windsor, the Duke of Northumberland's Grammar School, Alnwick. Both of these establishments being built and equipped in the 19th or early 20th century!!

Geoff McPate (S53-57)

26 Oct 2016

German friends of ours told us how Lidl (or was it Aldi - my wife says Lidl) originated in Hamm. Google suggests otherwise. But in either case, we shopped there, lifting goods from cardboard boxes!!

Now,in England, we shop in Aldi, in Diss, in Norfolk. But visit Lidl in Attleborough. Sadly, the cardboard boxes have gone - in both shops

Mike Capey (C63-70)

26 Oct 2016

I have followed the monthly postings on the site for many years having been a paid up member for a number of years through until recent times to the point where the only activity seems to be postings on this site. I made a decision many years ago not to do any postings partly because there were very few concerning the period when I was a boarder from 1959 through into 1961. My reasons for that decision were regarding the apparent lack of interest from anyone who may have been a boarder at that time or the possibility of many being unaware of the Society and therefore unlikely to make themselves known. My main reason for not posting was mainly due to hating the place from Day 1 in Autumn, 1959 until the day I left at the end of Summer Term in 1961. I saw no point in highlighting the experience of a 12 year old living the downside of a Public School culture at the mercy of a few teachers who would not be tolerated today. The vast majority of postings commented on other boarders positive experience of the boys school as well as the girls school which was unknown territory to me.
I have always appreciated the contribution of Mr Hern (Geoff) to the site and his humour shines through. Geoff (if I may use your first name please) was not a teacher I remember around my time at Windsor. This month has been one of the biggest number of postings I can remember and Isabella I think can take credit along with a few others whose names slip my mind whilst typing, for opening up the fact that there were unhappy kids at that school. As a result of the ongoing chat on this month's postings I feel easier at making a few comments on the topic of unhappy boarders. The attitude of some teachers who could not give the time and encouragement to some students who struggled to grasp some subjects was a big factor. One French teaching Master took a dislike to me from the beginning of my introduction to 1st. Year French and became quite overbearing. He assumed that pulling my ear regularly would help me overcome my difficulty in remembering what he was 'teaching' and on occasions I was tempted to bite off one of his fingers to match the one already missing from his other hand.
An English teaching Master seemed to think I would retain more knowledge by bringing me out onto the raised teaching area in class in front of everyone and smacking the back of my head after the answer he got was not to his liking. Where did these teachers learn their methods?
I had been to several Army Schools prior to Windsor and had loved my school life up to my arrival at Hamm. I subsequently left Germany in 1961 and came to Scotland where I live now. As a direct result of my experiences (there were a lot more) at Hamm, I found it hard to settle back into school in Edinburgh and left school life without any qualifications just short of my 15th. birthday. I did subsequently enter the big world and enter a professional organisation where I served for almost 32 years and thoroughly enjoyed it. Life is better now and maybe Windsor in a perverse way made some aspects of life now seem much better. I would however have wished that those Masters at Hamm who made life so hard for academic strugglers could have done their teaching training at the same places where my previous educators had done theirs. The only pleasure I got at Hamm was from sport where i gained a place in most of the different sports teams in both 1st. and 2nd. years..
This has been a bit of a squeezed posting, but it has got me going at the risk of overdoing my individual experiences. Hopefully others who have been posting and showing interest in the experiences of less happy boarders may take something from this.
Needless to say I will keep an eye on future postings.
Thanks again for Geoff and his comments and Isabella for her enlightening thoughtful input. Regards,

Dave Gray (C59-61)

27 Oct 2016

Oh well done Geoffrey Pickles ! Your post of 25/10 brought the requisite amount of gravitas to the discussion on the HAMM boarding school experiences. The absence of the 'plural possessive'. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment and of course, the same applies to Windsor Girls' School......it was NOT possessed by the girls....the school dictated all and possessed all.

Colin Hawthorne (M74-79)

27 Oct 2016

Hi David Gray, Thank you for your vote.

It's great that you have decided to take part in the conversation and I hope we will hear a lot more from you.

Now I can tell you that 1959 was NOT a good year! I was born in Sieghton Camp in Chester and have 666 on the back of my head!!!!!
My father was in hospital with TB and I was 9 months old before I met him. My sister (the same one who took meningitis to WGS) had whooping cough and was kind enough to give it to me at 1 week old. My mother was not delighted to see me as I was a girl and not a boy!!!
I think you can see why 1959 was a year to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Did anyone have a good 1959?

I am not a fan of Lidl unless I am in the mood for a prowl and a laugh at some of the bizarre things they sell - Who buys them????

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

28 Oct 2016

Hi to anybody that remembers me from my five yrs as WBS as a boarder in Edinburgh House. I have been reading posts on & off for a number of years, & never thought to post anything.
Having been reading the recent posts about the negative side of WBS, I am surprised to say the least. I can remember Geof Pickles from my first year at the school, but sorry to say I did not really know you. Juniors & Seniors not mixing too well I seam to remember. SORRY for me this was the best thing that ever happened to me. The School, Teacher?s, Mr Hern, Mr Wenn, Burt Wheeler & Terry Lake to name but a few were brilliant & inspiring individuals both in & out of the class room. With Thomo as housemaster for the majority of my time in Edinburgh House I am what I am down to them.

Tim Evans (E73-79)

28 Oct 2016

Hi Christine
Mr (no less) Hern here. So sorry that I could not be of more help with your trip to the Black Forest but it has just occurred to me that a second highlight could be a short pilgrimage down the autobahn to Basel the birthplace of one of our mutual heroes - Euler. If you've for some inexplicable reason have forgotten him ask the lads who he was. (As I'm sure that you know that's an attempt at harmless banter. Just in case it gets seized upon by others for ridicule as my previous light-hearted post to you, and by your 'highlight' reaction understood by you as banter, about Lidl was).
Have a great time and thanks again for your part in all the fun your group of WGS young ladies brought to the lessons in Room 8 in 1980. You were a joy to (try to) teach and primed me for my next job in an all-girls school. Great memories. And look after those maths books of yours as they could be museum pieces in time.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

28 Oct 2016

Hi Geoff, My comments about Lidl were honest banter with no intention to ridicule.
I live five minutes walk from one of their stores and never go in there.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

29 Oct 2016

Happy birthday Geoff Hern, doesn't time fly? I hope you are keeping well. I can't believe it's so long since I posted here. My excuse is that back in April, a very dear friend passed away and I have been busy as executor for her estate and also during that time my mum has been ill and I've spent since July looking after her. Thank goodness she seems to be making a recovery now.
Yes Geoff, as Ralph said we had a good mini reunion in August and it was great to meet Dave Hodgson and Iain (Sandy) Sanderson for the first time since '68. Hopefully we'll do it again next year when with luck Paul Clay will be recovered from his back injury and Mike Downey will be over from the States and of course Paul Sayers again. Best wishes to Ronnie Williams, Pete Larner and anyone else who remembers us.

Gerry Mills (M65-68)

29 Oct 2016

Many thanks Gerry. How on earth did you remember?
So glad that the reunion went well and with Mike coming all the way from USA next year it could grow in size.
You seem to have had a hectic year and I hope that your mother is now better.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

29 Oct 2016

Hi iZZi Thanks but I wasn't sure that it was banter as the recipient needs to be on the same wavelength. However the 'ridicule' comment was not primarily meant for you. I hope I'm getting to know and appreciate you a little. It occurred to me that you might be interested in Googling - Geoff Hern 'Being a Maths Teacher 1958-99' - which should take you to an article that I was pressed-ganged into writing by Copenhagen International School. Not entirely happy with it. Rather long-winded and perhaps too full of 'I' but, if you are at all interested, it gives some idea of my attitude to teaching and might also give you some idea of what makes me tick. It appears that somebody found it and put it on WBS Facebook page, without asking me of course, and it's prompted a few ex-WBS lads to email me which is comforting.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

31 Oct 2016

Hello Geoff Hern, I read 'being a maths teacher' - here are my thoughts!

First impression - you look like a chef (photo in white).
Second impression - you look like one of those outrageous American dudes in storage wars (the beard).

You must have taught all types of scholars - the good, bad, mad, sad, pure genius and the seemingly incapable - the latter being me!

You made your lessons an interesting adventure into the unknown and encouraged pupils to challenge themselves and you by the sounds of it.
Being allowed to make mistakes and learn from them is very powerful in that it reduces fears and you don't forget the learning.

If you had been in business you would have been an entrepreneur and received recognition like Lord Sugar but you were just a small time school teacher doing your best.

Your most notable achievement for me was inspiring and enabling pupils who would probably not have attained what they did without your teaching style.

This is a serious question - have you ever thought about writing a book on teaching methods and engaging pupils imagination? If not you should.

Isabella Forbes (E72-75)

31 Oct 2016

Thanks for that iZZi (by the way what's all this Geoff Hern and Isabella Forbes stuff?). Thanks too for taking the time to Google and read the article. So glad you liked it as I was not at all sure what you'd think and your reaction warms the heart of an old man (how's that for creeping?) Now my turn for observations.

Chef eh? If you look closely at the picture which was taken at the time of the Maths competition which we hosted in Copenhagen you can just make out Euler on the front of the T-shirt. It is a proud possession of mine given to me by students who were fed-up (or inspired? I wish!!) by my constant banging-on about him. So it was obligatory to wear it at the Competition Presentation Ceremony.

Storage wars dude? I'd prefer to be thought of, if compared to an American TV series at all, as one of the crazy nerds on Big Bang.

Yes I have taught all sorts of students but I'm so glad that you put 'seemingly' in front of incapable when referring to yourself. I wonder if you would have liked my classes? The demands of the external examinations meant that there had to be Hern-style 'encouraging rants' to put up with from time to time. Hence, so I am told, my 'Hairy' nickname at WBS. One thing is for certain we would have had a few 'conversations'.

Yes. I was constantly learning from the students and, I agree, being allowed to make mistakes is one of the best learning tools and all real mathematicians, sums teachers, elephant trainers and those from other walks of life, have learnt much from their mistakes. Or should have!!! The other dominant learning constituent (sorry can't think of a better word) for me would be humour.

Lord Sugar? No thanks I'll settle for being a run-of-the-mill sums teacher as there's much more fun in that.

Writing a book about teaching methods? No way. Firstly my methods are not peculiar to me and secondly the only book I would even think about writing would be on my NSD challenges but nobody would publish it so that's a non-starter.
Many thanks again.

Sorry everybody. I'd better stop this or you will get even more fed-up with me.
A question. Where are you Linda LeCun? Hope you had a great Birthday.

Geoff Hern (M60-80)

31 Oct 2016

My experience of WBS was far more positive than negative, about 80/20% I would say, but there were a couple of lads in our house that were permanently homesick.
My brother Tommy, sadly deceased, followed me to WBS in my 2nd year, and he too felt pretty much at home from the outset, whereas my younger brother Graham went there in 1967/8 when Dad was posted back to BAOR. I went to visit him when I was posted to RAF Gutersloh in 1967, and was distressed by his incessant moaning. To me, the regime was much less disciplined by then, and I really couldn't understand why he was whinging all the time. To me, I felt more at home at WBS than I did at home, if that makes any sense, and was actually glad that i had to stay at school over the Christmas holidays, due to my parents having to go home to Scotland to attend a family funeral.
There were only a handful of students there, and the teachers treated us like VIPs, taking us on numerous trips - I absolutely loved that "holiday". I would relate it to Harry Potter's first Christmas at Hogwarts :)

Jim Rafferty (M60-63)

31 Oct 2016

Hello folks. I have been dipping in and out of this website for many years now and can't help but wish I had joined in the banter long ago.
I was in Balmoral House for a short period of time having been pushed from secondary school to secondary school following my fathers wanderings wherever the RAF pushed him (Laarbruch). I started off in Balmoral Annex with little Taff Bungay (I hope that name is correct), until John Dudley caught me looking after cigarettes for the other lads! From there I joined Roy Bird in his dorm. I also remember Roy's younger brother Guy but sadly lost contact with the two after Roy's wedding. Other names include Graham, Colin and John Kiel. Malcolm Mackay, Monty Welch or Walsh (Not too sure there) and Nick Cuthbertson. Ian and Graham Craigmyle (talented guitarist).
Unlike Izzi and a few others, I really found myself at WBS and wished that I had been there from my 1st year. At my other schools I was just a "service brat" passing through and not to be bothered with.
Life has been good to me and I have just retired on my 60th. Not bad especially to have worked all this time in just two jobs.

I live in deepest darkest Dorset now where I have been since 82, the previous 7 years were in Somerset. If anyone remembers me I would be shocked. 1 year at WBS was not long enough to really get to know too many. Still you never know.

Geoff, I am not too sure if you taught me maths as all I remember was walking in the classroom and delving amongst previous exam papers and getting on with it. (Left hand classroom furthest from the church). I was in the 6th form then but due to being really backward in my maths I was streamed with the 5th form lads to do CSE Maths ......Yet again. It may have been you that encouraged me that I "was" worth troubling with and after leaving WBS I finally gathered pace and progressed through my next years of life. Maths fell in to place for me.

Kev (B46)

Kev Murkin (B73-74)

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