I usually avoid talking about my family but couldn’t help grinning like a lunatic escapee from Bedlam as I scrawled Oli’s news all over Facebook and Twitter – he’s going to Cambridge!! On Wednesday we were up all night ‘til the sun. (In separate rooms – didn’t want to wake each other, didn’t realise everyone else was up and busy checking the Internet.) The results came through at 6.30am and we were dancing around the room. It’s such a wonderful achievement for anyone, but even more amazing for a boy who missed a huge chuck of his education following a stroke.
People seem to think it’s funny that my son and Gill’s daughter will both be Cambridge alumni. It’s true that we didn’t accomplish much at our school; well, no one did from the dreadful place where we were supposedly educated. University wasn’t even an option as we weren’t told it was a real place! How different the world is today!
Most days, I didn’t even go to school. For a while I worked for Trevor on Thursdays – someone from youth club that I fancied briefly. He ran a stall in Woolwich Market selling broken biscuits and it was much more fun than double maths and bunking off PE. I never went on Mondays either, as I was usually tired after a weekend of dancing. I hated science (ironic, as I love it now) so I missed the days when we had those lessons. I did go in for art and English, of course, and I still have my exam coursework somewhere upstairs.
As it happens, Gill and I did find our own way to Cambridge – years later when we were living in our flat in the more ‘cosmopolitan’ part of town. We spent a day there enjoying cream teas and wandering through the beautiful college grounds, then… spent the evening locked in one of the gardens!! We entered through (what appeared to be) a magical gate as someone was coming out, and sat amongst the flowers overlooking the punters swishing about on the Cam. Then, as dusk fell, we realised we were stuck there. The colleges were closed for the summer so we had visions of living off leaves and wild berries until September. Fortunately we escaped – eventually – and probably not appropriate to tell you how we managed that…
So it’s better that our kids have made it through the more traditional route. Huge congratulations to all the young people reading this who did so fantastically in their A levels this year. Your world is just beginning, spread your wings and fly! Your life is what you make it.
How different my life would have
been if I’d gone to a decent school. Although I wouldn’t have my wonderful friends and I probably wouldn’t be running a training company now; and I love my work – helping small businesses make the most of their social media. I’d really like to tell my horrible old English teacher that I ended up with a Masters Degree in Linguistics and made a career out of training businesses to write in plain English. Wonder what she’d say about that?
So would I go back and do things differently? Absolutely not. No one should. Some of the best advice I received through my school years came from Nile Rodgers and his words resound loudly today. ‘We’ve come too far to give up who we are; so let’s raise the bar and our cups to the stars…’
Have fun, be lucky and follow your dreams. Or follow me… @WeekendWitch.