Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside

Memories – a ten-minute writing challenge


A response to The Weekly Writing Challenge This looked as though it might be fun to try. It was interesting what was thrown up by just ten minutes of writing – my pedantry goes back a long way – I was a bit of a brat. 🙂

My earliest memories

My earliest memories are pretty hazy. I’m not so sure whether I really remember them, or whether they are memories of memories – redredged up from having to write ‘my earliest memories’ when I was at school, mixed with tales told by my mum.

Nevertheless. I don’t remember anything before primary school, but I do have a few memories that go back to my first classroom. My first teacher was Miss Bates (though I also remember Miss Bearpark – was that really her name?) in the same high-windowed Victorian school-room. Not that I was a Victorian, you understand. But the room was the original school. The assembly hall for my daughters’ primary school was a room almost identical, probably built from the same plans – and still in use about a hundred years after it was built. But I digress.

The windows were above eye-level for small children, probably to avoid the Victorian children getting distracted by the excitements of the big outdoors. I seem to remember them being pointed at the top, like church windows, but that may be invention. The room was heated by a big boiler, with a wire fireguard round it, that we used to poke our gloves into, when they got wet on snowy days.

I remember the smell of poster paints – though I don’t actually remember doing any painting, but I’m sure we did. I can’t recall any actual work – or play for that matter – that we did in that reception class. The only clear memory I have of that room is with Miss Bearpark, who I think was the next teacher – that would be class 5A, I think. Reception was Class 6. I seem to remember her teaching us ‘Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope roam…’ – but maybe that wasn’t her, and I’ve just conflated deer and bears (in her name)…

She was writing a poem on the board – perhaps it was the lyrics of Home on the Range. And I have a clear memory of putting my hand up to tell her that she’d forgotten to put a comma at the end of one of the lines. A little pedant already, at age 5 or 6. And I was probably wrong, too, as poetry and songs don’t always have commas at the end of each line.

Another similar memory was a bit later on, when I was a Brownie. We were going for a nature walk – a nice convenient way of using up meeting time I imagine now, having seen things from the adult perspective more recently. One of the adults told us that a plant was Red Dead-nettle, and I corrected them and said it was Ground-Ivy.

That time I was right though – and I did end up going on to study Botany at university, so maybe I can be excused that one. I did know that maybe I should have kept quiet though, as it is one of my sharpest childhood memories, and it still makes me feel a bit uneasy.

Author: Hedwigia

Gardener, wildlife geek, and very slow runner.

7 thoughts on “Memories – a ten-minute writing challenge

  1. Pingback: Freestyle Memory. Weekly Writing Challenge: I Remember | flow of my soul

  2. I hope the teacher reacted graciously when you pointed out her mistake!
    Funny, I recall learning that song too. Must have been a standard for our generation. Or from a popular film at that time.

    • I associate it with Davy Crockett, but not at all sure they are connected really! One of the boys in my class had a Davy Crockett hat (with a raccoon tail?) that was much admired. And that reminds me of tiger tails that came from petrol stations to advertise ‘Put a tiger in your tank’. I’ll have to go and google that now…

  3. Pingback: I remember the day my son got lost: Weekly Writing Challenge | Kids "R" Simple

  4. Brilliant, but I want to hear more!!!!! 🙂

  5. I remember many of our teachers desks were placed higher up on a raised deck, often you would look up and see your teacher staring out of the high windows at the glorious outside which we of course could not see. There was good design in the way they built those older Victorian schools right enough, I was a daydreamer if the subject was not to my liking!!

    • I remembered about the raised dais last night – and all sorts of other little details from those old buildings too. Like lining up to have our sewing checked, and idly scribbling out a word on a wall display (my own piece of work, as far as I remember) and getting into BIG trouble!

      There was a stuffed crocodile (or alligator perhaps) on top on one of the cupboards, and an ostrich egg somewhere too. I remember the weight of the doors – big doors – or maybe I was just little!

      I also remember getting changed for swimming one day (when we were a bit older, but in the room next to the reception class) and some of the more knowledgeable girls telling one of my friends ‘the facts’… She didn’t believe them! It was news to me too, but it was so bizarre, I decided it must be true, and didn’t confess that I hadn’t known all that before! Sort of connected to that, I also remember my dad, who was a pig farmer giving me half a crown (a huge sum then – now a measly 12 and a half p) for helping him with the pigs one day. I believe it was because he’d been pairing up a sow and boar – that was the sum of my home ‘relationships education’! 🙂

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