Well, I didn’t go to the Pagan meeting with Gareth this evening. Its slightly cold but that’s not the reason. They have stopped you smoking in the big room upstairs, now and I’ll be damned if I’ll be restricted like that. Wouldn’t matter so much if the Summer as I could just take my beer outside. So sorry everyone there, you’ll just have to miss me.
So with some unexpected time, thought I put up that book extract. Having said that, I’ve copied it from the other computer, so if anything goes wrong with the font, you’ll know why!
Anyway, its about the time I was expelled from the private school in Weymouth in . .. (guess!!)
I’d already been ‘half kicked out’ by being forced to board at their Junior School for dating girls out of bounds. Then I refused to get my hair cut well . . . that really did it!!
Here it is (I hope!)
For the moment,
FROM THE CHAPTER “AND THERE WAS MORE”
Though while my interest in the supernatural and ‘another existence’ had taken a definite turn towards an active interest – as opposed to the ‘fascinated awe’ towards such things in my childhood – I realized that I none-the-less remained a partial captive of my physical surroundings; more especially when I was drawn back into the physical world by petty mundane everyday tasks and obligations.
But I basically remained immune, and I also discovered a real pleasure in disrupting the squalid rules and regulations that I saw as contributing towards such an environment.
One of my favourite past-times, or means of ‘escape’, was to arrange secret dates with girls from a nearby comprehensive school, and, joined by just one or two of the other boys, we’d smooch in the bushes that surrounded the school playing field. We’d giggle and feel prohibited flesh; like naughty children revelling in the shreds of respectability that we’d dared to violate. I had no conscience, knowing I was doing nothing wrong, although the scandal and rumours that swept the school gave me more than good reason to keep doing it! I did not stop these clandestine meetings, only was just more careful with the venue and found places outside of the school grounds to foil many of the other boys who were bent on my ‘capture’.
Most of these Judas’s were either moral bigots or just inwardly jealous, but they would have ‘turned me in’ at the slightest opportunity.
But perhaps the most offended by these ‘unheard of atrocities’ was the headmistress herself. A staunch and conservative Christian, she eventually ‘demoted’ me to board at the Junior school about a quarter of a mile away – a distance I had to walk twice a day to attend the regular Senior school lessons. I felt decidedly out of place as most of the Junior school ‘inmates’ were at least five or six years younger than me. Perhaps the only advantage of this peculiar situation was that the children were too young to really harass me, or even understand the situation.
The school was run by a Mr. Berry and his young wife who were kind and sympathetic to my plight, and although they never said so in so many words (almost certainly because of their position), I sensed they both found the situation both incredulous and amusing.
In fact, I had many long conversations with Mr. Berry himself about the complexities of life and living which he understood with great perception and ability. Courteous and understanding, I just did not have the heart to carry my vendetta into his school. He was one of the few people I had come to know who understood that my ‘reputation’ had really been formulated by bigoted principles which he did not necessarily agree with.
As it turned out, my stay at the school was not destined to last much longer and a dramatic event shortly afterwards resulted in my being expelled from the school.
This occurred in early July, less than three weeks before the end of term. One day I was approached in class by the headmaster of the Senior school and, in front of astonished pupils and an equally surprised teacher, ordered me to leave lessons and go out and get a hair cut. This was certainly prompted by my refusal the previous evening to go back to the senior school to get a hair cut by the visiting barber.
I said nothing, but left in apparent obedience, though once past the school gates I ‘doubled back’ in the other direction. I walked to the beach and lay amongst the sun-drenched rocks; in half a mind to run away, but in fact, past the point of really caring. London was a long way off and besides, I quite enjoyed staying at the Junior school and the ‘peaceful attitude’ of Mr. Berry. Yet at the same time, I realised that I’d eventually have to go back and, without the required ‘short back and sides’, face a confrontation that could only really result in yet more tragedy. I had no desire to invite the latter but, on the other hand, I was equally determined not to get my hair cropped to the insidious level of my zombie-like companions. It was my hair and if I chose to let it grow (it should be remembered that in 1961 it was completely unheard of for schoolboys and young men to have long hair; it was not supposed to grow over your collar), nobody had any right to instruct me otherwise.
I decided to force a show-down, and after a care-free day on the beach, I returned to the senior school and was there confronted by an out-raged Mrs. Crocker. She was apparently more concerned about my hair than the fact that I’d ’run away’ for the day. She pointed out the seriousness of my offence and asked me to consider the bad example I was setting to the other boys. She added that apart from this, long hair was ’dirty’ as well as being a ’health risk’. I’d been trying to keep a straight face but these words brought an unavoidable smile to my face (I couldn’t help wondering how she’d neglected to apply this to women), and she then said I must go and report to the headmaster.
I did, but in his study I again refused to obey the order.
Furious at such unheard of defiance, I was warned of the ultimate consequence of degrading the school’s good name (I knew he was also referring to the meetings with the girls although he had no actual proof of that and this was not mentioned), and he gave me a final choice between acceptance and the humiliating act of expulsion.
Naturally I chose the latter. I had been given some three weeks grace until the end of term, but I didn’t really care. The Junior school was like a mini hotel and besides, at last I’d been given a chance to have some say in my future.
From the new book by David Farrant titled . . . (guess again!!)