Clearing a space

We’re hoping for dry weather next week, because at last the drive is going to be resurfaced.  I don’t recommend that motorbike riders come along it for a week or two, there might be some wayward chippings, but after that it should be fine.  In addition, the substantial pile of very large logs (the fallen oak from the hedge by the drive) that cluttered up the front garden are being split and moved, to be used for firewood.  The pile of sand near the logs has been used in the bricklaying and the area cleared.  And the last of the potatoes have finally been dug up.  It seems that things are finally coming together a bit chez the Sage and Z.

I had a few minutes to spare when I arrived for music after lunch today, so I went into the library to see what was going on.  A couple of tables were occupied by people playing chess and draughts.  A girl who knows me bobbed along to greet me and she started to tell me that she’d noticed a Year 9 (still the year of entry) girl spent a lot of time on her own, eating her lunch alone and then sitting reading, so she’d made her come along to play draughts and she had proved rather good at it, so was making friends and joining in with things a lot more.  Her friend (a third girl) then started chatting to me about her family, books and her interests at school; after a few minutes she politely excused herself, thanked me for my company and explained she was due at Biology.  All charmingly polite and awfully keen.  It is a very friendly school.  So unlike my schooldays, I can’t imagine going and engaging anyone in conversation like that.

Music went well, I spent my time helping pupils who had never played the guitar or keyboard before.  Not that I play guitar myself, but I can show the basics.  They were playing Word Up, which I don’t think any of them had heard before.  Quite a pleasure, after last year’s Coldplay effort.

I have to think I’d have grown up a very different person if schools 40-odd years ago had been more like they are now.  It would have taken such determination to remain silent and withdrawn, only producing good written work and rarely speaking in class, and not bothering with subjects I didn’t care about, that I wonder if I’d have succeeded in holding on to my reserve.  Nowadays, I’d be given targets and things, including joining clubs.  I was a dedicated non joiner in those days and I’m still more an observer than a participant.  That I never took up smoking, for example, was for two reasons.  One, that almost everyone smoked, and I didn’t do things because everyone else was, peer group pressure had the opposite effect on me.  And two, that I had not the least intention of being addicted to anything.  That I didn’t try drugs either was for those reasons too (not that *everyone* was doing it, they weren’t, but there were plenty around in the early 1970s), plus that I wasn’t going to do anything that might make me let my guard down without meaning to.  Evidently, I’ve always had that control-freakish tendency.  Although, only of myself.  Everyone else can do what they like.  Liberty Hall around here, darlings.

15 comments on “Clearing a space

  1. Z

    There was wine on the table daily, it was part of civilised life, but my parents were never the worse for wear. However, they did have alcoholic friends and I understood the sad consequence of being controlled by a need for alcohol. I was brought up with a balanced view on the subject I think, looking back.

  2. von LX

    Never smoked or wanted to because I think it stinks.

    That’s an interesting thought about turning out differently if going through school today. Have to think about that one.

  3. Tim

    I did drink, I did smoke, and I did take drugs (only pot, it was the sixties and I was in a band…) Only the alcohol has made it through to now.

  4. Z

    Impossible to say what I’d have been like 40 years on, of course, but I think my experience of school would be poles apart. Whether it would have suited me is another matter – I’m not at all sure.

    That’s another thing, Tim. I’m awfully sorry to say, but I observed that only youths took drugs, adults didn’t. I didn’t object to it at all, I acknowledged they were way cooler than I was, but I still didn’t want to do it.

  5. Tim

    A one-time boss of mine used to say “Never trust a man with a beard”. To which his (bearded) colleague would reply “All men have beards. Some of them just choose to shave”.

    I am (or was) a blond man, but I’m not called Frank.

  6. Z

    I enquired about specific men who were blond or called Frank. She declared that “the exception proves the rule.” Not gainsayable, my ma.

  7. Lola

    My name isn’t Frank nor have I a beard but I am blond(ish) …!

    Well, anyway, just to say thanks for stopping by and downloading Soul Stealer. Hope you enjoy it!

  8. allotmentqueen

    “…Do you smoke?”

    “Well, yes, I must admit I smoke.”

    “I am glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind. There are far too many idle men in London as it is.”


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