Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Travelling to School in the Old Days (Self-Indulgent Memories)

The first school I attended was just a short walk from home,
so to begin with I was walked there by my mother,
after a few months I was allowed to walk with my friends.

This was back in the late 1950's
when children were fortunate enough to be given a lot more freedom
than they are given these days.

A couple of years later we moved to Hong Kong
I attended the Victoria Barracks Army School.
We lived in private apartments in McDonnell Road
which is about half-way up The Peak,
(my father was a civilian, not a member of the forces).

A big old army bus called to collect us
as a just-turned-8-year-old
it was incredibly exciting to clamber onto an old army bus
and have a (probably very young) army private
act as our guard.

Some of these young men were great fun
and would soon have us all singing together.
We would sing silly songs like
"She'll be coming round the mountain..."
"In the Quartermaster's Store".
It was enormous fun.

At times of unrest the guards would be doubled,
quite often we would have an additional guard (often a Ghurka)
who would be armed.
We were oblivious to any possible danger,
just found it all the more exciting!

Three years later
we moved back to England
and I attended a school which I scarcely remember,
except that I felt they were totally barbaric as they insisted
that I swim with the rest of the class
in water which was freeeeezing
especially to someone who had just spent 3 years abroad.
I remember the water temperature was shown on the wall by the pool
53 degrees F - less than 12 degrees C!
I digress, though, for the few short weeks
I attended this school,
I had to walk.

A few months passed,
we moved again.
My new school was a girl's high school,
located in the beautiful town of Stamford, Lincolnshire.
We lived in a small village a few miles away.
I travelled to school on a steam train,
which was thrilling!

Time passed, we moved again, across to the other side of the country.
My new school was a few of miles away
and I had options.
I could travel by bus
I could use my bicycle... I chose the bike.
The route led me through a large, old cemetery and then
down to the outskirts of town.
In all but the worst weather I rode by beautiful bike,
my favourite part of the journey was the old grave yard.
By now it was the mid-sixties
and we still enjoyed a lot of freedom,
plus I guess there was a lot less traffic on the roads!

Two years passed and we moved again.
This time to The Western Isles.
School was, at first, just a five minute walk.

Six months later we moved right out into the countryside,
to a croft in the middle of the island.
The journey to school was taken in a mini-bus.

I was the last to be dropped off,
 the first to be collected.

We had some pretty fierce weather up there
and yet our driver always seemed to make it through,
darn it!


  1. What great memories. Mine are a little less interesting. Only 3 schools, first was a pre-preparatory school from which I was expelled aged about 4, next was my prep' school, then my upper school. I boarded from the age of 5.

    I love that yellow car, I'm looking for an old ride-on mower (one that doesn't mow would be fine) to convert into a car like that for my grandsons.

    1. Hello Cro, The boys would love that, I hope you find one soon.

      I yearned for the stability of a boarding school - not sure I would have coped from age 5 though. Alas, I was always the 'new girl' or was too far behind in some subjects, miles ahead in others, had done the 'wrong' languages or was the 'Sassenach' . I was filled with joy the day I left school forever!


Lovely to hear from you!