Hello, gentle reader
Love love love this poem, it makes me smile. It’s concise, meaningful, witty and clever.
Would you like to sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
To err with her
On some other fur?
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with words. I’m one of those people who correct split infinitives and who get all hot and cross when confronted with apostrophe abuse. Not unlike a lady tramp mumbling crossly at pigeons, I’m onto bad grammar, poor spelling and sloppy syntax like a fly on…sugar because, ladies and gentlemen, it really does matter. And, if you want your website to be found, it matters a lot.
Back in the mists of time *cough* – the 1970s, OK the early 1970s – we had spelling tests every morning and mistakes had to corrected and written out a number of times otherwise you were beaten severely and sent up a chimney. Nobody seemed too concerned about stifling our cree-ay-tiv-ity and somehow I managed to make it to Big School without trauma.
Ah, Big School, otherwise known as Prendergast Grammar School, whose motto “Trouthe and Honour, Freedom and Curteisye” came straight out of the Prologue of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and which is in Middle English just in case you’re about to email me. A delightfully old fashioned place, we had regulation school uniform which – much to my horror and shame – included a school hat. Picture the scene, each Friday morning when my sister and I walked to school not only wearing the ruddy thing (dark blue felt, with a jaunty trim) but each also carrying a hockey stick and a musical instrument. Oh God. Anyway, sorry – where was I? Ah yes, ranting about education and spelling.
So, us Prendergastly girls were very lucky as our teachers were, for the most part, great. Although I disengaged in maths lessons and still don’t like numbers very much, I loved English classes, even with our quite frankly bonkers teacher, Mr Jennings. I hated Latin (yes, we all had to learn it) but I’m now very grateful that I know the structure of verbs, what an adverb is, the subject/object of a sentence and how to greet a Roman Centurion and tell him I love him.
Importantly, though (in my very humble opinion), every piece of homework we submitted, regardless of subject, had spelling error corrections in it on its return; rather than watch “The Tomorrow People” (which we did anyway), we had to write out the words correctly before giving in our next piece of homework. By the way, did you guys cover your exercise books with wallpaper or was it just us?
Being able to go to university free of charge and being given a bit of money to do so was taken for granted back in the 1980s; a minority of young people were offered places though, so I do think I was really very lucky indeed. Goldsmiths College, where I gained by English degree gave me the chance to develop the following skills
- The capacity (used all the time now) to transpose information from various sources into something usable and readable
By the time I’d graduated, I’d read all of Shakespeare (yes, all of it – and not everything written by the Bard is great, by the way), everything by Thomas Hardy, Jonathan Swift, Chaucer, Dryden (borrrrriiiiing) and even the Fairie Queene (Spencer) in its original version and for the latter alone, I deserved a medal.
After all that studying, I still hadn’t had enough, oddly, so when the opportunity to take a post-graduate Diploma in Business French via the Paris Chamber of Commerce I took it. Ironically this too, was “good for me” as the main module I studied focused on translating back into my mother tongue.
So, there you are. There’s lots more but I’m more interested in finding out about your fond memories of spelling tests and how much you enjoyed writing essays. Let me know or better still, if you need a copywriter to help you create really good web content, give me a call on 01273 721 306.