Former East Lobby

Adwick School

Soured Memories of Sweet Sixteen

This post is in response to a writing challenge on The Daily Post. You can see this here http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen. It also marks the first anniversary of Adwick School’s demolition. The post refers exclusively to Adwick School, and (save for the poetic reference to others taking the throne) not to the two institutions that subsequently succeeded it.

That last seat of childhood authority is no more. One year on, I still struggle believing it! That our prestigious institution could so unceremoniously fall to the dust beggars belief.

Sweet Sixteen - in school uniform

Sweet Sixteen – in school uniform

For in truth our Emerald Queen was gone long before her ruined courts were razed. And I find that so hard to comprehend. What in my day was revered if though in dread, these days is scarcely remembered save in contempt. Therefore though those buildings be but newly gone, our world therein is much that longer lost.

While these ruins of our youth remained, they were defamed by those that came after us. A generation that had not seen the glories of our day, remembered them for other things. I too saw her slow decline, I watched her uniform in decay, and I heard of the infamy of her latter day. I still sighed when others took her throne. It was over then, not years later when the buildings went.

Ruins of Adwick School

My childhood world in ruins. Photo: Gerald Sables.

Those that scorn the memory of the Emerald Queen could not have known how once it was, and verily I remember her latter crew. They wore the uniform but as they did please; we were never once given the choice! Yet for all that we rebelled, secretly we admired the place – that final seat of absolute authority over the devices and desires of our own hearts! This is the greatest difference between us and them, and now and then!

That it should have ended the way it did feels so unreal. In my day the uniform was not for negotiation, and whatever I said I loved its distinctive colours of green, and white, and black. I said otherwise when I was a pubescent sixteen year old. Like my protestations against wearing a uniform, I celebrated my (so-called) independence the day I finally left – in both cases an attempt to assert myself in the adult world I entered, yet neither were seriously really meant.

Then came those after us, and they did mean those things they said. Among them those that said they would willingly press the button, that day our school came down. Then my foolish words came back to haunt me. The Emerald Queen was dead.

The Emerald Queen is my poetic name for our demolished school

The Emerald Queen

Alas thou mine emerald queen, whose royal robes were black, and white and green – whose Courts of great austerity were in those fields between, and wast of all with reverence seen, of whomsoever thine had been!

Alas! How thou art brought unto the ground, our palace ruined, thy name renowned! and nought is left of all we had: all is gone and where is found, that love, and fear, and awesome dread?

Alas, thou art gone, and thou art dead, despised of those who never knew thee then (nor us for whom thou wast our head)!

 

Propria & Tie to Germany

Thomanerchor

This year I am travelling to Leipzig to hear the Thomanerchor!

Newsflash! The Yorkshire Viking Norway is going to Germany!

Last year it was unfortunately not possible to carry out the planned holiday, announced in this blog. God willing that will be different this year. Yesterday I was able to buy one of the last tickets to the grand opening of the Bach Festival in Leipzig.

I’ll write a little more on the coming German Tour this weekend. In the meantime, I shall be changing my own rules a little.

With respect the propria and (school) tie, the propria were designed to spare the latter in order to keep it in good condition. The German Tour will however see both in use.

For a variety of personal reasons, it seems very fitting to me to use propria for this particular trip, and for those same it must therefore be even more so to use the real thing for the opening concert itself. Going to Germany is yet another irony in my life history, for those who remember me from my childhood. It is for that reason I mention this here. If you’re one of those, do get in touch!

More on this later. Watch this space.

Return of Propria

Propria

Propria Ties (still in wrappings) with School Tie

The propria were something I invented back at Huddersfield. I was there as a student between 1988 and 1991.

What are propria? Quite simply items of clothing that are not, and as individual items do not represent anything, but which when worn together take on the appearance of uniform. I employed propria when performing at St. Paul’s. For the uninitiated, that is the concert hall belonging to the University of Huddersfield (then the Polytechnic).

So I have always liked a bit of “show”. In my concerts in Norway, I have worn the school tie which, until the uniform was officially disused back in 2002 differed from the propria in so much that it individually did represent something. As you have previously seen on Yorkshire Viking Norway, I have also a tradition for using this on Christmas Eve.

For a thirty year old item of clothing, the school tie is in incredibly good nick. Indeed I want to keep it so, especially as it is now an irreplaceable relic. Therefore, for the first time since Huddersfield, enter…. propria.

The Subversive Grammarian

By David Grünewald

It wasn’t until after I had left school and several failed attempts that I finally got my English. Photo: David Grünewald

I like blogging. Language fascinates me.

It wasn’t always so. Though my blogs’ theme is based on my old school uniform, my schoolboy English was not something to be proud of. I consistently failed the old “O” level English examination until 1983, two years after leaving school. Indeed I also failed the examination in the Summer of that year as well!

When I decided to retake my failed examination something remarkable happened. This was at the former Doncaster Metropolitan Institute of Higher Education in that same Autumn. They held evening classes at the now demolished site in Waterdale, in the centre of town. All of us attending were there to redo in a matter of a few weeks what we had tried, and failed to do that Summer.

I wish I could remember the name of our teacher. He changed the course of my life – in more ways than I knew at the time, and not only in the English language. He shut the classroom door, and gesticulated that he had something to say to us almost as though he were afraid of saying it and might lose his job if he said it out aloud.

I can’t remember now when the course began, but he didn’t have a lot of time to change our failed examinations into passes. Therefore I can’t remember exactly how many weeks he said that we had, but what he said was truly astonishing. He said that we had only so many weeks until the examination, but he could guarantee us success if we would follow his method. There was only one catch: his method was an old fashioned one, and some did not approve of it in modern teaching.

Until these evening classes, I had used English “automatically” with my internal “autopilot”. That is to say that I wrote what I should say, and never thought about it any more than one thinks about how one walks. It is my belief that many people are now doing this very thing, and without most of these realizing it, their language does their thinking for them rather than letting them express ideas that they themselves have put together. Our teacher wanted us to analyse our language.

Obtaining so our surreptitious consent, he then introduced us to what we had thought was a very dirty word – grammar! In some respects, English is like a building that has lost one of its rooms. We started looking not just at how that building was today, but how it once used to be.

English address is a good example of this, where the plural has now to double up as a singular. Unless you know that, then it seems like the use of a plural verb, “are” for example, when one is addressing only one individual is just one of the many exceptions-to-the-rule that plague anyone who wants to use the language. Unless you have the grammatical bird’s eye view from above, then indeed it will seem like many complicated rules and exception to the rules just as in our example here.

We started writing out tables…. I am, thou art, he/she/it is, we are, ye(you) are, they are. We briefly looked at Middle English, but I have to say that most of what I now know of that came later. Nevertheless it was from the interest this evening class ignited inside me. Needless to say, I could see why verbs ended the ways they did very quickly. In Modern English, one simply cuts out the “thou” address, and replaces the “eth” verb ending with the “s” that we have today in the third person singular. Not complicated at all!

One of my major sins used to be the misplaced apostrophe. This subversive grammarian taught us that there were two types of apostrophe: the first when the apostrophe was used to show omission, and the second use to show possession. This was before I ever even heard of things like the genitive case, through my own study that followed!

Since I often pop into George Barton’s blog, and follow him on Twitter I have been introduced to the term “the apostrophe police”. This refers to those (like me) who have the audacity to pick people up on misplaced apostrophes. Nevertheless, for those of you who once and for all – guarantee! – want to learn this so you never make a mistake again, I shall give you the infallible rule.

The first use of the apostrophe is for an omission. Instead of writing the two words “it is”, you can contract these to “it’s”. The apostrophe stands for the omitted letter “i”. Instead of writing “you are”, you can contract to “you’re”, and the apostrophe is in place of the omitted letter “a”.

The second use, which I began this post with when I referred to the school uniform theme my blogs now use, is to show possession. You can very simply find out where to put the apostrophe here by rewriting the sentence using the preposition “of”. For example:

  • the children’s toys – rewrite, the toys of the children (you know to put the apostrophe between “n” and “s”)
  • the child’s book – rewrite, the book of the child (you know that the apostrophe is between “d” and “s”)
  • the boys’ choir – rewrite, the choir of the boys (unless you really mean that one boy has started, and perhaps leads the choir, and that it is his project – then you know there are several of them, and the apostrophe comes after the “s” at the end)
  • the boy’s friend – rewrite, the friend of the boy

So, whatever it is that you actually mean, write it first as an “of” sentence it you are in doubt! This always works! So if anyone thought that I had made a mistake at the beginning of this post, it should now be apparent that I was writing about the theme of my blogs (and not my blog). Yorkshire Viking Norway is twinned with a Norwegian sister blog.

I wish I could remember the name of our teacher who got me my English qualification. I should like to thank him. However I cannot, but I pay tribute here. What is more, if you follow the advice above, neither will you go wrong. Ever!

Þe Olde School Tie Tradition

I have now placed my school tie back into its draw, most likely for another year. However, here is a tongue-in-cheek account of my tradition. I don’t want anyone thinking this is some modern nostalgia! Therefore, lest you should think it…. the whole (more serious) point of this, is that the tradition has not just occurred now that I have become Norwegian, but has been constantly in use since (at least) 1988.

It hath long been my custom (as I bare witness herein in mine aforementioned posts) to take up the colours of our school at Adwick in Doncaster, whensoever certain occasions have presented themselves.

There is a problem with this picture on mobile devices.

One of the earliest uses in Norway. Christmas Eve. Kvenvær Church, Hitra 1993

Which tradition hath furthermore continued long after those hallowed buildings ever were occupied by an alien entity, and verily now after they in these latter days have been destroyéd by the same. And whereas (and lest) the minds of some slanderous folks should perchance question my motivation, that peradventure this be a mere vain invention of more recent times, it hath pleased me to go diligently unto mine archives for to prove what long standing my said tradition most surely hath.

1993

Christmas Eve – Kvenvær, Hitra 1993

Wherefore doe I present unto you this photographic evidence, taken in sundry years, that ye now may know the certainty thereof, and that this same childhood relic continueth in use whensoever it be meet and right for it to do…

1993

Christmas Eve – Fillan, Hitra 1993

And whereas the custom of this blog doth but permit the same school colours, and whereas these pictures are therefore published unto you in monochrome (save for any portrayals of this relic which by very nature thereof are herein permitted), thou mayest click upon each same to show it in original colour! Thou shouldest click upon the resultant picture once more if this breaketh the confines of thy computer screen forasmuch as the majority of browsers will then adjust it for thee! 🙂

Resignation

My resignation from Hitra. 4th July 1994

And from these mine earliest times in Norway, I did take away my facial hair in 1994… pictured showing my resignation from my position on the island of Hitra. Ye that truly and earnestly make examination of the above picture shall be able to make out my first logo, that preceded that ye now see above my work, which I used from the year of Our Lord 1990 – until 2012.

1993

Waiting for the Newspaper outside Fillan Church (4th July 1994)

Thus I stood that same day outside Fillan Church, forasmuh as the tidings of my departure had reached unto the local scribes who publish the tidings of that island, and there did wait upon them for that they wished to speak with me…

Nordbotn

My last service at Nordbotn, Hitra – October 1994

And so it was that in October 1994 I played for my last service in Nordbotn Chapel, on the island of Fjeldværøya, and there did give a farewell concert unto the residents thereof. Afterwards they presented unto me their tributes, with flowers and good wishes.

1994

Home at Fillan (Hitra), before leaving for Lødingen in 1994

And thus I departed those parts, and came hither, unto this Arctic abode of Lødingen. Now in those days there was a military fort in these parts, and exceeding greater opportunities for employment.

blog3

Unknown occasion 1995. Music room Lødingen High School.

And thus I began my service in Lødingen – both as organist and music teacher. Ye see me here even in the classroom. As for the occasion that surely did merit this tie I now wot not. It suffice to say that I have only ever used the tie for special happenings, and this must therefore have been one of such.

1995

Music Tour 1994, pictured Orkanger

These were the first days I therefore platyed the organ in Lødingen, and at that time I should also travel to the nethermost parts of this great land to entertain others in concert…. So it was that, that same first Summer, I went on a tour in Trøndelag and in Møre and Romsdal. And it was from this time that the School Tie became a part of my concert routine. Before it had only been used at Yule.

1995

The concert at Rindal. Summer 1994.

The last of these concerts was at Rindal. Here I am pictured with the other musicians three. The tradition of the School Tie was therefore well established, ere ever our school had ceased to be…

Arna

2005 in Bergen, after Adwick School had ceased to exist.

Now I remember putting upon me this Tie in the year of Our Lord 2000, but two years later our old school was deposéd by a new.  And all that which we once knew – which by then had waned so greatly that I had foreseen the end as early as 2000 (and had written in that year a great chronicle concerning the decline thereof) was finally lost to history. Peradventure I failed to observe the Tie tradition in 2002, knowing our Rome was sacked. Yet ere the new Empire of Wakefield laid claim unto its land, I restored the traditions in memory of yore! Here ye see me before I left Bergen in 2005!

Now this is the account of my Tie tradition, for those that would say it be a modern invention now that I have joined the Viking tribes, and made myself as one of them. Forsooth I say the Tie tradition goeth long way back, even unto my time as a student at Huddersfield. Even from there did this begin! And not even the great Arctic Organist himself hath ought quite like unto Þe Olde School Tie Tradition of mine that hath so greatly influenced the making of my Yorkshire Viking Norway Blog!

Merry Christmas

Vestbygd Church

Vestbygd Church also gets filled for once!

Lødingen

Christmas Eve. Full church in Lødingen

I intended to write this post yesterday. We put a lot more into our services on Christmas Eve than we usually do. Yesterday we therefore supplemented them with extra musicians. However, being as I wrote in yesterday’s post completely knackered afterwards, it will have to be today.

That’s not a problem though. In Norway it is Christmas Eve that de facto has become the day; Christmas Day itself has been very much overshadowed by that. I am not sure I very much like this development. How much the festive masses who now fill our churches on the 24th December actually remember and still less listen to what is preached remains a moot question. Today, which should be the most important celebration is something of an anti-climax, with almost empty churches.

It's one time we tend to put a little "more" into the services.

It’s one time we tend to put a little “more” into the services. This is from Vestbygd Church.

Because of that and because having no family I don’t really bother with Christmas myself, I have a little more time to update the blog. I see I’m not alone. Arctic Organist has been doing the same. He has also linked to a very poignant Christmas letter from the Bishop of South Carolina. I recommend reading it.

In about half an hour, I shall be taking my telephone off by putting it into “plane mode” so that I can listen to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s undisturbed. Internet is an amazing thing. I am able to listen to the same broadcast that used to be a tradition for my family when I was growing up in Doncaster, England. As noted in my previous post, I too have my traditions.

VBCH

Playing for the Christmas service at Vestbygd Church.

As you can see from the pictures, I have a very special one of my own only on the 24th December and occasionally when we have concerts. The Adwick School tie is in excellent condition, and I wish to keep it that way (it is now completely irreplaceable since the school no longer exists) , so it really is a self-limiting thing that cannot be done too often.

Gallery

“You know you have to pay to sit up here”, I joke when people start coming to find place on the organ gallery in Lødingen Church

Tomorrow I shall be having my glass of port wine – another speciall tradition from my childhood. Then I shall have to start thinking about the New Year. The bishop will be coming to our parish at the end of January. So that means I must start trying to organise yet more musicians to add some extra seasoning to the services while he is with us.

Jørn

In Lødingen we had a trumpet solo for the Christmas service.

F.A.Q

Phew! I’m knackered! I’ve been at it all day, so I haven’t had time to read the stream of messages reminding me that I have suddenly aged yet another year on Facebook.

So thank you everyone. My post today will be a kind of F.A.Q. Don’t take it too seriously. After playing for one service at 11am, then driving 45 kilometers on very slippy roads to Vestbygd Church for another service at 2pm – and then when that was finished driving all the way back for the last Christmas service in Lødingen Church at 4pm, I’m feeling too tired to post anything more. For those who don’t regularly drive on ice, I can tell you this can be mentally draining in itself.

Anyhow, let’s get started….

Screen shot

A screen shot from my Facebook profile.

  1. Marni Turnill seeing this “selfie” post asks if the tie is the Adwick School tie. There are two answers to this. The first is that Adwick School doesn’t exist anymore, so it can’t be. That would however be a little disingenuous. The second is that you can apply the famous “duck test”. James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916) invented this. He said, “when I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”….
  2. Ron Ketley (yes, from Adwick School, Marni) says that I seem to be…. ahem … a little “broader” than I used to be. I’m not sure that I know how to answer that one, except at the very least that I hope I am now less “narrow” minded.
  3. Anita J. Jones thank you very much…. BAH! Humbug!

Yorkshire Viking Norway wishes its readers a Merry Christmas!

The Same Procedure As Every Year…


Norwegians insist on watching this “Dinner for One” sketch on the 23rd December every single year.  However, they are not alone: I have German and Dutch friends who inform me that the same sketch appears regularly on their TV stations as well. If you actually do feel the overwhelming desire to watch this, press the play button above. I shan’t be joining you..

Such is the power of tradition that we do the most illogical things. Woe betide anyone who doth not understand this. I shall never forget the year I chose not only not to have the Norwegian hymn “Deilig er jorden” (“Lovely is the Earth”) when I planned a Christmas service, but not to place it in its obligatory place at the very end. No variation is possible, for this hath been handed down even from Jesus’ time…. That foolish mistake was back in 1995, and since I have come back to the same parish I can tell you that it was never forgotten! Needless to say, I have never repeated it either.

Other Traditions

It is easy to scoff at the unreasonableness of such a thing. Yet I have only to consider the way in which Mark Damazer, the newly appointed controller of BBC Radio 4 got rid of a certain long standing tradition in 2006 before I too start feeling “hot under the collar”…

As you know, I grew up in the United Kingdom, and through my childhood (and more importantly in þe goode olde dayes of Adwick!) I would listen to the opening of that station. All through my formative years Radio 4 would open up with Fritz Speigl’s “UK Theme”. Indeed, on Sunday mornings I would wake up extra early at six o’clock to hear this before cycling off to Woodlands All Saints’. This was in those halcyon days of Adwick School, when the service used to be at nine o’clock. I could have laid in for at least an hour too, but such is the power of tradition. Every time I now find myself dragged out of bed at some God forsaken hour of the morning to play for a school service before Christmas, I think about what I put my poor mother and father through then. There is justice in the world….

I was not the only one to like this tradition. When Mark Damazer decided to end opening the station with this theme every day, he quite rightly incurred the wrath of the public. It went all the way to parliament. Sadly, however, it wasn’t enough to save it. Although he has now left the radio station, the “UK Theme” is now history. I shall never forgive him. In my opinion, the only reason it had to go was so that Mr Damazer could prove that he was the man in charge.

My Tradition

So I have to be careful about condemning others for traditions. Indeed I have them myself. Every year, on Boxing Day, I take a glass of port wine. This is now my very special way of remembering my parents. The only times I have not done this have been when my job required me to drive on Boxing Day (in which case I took this traditional glass the day after). The reason I do this also cometh from þe ancient dayes of Advicium.

Home

Every year I toast my mum and dad on Boxing Day.

Here beginneth the story that my dear mother was so fond of that she spoke of it till her dying day. Unlike here in Norway, where there often seems to be a taboo about alcohol, I was brought up with the idea of wine every Sunday dinner. My father made it himself, with varying results (although in the end, I have to say he became quite adept at the art). My parents believed that it were better to introduce children to alcohol at an early age, so they would know how to use and enjoy it properly. They believed that denying it until it were suddenly “legal” was the reason that many young people then went completely mad, and got drunk on it. So from about ten, I was allowed a very little drop of wine when we had our Sunday lunches.

When I was about fourteen (I cannot actually swear that I were either fourteen or thirteen, but it was one of those years, and if the later these events took place in þe olden time of Adwick School, which maketh it far better), my parents decided that I could try some port wine on Boxing Day that year. I was told that I had to sip it, and not to drink it like pop. Needless to say…. that I did what I was told not to do, and then had to spend about three hours on the sofa because I was so dizzy! My silly behaviour was later the subject of much mirth, and my mother would relate this story from year to year thereafter.

Port Wine

Port – My Boxing Day Tradition!

I should perhaps state that I was not drunk, and neither have I ever been drunk (not then, nor later in my life). The amount of alcohol I was allowed was not very large. Neither did the experience scare me off port. Some years later, when Adwick went into decline (during my years at the former Polytechnic of Huddersfield, I should lament seeing the slovenly condition of our once proud uniform when returning home on visits) a certain nostalgia for those bygone times spawned this my own very special tradition. Later, when my father passed away in 2001, this became my way of remembering not just childhood – but the family I no longer have.

That then is the reason that every boxing day, I take a glass of port. Ideally, I like to watch something entertaining on the TV, but these days that is becoming increasingly unlikely with the ever greater amount of garbage one sees there. Nevertheless, I do now sip my port, and I toast to my mother and father each time I sit back to enjoy it every Boxing Day!

For those who can read Norwegian, I wrote about my tradition last year on the Sister Blog. You can find that post at http://www.cqd.nu/blog/2012/12/17/ebeneezer-scrooge-kom-du-attende-alt-er-tigjeve/

 

School Graveyard

Senior Wing

A beautifully calm, yet hauntingly eerie picture of where my school once stood! Picture Janet Roberts

Some photographs capture something “more”. On the face of it, this is but a picture of some trees. For us who went there, however, it is the grave of Adwick School. Here stood our senior wing.

There is a wistfull atmosphere. Black and white amplifies this. That maybe entirely subjective, but I am not the only one to pick up on it. There is something “more” to this picture than meets the eye.

Trying to define this something “more” is like chasing a rainbow. The moment you approach it, it moves further away from you. Yet I am not speaking of associations that only we who came here can know about; there is something more, that makes even those who didn’t, to describe it as “haunting”.

For me (qualifying therefore what I write precisely with feedback on my earlier post both from people who did know what used be here and those who have absolutely no personal association with the place) this is both unsettling and very beautiful all at the same time. “Haunting” would therefore be a fitting description.

I have recently received some pictures not only of what used to be here (and off camera in the likewise demolished main building further up to the right), but from our world and time that long have passed. Unfortunately I cannot post these, because they are not for further publication. However, I can tell you they are no less poignant.

Most of these pictures are in black and white. Yet that seems to highlight any associations one actually might have. I do not even notice the absense of colour: that something “more” seems to allow my brain to “see” what is not there!

I find myself transported backwards in time. Once our uniform was very smart and characteristic. Before its lamentable decline in the nineties it was very strictly enforced. As I see my uniform thus again, it is as though I am standing there among those pictured. It is so incredibly “virtual” an experience – to use a modern expression. Yet again the black and white picture but re-enforces this experience!

I am utterly captivated by the photography. This was the world I knew! Yet I cannot bear it too long. That something “more” is unsettling as well. It is a world that has forever gone.

With respect to the hauntingly beautiful, yet eerie picture shown above, we are looking at a graveyard. What now is but some trees and grass, was once our childhood world alas!