Finding a Memory

brass1Yesterday by chance I found the headed ‘business’ stationery I wrote about in my recent memoir (larger page follows), and writing this was all about memory, as faithful as that can be.

There may be embellishment here and there too, but I don’t genuinely feel I did much of that. What struck me about reading the stationery is that I got one bit of information wrong in the vignette And I Used to Sell Brass Rubbings – though possibly not. On the stationery is states that J XXXX has a B.A. in Theology; in my piece on this I write he was taking a break from studies to help run our brass rubbing enterprise (the euphemisms are not lies, nor embellishment, but a bit of fun). On reflection, I think John did already have his B.A., so it was misremembered to say he was studying for it. I think. It could be that he was still studying, but it looked better to state it was already acquired, as part of the presumed, intended embellishment.

I think he already had the degree, so I relearned something yesterday that I’d forgotten.


I had pictures to put in the book but couldn’t place many because of the expense and poor quality of the priniting for some. This is one that didn’t make it in: Val holding the tube of brass rubbings mentioned in the vignette as we were at Heathrow ready for flying to the States

brass rubbings

You can get Holding on to Me in Lockdown here


This is generative/progressive work with text that augments into found patterns. I am trying to find ways to post on this site which allow opening them individually rather than having to place as whole chronological pieces:

And yes, left-clicking on each will allow you to view individually. This is more accurately termed as SymbolsArt here…

Under the Mattress

Because the mattress is off the bed ready for turning and new coverings, I can get to all of my stuff in boxes stored beneath.

This is always a nostalgic experience as I am a hoarder of all things ‘past’ – and thankful for that – so findings in a quick search can be welcome reminders as with this:

dfe letter2

This letter refers to a meeting with Angela Rumbold, the then Minister of State (Department of Education and Science), and related to her Education responsibilities.

I was at this time ten years into my English teaching career, having had quite an exciting decade of independence and creativity, but I was now beginning to encounter Government interference in this – the issue at this stage being the proposed reduction of GCSE English coursework from 100% to 70% (yes, this is a haunting example of relativity…)!

I have removed the name of the Assistant Private Secretary but left those of Robin Maxwell-Hyslop and Trevor Green, who have both passed. Trevor Green was my dear friend but also Headteacher at the time, and Robin Maxwell-Hyslop was our school’s constituency MP.

There is no need to go into great detail: what this recalls is a time where in my teaching I was always supported fully by Trevor, and though Maxwell-Hyslop was a Tory MP – and his government was implementing policies with which I and Trevor disagreed – he was always supportive of our 11-18 comprehensive school.

The meeting was successful in as much as I was listened to politely and allowed to express trenchant views, but of course this never had any influence on the policy with which I objected. The circumstances around this will, however, always remind me of how wonderful it was to work with a Headteacher who had your back, but also a local MP who put his constituency responsibilities above and beyond ideology.

They were, quite simply, better times and I was lucky to have had them.