The 7.23 from Euston is a sparkly affair and the (pre-bought) coffee is working its magic. I am en route to one of my many old schools and feeling rather strange about it. I was only there from 70-73 but it was the age child 3 is now and to say they are mixed memories would be an understatement. I do remember insisting that we listened to Tony Blackburn on the way in, the new chart recap on Wednesday the most important day (nowadays 'an appointment to listen').
Solihull School rescued me from the horror of the failed 11+ exam and I  always remember it as a salvation from the nightmare secondary modern I had landed in. Whenever I need to conjure a picture of misery for one of my fictional children, that secondary modern playground is where I go and it all comes flooding back.
This is also the time I developed the sherbet lemon addiction. The tuck shop served a mean quarter pound and, in my memory at least, far more astringent than the present-day offerings. To today's pupils I will be just another old-boy who rattles on about the old days and be a break from exam revision but I'll look at the (doubtless) motley array of youth and I expect to see something of the awkward specimen I was at 13 staring back.
So today it's book club time and it's John Boyne's This House Is Haunted. John you may remember from The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas but it's a ghostly hall in Victorian Norfolk that is the setting for this tale. It has already provided Rebecca with nightmares so be warned. The opening chapter is here for your enjoyment.
And shall we try HAUNTING/HAUNTED songs to add to the atmosphere? At least it'll be daylight...
Have a calm and entirely rational Monday, see you after 5

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  • Comment number 93. Posted by Crispy

    on 21 May 2013 09:50

    Solihull School tuck shop also served a mean half cream slice. Never found anything quite like it since, so my addiction was thankfully short lived. Thanks for the memories, Mayo, S!

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  • Comment number 92. Posted by Billie on the Blog

    on 20 May 2013 22:30

    HELLO JBG!



    Watched “Hillsborough”.

    This will be a Particular Post. Hope I get away with it!

    Brought up in Liverpool – spent many Sat. afternoons on the Kop – had my own place which other Kopites would save for me - know different words – involving Leeds - to parts of The Dambusters March.

    Drove on the Sunday after the Saturday from Ramsbottom - armed with a spray of Broom from my garden. Joined a 5/6 mile queue of pedestrians who saved places for each other while we went to buy sandwiches, pies, pasties – or used Strangers’ Toilets.

    The Resounding Memory I have – not a pun – was the Silence you heard in the queue – and when you finally got inside to lay your tribute – your scarf, your cuddly toy or your wreath – was the breathtaking wailing. The wailing resounded around the stadium in a much more mellow way but with the same determination and credence that it had done – that it does now – as it will do.

    The truth – still – has not come out. Will it ever?

    Ha! Never buy “The Sun”!

    YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE!

    I play that on KB brilliantly well - of course!

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  • Comment number 91. Posted by Billie on the Blog

    on 20 May 2013 22:25

    If anyone is interested - I had a really good night with Sparky.

    SILENCED BY THE NIGHT

    RELAX

    SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE

    USE SOMEBODY

    BACK IN THE USSR

    FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. KITE

    AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING

    And because Mandy suggested it @ #27 – and Mildred Likes it – I BELIEVE.

    We had a lovely supper – our Roasted Veg from a week or so ago – Pasta & Cheese Sauce with beaten eggs to make a Veg. Pasticcio.

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  • Comment number 90. Posted by amelia

    on 20 May 2013 21:37

    Having a lovely evening flicking between book (randomly thoughts on what horses remember) twitter & the odd glance on here when I do a double take & think I'm looking at an old blog. But if it isn't the much missed JBG. I hope the job is all you hoped it would be.

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  • Comment number 89. Posted by KatyMac

    on 20 May 2013 21:12

    So there I am tippy-tappy-typing ... and who should sneck in?! Only JBG.

    Happy travels dear J - always good to hear from you

    :^D

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  • Comment number 88. Posted by KatyMac

    on 20 May 2013 21:02

    Early night for me. Bedtime and telly awaits. Have had a lovely evening out.

    Just had a readback. A joy, as ever.
    Well done all menshionees and thank you to all who mentioned my schoolgirl reminiscensing and related to some of my memories. We never really forget these things, do we?

    ... and Hoffs - the only time I only ever really noticed I was 'different' as it were, was when I came back to the UK and had to attend school here, which incidentally promoted more fear than ever having to transfer to another forces school when abroad.
    Pate's Grammar in Cheltenham and Ashford Girls Grammar - they were all jolly nice to me but I got the distinct impression I was a bit of a curiousity! The army girl.

    Anyway - nighty night all and special love to Deebeedeebs x

    :^)

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  • Comment number 87. Posted by John B Good

    on 20 May 2013 20:55

    Evening all,

    Thought I'd just poop in to say hello. Was wending my way home along the M4, giving a jaunty wave to Jeffrey as I went past the Maidenhead junction, when I heard the lovely mensh for Zoe and Jilly for Japan, bringing a huge smile to my face.

    In fact, I'm doing quite a bit of driving in the new job, especially during Drivetime, and it's always a joy to hear bloggers' names read out. Sorry I can't be joining in more, but hopefully things will settle down soon.

    No time at all to catch up with the comings and the goings and the to-ings and the fro-ings, so just hope that all are well and life is good and everyone's fine and dandy.

    Keep well, and keep on bloggin'!

    JBG

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  • Comment number 86. Posted by Deebee

    on 20 May 2013 20:47

    Hello All

    Thank you for all the positive blog vibes today. You are such a lovely bunch! And getting a mensh put a smile on my face as well - well done to everyone else who got one!

    Enjoyed reading all the school stories. I went to three primary schools, but the first two were only for short periods of time. My earliest school memories are of individual bottles of warm milk and little woven mats to put them on. I also have the claim to fame of going to the same school as Cliff Richard's sister, although obviously that meant nothing to me at the time. My Dad changed jobs a few months after I started school, and we moved from Hertfordshire to Kent, first in temporary accommodation and then my parents bought a house in a different area. I had my Mum as a teacher for a while, and it was difficult to remember not to call her "mummy" in class... I passed the 11+ but my friend Jackie didn't - she wouldn't speak to me after that. I went to the girls' grammar school, where I was very happy and had a lovely group of friends, some of whom I am still in touch with. And the best way to meet boys was to join the choir, as we would combine with the boys' grammar school for concerts...

    ;o)

    Hoffs, I agree with what others have said about Schindler's List - it's a great film and I'm sure will help with Teen Hoffs' project. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas too - although personally I found the ending somewhat harrowing. I haven't read the book, and when I saw the film it wasn't at all what I had expected.

    Jilly, loved your freezer repairman story! How sweet of your dog to give him a present!

    ~X~

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  • Comment number 85. Posted by amelia

    on 20 May 2013 19:57

    I’ve really enjoyed reading all the school stories today. Katy used the word evocative earlier and it is the perfect description.

    I also loved your use of foibles Katy - indeed one of the many joys of this place is that we all seem to be full of them which makes for a most interesting and entertaining blog.

    I very much enjoyed John Boyne ~ the book panel was one of my favourite part of his lordships 5 Live show (in idle moments I still listen to old podcasts) and I always look forward to authors being on the show. Perhaps not quite so much tomorrow’s guest but he has made millions so who am I to be sniffy.

    Zoe & Hoffs ~ I agree The Boy In The Striped Pajamas is well worth watching - I loved the book too - written in childish language it is even more evocative than the film. They are both heartbreaking it is worth saying.

    Hoffs - oh dear re the thumb - hope the poor boy is not suffering too much?

    Jilly ~ just a fabulous story and isn’t a freezer that makes ice one of life’s little joys?

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  • Comment number 84. Posted by Jennie Wren

    on 20 May 2013 19:46

    CongratuPations?? Please feel free to swop the P for an L!

    Night night.

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