Before I launch into the meat of this blog post, let me explain that not every day at primary school was a waking nightmare. There were good times, like sneaking plasticine home to add to my ever growing stolen collection and the occasional game of British Bulldog. Most days sucked, and this is why:
Wet Play – What better way to escape the rigour and routine of the mid-eighties classroom than by being confined to it during those brief moments that we were afforded playtime? Indoor Play meant sitting down quietly with a book and not playing tick. Fun times indeed!
Outdoor Play (When you weren’t allowed onto the grass.) – As a child, there is nothing worse than been told you cannot do/say/touch/play with something. It’s like a red rag to a bull; temptation is always going to get the better of us. Yet woe and betide anyone who foolishly set foot upon the hallowed turf that bordered our minuscule playground, during the Autumn/Spring term. Grass (for some reason never fully explained to me) was the preserve of the Summer term, and only then if it had not rained the fortnight before. The punishment for straying onto those tempting green plains? Indoor Play (without the play).
Assembly – This makes the list for two reasons. Firstly, I had no interest in who had finished where in the last cross country team. I was six. I thought that cross country was some kind of international arguing, the mechanics or which baffled my young mind! I had no interest in what was going on further up the school, only how long it was until playtime (and the sweet release of a game of Stuck in the Mud).
Secondly, they made us sit on the hard, uneven wooden floor when there were plenty of benches and chairs available. Until you reached year six, when, again for some reason known only to the headteacher, suddenly you were deemed worthy of sitting on basic furniture.
Recorders – Not only for the awful noise produced by a class of podgy fingered children with no skill nor desire for the instrument, but why did every single one of the school recorders have deep groove marks where someone had ground their teeth into the mouthpiece? Who did this? Was this a common practice that I was not in on? Or was this just one child, who over time, steadily worked their way through the entire school collection? I used to dread picking one of them from the box as we filed past; the odds of finding one unblemished were stacked against you. Rummaging through that box was like playing Russian Roulette!
Mash potatoes – Now I had mashed potatoes every Sunday with my roast chicken, and not once did it ever appear to have the same consistency as the mash they presented us with at school. Delivered as a dollop, the cold, stringy potatoe would sit congealing on your tray, sucking the very colour from the air. And why did it smell like cabbage? Repulsive.
Not letting us use the ropes in P.E. – Or the climbing frame. Or any of the really fun stuff. I remember that we’d all rush to the ropes whenever the teacher left the gym (for whatever it is that P.E teachers are required to leave the gym while teaching a class of six-year-olds.) We’d risk lines for a swing on those ropes. It was worth the risk of getting caught, trust me. Many I time I pictured myself as a young Indiana Jones, swinging over the piranha-infested rivers of the Amazon (a blue crash mat).
I don’t believe I ever got caught, though I almost did while climbing the tall frame that lined the back wall. I heard the teacher come back and leapt from the top. Must have been a solid ten meters to the ground. Health and Safety folks would have had kittens!
I’ve shared my Primary School Peeves, now let’s hear yours in the comments below!