Z’s favourite things – 3

My school was a bit rubbish, has to be said.  Lynn and I took English and History at A Level and Lynn took Art as well.  We were talking about that when I saw her a few weeks ago, actually.  She said that the teacher didn’t have a clue what to do and gave her a pile of books on artists that my mother had recently given to the school and told her to do her research on Art History with them.  So passing the exam was all down to her and not to the school at all.  I’d have quite liked to take Biology but I’d have been the only one, so it wasn’t possible.  So I went to the local high school for a third 6th form year.

It was only its second year as a comprehensive, it had been the Grammar School.  When I went to the school I was quite devastated to discover the range of subjects I could have taken and would have loved to take – years later, Al took Ancient Greek (a group of boys had taken Latin a year early so filled in their time before A Levels with Greek) and I was a bit envious.  In fact, I’d given up French and failed Latin O Level (twice!), but pulled myself together in my first attempt at the Upper Sixth (at this stage, having taken English after one year I was only taking an exam in History, though I was going to English lessons to keep Lynn company – you’re following me?  Darlings, you’re marvellous.  I thought I was losing you for a moment there).  I took up both French and Latin again and passed both O Levels with good marks.

Actually, dropping French wasn’t a bad thing – well, not altogether.  They didn’t quite know what to do with me – it was a kind school, they were very accommodating – and so suggested I went to the Business lessons: ie I learned to type.  It has been so useful over the years.  I couldn’t be bothered to learn shorthand, but I can touch-type like a good’un.

So my bright idea was to take French and Latin A Levels the next year.  Didn’t see why not – I have to admit, I thought I was rather brighter than I really was, but it’s always been my way to jump straight in and see if I could swim (as long as it isn’t real swimming mind you, I’m afraid of being literally out of my depth, and feel ashamed to have to admit it because I think if you’re afraid that’s all the more reason to do it).  And it can be done, but it’s not a very good idea, but I did scrape through with a grade E (having been dumped by my boyfriend a few weeks before the exams probably didn’t help all that much, either).  But (there is a point, darlings, I’ve been setting the scene up to now) some girls I made friends with were studying Russian – it really was a tremendous school with a very impressive curriculum – and so I spent my spare time reading Russian, French and other foreign novels. In translation, apart from the French ones, of course. And the one I was most impressed by was Crime and Punishment.  Oh, apart from La Peste.  Blimey, I was a miserable git, wasn’t I?  The story of a murderer and his conscience – though mind you, the victim was horrible, you saw his point – and the detective determined to prove the truth; and the story of a plague-hit town in Algeria.  No, actually, I’m going to sit and ponder for a moment here.

Yes it’s true, that was me.  It still is, too.  I like miserable stuff.  

8 comments on “Z’s favourite things – 3

  1. Tim

    Hmm, covered a bit of ground there, innit? I failed Latin Os twice, on purpose, because you had to have it to be a lawyer and I didn’t want to be a lawyer. That’s my story anyway.
    They didn’t know what to do with me either.

  2. Z

    I didn’t do it on purpose, Tim. I just failed. But the funny thing was, I gave it up for a year, went back to it and it just gelled.

    Zig, I’m proud of you. I came last in a sewing exam once though, which is something to boast about. 23%. I suspect it was that high because I spelt my name right.

  3. von LX

    I passed French I, failed French II, took French II again and passed. The second attempt was completely different since we had a new school and new language lab, so the same teacher taught the course differently. Bon!

  4. allotmentqueen

    I’m rather proud of the fact that my highest ‘O’ Level grade was for Needlework.

    I did Music, Art and French for ‘A’ Level, but dropped the French when I got a university offer of 2 ‘E’s (which was the minimum to get a grant anyway), because there was so much more work involved in French. No point in doing more work than you have to.

  5. Z

    Makes a big difference, LX. Your German is pretty damn good too.

    Too right, AQ. Not that I should be saying that, when it’s not the tune I play at school, but – well, it’s how I work really. I call it efficient.

  6. Z

    It was the other way round, GB, he was a rascal because of his name. It would have been a very different story if his last name had been Godunov…


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