16 August 2015

Carlton

When I secured my first teaching post in South Yorkshire, I lived with a senior teacher for four months - in the North Nottinghamshire village of Carlton in Lindrick. Yesterday, I went back there for the first time in thirty seven years and you know what, it felt as if I had never really lived there at all. Though I remember weekend drinks in "The Sherwood Ranger" public house, I didn't know there were other pubs in Carlton.
Back then I never visited the beautiful and very ancient parish church and I didn't ramble along the various paths that radiate out from the village. I didn't know there was a village pond and a lake. It is really a very nice place and yet for years I have associated it with my first year of "proper" teaching in a "proper" comprehensive school. Carlton in Lindrick meant a cold house shared with a forty something bachelor called Bob whose interest in boys was not entirely schoolmasterly. It was where I marked books and prepared lessons late at night - trying to stop the job from drowning me. They were some of the most lonesome and challenging days of my life. Every morning the alarm clock went  telling me that yet another day of lessons and unadulterated hassle lay ahead. I was a hamster on a wheel that wouldn't stop. Surely that couldn't be life, could it?

Okay. I will stop digging into the dim and distant past. Yesterday I parked near the village pond and plodded off in the direction of Hodsock Priory. Onwards towards Forest Farm but the track, which mapping says leads down to the A1 (major road), was blocked off and overgrown. Access was impossible so this caused me a two mile detour, retracing my steps to Hodsock Lane. Most annoying and a very rare discovery.

To Spittal Farm then over the A1 to the village of Torworth which stands on what was once The Great North Road - the forerunner of the A1 which begins in London and finishes in Edinburgh. I bought a "99" ice cream in Torworth from a Manfredi ice cream van and then I continued along Billy Button Lane, past Beech Farm and back to the A1 which I dashed across as murderous vehicles approached at breakneck speed. Phew! It was a relief to get across safely.

Then to Bilby and onwards to Thievesdale Lane, passing several plantations and the site of an old World War II runway. Turning back to Wigthorpe then down Liquorice Lane and back to South Carlton where I  briefly perused the old church. I had been walking for six solid hours by this time with only one sit-down break to guzzle a bottle of water and to chomp upon a juicy apple.

Soon I was back at the car and ready for the forty minute drive back to Sheffield for a meal of fish cakes with lemon wedges and tartare sauce, garden peas and baby potatoes.

It was on this long walk that I thought of the word "hinterland" and recalled glimpses of early 1978 - Bob and his VW Beetle, the slag heap by Dinnington Pit - which was still operational in those days, schoolboys huddling behind my terrapin classroom under a blue fog of cigarette smoke, Mr Lakeland - the Head of English with scattergraphs based on exam results that would determine a pupil's streamed class position in the next school year. The very idea of mixed ability teaching seemed like an anathema to him and I seemed to have somehow landed back in the nineteen fifties. How good it was the next summer to attend a course in Cambridge run by Her Majesty's Inspectorate - "English for Average and Less Able Pupils". It proved that Mr Lakeland - perhaps like Dinnington itself - was trapped in an educational  time warp. At least, that is how it seemed at the time.
Please  click on images to enlarge

27 comments:

  1. As much as I hate to shatter your beliefs, Yorkie...here's how the name "Tamborine" came about (or into fruition)....

    "The origin of the name Tamborine comes from the Anglicised version of the Aboriginal word 'Jambreen' from the Yugambeh language. The spelling also appears on early records as Tchambreem and even Goombireen,which means 'wild lime' and refers to the finger lime trees growing on the mountain."

    Once they came up with the name, they then wandered off to the brewery...and are still there to this day, leaning against the bar...or hanging off it.

    While on the subject of names...there are some great names in your post. I particularly like Liquorice Lane...I could quite easily and happily live there. By the way, I love liquorice...that could be the reason why. Does the Manfredi ice cream van include Liquorice Lane in its route? It'd be an extra bonus if it did!

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    1. Yugambeh! Sounds like the noise of somebody throwing up Lee! Sadly, there were no houses on Liquorice Lane but you could pitch a tent. Local children would whisper, "Have you seen the crazy Australian woman on Liquorice Lane? She doesn't even know how to spell tambourine!" Really crazy!

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    2. Yeah...but watch them run! That'll be lots of fun! lol

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    3. There's a place called Witches Falls at Tamborine Mountain - named after you I presume?

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    4. Of course...I even attended the opening ceremony and cut the ribbon...had a huge slice of the cake, too. And boy, oh, boy...I enjoyed the mountain brew!

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    5. I bet you were wearing a black pointy hat Lee.

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    6. Of course! And I didn't even bother shaving the hairs growing out of the lumps on my face...I even curled a few...just for effect!

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  2. What a beautiful walk and photographs of your walk. Funny isn't it going back and the memories that flood back. I rather wish I could go on these walks with you Yorkie. I love walking and being able to walk through such old villages as well would be wonderful. The countryside always looks picturesque.

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    1. I have never really walked in Somerset Leishy. It must be a great county for rambles. So much history. If I was in Somerset I would come armed with maps that would lead me to lovely villages like Westnoyzland, Cotford St Luke, Lower Aisholt and Dulverton. Great names like the name Somerset itself.

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  3. Oh your description of your first year of teaching stirred a memory or two ! ....and in fact reminded me more of my return to teaching after a 15 year absence when my kids were small. I'll never forget the panic I felt, and the plunge in confidence, when I realised how much everything had changed and I was really scrambling to keep my head above water and not let on how out of depth I felt !

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    1. Sometimes I think I should have taken up a quieter, less frantic vocation. Perhaps tending cacti in a greenhouse or counting sheep. It is funny that you also had that drowning feeling Helen. But we survived!!!!

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  4. On my first year of teaching I had exactly the same experience you had. It was not fun. We didn't stream kids here. Sometimes there was a modified class for those with more problems than just lack of ability.

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    1. It was a large re-adjustment back then wasn't it Red? From being a student to being the guy at the front day after day.

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  5. Best of all, the red brick building with its roof top tree, tiled roof and 'shuttered' windows - and that joker that passed by Billy Button Lane...

    Ms Soup

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    1. Well spotted Alphie! Belly Button Lane sounds very promising but there isn't a Turkish night club down there just Billy Button Cottage. Who Billy Button was I have no idea!

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  6. There look to be some interesting ruins about. Is there somewhere to report footpaths that are overgrown?
    My Godfather came from Carlton-in-Lindrick, I can't recall ever going there and it's taken ten minutes to recall his name.

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    1. I have complained to both Rotherham and Doncaster councils in the past about farmers whose crops have obliterated public rights of way. Getting across a rapeseed field without a machete is almost impossible. On both occasions the departments involved thanked me for the information and took action. I went back to a field near Harthill and indeed the path had been re-instated.

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  7. First year of teaching is indeed horrendous no matter who you are or where you are. 1950s?? Our school still streams its students in English, Maths and Science.

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    1. In England the progressive dreams of the seventies have given way to the endless drive for improved results - come what may. In this obsession, computers are used like weapons with Excel spreadsheets tracking progress with military precision and regular post mortems - especially in challenging urban schools. That isn't the kind of "education" that drew me into teaching in the first place.

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  8. I never even knew that Her Majesty had an Expectorant....

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    1. One of Batman's foes was "The Riddler" and you have riddled me with this remark Bob. Please decipher for me.

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    2. You said it yourself: "How good it was the next summer to attend a course in Cambridge run by Her Majesty's Expectorant "....

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    3. Ha! Ha! You daft man!

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  9. Billy Button Lane and Liquorice Lane... sounds like something staight out of a children's book.
    And to turn the first one into Belly Button Lane was fun - glad the road sign was left like that and not cleaned up.

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