This afternoon I was in Norwich city centre running some errands and I popped into the old-style sweet shop to re-stock with Sweet Peanuts. This reminded me of many a diversion to the school tuck shop to buy these, not to mention Toffee Cushions and Sherbet Lemons.
Indeed, I was fortunate enough to go to a school from the ages of 11 to 16 which had a tuck shop! Our tuck shop was in an old corrugated iron Nissen Hut, but then so were many of our classrooms, our lovely school being housed on a site previously occupied by a USAAF hospital.
For those who can’t imagine what I’m talking about, this is how my school looked:-
I understand things have changed in the lifetime since I finished my education.
There are things you are exposed to at school which remain with you for your entire life. For me, these include a love of semolina pudding, the afore-mentioned Sweet Peanuts, and a devilish need for clear grammar and punctuation. I know that language should be a living thing and that it should evolve with each new generation, but I also know that punctuation is there to make written work easier to read (and, most especially, to read out loud) and I am in favour of clarity in written work.
Since I am reminiscing about school, this would be the ideal point at which to revisit my English report from the fifth form, November 1975.
I am sure Mr Graham would not be the least bit surprised to learn I have not really taken the advice about avoiding vagueness. Forty-four years later I retain my highly imaginative response to literature (and to life in general) and welcome glorious ambiguity and imprecision with open arms, so long as I can suck a Sweet Peanut or two along the way.
Do you have any fond memories of your schooldays, or favourite childhood sweets?