Monday, 14 April 2008

School Misery (3)

Form 1D at FGS.

F.G.S. had a handsome building. The school has moved from them to new premises and is now know as Fairfield High School.

Old Fairfieldians such as I, even though we hated the School, are glad that the name has continued.


We hope that the old premises will be preserved one way or another. They are lovely buildings. **

And we even have an Old Fairfieldians Society.

I am an overseas member, and by dint of coincidence, have been able to attend a couple of reunions in Bristol.

At the first, (1991?) wearing my clerical collar, folks wondered “who is this American Priest, and why is he here?”

I sat at dinner with a woman I did not remember, but she was good company. Her father, of whom I had known, had been Vicar of a very “low” Church in Cotham, Bristol. She now lived in New Zealand, and is a Bahai.

At the second, (1998?) my old object of “crush”, Clive Hargett was present. He had taken early retirement from an Insurance Company; lived with his wife in deep Somerset. He had a nervous demeanour and a stutter which I had not remembered from all those years ago.

My good pal Colin Cooper was also present. I had forgotten that Colin, the son of a “Peeb” Missionary to Barbados, had also enrolled at Farirfield, a year behind me.

There he had met Lorraine, later to become his wife, and both Colin and Lorraine are good friends to this day, even though we rarely see each other.

Ross Gilkes was also at this renuion. He was the most popular and accessible of all the Fairfield staff.

Ross was signing copies of his Fairfield History. I reached the end of the signing line, and to my surprise (and delight) Ross turned to another ex-teacher and said “this is John Povey, he is an Episcopalian Priest in America”.

** But back to those buildings Fairfield was built on a triangular “campus” in Montpelier, Bristol.

The main building, on two floors, contained classrooms, staff rooms (including the office of our much to be admired/dreaded Headmaster, J.P.Stewart.)

Each floor also had an assembly area, one used for morning prayers , and the other as a lunch room.

Then there were labyrinthine underground passageways to the Art and Woodwork Rooms, and to another set of classrooms, arranged around a gym.

Form 1D met in one of these classrooms.

The gym became my first source of failure. It had “monkey bars” (climbing bars); ropes to climb; pummel horses, vaults etc. I

In it we were given two or three gym lessons each week,

And here, in my white “T” shirt and shorts, with Blue (house) braiding, I discovered that I did not have an athletic bone in my body.

“They” wanted me to climb those ropes, or dangle from the monkey bars. And I could not do so.

Neither could Richard Marsden, nor Stephen Meyer

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