E38 Surgery and working around a broken system

Things were getting interesting in Casey’s class. This was not positive for him whatsoever.
When he had nothing to threaten the children with anymore he had started to lose power and he had to reevaluate things fast.

As things were heating up in the classroom I was given a much-needed 10 days off school.
I was going to the hospital to get my ears pinned back.
This was back in the olden days when people spent time in the hospital to rest and get better.

I’m afraid those days are gone forever in England as people keep voting conservative.
The procedure was pretty simple and its explained in detail in the link below


I had been on the waiting list for 4 years and was very lucky to get the procedure paid for by the NHS.
The same surgery now is not available unless you pay privately and it costs in the region of 3 grand.
Now the only type of cosmetic surgery that the NHS pays for is if you are severely burnt in a fire or mauled by a dog or something equally horrific.

The conservative party in England is known as the party of cuts and these types of surgery were one of the first things that were taken away.
This system was abused by many people for example many girls managed to get boob jobs.

They made up a story that this seriously affected their self-esteem and at the time no guidelines were in place so the doctors did the surgery.
It wasn’t just women who were abusing the system the above is just one example.

So after a few years of this and NHS costs kept getting higher and higher so you better believe the government put a stop to this.
In all honesty, it took them a while to figure it out but this was before the days of computers and everything was written down in big ledgers.

Many departments in the hospital would not communicate with each other and even if there was a query it was harder to chase people up as there were no mobile phones or email.
A lot of the time due to bad accounting or things were lost in translation when written down so it was not such a huge red flag at first.

I remember spending the week in the hospital and it was like luxury.
Don’t get me wrong I had everything I needed at home and was well looked after but there was no school.
Before I had my surgery I had ears like the actor Huw Higginson who played PC Garfield in The Bill (Tv show)

PC Garfield from the TV show The Bill

The nurses were all nice people who genuinely cared about us. They never shouted at any of us unless we made a noise at night and even then it was never without good reason.
It was such a welcome break from feeling worthless every day and wondering what stupid shit would be thrown at me.

I had already become conditioned to the horrible conditions at school when Francesca was at her worst, she was very slap happy and an all-out bully.
In a good way, it taught me to stand up for myself but on the other hand, no child should ever have to go through an experience like that.

Without the obvious safeguards that were nonexistent back in 1990 the main issue the education system faced was that there was a vast shortage of primary school teachers.

I’m sure a lot of teachers were more willing to turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior as it was months and months before any teacher was replaced.
Many teachers like Miss Brookfield were already going above and beyond the call just to keep the ship steered in the right direction.

The demand for primary school teachers has only got worse it does not seem to be a popular profession.
There is an even bigger demand for male primary school teachers as roughly 85 percent of them in the UK are female.

There are many theories behind why their numbers are so low but my personal opinion is micromanagement of teachers
Also, I’m a firm believer that children should learn through play especially at that age.

This is the system used in Scandinavia which is detailed in the link below.
The Scandinavians are one of the best-educated societies of our modern-day so maybe we should implement some of their ideas?



In the UK we would not implement such good ideas we would much rather be more rigid with the usual one size fits all attitude and that’s why many kids like myself end up falling through the system.

There are fewer opportunities for kids to be kids now as the new curriculum wants them to do Algebra and other complex subjects at an early age.

When we were at primary school we worked in the morning then in the afternoon we played together and had stories read to us on the mat and we would pretend to fall asleep while whispering to our mates next to us.

I know the system does not fail everyone but if you use me as an example and the horrific experiences that I went through in junior school then I feel for many children there was no coming back from this.

It was hard enough to pull myself out of the dark place after what happened in junior school.
If this negative conditioning had started when I was about 6 their to this day I would probably still think that I was worthless now.

Having said that I would probably be more content with a very low-paid menial job and be willing to take bullshit without question and be thankful for my meagre existence.
So if you look at it from the government’s point of view it’s a win-win situation for them.

The government also made it even harder to become a primary school teacher now in all their infinite wisdom.
Now I’ve no problem with safeguards in place even though they are not foolproof they are in the best interests of the children and their safety.

To be a teacher you need to have 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, A levels or an Access course, a degree, and a PGCE.
Now some genius changed it so to become a primary school teacher you need all of the above but you need a B in maths GCSE.

There was a girl I was in college with called Jenny Strom and she had her heart set on being a primary school, teacher.
A B grade in maths is fucking difficult and even though she was a clever girl she just couldn’t get the B grade.

Now because the system is so rigid and if you play by the rules then more often than not the system will seriously fuck you over.
She became so disheartened with this and ended up dropping out of college.
She then ended up having three kids and with the lock down, she essentially in her own way became a primary school teacher only she wasn’t being paid.

It’s a lot harder to go back to school when you have kids to feed it was a miracle that mum managed it with just me but for the sake of a score of a test of memory this girl like many others lost out on her dream job all because of essentially a tick in the box.

Another girl I went to college with Helen Scahill wasn’t great at maths and she kept failing her maths exam.
She passed the test easily and was a bit of a brainiac with science but kept failing her maths test by a few points.

She ended up staying at college for three extra years so she could finally pass the maths exams.
I would be more understanding of the system in place if it was to be a doctor or something along those lines but just because someone does not understand Pythagoras or algebra, as well as they, should then that should not hinder their further education.

The only people I know who use this is my ex-girlfriend’s sister whos a quantity surveyor and my mate’s brother who is an architect.
Everyone else gets by with normal maths such as counting money.

I had a similar problem to Helen with my maths and the college had screwed over all of the students with misinformation regarding coursework.
As a result, those who failed their maths exam were allowed to start the access course and do GCSE maths alongside it.

To be fair to the college they apologised for the screw up and as they let us do the Access course and didn’t charge us for the maths next year there was no investigation.I ended up finishing the Access course and I failed my GCSE maths by one point to get a C grade.
I kept quiet about it and carried on applying for university places.

I had two interviews for LJMU and they both asked me do I have my Access certificate and I said yes and showed them.
I never mentioned maths and they didn’t either and as a result of working the system and not listening to the no, I ended up getting a place at university and graduated three years later just as Helen was starting her degree.

A system is never going to be perfect but when the cards have been dealt against you for so long you can continue to lose or you can learn to play the game.

I have enough certificates which prove how capable I am and now I’m busy looking at other projects and none of them require me to understand isosceles triangles or the circumference of a circle.

However I decided after I finished university to try again as I didn’t want this formality to bite me on the arse somewhere down the road. I revised like a maniac this time which was much easier as I was only studying maths.

When the results came in I was blown away as I had somehow managed to get a B grade. I stick by my statement of I dont see the point in this but I would rather have and not need instead of need and not have

Back to the hospital and my surgery was going to be the next day and I was forced to be nil by mouth.
This was not such a huge problem with food but having nothing to drink for 24 hours was unbearable.

I had never felt so shitty in my life and I remember feeling like I wanted to die even before I went into surgery.
The mask went over my face and the next thing I was knocked out.

When I woke up later I remember I could not stop vomiting which made things a lot worse as my stomach was empty.
I got wheeled back to my ward with a bandage on my head looking like I had been in a serious car accident.

Like when I had my tonsils out years earlier the nurses came in with some ice cream and everyone knows ice cream always makes things better.
I remember pretending to feel upset that mum had gone home and my trick worked one of the nurses asked me if I wanted more ice cream.

Asking me if I want more ice cream is on par with asking me if I want more money so she went away and came back with an even bigger bowl which also had a slice of chocolate cake.

Even at ten years old I was figuring out ways to play the system for my gain.
It’s a known fact that shy kids get no sweets and that does not change much even when you grow up.

A couple of days later I was discharged from the hospital still with the bandage on my head and I had to go back in a few days to get the bandage off and the stitches removed.

I was starting to get bored at home now and there were only so many films I could watch.
Mum looked after me and made sure I had everything that I needed.
I wasn’t bothered about missing school but I missed all my mates and I wanted to be back with them in the yard.

The day came when I went back to the hospital and they finally took off my bandages and removed the stitches.
The guy who took out the stitches must have been a professional because I hardly felt a thing.

I remember my face being numb for an hour afterwards but I was amazed at the job they had done.
My ears were going to be fragile for a while but overall the operation had been a success.

The doctor ordered a few more days off school just to be safe and sent me home.
Below is a picture of me watching TV in Iraq on Christmas day having a Jack daniels with my pal Beau back in 2004.
As you can see the surgeons did a fantastic job of my ears.

The author left with Beau on Christmas day 2004 in Baghdad

Mum and I went home and I was bored out of my mind so I remember going to the village with her to pay some bills and then I asked her if we could go for a walk.
She didn’t realise I was up to something and we both walked down Out lane where my school was.

It was lunchtime and all the kids were outside playing and we were walking past looking in at them in the yard.
Mum says to me don’t worry love you will be back to normal in a few days and back with your mates.
I hadn’t planned how I was going to see my mates but I was racking my brain to think of something and fast.

As we got level with the playground I heard Arlo Arlo and I saw one of the lads waving at me.
Then without warning, I bolted through the school gates, across the field, and straight onto the playground.

It was no secret I was in hospital but the rumour machine was in full force and the stories I heard were varied at best.
I had been run over by a car, I had got sick in the hospital, I wasn’t in the hospital I had left school and gone somewhere else, The only story I didn’t hear is that I had died.

Most of my class were made up to see me and I felt like a pop star.
Mum came running behind me and our eyes met.
She gave me a look of I knew you were up to something and I just smiled back.

She was pissed off she hadn’t seen what I was doing but she was happy to see me laughing with all my friends.
The next thing the teacher in the yard had come over and I was talking to her as well.

Mr. Owen appeared from somewhere and for the first time ever I saw him smile.
He seemed genuinely happy to see me or maybe it was because mum was there.
I asked him if I could come back to school now and mum said no Arlo the doctor said three more days of rest let’s go home.

Please mum, I said and then a lot of my friends stepped in saying come on Carol let him stay please, please.
Carol looked at Mr. Owen and said it’s your call and Owen said bluntly I’ve no issue with any kid coming back to school early if he’s eager to learn.

Everyone was happy but Carol insisted and said ill let you stay as long as I can pick you up.
It seemed like a fair deal so I didn’t argue.

Mum left the schoolyard happy but in the back of her mind worried sick like a good mum does and went home.
I enjoyed the rest of the lunch break then we went inside.

It was also cool to be in my own clothes when everyone else was in uniform and just to be back with the lads made me feel on top of the world.

I was also intrigued by how things had progressed with Casey since I was away and was looking forward to seeing him.
He was not cut out to be a teacher but he did have a nice side to be fair.

E37 Final year of Juniors

It was time to go back to school and we were all a little excited.
I still had no love for education because of my experiences but it was going to be different as we were now in our final year of Junior school.

There was a tradition at the end of the school year that you and your mates would leave on the last day and you would all tie your school ties onto the fence or the gate and that would symbolise us leaving forever.

Mum wasn’t too happy as I had managed to convince her to let me walk home on my own.
She was just being a good mum but in the third year, I had managed to convince her to let me walk home without her picking me up on a Friday.

Now it was my fourth year and I had a credible argument against her.
I rightly pointed out that nobody had murdered, or kidnapped me.
Nobody had tried to drag me into a car and Purple Aki hadn’t once tried to feel my muscles.

She was pissed off well because she cared but she knew I was right and I was allowed to walk home by myself.
We all went into our new class which was 6Y and we were happy as we found out we were getting a brand new teacher.

We didn’t have to worry like in the second year who was coming in that day we had a brand new teacher fresh out of teacher training college called Paul Casey.

Casey didn’t last long as a teacher which ill talk about in great detail and to be fair I don’t think he was a bad guy deep down he was just in way over his head and the deeper he got the more he messed things up.

Casey came across as a very angry person but he did have a nice side.
It was unfortunate as we didn’t see it very often.
I have to admit though as angry as he got he never laid a hand on any of us.

It just goes to show you how broken the school system is if a plus point in me writing this is to say that a teacher never hit us.
Only the worst pieces of garbage would ever lay hands on a child 1980s or not.

We started our classes as normal and we realised quickly that children should be seen and not heard.
I don’t understand people like this especially when you’re dealing with children?

It’s understandable if the work is not being done or the children are disrupting the lesson but to scream at kids for talking then there is something wrong with you.

Casey had spiky brown hair which always looked like it needed a cut.
He also wore terrible jumpers the type which you would expect the presenters of Rainbow to be wearing.
Fair enough he was a Junior school teacher but if you see below they were awful.

A Paul Casey style jumper
The presenters of the TV show rainbow

The more we tried to be quiet as kids the more noise we made and then Casey got very angry.
He had bad skin and when he used to scream at the class he would turn the colour of beetroot.

The author at the rear second from right

Like many teachers of his era, he would take things personally, and then when he didn’t like you your cards were marked.
I wasn’t one of his favourites but I wasn’t completely on the shit list either.
I remember he took an instant dislike to Simon Ng and Danny Meers would get shouted at a lot as well.

I didn’t want any of my classmates to get shouted at but I have to admit that it felt good to not be targeted and singled out like what had happened with previous teachers.
In the first few weeks, Casey almost gave himself a heart attack.

If you were talking too much he would pull you aside from your classmates and scream at you for a good five minutes. There was way out of order and the more he screamed the angrier he got.
You would go back to your desk and sit down and you would then be quiet for a little while before someone spoke to you again.

Casey’s downfall was that he was terrible at maths.
There were thirty children in the class so even if you scream at everyone by the time you have got to the last person then the first few people who you shouted at would be talking again and the cycle continued.

To be fair to Casey he only really shouted at the boys as girls a lot better behaved so he realised he had to change tactics and fast.
He was one of those people who thought if you shout the loudest then that’s how you get respect.

I don’t have any issues with the fact he was not right for the job my only problem is who the fuck did he think he was to come in and spend all day screaming at children.
He started to send us to the office then for talking and then Mr. Owen would deliver his brand of justice.

If you were sent to the office you would likely get slapped on the back of your legs hard or occasions slapped across the face.
I don’t believe Casey would have sent us to the office if he knew what was happening.

He was out of his depth in the classroom but he was not a violent man and that was his saving grace.
This was around the time that Chris Farmakis, Simon Ng, Andy Edgar, and a couple of others were sent to the office for calling Stuart Williams names.

Now Stu and I are mates but at school, it would be best to say Stuart was years ahead of his time.
In hindsight, Stu had some serious balls but it was years later until I saw that.

Stu used to skip and dance across the playground and on occasion kiss boys on the lips.
They obviously went mental when this happened and there was always a barrage of name-calling along the lines of men who like to have sex with other men.

In modern times this would not have got even a third of the attention as it did back then.
OK, there were still gay people but people’s attitudes were a world apart back then.
People were not nearly as accepting of this and as a result, some pretty horrible things were said to Stuart.

I remember we were all being shouted at by Casey and a group the group was told to go to Mr. Owen’s office.
My name was originally called but then by the grace of God was told to sit down.
Stuart had rightly reported the lads for things that they said.

In the modern-day, it would be more of a scandal but back then we were not educated on subjects like this.
There were no openly gay people on TV nor were there any gay story-lines in soap operas so young lads will make their own minds up and the end result is usually very negative.

The lads all went to the office like they were going to death row and I remember thinking to myself this isn’t going to be good.
I found out later from Chris Farmakis what happened and Owen was going mental.

He was shouting at the lads determined to identify the ringleader when it was boys just calling names.
Owen kept asking what names did you call Stuart?
Nobody would answer as to when you open that door you have then sworn at a teacher and Owen would go nuts.

Owen was determined

What were you calling him?

The room was silent

This is your last chance what did you say.

Chris Farmakis looking at his feet mumbled kisser boy

Why do you call him kisser boy?

He kisses boys, sir

How dare you don’t lie to me boy

I’m not lying, Sir

Owen snarled and turned to Stuart in disbelief

Ok, then Stuart have you kissed these boys?

Yes sir

What really?

Yes Sir

Do your mother and father know about this?

Yes sir

Owen had no idea what to do this wasn’t in the teacher’s manual and he was lost for words so he dismissed Stuart and did what he knew best and went ballistic on all the kids.

He was screaming at all the kids and all the kids are panicking and then he starts moving towards Simon Ng
Simon backed away and his leg ended up against the hot air radiator.

Ahhhhhhhh ahhhhhh ahhhhhhhh then Owen stopped in his tracks when he saw what had happened.
This took the wind out of his sails and he warned everyone that if they came back to the office they would be in big trouble.

After that nobody said hurtful stuff to Stuart. As shitty as it was I believe it was ignorance on all of our parts why we said that to him.
I’ve been in regular contact with Stuart since we left school on social media.

The last time I saw him was in 2014 when I was walking out of college and he was walking in.
I ended up chatting with him for about 20 minutes and he looked great.
He had been cabin crew for years and now wanted a more stable job.

He applied to the college to be a maths teacher and he still works there to this day.
He lives with his fella and once in a while, we speak. I’m glad he’s doing well as Stuart is one of life’s good guys and would do anything for you.

Casey was losing his grip on the class so he started to take our break times off us.
He was at times close to bursting a blood vessel. His face would get redder and redder and I honestly thought at times I would get the beating of my life.

Many people said the same but luckily it never came. When break time came he would give us tests but in ridiculous times that even the clever kids could not keep up with.
It would always be crazy maths like 20×15 or 34×9 and three seconds later it would be another question.

This was extremely stressful for me as I was struggling with basic maths and English and when he ran out of maths stuff he would give us dictation at breakneck speed.

He started to sow the seeds of his own downfall as we figured out after a few weeks of this he would never mark them as he knew they would all be wrong and as a result, he would have to shout at us all even more and he didn’t have the energy he was completely burnt out.

There is an old saying that you should never deprive anyone of hope it may be all they have.
I know this wasn’t life or death but even as kids we saw we couldn’t do right for doing wrong so people stopped caring.

Casey was having a huge crisis of confidence because whatever he was doing wasn’t working at in his mind we were all out to get him.
The reality was were just kids and we were not particularly bad kids either.

Not many people can look at themselves and say maybe I’m the problem so he started shouting again and visits to Mr. Owen were coming more thick and fast.

Casey sent me to Owens office one day and Owen was furious and I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs he couldn’t stand me for a multitude of reasons.
I get to the office and it was the usual screaming in my face with his horrendous coffee and cigarette breath.

Today was different though I wasn’t arsed.
If I want back to Casey I would just get shouted at some more and when you know a slap is coming (Mr. Owen not Mr. Casey) and who it’s coming from you get conditioned to it.

We got to have our dinner at lunchtime but while the other kids would have the two other break times we would be sat in class being told we were the worst children ever.

I’ve also mentioned the past few years of my life and their instability and today I had had enough. I was just looking at Owen with eyes of hatred.
He kept shouting louder and my eyes kept burning a hole into him.

He went to push me and I moved and he nearly tripped over and then his face changed I knew I had fucked up.
He somehow managed to get behind me and he had twisted my arm behind my back and the pain was unbearable.

He was screaming louder and louder at me and I was sure my arm was going to break.
He was loving this and all I could think is when I get out of this arm-lock I don’t know how I will do it but I’m going to fuck you up.

My arm was right up my back and I couldn’t help it I screamed fuck off fuck off.
He screamed back don’t swear at me boy and then Miss Walsh came in and Owen let me go.

She had only heard the shouting and she said whats going on here.
I was in so much pain but there was no way I was going to show Owen even though he knew I was putting a brave face on it.

I smiled at him when Miss Walsh walked in and he screamed get out of my sight and I got out of the office quickly.
On the way back to class when I knew I was out of sight or earshot of Owen, I began to cry as my arm felt like it would come off and I felt physically sick.

I ducked into the boy’s toilets and got myself together as I didn’t want to walk back into class and give Casey the satisfaction of seeing me in tears.
I would never let another teacher have me in tears after what happened with Francesca.

I was washing my face in the mirror with all this hatred inside me for the cards I had been dealt.
I know some people have it a lot worse than me but at ten years old I had no idea how to fix this and around me, the answer always seemed to be violence.

I vowed I would get Owen back in the future and a couple of years later we had words again which ended considerably differently for him
I will talk about this in later blogs as it happened just before my second year of high school.

When people have no idea how to deal with their issues and they feel like they are helpless this anger just burns a hole inside of them.
If left unchecked it can consume you and it almost did me.

For many years I had all of this hatred inside of me and it came in useful as a teenager as I always wanted to fight.
This is the worst possible way to deal with problems even though they can’t be avoided at times.

For me, it was always my go-to because I didn’t know any different and pieces of shit like Francesca, Owen, and the deputy head Phil.
I would never let anyone put their hands on me again.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing at first but sheer hatred will get you a long way when you’re determined enough and you feel you have no other options.
I had been conditioned by the school system to feel worthless because of my dyslexia.

No matter what I did it seemed to be wrong so I decided to do my own thing and fuck what other people thought of me.
I was always popular with my classmates but not usually with people of authority which I will go into more detail about in later blogs.

I walked back to class and Casey was busy shouting at the class for some bullshit and took my seat.
Today was special as this was the day Casey started to lose power.
There were builders in the school and this same couple of guys kept walking past our open window.

Then one of them was on his way home and he put stuck his head through the open window and shouted the lyrics from the Pink Floyd song called another brick in the wall.


Then he ran off out of the gates. All of the class burst into floods of laughter and Casey went ballistic.
The more he shouted the more we laughed. Morale had been in the toilet for so long this was completely unexpected and caught us all off guard.

I’ve included the lyrics from the song below for those if your not familiar with it and also the song itself which you should listen to as it’s a timeless classic.

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave them, kids, alone

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers, leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave us kids alone!

All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall

The more Casey got mad the funnier it got and he had truly fucked himself over.
What could he do to keep us in for more breaks we hadn’t had a break for about two months and it was at the point where nobody cared anymore.

This reminded me of another very fitting song by Phil Collins from the time called I don’t care anymore.
I’ve included the lyrics as they are powerful especially in that time of my life as well as the song below.

Well, you can tell everyone I’m a down disgrace
Drag my name all over the place
I don’t care anymore
You can tell everybody about the state I’m in
You won’t catch me cryin’ ’cause I just can’t win
I don’t care anymore
I don’t care anymore, Jesus
I don’t care what you say
I don’t play the same games, you play
‘Cause I’ve been talking to the people that you call your friends
And it seems to me there’s a means to an end
They don’t care anymore
And as for me, I can sit here and bide my time
I got nothing to lose if I speak my mind
I don’t care anymore
I don’t care no more
I don’t care what you say
We never played by the same rules anyway
I won’t be there anymore
Get out of my way, let me by
I got better things to do with my time
I don’t care anymore
I don’t care anymore
I don’t care anymore
I don’t care anymore
Well, I don’t care now what you say
‘Cause every day, I’m feelin’ fine with myself
And I don’t care now what you say
‘Ey, I’ll do all right by myself
‘Cause I know
‘Cause I remember all the times I tried so hard
And you laughed in my face ’cause you held the cards
Don’t care anymore
And I really ain’t bothered what you think o’ me
‘Cause all I want out of you is just a let me be
I don’t care anymore
Ya hear? I don’t care no more
I don’t care what you say
I never did believe you much anyway
I won’t be there no more
So get out of my way, let me by
I got better things to do with my time
I don’t care anymore
You hear? I don’t care anymore
I don’t care no more
You listenin’? I don’t care no more!
No more!
Ohhh, yeah-yeah
Ohhh, yeah-yeah
Ohhh, yeah-yeah
You know, I don’t care anymore!
Don’t care no more!
No more, no more, no more
Don’t care
No more, no more, no more
No more, no more
No more, no more
No more, no more
No more, no more
No more, no, no more

After a while, Casey stormed out and went to fetch Mr. Owen and Owen came down to the class to shut us up.
We had calmed down considerably by the time he got there and he came into the class and went mental.

This was a typical day so we sat and listened and in hindsight, Casey lost his name that day and he knew it.
He had to figure out some new tactics and fast otherwise he would end up having a breakdown.

E36 Gordon’s World

We had finally finished the third year and we were about to be off for the summer.
Except for Colomendy, the third year of junior school was pretty good.
Peter Gribbon was a nice teacher and although football-mad he wanted to get the best from you.

He lost his temper a couple of times but it was never without good reason or it was that someone was genuinely not trying.
He would lose his rag over that but as long as you played the game he would introduce new ways for us to learn.

Just before we broke up for Summer Terry and Nicky who I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs were having their famous once-a-year grand national party.
There was always plenty of food and a lot of other kids to play with so I was excited to go.

Terry Canning left Tony right

The day was a usual success and for most of the day, mum was talking to a guy in a suit with a beard called Gordon.
He was nice to me and he and mum were getting along so well.
They ended up exchanging numbers with a view to going on a date.

They both seemed to be enjoying each other’s company and mum had been single since the horror story that happened between her and Lenny which was spoken about in earlier blogs.

I remember Gordon was very drunk that day but not in a slurring your words type of way more a happy way and it was a party so no red flags were raised with me or mum.

They started dating and it seemed to be going very well and Gorden was around at our house more and more.
Gordon was always lovely to me and we got on well.
He had a daughter who was about 6 years older than me called Vicky.

Gordon had just been through a messy breakup and he was back living in his mums and his partner had got the house and Vicky lived there so it made more sense for him to leave.

He was always in a suit and a tie so I’m assuming that he had a good job. I know he had no problem paying his way or for days out but looking back even on days out he still had on suit pants and a shirt.

Gordon was nice to everyone and very respectable but unfortunately was carrying a secret with him. He hid it well at first but he was a raging alcoholic.
I admit I saw him in some serious states but he was never an angry drunk he was just a stupid drunk who couldn’t speak properly.

In hindsight, I was shown a huge red flag one day when I went with him so he could meet his daughter Vicky.
He looked a lot like 80s actor John Ritter pictured below and as nice as he was I could never understand why he had a full beard.
This made him look a lot older as he was grey as well.

Actor John Ritter

We met Vicky in Walton where Vicky was living and it was a nice day so we all went to the park together.
I remember before going into the park Gordon going into the off-license and buying me a can of coke and Vicky and him a can of lager each.

It was a smart move on his part as she was very young and impressionable (about 16) if he just bought himself one he would have stuck out more like a sore thumb.
Now he made it into a thing where he could spend time and make a fuss of his daughter she was happy to have his attention and also happy to have a drink.

It wasn’t nice lager either it was something like Carlsberg Super Strength which is only ever drunk by homeless alcoholics and teenagers getting drunk in the park when they are 14.
We had a nice day in the park and dropped Vicky off about an hour later with Gordon making her promise not to tell mum about the drinks.

On the way back to the car we went back into the offy and I got another can of coke and Gordon got another can of lager.
He finished this before we got back on the bus and went back to mine together.

It was a shame that alcohol was his master as like most addicts Gordon had a lovely side to him and he was one of life’s good guys.
When he and Carol went out he drank a lot but still in the 80s it was a lot more acceptable than it is now.

I think mum was happier that he wasn’t an angry drunk and was always good to both me and her. Even on his worst drinking day, he would just fall asleep with his clothes on after talking shit for an hour.

If that was the extent of his drinking then he probably would have been ok but like any addiction, you are constantly feeding a beast, and it’s always hungry.
When you see the alcoholics outside bargain booze on a Tuesday morning waiting for the doors to open, they were not always like this but a series of wrong turns to put them on this path.

Unfortunately, when you are at this level it’s a lot harder to find your way back to sobriety Gordon was no exception.
He lost a couple of good jobs when he and mum were together and there was always a big story about how it was never his fault.

It wasn’t such a big deal for him to lose these jobs as he always seemed to get another job quickly.
As he was now living in his mums as well he didn’t have to worry about being out on the streets.
He would bounce back and would quickly be in another office.

I found that he never really went to a better job it was usually more of the same or a little bit less than what he was getting.
This is common with the disease of addiction as it just keeps taking from you.

Even though he was messing up once in a while Gordon was holding things together.
He was on good terms with his ex, had a good relationship with his daughter, he was doing OK with mum, and we got on well.
In his mind, he was on top of the world.

Things got more serious with mum and Gordon moved in with us and that’s when we started to see how bad his drinking was.
We would have a movie night or would be making dinner next thing I would hear the front door opening.

Gordon where are you going, mate?

Back in a minute

This would happen most nights and we found out after a couple of weeks he would go to the offy and get a quick can of lager.
He would drink it quickly on the way home and be back to continue the movie about five minutes later.

After a while, we started to find booze hidden in places around the house and more and more excuses came thick and fast.
Even though he was good to me and mum I can understand why mum was not happy it’s not a positive environment for anyone.

She could see him deteriorating and granted he would try to drink less but that’s not how addiction works.
I had very similar battles with cocaine and the upshot was always the same and I would always end up in a more fucked up way.

As much as Gordon protested he could give up whenever he wanted deep down he knew that he was deeply flawed and many addicts myself included hate themselves when they are stuck in this holding pattern.

They convince themselves it will be ok and things will get better but one of the ways addiction gets a grip of you is the honesty factor.
Many people cant be honest with themselves and this is the main reason why so many addicts never manage to get themselves better.
Look at the lyrics from the song I woke up this morning by the band Alabama 3. They could not be more appropriate.

When you woke up this morning everything you had was gone
By half-past ten your head was going ding-dong
Ringing like a bell from your head down to your toes
Like a voice telling you, there was something you should know

Last night you were flying but today you’re so low
Ain’t it times like these that make you wonder if you’ll ever know
The meaning of things as they appear to the others
Wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers

Don’t you wish you didn’t function, wish you didn’t think
Beyond the next paycheck and the next little drink
Well, you do so make up your mind to go on
‘Cos when you woke up this morning everything you had was gone

The song which I’ve included in the ling below went on to be the song for the TV show The Sopranos.

Amazing timless TV show the Sopranos

full version of the song

Things got a little better with Gordon and mum for a brief time. I have to stress his behaviour never changed towards me even after he moved in.
Granted if he and mum stayed together I would have thought it normal to get pissed every day so something had to give and fast.

I remember it being close to Christmas and mum needed some cooking sherry so she could make a Christmas dish so she sent Gordon to the store.
Later on, she found another bottle in the back of the cupboard so it was a bonus as you can keep alcohol for years and it won’t go off.

A couple of days later Gordon was out and mum couldn’t find the Sherry anywhere.
There were no mobile phones back then so mum put the sherry to the back of her mind and started doing a job on the top floor.
while moving boxes across the room mum almost tripped over on this plastic bag hidden badly next to the coach.

Carol opened the bag wondering what was inside and to her horror found two empty bottles of cooking sherry.
There was no going back from this and Gordon was on his way out.

He somehow managed to get another chance and Gordon promised things would be different.
Mum and I were going to Camelot theme park the next day and Gordon took money out of Mum’s purse with a view to replace it.

Gordon got so drunk and forgot about it and we ended up going on a day out without hardly any money.
I think Mum borrowed off a friend but this was before the days of cash machines everywhere so running out of money was a big deal. This could literally ruin your day or night.

Luckily we had a great day and mum made it work but she was furious with Gordon especially after all his promises to change
After this, I remember Carol and him having a huge argument and he was gone.

I remember he was on the phone a lot and trying to get back with Carol and she was furious but still after all this gave him another chance and he was going to come round for dinner and to talk and hopefully sort things out.

Gordon came to dinner and he was hammered. I opened the door and he was happy to see me but swaying everywhere and could barely stand up.
This led to a huge argument in the hall and turned out to be the nails in the coffin.

Gordon got told fuck off and he staggered out of the house like a broken man.
He kept telling mum he had only had a couple of beers and to make it worse he could barely speak when telling his lies.

I sat on the stairs and was gutted. I understand that this wasn’t normal but he was still good to me and I felt so deflated by it all.
Mum saw this and realised how upset I was and told me to go and talk to Gordon as this affected me as well.

I ran down the road to have a chat with him and it almost broke my heart he was in tears walking down the road.
He knew he had fucked up but he couldn’t help himself and the self-hatred was in full swing and he could not control his emotions.
It was so upsetting to see him like this and that was before the knowledge I have now.

If I saw him like that now I would be a lot better equipped to deal with it. We sat on the wall for about ten minutes and had a good talk.
He was slurring his words but he was making an effort as we both knew that we wouldn’t see each other for a while.

He got up and left and headed towards the bus stop and I said my goodbyes to him.
I went home and sat on the couch and was really upset.
We had just recently got two cats called Macavity and Emily.
Emily who was sitting next to me put her paw on my leg it’s amazing how animals can sense when you are in pain.

Emily and Macavity I will talk a lot more about in later blogs were amazing cats.
Macavity lived until he was 15 and Emily died when she was 18.
They were good companions until the very end and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss them both

Emily a year before she left us
Macavity in 2004 with the author

Gordon and mum had a few mutual friends and we thought we would see him all the time but he fell off the radar a little bit.
I remember seeing him again in Terry and Nicky’s house.
They had an end-of-summer barbecue and Gordon made a beeline for me.

At first, I was happy to see him but it was clear he was paralytic drunk.
He was slurring his words and kept falling off his chair.
He has eating sausage rolls while throwing down cans of lager.
He kept sneezing and the pastry from the sausage rolls kept flying everywhere.

I wanted to hang out with him and catch up but he was making no sense and he was hurting really badly.
As a ten-year-old, I didn’t understand how to deal with this so I sat with him for a little while and then went and joined the rest of the party.

I never saw Gordon again after that and I remember about a year later in Terry’s grand national party asking him if he had seen Gordon.
Terry was always straight with me and would never bullshit and he said I’ve seen him but it’s nothing good, Arlo.

Whats happened to him Terry I asked fearing the worst and Terry quickly interjected no he’s not dead.
He told me that a couple of weeks before he and Nicky had been out drinking on Lark Lane and they had found Gordon shitfaced lying in a puddle.

He was so drunk he couldn’t get up and they both picked him and put him in a taxi to get home.
Gordon was supposed to call him the next day and never did.
All I know is that his drinking got worse and he lost touch with most people.

It’s a shame when you see such a nice person go down this bad path. I am no stranger to it but it hurts more when that person has been good to you.
I honestly don’t know if Gordon is alive. I hope he is but if he is he must be close to 70.
Mum is 64 and he was a couple of years older than her.
Wherever he is I wish him well and hope that he got the help that he needed.

People do get better and addiction is understood a lot better now than it was all those years ago. I’ve seen many people much worse than him and they got themselves better and if Graham Simpson my mum’s ex can come across this blog accidentally then I hope Gordon can as well.

It would be nice to catch up with him and to tell him that there are people who care about him.
I’m very lucky and I have some amazing people around me but kindness is a rare commodity.
I don’t care how flawed someone is if they are genuine which is rarer than kindness in these modern times.

My school bag was packed and I was excited to see what my fourth year of juniors was about to bring me and we were that little bit closer to leaving and going into senior school.

E35 Wrapping Up Third Year

The past two blogs focused on what happened at Colomendy and as there was so much to tell it was difficult to mention anything else which was happening in my life at the time.

I think if your still reading this almost 9 months in you can see that a lot was going on and this seemed to continue to the present day.
I am so grateful that drugs are no longer a part of my life as when I look back and reflect on those times I was in a world of shit.

Like most addicts when they are involved in that madness think they are smashing life and they are loving every minute.
I was no different I loved everything about it and it reminds me of an interview with a famous wrestler Scott Hall AKA Razor Ramon.

He said that taking drugs is the best thing in the world. He then goes onto say it’s when you want to stop taking them and you realise you can’t then that’s when your life begins to fall apart.

I will go a lot more into detail about this time of my life when the time is right and at this time of writing I just wanted the reader to see that things were far from normal before I went down this path.

Scott Hall. Razor Ramon

After writing the past 2 blogs the word spread and Peter Keen and Michael Kerfoot both got in touch with me and I learned that the incidents I spoke of with the deputy headteacher Phil were far from isolated.

I mentioned that in my opinion, Phil was up to much more sinister stuff because the headmaster Mr. Owen and him were right up each other’s arses and were always covering for each other for all the wrong reasons.

Michael told me about his background and I had no idea that he had grown up in care. He told me that anytime an allegation was made in care it was quickly swept under the carpet.

It’s hardly a coincidence that Phil would single someone like him out. There was another kid with a similar background as Michael who got the same treatment from Phil
As fucked up as it is I told him that he had got off lightly as it could have been a lot worse than violence.

I think now all these years on especially with all of the scandals that have come out in the news about care homes and cover-ups Michael knows that I’m right.
We spoke in detail about this and he mentioned that he is thinking of writing a blog or possibly a book.

I hope he decides to pursue this as like my blog many people have suffered needlessly under the hands of predators like Phil.
When this is put out for everyone to see these abusers have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Michael went on to ask me why I never gave up Phil’s true identity.
I told him the truth that because he never put his hands on me I won’t come forward unless others who have suffered come forward then ask me to.
If Michael writes about this and decides to take the matter to court ill be the first person who stands up as people who hurt children are the worst kind of evil.

I think the reason Peter Keen was singled out was first he was mates with Michael and secondly he would stand up for himself.
He isn’t Rambo but he’s no idiot either and some little bully like Phil was not going to shut him up and as a result, Phil made their lives a misery.

It’s a strange coincidence though that both Peter and Michael both become chefs.
Not only that they have both gone on to have seriously good jobs in this profession.
They have worked for football clubs, football players, and for many exclusive venues.

Now considering they were told they were worthless and will never amount to anything on an almost daily basis then this is a phenomenal achievement or maybe Phil was wrong?

The Author left bumping into the legend Peter Keen at Comic Con 3 years ago
Michael Kerfoot left with Marc Byrne right

When I got back to school on Monday after Colomendy Phil had been speaking to Mr. Owen and my cards were marked.
As we were walking out of assembly Mr. Owen waited by the doors and when I got level with him he slapped me across the face.

It wasn’t a hard slap but it woke me up and I saw Owen stood there smiling at me.
I’m watching you lad he said then he walked back to his office all pleased with himself for slapping a nine-year-old.

I hadn’t done anything wrong and we had only just come back to school so my theory is that when Phil and Mr. Owen were comparing stories that Phil was furious that he didn’t get me alone in Colomendy.
They had a ton of dirt on each other and Owen decided to help out his mate.

Luckily my teacher was Peter Gribbon and he was a nice guy. he never sent children to the office unless they had really fucked up and oddly because he spoke to me with respect and was nice to me I never acted up in his class.

It baffles me that many teachers struggle to see the correlation of if your good to people they will be good back to you.
Having said that many of these teachers are social disasters in the real world and this is the only power they will ever have.

I thought I had struck gold with having Gribbon as a teacher but unfortunately, this made it worse in the long run.
Instead of forgetting about what had happened Mr. Owen stewed on this until next year and he did get me back for this and I will talk about this more in later blogs.

It should also be noted it wasn’t just about helping out his buddy Phil this had all started in the second year.
As I was constantly being sent to his office it was easier to label me as bad.

He would never think to himself wait a minute his past 2 teachers have been a paedophile and some extremely violent it was easier to blame me and a few other kids.
It was also a double whammy to blame me as my dad going to come to the school kicking off.
Cowards like him so this is a bonus and use that to their advantage.

Away from school things we’re good at both my mum’s and my dad’s.
My dad had bought me a mountain bike for my birthday and it was a big surprise.
So much so as he and mum wouldn’t talk to each other so coming home with a brand new mountain bike was a great surprise for her as well.

It was a lovely day I went round to my dad’s and Sandy told me they were waiting for my present to arrive as they had ordered it from the catalogue.
I was worried at first and she assured me she had spoken to the driver and it would be here in the afternoon.

I didn’t notice so much because I was a kid but my dad kept me out of the kitchen.
It started as fun then it became a little weird and I had no idea what was going on.

I just carried on watching TV putting it down to a weird dad moment then Sandy came out of the kitchen and said we could go in.
I went in and they had made me a cake and a nice birthday party dinner and I was over the moon.

It turned out my present was in the back garden which was this mountain bike and now I could see why they were acting so strangely and we ended up having the best day together.

I had some serious highs and lows with dad over the years but when things were good they were great. Anyone reading from the start will understand why we had that kind of relationship.

I understood it years later and we were great before he died but I wasted some years not talking to him.
Tomorrow is promised to nobody and I always try to be the bigger person.

When your younger you think you will be here forever and it’s only when you get older you start to see that life is very short.
If you take anything from today’s blog then please don’t waste the time you have and I’ve only regretted the things I didn’t do it’s never been the other way around.

The lads and I would all go out in the night on bike rides there would normally be Chris Famakis, Andy Edgar, Trevor Steel, Simon Ng, David Cleary, Luan Howitt, and myself and we would go for miles and miles.

I think it’s fucked up that kids nowadays don’t go out the same way. Even with my Commodore 64, you could not keep me in I was always outside.
We must have been considerably fitter than today’s kids and there wasn’t as much processed food available.

More people would cook from scratch and as a result, we never got sick and life seemed so happy even with what was going on at school.

On Wednesday we went to the Wednesday club which was in a church hall in Woolton village.
It was run by a couple called Billy and Edna and I’m pretty sure they just did this to give something back.

There were a pool table and a sweet shop and they had about three records from the 1960s which used to get played continuously.
They were both really nice people and I think they are both in their 70s now.

I had them both on Facebook for a while but they took themselves off a couple of years ago.
They are old school people and they can’t be bothered will all the drama and bullshit on there.
It’s a real shame as I would love them to read this and know that they did a lot for us as we were kids.

Granted we used to take the piss with the 3 records and some nights could be a little dull but they made the best of it for us and they arranged days out in the school holidays to places like Camelot and Alton Towers.

They did try to push the god angle a little on everyone and sometimes a speaker would come in to talk to us about Jesus or read the bible to us.
Usually, after ten minutes, they gave up as it was a gang of ten-year-olds all just wanting to run around and act crazy.

To be fair to them when this happened we didn’t get into trouble they just laughed it off. They were true Christians.
They had their beliefs but they never tried to ram it down anyone’s throat and we respected them for that.
I heard they also ran a Sunday school but none of us went there so I would need to get confirmation on that.

When we got a bit older we started going to the Tuesday club which was in a building in Woolton Woods behind my house in Woolton Woods.
It was run by a guy called Lol who looked a little bit like the wrestler Pat Roach.

Pat Roache

There was football, games, a sweet shop, and pretty much a lot like the Wednesday club except there was no god angle.
Kids came from miles around and there would always be a fight or an argument break out.

Lol banned me from the club about ten times. To be fair to him though if you apologized he would always let you back in a couple of weeks later.
I wasn’t the only one who got banned there was always something going on.

Lol had a team of volunteers and they all made the best of it for us kids.
At the time we didn’t realise how good we had it as the Conservative party cut away so much of the funding for places like this.
Lol, and his team did the best they could with what they had but it was getting harder with more plates to spin.

This affected the poorer areas of Liverpool much harder than it did in Woolton. There were a lot more opportunities here as it was a more affluent area and as usual, the poorer people ended up getting screwed over the worst.

It’s the poorer areas that desperately need services like this but when the country is run by former public schoolboys they have a very let the poor eat cake mentality about themselves.

One day this disabled kid showed up at the Tuesday club and his name was Gary. It was a shame as he was seriously disabled I’m not sure what was wrong with him but even as kids we knew he was different from us.
It wasn’t bad that he was different we just didn’t understand it and we tried to include him in everything the best we could.

I think in hindsight Lol was a genius as suddenly the club was filled with disabled kids. I have never spoken to him about this but if you think about it this would be a good way of securing funding for the club and keeping the lights on for a bit longer.

This did create some problems with some of the other kids not because they were nasty we were just uneducated on the subject and the term special needs were nonexistent back then unless you were like these special kids who had just suddenly shown up at our club.

I remember one of the special lads told Seam Williams that he loved him and kissed him on the lips and Sean went mental.
He never hit the lad just pushed him away and told me to fuck off.
Lol went mental and Sean was barred from the club for a couple of weeks.

I remember laughing at this thinking it was funny and then karma came and bit me on the arse.
One of the special kids came over and put his hand on my crotch and I had the same reaction as Sean.
Obviously, an older me would have reacted differently but I screamed get the fuck off me at him and Lol appeared again going mental.

Jay Bowman was there and he spoke up for me and he ended up getting barred as well.
We left the club fuming and it had been snowing heavily. It was like a gift from God because someone had left out two shovels just outside the gates.

It took me and Jay about 20 minutes of back-breaking work but we managed in record quick time to get all of the outside snow in between the entry doors and the double doors leading into the club.

We had got it to waste height and went to the chippy pleased with our work.
I got home and mum asked me if I had just filled the foyer in the club with snow?
I burst out laughing and she tried to tell me in her best mum voice it wasn’t funny.

As much as I respect mum I just couldn’t take her seriously or stop laughing when she kept trying to bollock me.
Then she completely fucked it up and she was laughing as well.
Then I knew I was in the clear and I wouldn’t get into trouble.

To be fair to mum when the excitement had died down she told me it was a bit of a shitty thing to do and I should apologize to Lol when I see him.
To be fair she was right and I did the next day and typical Lol he was ok with it.

I’ve just jumped forward in time here this happened when I was about 12 and stopped going to the Tuesday club.
Lol was a jack of all trades and seemed to be able to do everything. He was also a musician and a gymnastics coach as well as a youth leader.

We all had murder with him at some point but we all respected him and he took no shit of any of us.
Lol is about 70 now and has been retired for years. he still lives in Woolton and I bump into him from time to time.

He’s just the same as he was back then and we always stop to have a chat.
People like him don’t realise how much of a difference that they make in people’s lives and it baffles me why the government does not throw money at projects like this.

The school year finished and we were out every day on our bikes.
Then halfway through the holiday’s disaster struck. Chris Famakis, Andy Edgar, and I were out riding and I noticed these two lads about 18 watching us on the other side of the road by St Julie’s school.

As we were kids we thought nothing of it and continued to ride up towards the woods.
They waited for us to come back around and the next thing they were in our space.

Get off the fucking bike now

Before I had a chance to react I was punched and dragged off the bike. The same thing happened to Chris and he was on the floor as the other lad hit him as well.
Andy Edgar rode back to mine and got mum but by the time she got back the lads who hit us had long gone.

We reported it to the police and they were sympathetic but they told us the truth that it was very unlikely we would see the bikes again.
The Liverpool echo came and did a story on us both and I think Chris still has the article somewhere.

Mum got me a new bike if I remember rightly for my birthday and we still managed to have a good summer without our bikes.
We were excited to go into the fourth year of Juniors it would be our final year before we started high school and we were not sure what to expect.

E34 Colomendy Continued

Like I mentioned in the previous episode I went to bed and knew I had avoided a serious beating from the deputy head, Phil.
I went straight to sleep when I got into bed despite the noise and confusion from the dorm room.

I think a big part of this was the adrenaline leaving my body. What had happened to the other boys and the hiding out in the cold had all come to an end and my body was forcing me to sleep.

I woke up in the morning feeling fully rested and feeling like I could run a marathon.
Then a huge thought of dread popped up in the back of my mind regarding Phil.

Phil was a proper vindictive horrible little weasel and there was not a chance in hell that he would let something like this go.
This was especially true after he had given the four boys a beating the night before.

People like Phil make me sick and I honestly believe that they get a kick out of hurting children.
Many people who are complete failures in life take on the role of a teacher as they feel it is an easy option.

My suspicions were right and something told me to look out the window.
My classmates were still fast asleep and I was the only one looking out of the billet window and right on cue, I saw Phil leaving the teachers accommodation.

He was striding towards my billet full of purpose and had probably been lying in bed fuming that he hadn’t beat me like the others.
Vermin like this never think what they are doing is wrong they see it as a personal insult towards them and they have to feel in control again.

This is likely why people like Phil have difficulty maintaining an erection so they look at less conventional methods.
Soon enough he’s meters away from the billet and he sees me looking out the window

Oh fuck

He was smiling at me but not in a positive manner and I had a fair idea of what was coming and it was nothing good.
He was level with the door and about to open it and then a miracle happened.

Just before Phil burst into the accommodation Miss Hughes slipped into the dormitory about one second before him.
Phil was surprised and tried to get rid of Miss Hughes insisting that it was his turn to wake up the boys.

Miss Hughes told him how excited the boys were for today and that’s why she was here in person to wake us up.
I was watching them chat for a few minutes and one thing became clear and that was Phil hadn’t told anyone about what had happened the night before.

This was a good thing as all I had to do now was avoid him for the next couple of days or not be in a position where I am alone with him and then I will be safe.
We all got up and went to breakfast and I sat at a table away from the teachers.

Then before we were to start our day’s activities we were told we were all in for a treat.
We would be in charge of the Colomendy weather station.
We all got to this fenced-off area excited as this had been built up more than the Star Wars prequels.

We were let in and given special notepads and within a minute we were all bored to tears.
The same guy who gave us our welcome briefing showed us around with the same enthusiasm as if he was showing off the Mars Rover.

It’s hard to describe how awful this was and there was nothing technical about this weather station whatsoever.
There were tubs out with measurements on the side so we could measure rainfall and there was a weather vane so we could see what direction the wind was blowing.

There were a lot of other devices but I feel that describing them all in detail is a good way for me to lose readers.
Even the best of writers couldn’t make this sound exciting.

As we were leaving and recording the data I thanked Miss Hughes for showing me and she answered me very excited saying oh we are going to come here every day.
Yayy lucky me the gods were really looking out for me this week.

Weather vane

Later picked up our gear as we were going horse riding that day and I made sure that I was in a separate group from Phil.
The lads who had been given the beating were still a little shaken up and they were keeping their distance from him as well.

Phil was bouncing around the teachers like Vic Makey as it’s not every day you get to lay down a beating like this and maybe tonight he would have the courage to talk to a real girl.

Vic Makey left from the award winning show the shield

We all got on our horses and I remember mine was called Korky and we went along this long trail.
We spent most of the day out on the horses and stopped halfway to have our packed lunch.

The packed lunch wasn’t anything special like the food but up in the mountains I seemed to be hungry all the time and there was not a lot of choice in the days before the internet or mobile phones.

We made our way back to camp and handed in our gear and I had avoided all contact with Phil.
I marked this down as another victory and after watching a video in the break room we all went to bed exhausted from the day’s activities.

The next day would be an absolute nightmare but on the schedule, it sounded very innocent.
We would be going on a nature ramble and we would be out for the day.

It was a ten-mile hike through the mountains and when you’re born in the city and used to driving everywhere you’re not used to this especially at nine.

We got our packed lunches and as normal nobody wanted the fruit and Colin Griffiths for some reason took everyone’s oranges off them.
He must have been carrying at least twenty oranges as well as his own gear and we all thought he was crazy.

Colin became everyone’s best mate on the hike as we all started to die.
The genius in charge of the packed lunches had given us a can of Rola Cola each and the day was quite warm.

Anyone old enough to remember Rola cola was either born in the 80s or has spent time in the Infantry.
If you were not given range stew and they brought you sandwiches instead on a range day they always would have cans of Rola Cola for the lads.

Now in my earlier blogs, I spoke in detail about Wimpy burger and how it tasted like disappointment.
Well, it’s like the creator of Wimpy wanted the drink equivalent of this and put all his effort into Rola.

Peter Kaye showing what he thinks of Rola

You cant even buy Rola in service stations anymore unlike Wimpy but one mile in and we had all demolished our cans and we were slowly walking up this nature pass.

We would then walk up a mountain called Moel Famau and then walk back which all in was a total of ten miles.
Three miles in and everyone was suffering and nobody was happy.
If we had sufficient water it wouldn’t have been so bad but the whole operation was planned by idiots so we were suffering big time.

Colin Griffiths saved the say and I must have had 4 oranges off him.
Many of the lads were suffering but didn’t like fruit I was happy to take what I could get.

We were told there was a fish and chip shop at the top of Moel Famau and without realising I was being fucked over I remember thinking to myself
I wonder where the profit would be having a chip shop at the top of a mountain.

We pressed on and all you could hear was groaning and the occasional scream.
Many of the children had ended up ankle-deep in cow shit and there were a few who had fallen in it. We were all close to snapping and everyone was having a serious sense of humour failure.

I remember about halfway up I was talking to my teacher Peter Gribbon and he went flying headfirst. I grabbed him quickly and luckily it took most of the impact of the fall away.

He was putting a brave face on things and even he was starting to get pissed off with it as well.
We got to the top and the way we were acting you would think we had just taken Mount Tumbledown.

Scots Guards after taking Tumbledown during the Falklands war
Moel Famau mountain

Then after a couple of minutes we all realised we had been fucked over as there was no chip shop there was fuck all for us and we were all more disappointed in ourselves for being fucked over in this way.

After about twenty minutes of rest and another orange off Colin we started to make our way down the hill and back to the accommodation and none of us wanted to be outside anymore.

We walked back and we stopped about 2 miles away from camp and we were next to a pub named We Three Loggerheads.
We stopped for ages and all of us started to seize up from both dehydration and not being used to walking like this.

Chris Farmakis, Peter Rowe, Andy Edgar, Trev Steel, a couple of others, and I ventured into the pub.
We figured that after the walk we had earned a glass of coke each and we all got off the hill and went inside.

We got our cokes and sat down on some comfy chairs and started to relax and I heard a load of shouting and screaming from outside.
Phil had come inside going ballistic because we were drinking glasses of coke.

He turned his attention to me and I got the brunt of his bollocking but what made it worse is none of us could see what the problem was.
We were ten meters away from our classmates we were tired and wanted a glass of coke.

The way he was acting it was as if he had just caught us with balaclavas and a rape kit.
He couldn’t stress enough how it was all down to me and he couldn’t trust me and nobody was arsed which made it a lot worse.

At this point, I was too tired to care and he was too tired as he couldn’t run a bath let alone walk up a mountain and he was still exhausted from beating up the kids the night before.

We got back to camp and had an evening meal and everyone slept like dead men that night. Including Phil.
He never tried to get me alone again as he had calmed down but anytime there was a school trip he would make me get off the bus last and tell everyone it’s because he couldn’t trust me.

Oddly enough he didn’t turn any kids against me and he was mind blown by this.
A couple of days later we all went canoeing together and like many of my classmates, I was running out of clothes to wear.

I was assured that we would be ok and just wear the same clothes that I was going to wear for the disco that night.
We all got into the river and within an hour most of us had ended up in the water.

I was fuming as I had nothing to wear for the disco that night now.
We all came back in after a good day on the river but I had to improvise something to wear tonight and fast.

I went through my dirty clothes which were luckily not wet and when I had finished I looked like I worked in an Eastern European car wash.
Luckily the disco was right up there with Wimpy and Rola Cola and was disappointing at best.

I was a bit gutted though as I thought I could have a slow dance with Phil.
The next day we all climbed on the coaches and made our way home.
Overall it was a good trip for me and I knew I was on Phil’s shit list but I had lived to fight another day.

When the lads got home they all reported Phil to the headmaster Mr. Owen and every one of them brought their parents up to the school to complain about what happened.

Apparently, four independent witnesses all saying a teacher had assaulted them and backing up each other’s story was not enough to warrant an investigation.

Mr. Owen went out of his way to cover for Phil and even told the parents that the boys were always telling lies in school and this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Many of the parents sided with Mr. Owen and came to the conclusion well they must have done something.
Phil never learned from his mistakes and he physically assaulted many other children in his time.

Michael Kerfoot and Peter Keen were both punched in the stomach full force by him in the library and then he slapped them both hard across the back of the legs.

What’s more worrying is that Mr. Owen was always ready to cover for him which makes me wonder what kind of dirt they had on each other.
Then next year Phil was awarded teacher of the year and was all of the newspapers.

He also was awarded a cheque for about twenty grand which went a lot further back then.
He was not content with this and noticed that Woolton was winning all of the football competitions and it wasn’t right because the girls didn’t have a team.

None of the other schools could generate enough interest for a girls team and neither could ours.
So in all his wisdom, he took out half of the seasoned players who were winning titles and put girls into their positions.

None of the girls had played before and none of the other teams copied him so within a few months Woolton was at the bottom of all the leagues.
Then most of the lads got tired of losing and left the team as well.

This all happened a couple of years after we left and Phil was seen as a Visionary for destroying a winning team.
Phil left Woolton a few years later finished off his career in St Helens where he was from and finally got a Headmaster position.

In his last year, he faced criminal charges for large-scale fraud for misappropriation of the school’s money and funds.
He was suspended for a year on full pay and then unfortunately there was not sufficient evidence to charge him with any crime.

He retired in 2013 at 60 years old and still lives in the St Helens area.
I wish he had been convicted and that he had put his hands on me as then I would be happy to put his real name and the newspaper article to his investigation and it could not happen to a nicer guy.

The buses pulled into Woolton and mum was there ready to pick me up.
I was so pleased to be home and even more pleased when I found out we were having lamb chops for tea.
It had been an interesting trip but I was glad to be home as were all of the other kids.

E33 Colomendy

The coaches pulled off away from the school and everyone was excited to be away from home for the first time.
There was a couple of kids crying as they got on the bus and who cried a lot throughout the whole trip.

At the time we thought this was hilarious and everyone at the back of the bus was in high spirits.
We were all singing and taking the piss out of each other and it was a mixture of excitement and a little fear of the unknown.

We all had enough sweets to sink a battleship and I was also given a packed lunch from mum.
Sean Williams had a blinding idea and we all listened in while he explained the mechanics behind it.

Right everyone just eat your packed lunch now and save your sweets

Ok, why would we do that?

Think about it they will have food when we get there so if we save our sweets we can stay up late and have a midnight feast.

Sean Williams was a genius and we all agreed and put out sweets back in the overhead compartment and carried on singing.

A couple of hours later we pulled into Colomendy and it looked like an old WW2 camp. The place has been renovated since then and I believe there are many new buildings to accommodate more children but back in the 80s, every expense was spared.

Billets in Colomendy

As you can see in picture 2 this was very similar to our accommodation. The only difference being that we had bunk beds.
Normally we would complain about this but it was a blessing in disguise.
It was a lot colder than any of us anticipated so right away we all figured out that more of us in a room meant that we would be a lot warmer.

We dropped our bags on our bed and I had a sudden brainwave and took the bed close to the door.
We had all heard the stories about the ghost of Pegleg which I mentioned in the previous episode.

I figured Pegleg couldn’t get to us all and if he was going to do anything he would have to get one of us alone in the shower or the toilet.
So if need be I could make a run for it and if I ran past all of the sleeping children screaming then we would be safe.

Luckily for all of us, Pegleg never made an appearance on our trip but all of us had him in the back of our mind. Unfortunately, we would learn that it’s not the ghosts who are monsters.

Let’s be honest many teachers are undeserving of that title.
In Finland, teachers get paid the same as doctors and as a result, the profession attracts the right type of people.
I understand this was the 80s but still violence is never the answer and many of these people will have to atone for this one day.

So we dropped our bags and then we were ushered into a video room with plastic chairs and we had to watch a Colomendy safety video.
Oddly enough even at 9 years old, we knew we shouldn’t wander off into the mountains alone.
Nor should we follow the road late and night and get into strangers’ cars.

It was a real eye-opener that if we grabbed an electric fence we would be electrocuted
This video was being narrated by a man in a flat cap with his trousers pulled up to his armpits.

The more the video went in the more we were all screaming laughing it was ridiculous and then the camp manager stopped the video he was furious.
He starts flipping out on all the kids for not taking the video seriously and telling us this could save our lives.

In theory, he was right but it was about ten years out of date and giving us information which only a fucking idiot wouldn’t know.
Nobody has ever told me that I can’t shit on my bedroom floor.
I’ve just always known.

He then composes himself and starts talking like a maverick cop who sails on the edge of the law who has seen everything.
I think in hindsight we should have been more respectful as this guy had put in some years on the mean streets of Colomendy.

He saw after a while it was a lost cause and he stormed off. We took another bollocking from Phil the deputy headteacher and then we all left to go to the canteen.

The food wasn’t great but to be fair we were all starving because it was freezing. Granted we all had a mountain of sweets in our bag but that wouldn’t sustain us.
There was a shop where we could buy more stuff but it was only Mars bars and space raiders that type of things.
This was back in the old days when space raiders were ten pence.

After dinner, we learned what we would be doing for the rest of the week and even in the sub-zero temperatures, it was a lot better than being sat at school bored out my mind.
We went to the video room to watch a movie before bed then the genius Sean Williams came over with a new plan.

He was stood with Adam Shaffi, Peter Bell, Andy Edgar, and Chris Farmakis.
Adam, Peter, and Sean were not in the same class, as Andy, Chris, or I.
Phil the Deputy Head was their teacher and they would go on to pay for this as would many other children over the next few years.

The plan had been made a lot better now instead of a midnight feast we will wait for thirty minutes for all the adults to be asleep.
We would then take our sweets over to the girl’s block, have a huge pillow fight, and a party together.

We were nine we didn’t know hardly anything about sex.
We knew what it was but most people had at most kissed a girl on the lips and still in our mind girls were gross.

Although it seemed to be the norm when if one of the lads liked a girl he would be mean to her and pretend he didn’t like her.
To be honest that seems to go on when you’re an adult as well but as a kid, you are just on autopilot.

We all go to bed and by now this amazing plan has spread like wildfire. There are about 20 of us who are all game to do this raid on the girls’ accommodation and just to make the plan even more perfect we never told any of the girls.

We were all relying on the element of surprise and considering we were a bunch of nine years olds all jacked up on candy and coca-cola we did a good job of keeping this under wraps.
Bedtime came and Miss Hughes came round to check on us and she was amazed we were all in bed in our pyjamas ready to go to sleep.

Miss Hughes was confused as she thought it would be a nightmare to get us to go to bed and we fed her some bullshit that we were excited for the next day.
She nods at us flips off the light and says goodnight then leaves the dorm.

All of us are sniggering in our sleeping bag as she believed us and had no idea about our raid on the girl’s accommodation.
This was like a military operation that Sean had planned and I was so happy to be a part of it.
I got us and started packing up my sweets ready for the one hundred meter sprint behind enemy lines.

Arlo What the fuck are you doing get in bed

Peter Rowe was sat up in bed

What’s the problem, Peter?

Arlo if we go now the teacher will see us. Get back in bed and give it half an hour.

Peter was right I climbed back into bed and we were all whispering to each other trying badly to be quiet.
The more we tried to be quiet the funnier things were and the more excited we were to go on the raid.

Around 45 minutes later about twenty of us jumped out of bed and grabbed our pillows.
I had all my candy in a small rucksack and I knew it was a risky mission but the rewards were worth it.

We all sneaked out of the billet and got against the wall.
It was pitch black outside and the moon was even covered by clouds.
We all listened in for the final let’s go and we started making our way across the open field.

We get within 50 meters of the target and we are all so excited and there’s no way we can fail now.
We get within twenty meters we can hear the girls all talking in the blog we are all giggling like schoolboys who are up to no good.

Ten meters it’s on the door is in sight we creep forward about to open the door and the next thing the whole area lit up like a Christmas tree.

You boys stop right there stop what your doing

It was Deputy Head Phil running towards us. I don’t know how long he had been watching us but the fat bastard was running towards us now at full speed and he wasn’t happy.
Phil went ballistic on us all screaming at us about trust and how dare we go to the girl’s accommodation.

I felt like Steve McQueen at the end of the great escape. I couldn’t understand how this perfect plan could go wrong all at the last minute.
Looking back now I cant understand why Phil was so mad it’s not like he caught R Kelly in his 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom

Great Escape ending

What baffles me with teachers like this is were they not young themselves at one point?
I’ve suffered some horrendous physical abuse at the hands of teachers and I would dream of passing that one of these years later.
We were nine years old what was he honestly expecting?

I remember shivering outside and Phil told us all to get out of his sight he would deal with us in the morning.
As we are heading back inside it became clear what had happened someone must have snitched on us.

Phil made Sean Williams, Adam Shaffi, and a couple of others who I can’t remember stay back and we all went back to the billet wondering what fate lay ahead for our classmates.

A few of us grouped by the door as we wanted to make sure the lads were ok and then Phil spotted us.
Get back inside now or ill skull drag you outside so fast your feet won’t touch the ground.

We all went in and looked out the window and then Phil became very security conscious and marched the four lads behind another billet.
Thirty minutes went by and there was still no sign of the lads so I tried to get a couple of people to come out and check with me to see if they were ok.

Everyone was too scared to go out again as we were already in deep trouble. A couple of the lads were panicking as they knew Phil was a horrible bully who always bore a grudge.
Curiosity got the better of me and luckily I had chosen the bed by the door and I slipped out into the night like Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell

Sam Fisher (above)

Nobody heard me slip out and I had no idea what I was going to do but I headed towards the last place where Phil had taken them.
I got closer and I could hear the three boys all in tears. The poor bastards had been out in the cold for over an hour.

Adam and Sean only had a pair of boxer shorts and a T-shirt and they were all in tears close to breaking down.
I got around the corner and was about to peep around to talk to the lads and I heard the voice of Phil.

Are you cold boys?

Yes sir we are sorry Sir

That’s good because if got something that will warm you up

Bend over

I’m sorry Sir

Bend over now

All of the lads bent over and even though I couldn’t see this my imagination was running wild.
Ok, we were not having sex at nine but we knew what it was.
We would also insult each other called each other gay and other nasty comments as boys do.

In my mind in Panicking because why would he want to take the lads away out of sight of for those few minutes I was paralysed with fear thinking my mates were about to get shagged by this fat bastard.

Bend over he shouted and then I heard the screams of all the lads.
I found out later he battered them all with his tennis shoe and this went on for a good 15 minutes with the lads all crying saying they were sorry.
Luckily Phil was a fat bastard so he was out of breath after that so the beating did not continue longer.

Get out my fucking sight now he screamed and all the lads ran back to the billet.
Then I realised I hadn’t thought about my escape plan and how I would get back to the billet.
I also still didn’t have any confirmation of what happened to the boys so in my mind I was thinking wow I don’t want to get shagged by Phil as well.

I stayed stuck to the same spot for about 10 minutes and just when I thought I was clear Phil came back and lit up a cigarette.
He was literally 5 feet away from me and I was scared to move as he would hear me at this distance.

It seemed forever for him to catch his breath and fill his lungs with nicotine and he headed back to his block and I made a run for it.
I got close to my block and by sheer bad luck, Phil saw me.

For some unknown reason, he doubled back on himself and took the long way back to his block.
If he had done the logical thing and taken the shortest route he would not have caught me.
I’m about to go back into the billet and think I’ve got away with being outside and then I hear.

You boy stop what your doing

Phil is running towards me as fast as he can and this was the most exercise he had ever done in his life.

Oh shit

You’re for it now lad you’re in big trouble


Don’t you swear at me you’re already in big trouble?

As if on cue about 10 children all looked out the window to see what all the shouting was from outside.
They probably had been woke up by Sean and Adam and the other two in tears after their beating.

Now all eyes were on Phil and he knew it. He was looking at me and looking at all the kids. He was also exhausted from beating up all the other kids before me as he started to see his career go down the toilet.

Get to bed you little toerag and we will talk about this in the morning.

I walked into the billet and got back into bed and felt like I had just cheated death.
Many other kids in our school were not so lucky and luckily for me except the headteacher Mr. Owen I only suffered at the hands of one violent teacher.

The next week was certainly going to be interesting but I went to sleep relatively easy as I had avoided this one beating and Pegleg hadn’t come to murder any of us.
It was as if the gods were smiling on me that night.

E32 Third Year of Juniors

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.

Phil Jevons


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.

2008 from left Paul Allenby, the author, Chris Farmakis

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.

Condom Machine

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.

Aids kill
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.

Colomendy in the 80s


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.

E31 Lenny’s World

The past two weeks it was very hard for me to put the past onto paper.
I didn’t expect such a shitty outcome. To be honest I didn’t know what I was expecting.
I know what I wanted but what you want and what you get are usually two very different things.

It also would be a lot more of a positive influence if my former teacher and I had met for coffee and found a middle ground.
I think in hindsight that is pure fantasy as the British legal system is based around an offender admitting their offence and this is what is used to secure a guilty verdict in a court of law.

If anything was admitted to me then that is an admission of guilt and then she would be liable.
Either way, it felt good, to tell the truth, and it’s good to have so much support especially from multiple classmates who have seen these violent outbursts first hand.

We broke up from school and it was great to be away from the classroom but things at home were growing incredibly toxic.
My mum while this was going on had started dating a guy called Lenny Wolfson.

They were only dating about 8 months before it fell apart.
I think by today’s standards Lenny would be classed as mentally ill.
His personality was very extreme so it was a series of highs and lows but primarily lows.

I had finished school for the summer and Lenny was not a stranger as he was married to my mum’s friend Jill several years ago.
As it was a big circle of friends that had known each other for years it wasn’t an issue for Jill and Lenny and mum started going out.

Lenny was an antique dealer for years but seemed to be able to turn his hand to most things.
When I knew him he was making his money selling cars.
I have to give him his due he could put together a deal in about 5 minutes and he could sell ice to Eskimos he was a very intelligent man.

Lenny had the potential to be a millionaire about 10 times over but as good as he was putting things together he was just as quick to destroy them.
He had a serious dark side which was fuelled primarily by alcohol.

He was a raging alcoholic the only difference between him and the guy at the bus stop outside bargain booze was Lenny was a genius.
It seemed to be a curse as well as a blessing and as fast as he could make friends he would alienate them to the point of no return.

When mum and I used to go to his flat in Allerton he would always be nice to me.
This was all so fake he just wanted to get his feet under the table and there is no better way to do that than to be nice to someone’s kid.

Lenny may have been crazy but the last thing he was is stupid and he was initially playing the game well and he and mum seemed to be happy.
After a couple of months, he ended up moving into our house, and at first, he was still very nice but the mask he was always wearing began to slip.

When you only see somebody a few times a week it’s easy to pretend everything is fine and you’re a great person.
When you spend 24 hours with someone you can quickly see what they are like and what they are really about.

Lenny would smoke about 100 cigarettes a day and always seemed to have a drink in his hand.
He would always be talking business with someone he would very rarely be alone.
He also always had a Joey running round after him doing work for him.

He would have them doing all sorts from picking up his dry cleaning, shining his shoes, washing cars, or go to auctions and pick up cars.
He would have them for a couple of months and they would fall out with him tell him to fuck off and then he would get another Joey.

The two he had for the longest were called Bernie and Ray and those fellas earned every penny of their wages.
Now he had his feet under the table and it would be harder to kick him out he started being a proper arsehole towards me in many ways.

I would have to be in bed early and he would always be screaming at me to get in the bath.
There is nothing wrong with making sure I was clean but he only had two baths a week himself.

He also gave me a hard time over my schoolwork which I’ve touched upon greatly in the other episodes and why it wasn’t up to standard.
To be fair I can’t fault him on that because he was born in a different world from me.
He meant well but he was wired up all wrong and when you mix alcohol, stress, and mental illness into it then it’s a ticking time bomb.

It started in the morning where either Lenny had stayed up all night drinking or he was up early and he would always have a task for me to do as I’m on the way out the door to school.
It was usually along the lines of that he needed cigarettes and he couldn’t be arsed going to the shop.

I would be explaining to him that I would be late for school but that was never an issue for him and he would insist that he would write me a note for school and the shop because I was 9.
When I refused as this was happening at least three times a week he would be fuming with me.

I was already getting screamed at every day in school over nothing so why give them more ammunition.
I was well aware I was being given a dog’s life in school and even at 9 knew it was unjust.

So imagine if I had done something wrong I would likely be suspended. Don’t forget Mr. Owen didn’t give a shit about solving any problems just about having a quiet life.
So I went to school and you all know what was happening there.

Some good had happened at school we had gone into the third year of juniors.
We had our unstable crazy second year and this year we were to have a permanent teacher. Mr. Peter Gribbon was given to our class.

Peter Gribbon wasn’t a bad guy at all. To be honest all he cared about was football and the football team but he wasn’t nasty about it.
I’m terrible at football and that will never change so I wasn’t one of his favourites.

He was still a good guy overall. He took the time to mark your work and tell you what you could do better.
You could have a laugh and a joke with him as well. I remember telling him a joke which by modern standards was very inappropriate.

He laughed at the joke and told me to be careful as if I said that to the wrong teacher they may get angry.
I apologised and he said there’s no need to be sorry to me just be careful.

The only time he kicked off is we had a long-running joke that he was in love with Miss Hughes.
She came to the class one day and we locked them both in the store cupboard and we were all laughing saying ha ha ha I bet he kisses her on the lips.

It was funny for a few minutes but when he came out he went ballistic.
You could hear a pin drop in the room and it was an uncomfortable silence.
Then we were saved by the bell and went on lunch. We walked back into the class like it was the scene of a crime we were all shitting ourselves.

He had lunch and forgotten about it he wasn’t arsed and seemed in a good mood.
Maybe he got a bit of finger pie in the store cupboard.
There were no grudges no bad blood he did what any normal teacher would do and dealt with it at the moment it happened then forgotten about it.

Miss Hughes left about 6 months later when she got married and I’m not sure what happened to her or even if she is still alive.
There was an old Miss Hughes and a young Miss Hughes.

Just to make it clear young Miss Hughes was in the cupboard. I’m pretty sure old Miss Hughes is dead as she was very old back then but young Miss Hughes I hope she’s well and did well for herself after being a teacher.

I never heard anything about Peter Gribbon after he retired but I hope everything worked out for him.
So I came home from school one day and we all ended up in town to buy wallpaper as Lenny had to spend any money he made as soon as he got it.

He would always either have loads of money or none at all. There was never an in-between.
The fridge and freezer were always full and we were constantly throwing food out as it wasn’t eaten.

There would be times when Lenny didn’t have twenty pence to his name but then there he and mum would be drinking champagne an hour later it was quite surreal looking back.

We went to town for wallpaper and we got it and Lenny did the most logical thing about bought a thousand pounds worth of garden furniture.
He then bought my mum a brand new Fiat which was beautiful to look at.

Lenny needed everyone to see how much money he had and we had a barbecue and invited about 40 people.
He was in his element he could show off, cook meat and play the part of the good boyfriend who was smashing life.

Many people only saw this side of Lenny they didn’t see the nasty drunk side of him always causing arguments when rotten drunk or shitting all over him employees until they broke and hated him.

Living this fast life he was always robbing Peter to pay Paul in one way or another. He would always be having murder with somebody over money.
There would always be a story and he would always have an answer to everything.
He would not pay someone for something or not give the agreed amount and always have a technicality and he made himself a lot of enemies.

He had an Irish friend called James who was around a lot who was always really nice to me.
He took an interest and always took the time out to say hello or even play video games. He was always very smart in a suit and was extremely charming.

I found out a few years later James was a gangster and an absolute psychopath. He would be out drinking with someone then suddenly he would change and he would beat the fuck out of someone for the slightest thing.
Everyone was scared of James but he didn’t look like your stereotype tough guy he looked more look a young businessman which made him scarier.

I found out he was stabbed a few years later then he was shot on another occasion. The last I hear about James was about twenty years ago when I heard he was run over and he is back in Ireland confined to a wheelchair.
As James had alienated so many people nobody knows where he is or even if he’s still alive.

It was a surprise to hear this as when he was in our house he conducted himself like a gentleman and was always good to me.
I’ve seen so many people ruin their lives in that world and even though I’m not surprised this happened to him it’s still very unfortunate.

The barbecue was a big hit and everyone had a good time. Lenny was spinning a lot of plates but at the moment he was keeping them all in line.
He kept overextended himself in his pursuit of money and when he lost he told people to go fuck themselves when it came to payment.

He did business with plenty of people honestly but as his drinking got heavier he became more reckless and he was constantly bringing that bad energy back into the house.

One day he came home with two Great Dane puppies. I was over the moon because I had always wanted a dog and now I had two and they were huge.
We named them Wills and Harry after the two royal princes.

Harry and Wills

I loved those dogs and even though it was like sharing a house with two horses they were really pleasant and very loving from the day we brought them home.
Lenny bought them in good faith but it was also a distraction so he could keep wheeling and dealing and play catch up with his finances.

if dogs were needing constant attention it took eyes off him so it was a smart move on his part.
We also nearly got into trouble with the landlord as there were always loads of cars parked up the street all belonging to Lenny and residents started to complain and we almost got into trouble as we were not allowed to use the house as a business.

Lenny ignored this and we ended up on our final warning so Lenny was forced to get an office away from the house.
This resulted in him coming home really drunk all the time and there would be big shouting matches between him and Carol.

This only got worse as time went on and things got to a breaking point at home.
Everyone was really unhappy and Lenny had upset so many people and now was in one of his spirals where everything he touched turned to shit.

The more this happened the more he drank and the more arguments happened.
It got to the point where enough was enough and Carol and Lenny had a very heated breakup.
He took his stuff and left and for a while was sleeping on people’s couches.

This was typical of Lenny he moved in cycles and this was his down cycle.
He would be making money, doing business deals, networking, putting people together, starting new projects in his good cycle.

In his bad cycle, he would be drinking heavily, ripping people off, making stupid decisions, alienating friends well you have read about it so you get the idea.
For all his brilliance he was deeply flawed and the main thing which stopped him from hitting the big time was Lenny. The saying could not be more apt he was his own worst enemy.

When he left there was a couple of months of angry phone calls of people he owed money to screaming for blood. Nothing ever came of this when they knew he wasn’t living with us anymore.

Then the inevitable happened we found out that he had not finished paying for the car and we had to give it back.
As he was borrowing money from everyone to keep afloat he got the car in some crazy finance program.

There was no way we could continue the payments so we gave it back before they came and took it away.
We also couldn’t afford to feed two Great Danes so they had to go as well.


Both me and mum were heartbroken in the six months they lived with us they had become a huge part of the family.
No kid ever wants to give up his dog and it’s a rude awakening to how skint we were when we couldn’t afford to buy dog food.

Luckily they were snapped up quickly by a family and got to stay together.
I’ll never forget seeing them drive off in this blue van together looking out the window confused and upset.

I never knew what happened to them but I hope they lived a long happy life.
They were my buddies and when I was going through some horrible shit in school or at home they would always be there to cheer me up.

It’s amazing how animals can have such a huge impact on your life and ill never forget those two boys.
Lenny on the other hand his life was all kinds of crazy after he left us.

He was dating a model for a while whose name I will change as she’s still around.
They were all in love and then suddenly Lenny went into one of his cycles and it ended.
I remember asking mum why would Cindy go out with Lenny as he’s 20 years older than her?

I found out that she was also deeply flawed with a horrendous back story and was a serious heroin user for many years.
Once again the saying is very apt when they say birds of a feather flock together.

I met Cindy a few times as he appeared in the same circle of friends from time to time and she was lovely. She another person I don’t know what happened too but she didn’t get her happy ever after with Lenny that’s for sure.

Lenny was then involved in this huge nursery project which was worth about three million quid.
He managed to get a seat at the table and get a slice of the business all without putting in any capital but this was typical Lenny.

It was only when he had spent thousands and refused to put in expenses forms that there was a huge bust-up and Lenny once again fucked himself out of serious money.
I can’t name the nursery as it opened a couple of years later and is still operating to this day and making huge profits.

He then started dating a city councilwoman. She was besotted with him and he was using her big time.
I can’t name her as she has is still working in politics and is very active in Liverpool.
She had a huge flat in the Albert Dock and when I went there years later it was like something out of a movie.

Albert Dock Liverpool

Lenny rinsed her for all of her money. She was so besotted with him and whatever he asked for he got.
It was shitty as Sharon was a nice woman.

Obviously, that’s, not her real name but as a kid, I met her multiple times and she was always nice to me and had a smile on her face.
Then Lenny got involved in another huge business venture which was a nursing home for 100 long-term residents.

He used Sharon as a cash cow and used her influence to get the required permits from the city council.
She kept bending the rules and she was eventually caught and the venture was dead in the water.

This was in the Liverpool echo but as it was so long ago I could not find a link for the story.
Sharon had to resign her position on the council and Lenny narrowly escaped jail even with all the newspaper coverage.
Lenny had multiple scares with his health and it was amazing that he lived as long as he did.

His liver finally gave up on him about 12 years ago and he died. He had surgery a few years earlier on his liver and the surgeon told him he had the lungs of a 20-year-old.

The human body can endure so much damage it’s scary. It’s also scary that there are many people just like Lenny who are mentally ill not getting the required treatment they need.

I don’t miss Lenny nor do I think about him but he did have a nice side its just a shame though as in my mind he’s just another casualty of addiction.

E30 A Disappointing Outcome

Well, this week’s blog topic is unexpected, to say the least.
I planned to continue the story of my school days so far.
I had found Francesca and saw what she was doing and that she was doing very well.

The detective in me told me to keep looking and for me to do a more detailed search on social media.
I think the issue at first is the fact I’m in Vietnam and I’m looking for someone in the UK with no mutual friends.

Smartphones are only as smart as we make them and like Skynet, they start to learn from us, and next thing you’re hooked but that’s another story for another day.
So with a little bit of digging, I found Francesca on Facebook.

Now I was in a difficult position as it was now real and I was at the point of no return.
When I was a child I had many sleepless nights over this woman’s bullying and she seemed to enjoy it which makes this even more disturbing.

Now for every action, there is a reaction but something which has served me so well in my later years is one question Why?
If I’m angry at something I think why?
If someone is angry with me or shouting at me I think why?

You can apply why to most situations and granted you won’t always feel the same way as the person you have a conflict with but most of the time if you can see the why then you will be able to find common ground.
I was struggling to find any good with this woman but then that can be more rewarding when you both find common ground.

It’s also a lot easier as an adult with my background to confront people like this as I never let what happened in my childhood stop me from moving forward.

I’m not going to lie I’ve made some horrible decisions due to bad programming and bad choices which for the most part came down to drugs and alcohol.
It’s when you get clean and you can reflect on yourself and how sick you were in the past.

When you’re in the grip of addiction and mostly leading up to that all you do is take take take and wonder why your life has become so unmanageable.
Please look at the 12 steps picture below and ill explain why I have added this in regards to the blog.

12 steps of recovery

When we get clean step 8 is the most important of all and it’s surprising how many people will forgive you when you put yourself out there.
I was involved heavily with the madness of drugs for years and my amends list was long.

My hardest one turned out to be my easiest in the end.
I’m not going to name who it was because it’s personal but it was a huge weight lifted and she was very sympathetic considering how I had treated her in the past.

Now I have made my amends I work on steps 9, 10, and 11 daily and this helps me to stay on the right path.
I don’t always get it right and I still make mistakes but I do my best to be a good person and try to give something back.

This can also be a double-edged sword as I find myself in predicaments like in today’s blog where I have to face my past.

This situation was a bit easier because I was a child when this happened and no matter what way you look at this you should never be violent towards children.
I don’t care if it was the 80s this is unacceptable.

Many people I had fallen out with in the past like my friend Chris I can see that I have played a part in the destruction of the friendship and because I can admit this can get the other person to the table ready to listen.

This does not always work and many people do not want to face the past or question the story that has been made in their minds to justify things to themselves.
I will talk about this in later blogs but today the focus is on Francesca and the aftermath of last week’s blog.

So I decided to write her a message and see where this took us.
I can promise you I was not looking for a fight or to open up old wounds but one of the things about getting clean from drugs is I am quick to call out other people when I feel they have wronged me.

Nobody is perfect especially me and I thought this needed addressing and I was hoping that was could talk.
I told my mum about this and she warned me that I could be walking into a potential minefield.

I do not see it that way though I see it as I’m playing blackjack and I can’t lose.
there are two possible outcomes and the first one would be we talk we find some common ground and put the past behind us and maybe even become friends.

The second is that the other person will not converse with you and you know you have tried but it tells you exactly what type of person they are.

So I sent a message and then I waited.
Sure enough, twenty minutes later she had read it and as soon as so read it she blocked me on Facebook and Messenger.

Blocked very quickly

Then the journalist in her came out and she was all over the internet searching for information about me.
Luckily I’m an open book and I’ve even spoken publicly about my struggles in the past with cocaine. When something is made public then it cant be used against you.

Luckily I don’t have a criminal record from those days of madness but I have kept my drug use in the dark it would likely come back to haunt me exactly like what is happening to Francesca right now.

So in this twenty minutes, she had read about herself and then read the blog and proceeded to block me.
She then viewed my profile on linked in but went through the BBC server so it would not show up as her only the BBC

Francesca spying on me

This part I really don’t understand does she not think I wouldn’t make the connection to her as she is a journalist?
Also, it’s a lot more obvious when the BBC has never viewed me on Linked in before but has suddenly an interest in me?

It’s a little like when we were at school after I stood up to her in my own way when she started putting a tick next to my work like I wouldn’t know she hasn’t even bothered to mark it.

Now the old me at a point like this would go straight for the jugular and go on attack mode guns blazing.
However, I didn’t message Francesca looking for a fight and what good would it do?

Granted she has wronged me and many others considerably but I started thinking about why she acted in this way and what drove her to act like this.
I have seen violence in many capacities from working in nightclubs to both being a soldier and a private contractor in Iraq.

When people commit acts of violence to them it seems normal and they don’t care about the effect it has on those around them and the devastation it can have.

Many people can brush themselves off and carry on but for many people, it goes onto affect everything from personal relationships and can destroy their confidence.
You hear of stories all the time of children and even adults taking their own lives because of this.

I’ve said this to many people and some have said well not everyone is a fighter. That’s beside the point I answer why should a child even have to think about fighting with an adult that option should never be on the table.

When I say that people usually stop talking as they know I’m right.
When I think of the why here I get really sad because I think why does Francesca think this is the way to behave and what must be going on in her life to justify this disgusting behaviour.

I also think she must have been very deeply insecure to act in such a way to a group of children
If you remember the very first meeting she was scanning the room looking for threats.
She then hits me as hard as I can from the back and then tells the class that they really don’t want to mess with her.

Its bad enough to hit anyone but to hit someone as hard as you can from behind is the most cowardly thing you can ever do.
Throughout the years I’ve worked in some extremely hostile environments and also practiced martial arts of some description my whole life I’ve come across genuinely tough people.

In my personal experience, all of the hard people never had to tell anyone this as everyone already knew what they were about.
Anyone who has to keep telling you about how many people they have knocked out or how they were such a gangster back in there home town is usually full of shit.

Now let’s put that into a different context Francesca comes to the school in her leather jacket like she one of the T birds.

T Birds from the movie Grease

She sits with her feet on the desk and rips kids apart who dare to question her as it’s her way or the highway.
She frequently has children in tears and finds new ways to start an argument and accuse people of the most trivial thing but make a huge deal out of it.

She has no issues rising her hands either like I said it’s a special kind of tough to hit kids.
This tells me that this is a person who is scared of their own shadow.

Whatever the circumstances I don’t know but I believe we are all born good.
She has not become this person overnight this is a series of events in her life that has become the driving force of the personality she projects.

Everything that happens to us has a huge bearing on who we become and what happens to us in the future.
It’s not many people that beat the odds and that’s why I try to do good every day as I know I’m so lucky to have got out of the toxic world I had created for myself.

Many people will judge you by their own poor standards and they implode when they see you’re still winning.
It would be a lot easier for Francesca to lord it over me when she was doing her research online.

If she found I had been in and out of prison or I was still in the middle of the madness that addiction causes then I’m sure she would quite happily have messaged me back.
It’s so easy to look down on other people especially when you think your own shit doesn’t stink.

It also blows her theory out of the water that I will never amount to anything which she used to say to me with the biggest smile on her face.
I posted on Facebook about what had happened between me and Francesca.

One hundred and twenty people commented about this and many from our old class.
Glynn Roberts who was thrown repeatedly against the blackboard messaged me and we ended up having a good chat about it and how it’s unbelievable that that went on in full view of Mr. Owen the headmaster.

It was good to have so much support from friends who I haven’t seen for over 20 years and the fact that most of them had remembered what I said or even had other things to add none of it positive.

My mum told me to be very careful as I could end up in court and I told her I’m ok with it.
I don’t want a fight and that’s not what I came for but if that’s the route she wants to take then so be it.

I’m pretty sure that Francesca does not want this read out in court nor wants to have to explain to a judge why her violent behaviour towards children was OK in her eyes.

I am pretty sure this will be the end of it as if she cant apologise to me or even try to make it right it’s going to be a lot harder to convince a judge otherwise even with the best lawyers from the BBC backing her.
The BBC doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to the care of children which reminds me of .a very appropriate joke

How many BBC employees does it take to change a light bulb?

None they prefer that things are kept in the dark

For anyone who does not know the scandal of the BBC please see the two links below



What scares me the most about this is I had moved from Toxteth which at the time was an area full of poverty with a high crime rate to Woolton which was classed as middle class and in parts incredibly affluent.

So if these incidents were normal in this area it must have been a lot worse in the poorer areas.
It scares me that children didn’t have a voice for so long and how many people are willing to pass the book just so they don’t have to get involved.

Now I cant put all this on Francesca even though she played a huge part.
Mr. Owen the headmaster used to hit kids all the time as did the deputy head a man ill call Phil I will mention them more in later blogs as their story needs to be told.

It’s just a shame Mr. Owen is now dead as I would love to call him out all these years later but life does not work like that, unfortunately.
I know I’m thinking about this in the wrong way but if I was Francesca and a former pupil got in touch I would want to address it right away.

Having said that she has a lot to lose. She could potentially lose her BBC gig which pays well and keeps her relevant.
I also found out that Francesca is a yoga teacher in West Kirby which is a very affluent part of the Wirrall.

If she’s teaching people there it’s going to a mixture of Doctors and Barristers’ wives probably for the most part driving Range Rovers and Audis.
It’s so messed up that someone like this is being paid a lot of money to promote peace and love and general well being.

I would be ok with this if she was willing to put her cards on the table with me.
Since it’s clear she doesn’t want that then I feel that by promoted peace, love, and harmony she’s a huge fraud.

Unfortunately, nobody wins in this story as if she isn’t willing to talk she hasn’t properly faced the trauma of her past which has caused her to act in that way.
She also hasn’t acknowledged the damage she has done and the effect she had on me and many other children.

I think in her most solitary moments she knows all this but that remains to be seen.
One thing which needs to be said even if you don’t have the guts to talk to me Francesca is I forgive you.

I don’t need anything from you and it’s sad you have to carry this around inside you and won’t admit the nature of your wrongs.
All of the bad feelings inside now is self-hatred and that’s on you. I hope in time you can face your demons.

It’s also an open offer if you do get in touch I’m willing to listen and willing to talk in detail.
At the risk of sounding cynical though I don’t work for a TV network so there wouldn’t be anything in it for you financially only spiritually.

Lets this one day gets resolved as I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way and there are plenty of other children in other schools with similar stories to tell.

E29 Finishing Second Year Strong

We had a few months before the end of the school year but this was only going to continue negatively.
Granted we were no longer being taught by a sexual predator but who we got in comparison I think I would have rather have Hannibal Lecter as a teacher.

We were all working away in class with Miss Brookfield supervising us and our new teacher came in to see us.
There was none of this hi I’m your new teacher there was none of that.

She came into class with the most horrendous scowl on her face she looked like she was here to fuck someone up.
Mr. Owen was showing her around this will be your new class they have a few months left before going into the third year that sort of thing.

Our new teacher was called Francesca and for the time she was a little bit of a celebrity.
As much as it pains me to say this it was much harder to be a celebrity back in the 80s as there were only 4 channels on TV.

Sky TV had just come on the scene but it was still in its infancy and was mainly showing movies or American TV shows.
Like many companies I don’t think they realised the potential hundreds of millions they could be making but that all changed years later.

Anyway, there is a news show in the UK on ITV which is still running called Granada Reports which is on TV Monday to Friday at 6 pm for thirty minutes.
It’s a mixture of news from across the country and the last ten minutes used to be local news for specific areas.
So Francesca at times was a presenter on this show.

This is all speculation but what I think happened is she got her journalism degree either that or media studies.
She was full of hope of making a difference and reporting the truth and being recognised for the hard-hitting journalist that she saw herself as.

Unfortunately, she could quite get the big break. This is not a reflection of herself but to break into TV and become a journalism sensation is not going to be easy.
She had two factors that went against her firstly she was a woman and this was the 80s.

As fucked up as it is all of these TV companies and many industries were owned and controlled by old white men.
They saw women as housewives and someone to look after the kids.

Sadly, many people have that attitude today but at least there are laws in place so it’s harder to discriminate against women trying to get ahead.
It didn’t help that Francesca was a local journalist as well.

Unless you uncover a really sinister story which is usually a right place right time scenario you are going to be reporting on flower shows and fashion shows for dogs for the foreseeable future.

This has to be soul-destroying even on a good day and there is the fact that there is a line of people waiting to take your place.
As there is a line of people waiting to jump into the hot seat I would imaging that you would have to eat a lot of shit and become a bit of a yes man, to say the least.

That has to hurt when you have just come from University and in your own mind are going to change the world.
One of the most recognised female journalists of our time is Kate Aidy.

Kate Aidy in 1975
Kate Aidy now aged 75

The reason she was so successful is she was the first to jump on a plane and go to the most fucked up places in the world to report the facts.
She has been to many war zones and is all about getting the story.

She has won multiple awards and is very well respected in her field which is a difficult task to accomplish especially in that era.
We were supposed to meet Aidy in Kosovo but she had to leave a day early so we just missed that which made me sad as I’ve seen her on TV for many years.

Another reason why Aidy is so well respected is she will go deep into dangerous areas to try and get the full story.
This is probably all adrenaline-fuelled and over the years has become an addiction.

So many times I have watched the news and the reporter is stood on the roof of the Sheridan hotel reporting on the heavy fighting in Baghdad and within thirty seconds I turn off as anyone can do that and it just shows the difference in standards of journalism.

Now if you compare Kate Aidy with Francesca it’s pretty obvious why Aidy made it and Francesca didn’t.

So once again this is just speculation but I believe Francesca thought that she would be famous by now and was very resentful that she was working as a supply teacher to make ends meet.

Sure TV work does pay well but if you’re making an appearance every couple of weeks it’s going to be hard to pay the bills as well.
TV is a very dog-eat-dog world as well full of backstabbing and jealousy and worst of all nepotism.

If your friends with the right people you will get the push you need or it could be a case of if your face fits.

Many times there will be a vastly qualified expert who has pushed aside and replaced with a younger pretty face as that’s what the viewers want to see in the minds of the management.

None of what I’ve just written is a secret and I think even back then you had to know what you were getting yourself into to become famous like that.
So this is what baffles me Francesca clearly full of resentment takes the worst possible job for someone with an ego like hers and somehow manages to make it all the children’s fault.

When you break it down like this it just seems ridiculous.
That’s the equivalent of me screaming at my class full of Vietnamese kids for not getting my big break as a pop star.
Being a pop star would be nice but it has fuck all to do with the kids in my care so why would I give them a hard time about what I haven’t done.

These are all valid points but then I’m looking at this from a rational point of view and as I’ve mentioned in numerous other logs there were a lot of questionable people who were teachers back then.

So Francesca is scanning the room full of kids looking for possible threats like she had just spent 16 months in Mosul.
All of the kids are staring at her as we are curious who our new teacher is and if we are going to get some sort of normality back in our lives.

So in mid-speech, Francesca as she gets level with me says in quite a menacing voice

Who do you think you’re looking at there’s your book

She then slaps the back of my head so hard I had to put my hands out to stop my head from hitting the desk.

Chris Farmakis nervously laughed and said wow she just punched Arlo’s head.
Kate was straight in his face screaming

have you got something to say, have you?

No miss sorry

She then turned her attention to Trevor Steel

You yes you who are you looking at?

Trevor said nothing and just continued to work.
Mr. Owen didn’t see any of this as a problem as he was a horrible bully himself and I think in his defence he knew she was the best choice out of a bad lot.

It shows you how grim the choices had become when Mr. Owens deciding factor to keep a teacher is oh well at least she isn’t a sexual predator like the last teacher.

Francesca was reveling in her victory over the children and probably because she had not been reprimanded by Mr. Owen and shouted at everyone.

let that be a lesson to all of you.

You really don’t want to mess with me.

Now I’ve met some tough people in my time but it’s a special kind of tough to bully children and it also takes a special kind of person to think this is OK.
It’s because of teachers like this who do not get put in place which leads them to go too far and that’s why now there are many safeguards in place in the modern classroom.

There is a horrible saying which back then was so true. It still applies to many teachers now but back then it was a complete shit show.

“Those who can, can Those who can’t they teach

Even by modern-day standards, many people are simply smart board operators who have the balls to call themselves a teacher.
I don’t understand why these people exist. In my mind even if you’re a binman why wouldn’t you strive to be the best binman and better yourself?

In my old company in Vietnam, they haven’t paid their staff properly for over a year and many of the teachers have just accepted this and continued to eat shit.
I will talk about this company more in later blogs but it just reinforces my point about the calibre of so many people who undertake what I see is a very noble job.

If I was Francesca I would have jumped on the plane to Iran or Iraq but then there is a world apart that separates me from her.
I don’t need to list my achievements or what I have done I can simply get to checkmate by the fact I don’t hit kids nor am I full of resentment and self-hatred.

So we began regular classes with Francesca and she used the amazing stand at the front of the class and talk at us approach which we had become accustomed to this year.
If anyone asked a question she would start shouting at them telling them there were not listening and that they needed to pay more attention.

If anyone was stupid enough to be caught not listening as sometimes happens with 9 years olds she would have a full meltdown in front of the class screaming at the poor terrified kid who got distracted.
I can never understand where all of this hatred and anger comes from?

Granted I’ve taught some kids who could be arseholes.
It was never personal with them they were just kids.
They didn’t want to be there and their parents were making them take extra classes so it was understandable.

I think the only time I’ve shouted at one of the kids is when one of my students punched a much smaller kid in the stomach and the smaller kid was in tears.
The kid was being a bully and I shouted at him and sent him out and he was in tears himself as he didn’t expect to be shouted at so viciously.

It seriously disrupted my lesson and the smaller kid would not stop crying.
It was all resolved and the kid Ronaldo (they choose their names) was OK after that.
I never held a grudge against him or come to work in a bad mood why would I bring all of my issues into a room full of kids and poison them.

I think many people can’t accept that 90 percent of their problems are self-created and can never be honest with themselves so they end up more jaded and resentful.
So we were all working out of a book and all in silence as we were not allowed to talk especially in the presence of such a celebrity as Francesca

If we asked about Granada Reports or the TV she was happy to talk about herself in detail but most other things were off-limits.
Glynn Roberts gets up and walks over to the bin and sharpens his pencil.
Francesca shouts at him to sit down right now and he answers her saying I was only sharpening my pencil.

Who are you talking to she screams at Glynn running across the room. She grabs him by his blazer and she keeps smashing him against the blackboard.
She’s shouting at him and smashing him into the board and Glynn is covered in chalk.
After a full minute of this Glynn is sent to Mr. Owen looking like a modern art project.

Mr. Owen still not seeing any red flags give Glynn a bollocking and he was sent back to class probably with a concussion.
Any chance we upset Francesca we were sent straight to the headmaster’s office and Mr. Owen never thought for a second how has the number of visits to my office gone up by 300 percent?

He was more interested in having a quiet life and doing as little as possible.
He couldn’t ignore Mr. Moore and his behaviour as if he had touched one of us then it would have made the papers then Mr. Owen would have been put under the microscope.

Francesca the bully was OK as there were plenty of teachers like her.
He also hit kids all the time which I found out a little later once again ill say that it takes a special type of tough guy to hit a child.

I remember one day we were reading Charlie and the chocolate factory and Andy Edgar said to me when you get old your going to look like Grandpa Joe.

Grandpa Joe from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate factory

Trev Steel, Chris, and I all laughed next thing we heard the screech of Francesca


But Miss


I was only joking


I’m sorry




Then we all got sent to the office and the three of us got another bollocking by Mr. Owen.
Mr. Owen was tired of shouting at kids by now and even more pissed off that he had to do some work so he decided enough was enough.

Instead of dealing with the problem he took a different approach and came to our classroom.
He stood at the front and shouted at everyone telling us the next person who was sent to the office would be suspended and that we would all be in big trouble.

Like most bullies, he thought shouting the loudest with a headteacher title that’s all he needed to get respect.
He was also relying on fear and intimidation from both Francesca and from him to keep us in line.

He was not a fan of hers but he was sick of looking for new teachers and he figured she will be gone in a few months.
School got much worse and every time I went to the front of the class to get my work check she would put a line through it and make me start it again after telling me I was stupid and it was my fault for not listening.

She was right about me not listening but I was becoming more withdrawn and I really couldn’t stand her she was awful.
Even as a kid I had figured out I would just keep having to do the same thing over and over again so it didn’t make any difference if I listened or not.

A couple of times my mum came up to talk to her and she claimed she liked me and I was really intelligent.
I knew what I was talking about and I could answer most questions but due to my dyslexia, I couldn’t put it on paper.

Also any work we had to do I would have to do it over and over again and made it look stupid so I just used to fuck about I had nothing to lose.
One day Francesca was in a foul mood maybe because she still wasn’t famous and threw my book on the floor.

She screamed that my work was rubbish and I was the worst student she had ever seen.
I went and sat down and she stood over me screaming at me to pick my book up and I wouldn’t I just sat looking at the floor and after 5 minutes of this, I was sent to the office where I was sure I would be suspended.

Unfortunately, Mr. Owen’s hands were tied as 13 people were sent to the office that day and there is no way you can suspend 13 kids without an investigation even in the 80s.
So we were all sent back to class and that was a huge black mark against me which Francesca took very personally.

How fucking dare I even talk back to her let alone stand up for myself and believe me she was furious.
Every day someone would do something to upset her and there would be a different person in the class being shouted at in front of everyone and being accused of something trivial like stealing a pencil.

Most of the time the person being accused hadn’t done it but after 10 minutes of her screaming at you that you had done it, you just admitted it so you could sit down.
She had many of my classmates including myself in tears on many occasions and then I noticed that she was getting power from this and in her own fucked up way was getting off on it.

She was screaming at me one day over god knows what and I was just looking through her.
She shouted louder and louder and she raised her hand like she was going to punch me and I just stared right through her and there was panic in her eyes.

She pretended to fix her hair then told me to sit down and then the usual you will never amount to anything speech.
She started to slowly lose her power and she never became friendly but she did chill out a lot as when she went on these rants everyone was watching her and learning her patterns.

When everyone is watching a demon like this they learn what to do so the class in their way started standing up to her as I did.
She even started marking my work. She never checked it but gave a big tick and a smiley face because in her mind I would be too stupid to know the difference.

One thing that bugs me about people like this is they judge you by their horrible standards and think everyone in the world is like that and they are genuinely hard done by.

They could not for a second take any responsibility for their circumstances nor could they see the bad energy they are putting out they just want to take take take.
The last week of the school year she brought sweets in for us all which was nice and said goodbye.

I don’t know what happened to her but she never became famous and I hope to god it was her last teaching job.
I found Francesca on Facebook a few years ago and I wanted to lay some old ghosts to rest.

I asked her if it was the same Francesca who used to teach me at school.
I knew it was as I will never forget her face but I needed an ice breaker.
She saw the message but never responded then changed her profile so people could not send her friend requests after declining mine.

I’m not going to lie it wasn’t easy writing this but I haven’t been grinding an axe for her for years.
When I messaged her it was from a good place so we could at least try and put some of our issues to bed.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t interested and maybe she’s ashamed of her actions?
To be that angry at the world and to have that much rage and anger inside of you isn’t good for your soul.

I hope that whatever she ended up doing she’s at peace and has done a lot of work on herself.
Her profile was private but you can see a couple of pictures and all I know is she’s a mum now and I hope she has not passed on this black cloud.

I will leave you all with a quote from the Dali Lama which is shown in the picture below

We can all have a bad day and we can all lose our temper but please think about what you’re putting out in the world and if it’s positive.
Always try to give something back as the smallest thing can make the biggest difference in someone’s life.

You don’t have to be Mother Teresa and granted we can’t help everyone but we can all help someone.

If your screaming at everyone around you and people are walking away from you in droves you got to think to yourself maybe I’m the problem.
Don’t become the tortured genius as that is a very lonely road to endure.


I spoke to my mate Chris Farmakis and he told me my obvious mistake. He told me her name was Francesca not Kate which ive changed in the text. I also found out shes still a local reporter and now works as a yoga teacher as well.

I cant find her on Facebook but I would love to put our differences aside and who knows we may even become friends. Stranger things have happened. You have to love the power of the internet. It took me ten minutes when I had the right name.

I would love to think that now shes a yoga teacher she has left that ego behind and faced a lot of her own demons. As much as the devil on my shoulder tells me to condemn her I like to think she is a very different person now. If I can change then there is hope for anyone.