The text There’s a vague historical theme going on in my first term’s work at Fairburn. No, actually, now I think about it, it’s not vague at all - 17th century priest harbouring, houses made of flint, string orchestras, Halloween and bonfire night all feature in the first handful of English stories. Add the Geography, History and Topic books to the mix (covering the birth of New York, the Stone Age and the dinosaurs respectively) and the scale definitely tips in favour of the past. Comparing this with the following term’s work, which is uncompromisingly future- focused, only serves to underline my feeling that I was not yet being “myself”. This is one of those factual, descriptive pieces I always hated writing. Obviously, we’d learned something about “old houses” earlier in the day and were then asked to write about what we knew. Such things always used to irritate me on a fundamental level. Essentially, I was writing this for the teacher, and I never quite understood why I would want to tell him something we both already knew. Why couldn’t we both accept that we already knew everything there was to know about old houses, then I could get on with writing about something we didn’t know, so we’d both be twice as knowledgeable? Naturally, I’d missed the point. Writing these pieces wasn’t about telling the teacher what he already knew - it was about telling him things he didn’t know, like whether I’d actually taken in what I’d learned and whether I could pass on that knowledge to others in an engaging manner. In time, I would learn how to spruce these things up and inject my increasingly hyperactive personality into every sentence. But for now, I was keeping my head down, being good and doing what I was told. The result is a straightforward, simplistic account of three types of “old houses”. There’s nothing remarkable about it apart from some odd phrasing here and there. I’m not sure whether I really thought the rich people’s fire was “lovely” or the even richer people’s fire was “nice” or whether I was just desperately trying to find something interesting to say about it. One notable thing about this piece is that there are no spelling mistakes (though I may have cheated a bit with the word “their” on Page 1), so I was clearly paying attention. My propensity to get confused about which nouns have capital letters and which don’t is still intact, but not overwhelmingly so. The practice of using brackets to highlight errors is now well and truly ingrained. The margin is even straight. Well done, Waen - the tick at the end is well deserved. Eagle eyed readers may also spot that I’ve drawn the lines on the page myself. The books we used for English around this time contained a mixture of both ruled and non-ruled paper, the latter presumably for drawing on. Whichever bright spark thought of that didn’t really take into account that not all pieces of writing are exactly the same length. So in this case, the text happens on the blank page (onto which I have diligently drawn wonky lines) and the picture happens on the ready-ruled page. As far as I know, this is the only time I ever did this (cf. Clarke Hall and The Forgotten World). The picture This badly drawn house reminds me how alien Fairburn seemed to me when I first went to live there. Having spent most of my life on a purpose-built council estate, it was seriously weird to live in a place with old stone walls and houses which didn’t all look the same. I’d probably never even seen a village at this point in my life, never mind lived in one. OK, so Fairburn wasn’t a rural idyll by any means. Yes, there were old-fashioned pubs and nearby farms, it was surrounded by fields and it had one or two olde-worlde buildings (which didn’t have thatched rooves but did bear at least a passing resemblance the picture above). From Silver Street, you could see past the houses to the tail-end of Fairburn Ings, a vast wetland and bird sanctuary which served (and still serves) as the region’s top tourist attraction. But it had its fair share of modern housing too, the A1 ran right through the middle of it (right past our house in fact) and, if you crossed the footbridge to the other side of the village, you would find not only a modern housing estate but also (if my memory serves me correctly) a fairly sizeable quarry. (Link there to a quarry, not sure if it’s the one I remember.) Still, to me, arriving in this place was like stepping into the past. A world that had some kind of history behind it, instead of being simply a crude post-war housing solution. A place where you could freely ride your bike down the road without fear of being run over. A place dominated by pubs with the word “horse” in the name. And a place where, so far, I didn’t really fit in.
Old Houses
TERM 1 Sept-Dec 1979
TOPIC 1 Sept-Dec 1979
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
WAEN SHEPHERD Who was this strange little boy?
HISTORY 1 Sept 1979 - Oct 1981
SCIENCE 1 Sept 1979 - Mar 1980
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
Clarke Hall Old Houses Fairburn v Burton Salmon The Forgotten World String Orchestra Sheet Lightning Grezelda the Witch Bonfire Night Metropolitan Police Christmas 1979 Great Space Battles Luddenden The Hat’s Adventure Sleeping Beauty What I Do On Monday Waen Shepherd 2 Waen Shepherd in: Green Squids Ward’s 7: Move of the Galaxy Ward’s 7: Alpha Centauri Ward’s 7: Escape to Mother Ship Ward’s 7: Death Planet Blake’s 7 Ward’s 7: The Hunt Ward’s 7: Rescue The Flame in the Desert The Fugitive British Skiing Events Fiends of the Eastern Front Apeth (from Outer Space!) Tedosaurus (from Prehistoric Time!) A Walk in Our Village The Mountain Called Tyrannosaurus Rex Florence Nightingale War of the Worlds The Micronauts in: Supersilver
Clarke Hall The place and time where it all began… September 1679?
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
Sheet Lightning Waen and his Gran shelter from the sheet- shaped storm
String Orchestra A visit from the North Yorkshire County Council Orchestra
The text There’s a vague historical theme going on in my first term’s work at Fairburn. No, actually, now I think about it, it’s not vague at all - 17th century priest harbouring, houses made of flint, string orchestras, Halloween and bonfire night all feature in the first handful of English stories. Add the Geography, History and Topic books to the mix (covering the birth of New York, the Stone Age and the dinosaurs respectively) and the scale definitely tips in favour of the past. Comparing this with the following term’s work, which is uncompromisingly future- focused, only serves to underline my feeling that I was not yet being “myself”. This is one of those factual, descriptive pieces I always hated writing. Obviously, we’d learned something about “old houses” earlier in the day and were then asked to write about what we knew. Such things always used to irritate me on a fundamental level. Essentially, I was writing this for the teacher, and I never quite understood why I would want to tell him something we both already knew. Why couldn’t we both accept that we already knew everything there was to know about old houses, then I could get on with writing about something we didn’t know, so we’d both be twice as knowledgeable? Naturally, I’d missed the point. Writing these pieces wasn’t about telling the teacher what he already knew - it was about telling him things he didn’t know, like whether I’d actually taken in what I’d learned and whether I could pass on that knowledge to others in an engaging manner. In time, I would learn how to spruce these things up and inject my increasingly hyperactive personality into every sentence. But for now, I was keeping my head down, being good and doing what I was told. The result is a straightforward, simplistic account of three types of “old houses”. There’s nothing remarkable about it apart from some odd phrasing here and there. I’m not sure whether I really thought the rich people’s fire was “lovely” or the even richer people’s fire was “nice” or whether I was just desperately trying to find something interesting to say about it. One notable thing about this piece is that there are no spelling mistakes (though I may have cheated a bit with the word “their” on Page 1), so I was clearly paying attention. My propensity to get confused about which nouns have capital letters and which don’t is still intact, but not overwhelmingly so. The practice of using brackets to highlight errors is now well and truly ingrained. The margin is even straight. Well done, Waen - the tick at the end is well deserved. Eagle eyed readers may also spot that I’ve drawn the lines on the page myself. The books we used for English around this time contained a mixture of both ruled and non-ruled paper, the latter presumably for drawing on. Whichever bright spark thought of that didn’t really take into account that not all pieces of writing are exactly the same length. So in this case, the text happens on the blank page (onto which I have diligently drawn wonky lines) and the picture happens on the ready-ruled page. As far as I know, this is the only time I ever did this (cf. Clarke Hall and The Forgotten World). The picture This badly drawn house reminds me how alien Fairburn seemed to me when I first went to live there. Having spent most of my life on a purpose-built council estate, it was seriously weird to live in a place with old stone walls and houses which didn’t all look the same. I’d probably never even seen a village at this point in my life, never mind lived in one. OK, so Fairburn wasn’t a rural idyll by any means. Yes, there were old-fashioned pubs and nearby farms, it was surrounded by fields and it had one or two olde-worlde buildings (which didn’t have thatched rooves but did bear at least a passing resemblance the picture above). From Silver Street, you could see past the houses to the tail-end of Fairburn Ings, a vast wetland and bird sanctuary which served (and still serves) as the region’s top tourist attraction. But it had its fair share of modern housing too, the A1 ran right through the middle of it (right past our house in fact) and, if you crossed the footbridge to the other side of the village, you would find not only a modern housing estate but also (if my memory serves me correctly) a fairly sizeable quarry. (Link there to a quarry, not sure if it’s the one I remember.) Still, to me, arriving in this place was like stepping into the past. A world that had some kind of history behind it, instead of being simply a crude post-war housing solution. A place where you could freely ride your bike down the road without fear of being run over. A place dominated by pubs with the word “horse” in the name. And a place where, so far, I didn’t really fit in.
Old Houses
TERM 1 Sept-Dec 1979
TOPIC 1 Sept-Dec 1979
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
WAEN SHEPHERD Who was this strange little boy?
HISTORY 1 Sept 1979 - Oct 1981
SCIENCE 1 Sept 1979 - Mar 1980
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
Clarke Hall The place and time where it all began… September 1679?
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
Sheet Lightning Waen and his Gran shelter from the sheet- shaped storm
String Orchestra A visit from the North Yorkshire County Council Orchestra