At the age of 12, though, my shyness hadn't improved any, with the result that Form Master Mr 'Taffy' Marshall wrote on my Autumn report: "Works most conscientiously at all times, though still not active enough in lessons. He must try and overcome this timidity". I think he must've said the same thing at a parents' evening or something, because my mother gave me a really hard time over it, shut away my collection of Famous Five books, and told me to make more of an effort to mix in instead of keeping my head stuck in a book all the time!

Form 2L 1960-61

Form 2L group photo 1960-61

In my second year as a pupil at Leamington College for Boys: Form 2L equates to the modern Year 8. I was 12 when this photo was taken: I'm standing almost directly behind our Form Master Mr 'Taffy' Marshall. I really was as shy and timid as I looked. And I can still remember all my classmates' names (well - surnames at least)

Leamington College for Boys: front door

As it is now: the front door

Hundreds of schoolboys have come and gone in the intervening years, having their photos taken on the steps of this imposing front entrance. But the camera has recorded for the last time the triumphs, hopes, aspirations and achievements of all those who were educated at my old school

It was about this time, I think, that the school got its own swimming pool. My parents had chipped in a quid or two to the Parents' Association appeal fund that helped raise the money to build it. Before that, we'd all had to go traipsing down in a crocodile to the town baths at the Pump Rooms (where the public library now is). I'd learned to swim out in Hong Kong and had become quite proficient if not exactly fast, but against the attraction of an outdoor pool in a tropical climate, the indoor one at Leamington paled more than somewhat and I didn't enjoy it much. As an aside, when years later as part of my job I went to a meeting at Leamington Library, and passed the stack in the basement which is where the deep end of the pool had been, I half-expected to see an "xxxx was here" written on the wall by one of my former classmates!

Swimming in the USRC poolClimbing out of the pool

Swimming - in my primary school days
This is me in the pool at the USRC out in Hong Kong. The little badges on my swimming trunks denoted how many lengths of the pool I could swim, the top one being 50.
I was still at Minden Row Junior School aged 10 when these photos were taken

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