As mentioned in the last blog we were to begin a new school with a permanent teacher.
Peter Gribbon took over our class and if you were on the football team you walked on water.
Even though I’m a terrible player I remember that our school used to win all of the competitions.
There was always a cup game or a tournament and the school had some excellent players.
Danny Meers was so good he ended up having a trial for Liverpool boys and when he had the ball nobody could catch him and he made it look easy.
Unfortunately, the talent scout for Liverpool boys took a dislike to him so as talented as he was left by the wayside.
This happens to many promising footballers they just don’t seem to get their big break.
I also went to school with Phillip Jevons who was the year above us.
He went on to pay for Everton and Grimsby as a professional.
I still see Phil from time to time and his sister still lives in the Woolton area.
He’s a cool guy and I think it’s crazy he’s never had a job that didn’t involve football.
Even though I’m a terrible player a part of me is jealous imagine getting paid to do something you love all day.
When I say I’m jealous it’s not in a malicious way and I am happy for him. To be honest it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
So we began learning and we heard that the school would be getting a new teacher.
This new teacher was to also be the Deputy Head and he would make life miserable for many students. Luckily he would not teach our class but he made such a bad impact on many so im including him in the story.
I was never a fan of his and he made it very clear that he didn’t like me but I don’t think it was personal.
He was one of life’s failures and he thought he could become a teacher and take out his frustrations on children.
He never personally laid a finger on me so I will change his identity for the blog.
If he had laid hands on me I would happily expose him as there is no excuse for this type of behaviour.
I also don’t want to name him because I can’t verify his actions I’ve heard many stories through third parties.
I did find out he was suspended from his school in St Helens for fraud just before he retired.
He was cleared of any wrongdoing after a nine-month investigation.
It wasn’t the end of the world though he was on full pay the entire time.
He retired finally in 2012 and I’m sure he’s still alive so I will refer to him as Phil.
So we were learning a lot with Mr. Gribbon and he even took the time out to answer questions and explain things properly.
He used the age-old stand in front of the class method but he also incorporated other things such as discussions and fun quiz time.
His art lessons were brilliant as well I remember we all made paper mache planets of the solar system in groups of four.
I got to take planet earth home with me and I was so happy.
I was not just happy that I was learning new stuff I felt safe and secure for the first time in a long time.
No child should ever be scared to go to school and now I knew I was in good hands.
Don’t get me wrong Mr. Gribbon could kick off if he needed to and he didn’t take any shit.
If he was shouting at you though it was always for good reason and then thirty minutes later he forgot about it.
We always seemed to be in the yard playing football. We did a lot more PE than we should have and I think Mr. Owen the headmaster turned a blind eye as Woolton used to win all the football competitions.
PE was a little boring for me as I didn’t like football and Mr. Gribbon started using the PE lessons for extra team training.
The lads who were not in the team were put with the girls and they would play separately.
I hated this as all my mates like Trev Steel, Andy Edgar, Chris Farmakis, James Quilty, Glyn Roberts were all on the football team and I wanted to play with them.
Me and Mr. Gribbon ended up having a few arguments about this as Jeff Lindley, Colin Griffiths and I would end up playing army.
He would ignore it for as long as possible then he would go nuts at us.
he wasn’t arsed about what we were doing he was more concerned that he was being dragged away from the football team.
Mr. Gribbon also seemed to understand me and my needs a lot better.
Dyslexia was not recognised the same way as it is now but Gribbon understood that I learned differently.
He never got angry with me and said I was not trying he always tried his best even in a class with thirty students.
I always respected him for showing me that respect when many others before him had not given that courtesy.
We were later told in assembly by Mr. Owen that a trip to Colomendy was coming up and we all had to get permission slips signed by our parents.
I went home and asked mum and she was happy that I was so enthusiastic about going away.
It didn’t cost a lot and it would give her a break as well and I feel she must have been happy that I did not dread going to school anymore.
My mum never had to go up to the school about Mr. Gribbon either unless it was for parents’ evening.
Mum seemed to like him as well as he used to have a laugh with us all.
I would always come home with a smile on my face.
All of the football players loved him and at the time there was a children’s TV show about a kid’s football team called Jossys Giants.
Whenever we went to the swimming baths and the lads would start singing the theme to this which I’ve put below but would change the name to Gribbons Giants.
As you can imagine Mr. Gribbon loved this. he was essentially being paid to be a football coach and he used to talk to us like we were adults.
He could also take a joke if the songs on the bus changed about him and we were taking the piss as long as we didn’t swear he would just shake his head and accept it.
There was never any malice and it was all done in good humour and knew with children is never personal.
The week before Colomendy my mum’s attitude suddenly changed and in her mind, I was going to be murdered up in Wales.
She suddenly developed this empty nest syndrome and was quite upset that I was going away.
In theory, she loved the idea of having the house to herself but when she thought about it she was going to be bored stiff and this would be the first time I had gone away with the school.
I was upstairs playing with Chris Farmakis this one day and she asked me what I wanted to do for lunch and asked if I wanted to go to Marrantos on lark lane.
Marrantos is still on Lark Lane in Liverpool and has been open for about 35 years.
Mum and I still go there as the menu has hardly changed since its opening. The food is very reasonable and it’s a lovely atmosphere.
I said to Mum just to be cheeky is it ok if Chris comes and right away she said yeah sure.
We were both hungry and happy and I thought to myself I should go away more often.
We get to the restaurant and we order food. Chris then needs to go to the toilet.
I show him where it is and decide I need to go as well.
I go into the urinal to start taking a piss and I hear Chris screaming laughing.
Whatever it was I couldn’t wait so I had to see what was so funny for myself and then I was screaming laughing.
It was like we had been given a gift from God and it was so funny I couldn’t even put it into words so please see the picture below.
You have to remember we were both 9 and this was hilarious. We spend about 5 minutes in the toilet laughing and then we went back for food.
We sit at the table and I remember I just looked at Chris and smiled and the next thing we were both screaming laughing.
This must of happened about ten times during the meal and the more we tried to stop the funnier it became.
Mum didn’t share in our amusement but was happy we were having such a good time over something so very infantile and trivial.
We were dropping off Chris on the way home and we decided to make up a song for our special day as at this point this was the highlight of our lives so far.
Thank god our lives got better but it was one of those you had to have been there moments.
So in 5 minutes, we had mastered this song and for the life of me, I can’t understand why Chris and I are not millionaires from this.
Don’t be silly
Keep that condom on your Frederick Johnson
Then we would break down into more fits of laughter and then go through the song again.
We tried to modify the song but it was kept simple and now 32 years later it’s still fresh in my mind like it was yesterday.
So mum and I started packing my gear for Colomendy. The weather can change drastically in Wales so I had to take warm gear as well as shorts and T-shirts and be ready for anything.
For those of you not from the Liverpool area please check out the link below which tells in detail about Colomendy.
All of the schools from the surrounding areas would come to Colomendy for adventure training.
The kids would go out on horses, nature rambles, do teamwork exercises, and would and together as they were away from home and they would have to administrate themselves instead of relying on mum and dad.
The kids would have breakfast in the centre then they would take a packed lunch as they would be out for the day and then come back for an evening meal.
Everyone was excited but before we went we had all heard the stories about peg leg.
Peg Leg was a man who died while in Colomendy and had a wooden leg. He would haunt the boy’s toilets and showers.
Even though nobody had ever seen him there was always a story about someone’s brother’s friend’s uncle who was chased by him or had tried to kill him.
When your nine you never question the origin of these claims you just tend to believe them without question.
It’s also worrying if Peg Leg was a real person at one time surely if he haunts the boy’s bathrooms then this is where he died?
Nobody ever asks the story of Peg Leg and I wonder was he a paedophile who was murdered as he hung around kids’ bathrooms?
Did he walk in on something that he shouldn’t of like some devil-worshipping shit and he was killed to silence him?
Were the people responsible for his death still at large? If so had they killed others? If so why hadn’t they become ghosts?
Or was the whole story just fabricated to scare children?
I guess we will never know but I hope to God he isn’t real imagine spending 50 plus years in Colomendy wow that would be shit.
I enjoyed my time there but after a week it was time to go home.
Also if you’re a ghost then you ain’t making friends with anyone either so I guess the moral of the story would be don’t hurt children and try to stay away from pagan ceremonies in children’s bathrooms.
So all my gear was packed and my mum took me to Sainsbury’s and let me pick out a load of sweets for the coach journey down there.
I was a little sad to be leaving but at the same time was a little excited to be going away as well.
A week is a long time when you are 9 and I had to act like it was nothing even though I was gutted to be leaving mum.
We headed down to the school gates and there were a lot of parents there.
Andy Edgar was stood with Chris Famakis and I went over to join them.
We all climbed onto the coaches and we all ran to the back to get the best seats.
The coaches pulled off and we waved our parents goodbye. This was the beginning of our new adventure.