Cane and unable

I was a goody-goody at school; this made receiving my first detention a big shock.

At my Tooting secondary school we had exams for everything: including PE. 

PE was not a strength.  Give me a ball to hit, kick or head and I’d be fine; get me to vault over anything larger than a matchbox, I wasn’t.

We were about to start a geography exam – I had an image of what an ox-bow lake looked like in my head – when the PE teacher entered to read out the results of the PE exam we’d recently taken:

Richards, 0%” – you couldn’t even get a mark for writing your name.  The consequence of this was a detention.

So, because of my inability to do a forward roll; leap over a buck or climb a rope, I had to spend an hour after school writing “Please give me a rope to climb, because it’s not at all futile” 100-times.

I also had to do a cross-country run – running round Wandsworth Common – seemingly 100-times.

And that was the only punishment I had – I don’t count mental punishment after every parents’ evening – “Michael could do better” and wasn’t Michael told about that later those evenings!

I never got the cane – which was still in use. 

However, the only violence I witnessed was, because I was caught singing Wizzard’s Angel Fingers during O-level music revision, a blackboard rubber – hurled at the speed of light, with the accuracy you’d have wanted on The Golden Shot.

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