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.
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.
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
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)!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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! 🙂
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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!
Some things have to be nipped right in the bud. Now would be the right time to do so.
I don’t quite know whether I should laugh or cry
I suppose it had to happen. I finally end up with a pretty good symbol, and (merely because some people disagree with what I write on social media, and because they wish to find any means to slander and discredit me) someone has to suggest that my avatar and blog symbol be some modified form of the swastika!
So, let me state very clearly where it comes from. Firstly it has nothing to do with the Third Reich, nor is my symbol in fact any such modification. As I have already stated on the blog’s “Welcome” page, the symbol used is based – like everything else in the blog design – on the now defunct uniform of the former Adwick School. I have added a Greek cross to represent my Christian Faith (diametrically opposed to any affiliations with national socialism), and what those trying to bring me into disrepute claim to be a nazi eagle is in fact the raven of the vikings.
I have also already detailed the origin of the Yorkshire Viking Norway blog symbol (and my avatar). Nevertheless I state categorically that the raven has nothing whatsoever to do with national socialism or the far right, and is intended merely to show that Norway is my new home. The supposed “swastica” is in fact two letters “A” and “S”, the logo of my former school. It will be blatantly obvious to anyone who went there, and it is that which has been modified as seen below. The sister blog also describes its adaptation here if you fancy trying your Norwegian.
So there you have it, nothing to see here and you can all move on! There is NO swastika, and I have NO affiliations and never have had any affiliations to the far right – nor will I ever have any. Were it not for the fact that I do not wish either my blog to be brought into disrepute by ignorance, or to get in trouble with the Facebook police I should simply ignore this. As it is I don’t quite know whether I should laugh or cry.
Still as I stated at the beginning of this post, I should be perhaps flattered. I have obviously hit on something that grabs the attention. I have used a symbol regularly since 1990, and using indeed the very same elements from Adwick. My latest symbol has obviously the winning combination.
Some people will do anything to stir up trouble. As I also wrote at the start, some things need nipping in the bud. This is one.
Truth is not afraid of shedding tears,
And those who will not lament past regrets,
Must face by far their greatest fears;
Laden so by many debts,
from youth misspent, and sins before,
These cry too late, and God implore,
Who now would not, and Him ignore,
So do not live but for this now:
As much your nature will allow,
Repent that wrong done in the past,
knowing they most surely lie,
deceive themselves who will not cry,
And lose in lies their lives at last.
“I’m going to mark its end, because somebody has to. I’m also going to speak well of the place too for the same reason.” – Adwick Style
I cannot tell you how strange it feels. Yesterday I received photographs from Saturday’s tour of Adwick School, and today I was sent more from a former pupil of the even older Percy Jackson Grammar School. As I meditated upon the beauty of the Polar Night here, I tried to take in these wistful reminders of my childhood whilst juxtaposing the thought that EXACTLY thirty-three years ago, I was starting my very first day there.
In fact this is more than juxtaposition in time. I’m now over here in Norway, and these events – both then and now – are way over the sea in England. Nevertheless I also feel a strange satisfaction in doing what I am. I have read many a spiteful comment about Adwick this last year, and feel that someone ought to point out that whatever its difficulties at its end, it was once highly respected. Someone has got to cover its end in a fitting way.
So my blog and I are like a kind of satellite, now with very little connection to the land that originally launched it, orbiting above and separated by a huge distance – yet transmitting a message that more should broadcast terrestrially. Fortunately I know that I am not entirely alone, though. After all none of the pictures I have of Adwick School these last days were taken by me! It may be ironic that a blog based in Norway has taken on this task (for that no one else has done so), but it is fitting that that very irony demonstrates the once great name our school once had.
Indeed there are former pupils living all over the world. One should also include those who went to the Percy Jackson Grammar School that preceded Adwick School. These people have been very active with reunions, and are a truly international bunch. We have perhaps differing views about the demolition of our former school, and the rebuild; but we are nevertheless united by our respect for where we grew up. Whatever our personal views, we do not rejoice at our school’s demise.
What has saddened me in the last year, then, has been to hear what I can only describe as contempt, on the part of certain people who still live in the vicinity, for what is and always will be a part of their own history. It saddens me that for these, it is also incredible that anyone should wish to mark the end…. yet in truth, they have never appreciated the worth of what now is lost.
I would rather not end this on a negative note. Therefore let me leave my point concerning those who have come with harsh words with the following observation. With the exception of one person whom I know personally, and who had a very difficult time at school, most of the comments I have read – on Facebook and similar sites on the Internet – come from relatively younger people. We are all aware of the problems the school faced in its final decade, before ceasing to be Adwick School. Yet let not that generation speak for mine!
So now we enter the very last days for what was our school, what was our childhood, and indeed what we for some time have been mentally preparing ourselves for. Seeing the photographs my friends have sent – I shall publish more (I already have permission for most of them) – I nevertheless can see that our old lady has become tired. The buildings, especially the old senior wing further down from the Percy Jackson building photographed here, show their age; and a certain melancholy pervades all the pictures I have seen.
Thank you everybody who has sent pictures to me. I wish especially to thank Janet Roberts for this wonderful group photograph. I have taken the liberty of posting it, but naturally I shall withdraw it if you would rather I do so. Adwick, there are many who have not forgotten thee!
Of course Adwick School was firmly on my mind today. My friends from school would be paying their last respects, and just as their tour of the condemned buildings began I took myself out on to the beach at Vestbygd.
A year ago, I had photographed brilliant colours coming to this place. This year there was so much cloud that black and white had to do. Perhaps the weather only reflected the sombreness of the occasion in England. Norwegian Time is one hour ahead of English time, so this picture was taken while the tour of my school was going on.
It is an odd thing that – of all the places – I should end up back here. Vestbygd School, which is itself threatened with demolition, is the one school in Norway with a connection to Adwick School. Back in 1997, when I worked in this municipality before, I had travelled to Adwick School with two of the pupils from Vestbygd. They had enrolled half a day there, and one of them even used my old school tie!
The darkness is upon us. The Polar Night has come.