Sunday, 2 August 2009

Carres Reunion

Carres Grammar School, Sleaford
Founded 1604
(Above picture is from a Lithograph of 1834 showing
the newly rebuilt School & Headmaster's House)

Last Thursday I had a most enjoyable day out attending a reunion at my old school Carre's Grammar School, Sleaford. It was the first time I had met the other pupils since leaving school in 1957, exactly fifty-two years ago. The nice thing was I recognised all of them immediately. The event, which was very informal, took place over three days Wed/Fri - 29/31 July. I have reproduced the programme of events below:
My intention was to go for the full first two days, as I was not available on the Friday, but unfortunately the heavens opened on Wednesday morning and it literally poured down with rain all through the day and evening as well. I thought long and hard before deciding to write the first day off. That left just Thursday. I arrived at the school just before 10.30 a.m., met up with the group and had a tour of the areas of the school that we were allowed into. The new Sports Hall was impressive, including a full sized gym fitted out with all the latest fitness equipment supported by computer technology. The two football pitches, with a cricket square between them, that used to be behind the school, are now gone, replaced with a state of the art astro-turf surface. We watched a demonstration of the new surface being brushed instead of cut, ride-on brushes taking the place of ride-on mowers. It felt strange standing in the old assembly hall where first thing every morning we went to morning prayer. After an update by the headmaster on which boys and sports teams had deserved a mention for their special achievements, you stood in dread in case your name was called out, to be summoned to the headmasters study immediately after assembly. It almost certainly meant trouble, often accompanied by six of the best. Can I claim for retrospective abuse, I wonder? We moved on to the headmasters garden for a group photo-shoot, as this was where all school photographs had been taken since time immemorial, as we stood there waiting to say 'cheese' I couldn't help reflecting how many photographs must have been taken there over the years. During the afternoon the group were left to their own devices, a group of five of us opted for the pub. Heading for the Barge & Bottle we decided to walk down Church Lane, where fifty years earlier we went to do PE in an old hall. It was barren, mostly cold, with a dusty, splintered floor. The old hall had been knocked down and a huge new building housed a public fitness gym. If only they had thought to build it fifty years earlier! It suddenly occurred to me that we didn't need to do PE at school. we would have kept perfectly fit walking to lessons. We walked round to the old hall to do PE, we walked a quarter of a mile, through the secondary modern school, to get to the woodwork shed, we walked a quarter of a mile to the football pitches down Drove Lane, and half a mile to the town swimming baths for our swimming lessons. What the hell did we need PE for? The sight of all this gym equipment was taking its toll and we reached the Barge & Bottle gasping for a pint. We arrived at the pub about 12.30 and after a nice lunch, a few pints, and an afternoon of very pleasant conversation, the last three of us rolled out the pub about about 5 o'clock. We walked from the Barge & Bottle to the railway station and I swear we wouldn't have looked out of place in a scene from 'Last of the Summer Wine'. I caught the 5.15 train to Metheringham and arrived home about 5.45. About 8.15 Angela and I set off for Barge & Bottle again for a social evening that included wives and partners. Once again it was a very convivial evening, a great way to end an excellent day.
Thanks to John Arum, Tim Harrod and others who helped in making the event a great success, I am sure that everyone who attended had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Today's Smile

News Roundup

News Roundup is a new feature being introduced into the Journal. Each week we shall be taking a quick luck at items of interest that have appeared in the media during the previous week.

Sense at last on Afghanistan
International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, speaking in Afghanistan, believes the long-term answer to the problems there would be to involve the Afghan government engaging with elements of the insurgency. Ministers hope the Taliban can be divided into a hardcore of Al Qaeda sympathisers and others who might be brought into the political process. Announcing an initiative in which Foreign Secretary David Miliband would set out a new political strategy for Afghanistan to Nato in Brussels, he told Chanel 4 News; "David draws a very clear distinction between those who are irreconcilable, and who for reasons of ideology or reasons of support for international terrorist networks see no future as part of a democratic Afghanistan, and the significant number of fighters who are there for reasons of desperation. That is why it is right to engage in what is often a challenging conversation."It seems to me it has to be worth a try, after all it brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Cheap Beer
It is refreshing to drink a cool pint of lager on a nice summers day, even more refreshing to read that the brewery which produces the country's most popular lager has called on the government to set minimum prices in a bid to tackle dangerous binge drinking. Molson Coors, which makes Carling, has linked up with the British Medical Association and the chief medical officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson. In times of recession we all want lower prices, but until as a nation we learn to drink more responsibly, I don't think it should be applied to alcohol.

The Pope and the Visionary Priest
The Pope has defrocked a priest who, it is claimed, is responsible for the phenomenon of the Virgin Mary appearing in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje. Father Vlaslc was named as the 'creator' of the phenomenon by Pavao Zanic, the local bishop at the time the apparitions began in 1981. Months later, six local children said they had seen the Virgin on a nearby hillside. Soon after Father Vlaslc announced he was 'spiritual adviser' to the 'visionaries' who now claim that Our Lady has visited them 40,000 times in the past 28 years. An estimated 30million pilgrims have visited the shrine since 1981, including many from Britain and Ireland. Father Vlaslc was suspended last year and secretly defrocked by the Pope in March. The Vatican also began an inquiry into claims he was guilty of sexual immorality after he made a nun pregnant. I was under the impression the church were all for promoting miracles, not denouncing them. One thing's for sure when it comes to publicity Saatchi and Saatchi had nothing on this guy!
Beware of Iced Coffee
A recent report highlights the fact that drinking iced coffee can be seriously damaging to your dress size. Iced coffee drinks sold by High Street coffee shops can contain a quarter of a woman's recommended intake of daily calories. One of the worst offenders contains a whopping 561 calories. So, before sipping your next cream topped favourite iced coffee check out the following table to see just how many calories your drinking.

I know you'll still pop in to the nearest coffee shop when your next out shopping. But, at least I did try to warn you!

Who Am I? - Friday's Answer

The answer to Friday's
Who Am I?
David Niven

Premature Seperation

Dear Wife

I'm writing you this letter to tell you that I'm leaving you forever. I've been a good man to you for seven years and I have nothing to show for it. These last two weeks have been hell. Your boss called me to tell me that you quit your job today and that was the last straw.
Last week, you came home and didn't even notice that I had a new haircut, had cooked your favourite meal and even wore a brand new pair of silk boxers. You ate in two minutes, and went straight to sleep after watching all your soaps. You don't tell me you love me anymore; you don't want sex or anything that connects us as a husband and wife. Either your cheating on me or you don't love me anymore; whatever the case, I'm gone.

Your Ex-Husband

P.S. Don't try to find me. Your sister and I are moving away to West Virginia together ! Have a great life!

Dear Ex-Husband

Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter. It's true that you and I have been married for seven years, although a good man is a far cry from what you've been. I watch my soaps so much because they drown out your constant whining and griping. Too bad that doesn't work. I did notice when you got a haircut last week, but the first thing that came to mind was "You look just like a girl!" Since my mother raised me not to say anything if you can't say something nice, I didn't comment. And when you cooked my favourite meal, you must have gotten me confused with my sister, because I stopped eating pork seven years ago.
About those new silk boxers: I turned away from you because the $49.99 price tag was still on them, and I prayed that it was a coincidence that my sister had just borrowed fifty dollars from me that morning. After all of this, I still loved you and felt that we could work it out. So when I hit the lotto for ten million dollars, I quit my job and bought us two tickets to Jamaica. But when I got home you were gone. Everything happens for a reason I guess.
I hope you have the fulfilling life you always wanted. My lawyer said that the letter you wrote ensures you won't get a dime from me. So take care

Your Ex-Wife
Rich as Hell and Free

P.S. I don't know if I ever told you this, but my sister Carla was born Carl. I hope that's not a problem.

Animal Capers

Simple Economics

An Australian citizen composed a letter to Wayne Maxwell Swan (pictured right), the Treasurer of Australia, setting out his suggestions for fixing Australia's economy. His letter is produced below:

Dear Mr Swan

Please find below my suggestions for fixing Australia's economy.
Instead of giving billions of dollars to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan.
There are about 10 million people over 50 in the workforce. Pay them $1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations.
  • 1 They must retire. Ten million job openings - unemployment fixed.
  • 2 They must buy an Australian car. Ten million cars ordered - car industry fixed.
  • 3 They must either buy a house or pay off their mortgage. Housing crisis fixed.
  • 4 They must send their kids to school/further education/university. Crime rate fixed.
  • 5 They must buy $100 worth of alcohol/tobacco a week. There's your money back in duty/tax etc.

It can't get any easier than that!

Yours sincerely

The Whole Country

PS If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances.