The Cork Board

The Saint……. (du-du-doo-da-der-doo-doo)……….

On the 20th August 1969 one of the best and most highly regarded poplar music combos, The Beatles, finished mixing and editing  “I want you (She’s so heavy)” for their new
album “Abbey Road”.

I can’t claim that this story actually happened that day but do I remember it was late
August 1969.It was summery warm. I was 15 years old. The school holidays were coming to an end………………and I had some homework to do.

As an 11 year-old I had passed the 11 Plus exam at primary school and that had won me a place at Netherthorpe Grammar School, the area grammar school of some renown. Of course, being Top Dog at your primary school didn’t mean that you would be Top Dog at your grammar school…and I wasn’t. I was just an average “good at some things, poor at others, stay-outta-trouble” kid.

The summer had been long and hot (as all summers in your childhood memories seem to be) and school was looming again. With a heavy heart I sat down to begin my English homework. I rooted through my bag for my textbook and weapons of choice. I was horrified to find … book.  I was in deep trouble. Mrs. Brakespeare was
fierce. No homework – I was dead. I must have left my book in my desk at school.

I weighed my options;

  1. No homework – die.
  2. Make something up and pretend I thought I was doing the right piece of homework – die.
  3. Tell Mrs. Brakespeare that I’d been ill all summer with a tropical disease and didn’t even have the strength to hold a pen – die.
  4. Break into the school and rescue my book, complete my homework – live (with a criminal record, probably).

I hatched a plan. The sun was still high in the early evening sky as I caught the local bus to town. I was tense, my mind raced from the fears of being caught to the sense of being some dramatic super-hero. I was…. The Saint.

The long walk to the school was surprisingly quiet as I tried to look confident and unconcerned, taking in the evening air. The main school building is centuries old and loomed menacingly as I turned the corner, scanning for the Caretaker or The Tuck Shop owner who lived opposite. Everything was uncharacteristically quiet and almost ghostly.

Netherthorpe Grammar school, (photo:Peter Thompson)

One last check and I scaled the front wall and dropped over onto the grey concrete out of view. My heart thumped like never before. From now on, caught? I was sunk. I checked the outer corridor and slipped down the steps that led to the main Quadrangle. Setting sunlight shone daggers into the Quad.  Under the dark archway towards the classroom – check the open playground – no sign, no sound.

I skirted around the back of 4Y and found the window that Stanner had broken during the last week of term. Typical. It hadn’t been mended – phew. Arm through pull the handle window open quick in.

Now I was in deep trouble if the Caretaker came. Crouching I headed for my desk. Aaarrghh….oh no… book !!   Where the hell was it? I searched other desks. Heart racing out of my chest. Caught rifling desks it was a sure prison term. “I just needed my book, your honour”….  “Off with his head”

Tommo’s, Monkey, Jones, Maddo’s……urrghh, a dead  bird in there. I left it to rot some more. I mean, I had no time for charity work, did I?!

No book, no-one had it. That must mean everyone had taken their’s home….and I’d lost mine. Dead.

I climbed back through the window and closed it so as not to arouse suspicion. Back under the archway, over the wall and was gone – empty handed.

That night, The Saint pondered his fate. He’d escaped prison (he always seemed
to) but how could he escape Mrs.Brakespeare. The fateful day when the Saint would face his nemesis loomed like the Empire State on a stormy night with a gorilla hanging from it.


Class. Good morning, Mrs.Brakespeare. Yes, everyone had a lovely holiday, thank you. Now, homework. What is that smell? Urgh. Gosh. It’s a dead bird, Mrs.Brakespeare, rotting in my desk. We can’t stay in here with that awful smell. Homework ? We’ll deal with that next time. Get RID of that bird.

21 thoughts on “The Saint……. (du-du-doo-da-der-doo-doo)……….”

  1. saved lol why were we so scared of teachers and school we wouldnt put up with it now lol they really were like the monsters from hell some of them hi just called to say hello xxjen

    1. Hi Jen, thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s great to have a new face around here. Yeah, scared of teachers ‘cos they had the power.Only when you get older you get a different view. Either way, you should always be aware of where the power is, right? More power to you, Jen. Stay cool.

  2. So much fun to read! Wow, at 11 I would rather have died than been caught sneaking into the school… not that my parents would have let me run off anyplace without supervision anyway. 🙂

      1. Good grief, where did I get 11 from? Sorry about that! You made it quite clear! I guess at 15 I might have been allowed off alone to “take a walk”!

  3. I was worried how the pathos would play out, and riveted until the end. I’m glad your original mission became important reconnaissance! From my memories of Simon Templar’s wit, you did The Saint proud. 🙂

  4. I was 15 in ’69 also and that was one of the best songs off Abbey Road. Oh who am I kidding I don’t think I could find a best song on that or even most of their LPs. I really really liked the band.
    Great story.
    Hello I am Raven of Leyla…

  5. Hi Raven of Leyla, it is good to have you here and thank you stopping by and reading and commenting. I sense a kindredness of spirit. Those songs are still so cutting edge. Unfortunately, you can’t listen to them without thinking “Oh, it’s The Beatles”, they’re so well known now. But if you could hear them fresh and without knowing who it was you’d still go “Wow, WHO is that ?”
    Thanks for joining me on my nostalgia trip. Hope to see you here again. 🙂

    1. 🙂 Thanks, Tony. Much appreciated. The story is indeed all true, although Mrs. Brakespeare was actually our English teacher, Mrs. Walker, who is probably long gone by now, bless her. We respected her and feared her too. She was very experienced and a great teacher. Reading this post again now I see that the old school looks a bit Hogwarts-ish, though I can only say I’ve only seen the pictures, not the movies. My friends nicknames are all true, too, though nicknames will hide their real names from those who weren’t there. The dead bird ? Master stroke. Mrs. W. was completely distracted by the rotting corpse and forgot the homework. …and finally, there is a beer sold here called Brakespeare’s…. but I used the pun for obvious reasons.

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