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For this review, I am concentrating on my time at Secondary School, The Hermitage School in Chester le Street. I have pulled out all the memories in chronological order, from me starting as a little wee nipper in Year 7, to me leaving 6TH Form in Year 13.
These are some of the funniest, ranging to the most embarrassing memories of my time at Hermitage. I enjoyed school, and was a high grade pupil. However, I did have my lapses at times! For the more faint hearted Ciao members, you just might want to skip past entries 2 and 3, as they are not the cleanest subjects!!
So, let them roll….
1. Mrs Riley, the Witch
When we started in year 7, our very first lesson at Hermitage was English, for whom we were timetabled with Mrs Riley. In real life, Mrs Riley is a superb teacher and a friend, eventually becoming my year co-ordinator and A-level English Teacher in 6th Form. However, in Year 7 terms, we saw her as something different!
Just because she shouted at someone in the first lesson we had with her, and she had black hair, the rumours soon started to spread that she was a witch! Black cat in the desk, broom and cauldron in the cupboard! We used to imagine her going through the spell books, and cook up vile homework and questions for us at night! We tried to keep this a secret, until she decided to pick up a certain boy called Peter’s draft English book. In the back of this, covering a whole page, was a caricature drawing of Mrs R, in a black hat, with a cauldron beside her, and some great exaggeration to her front teeth. To make matters worse, the words J.RILEY were printed underneath!
I don’t think the poor boy recovered to this day from what happened after that, because I would have rather been thrown in a hot cauldron rather than face his fate!!!
2. XXX-rated Pottery
We were making Pottery houses for art, under the guidance of Mrs Thompson. Mrs Thompson didn’t seem to have much control over the class idiots, so she was over by them, giving them a mouthful for throwing clay. Jonathan, Martin and I were on a table to ourselves, and we decided to make sausage competitions. Jonathan, however, got a little silly, rolled the clay into a lump, squatted down, and threw it on the floor with a suitable sound effect.
“That’s disgusting”, were my words. Jonathan, however, being a twelve year old, had hormones floating round his body. A maniac glint came into his eye, and said “It’s going to be even more disgusting by the time I’ve finished with it!” He immediately picked more clay and divided it,
and rolled it into two balls. He stuck them on, and did a bit of crafting. What he showed us left Martin and me in shock, a pottery penis!!!!
“Watch this” were the words. He held it in a suitable position and turned around. Little did he know that Mrs Thompson had come over from the idiots, and was going to check out work!! “GET OUT!!!!!!!!!!” shouted in the loudest possible voice was the next thing I heard, and poor Jonathan was relieved of his sordid item. I can tell you this; Jonathan has never lived this event down in his life, even though I know he wants to forget it!!
3. Banard Castle Field Trip
It was a wet, cold, windy day, one of the worst days to have a field trip. The afternoon was dedicated to the castle, and we were split into groups, and we had to explore the castle, answering questions about it. After going through the kitchens and passages underground, we climbed the stone staircase, and found the old “Latrine”. It didn’t pass modern standards as a public lavatory, I can tell you!
When the class had assembled, our head of year came marching up with a VERY red face. Someone had actually “used” the latrine, and of course, been out in the open air, and just been a hole in the floor; the results of this had gone down the castle wall!! Needless to say, the culprit was found and that person (not me!) was suspended for a week for his “inappropriate” behaviour.
4. The Geography classroom window
Our Geography classroom was on an upper floor, and the window out the back led onto the roof of the technology block. Some joker, had taken hold of my bag, and thrown it out the window, onto the roof. When the teacher wasn’t around, I opened the window, and climbed out! Big mistake!!! The entire class raced to the window and shut and locked it, leaving me stranded on the roof! I just remember everyone laughing and banging on the window. Suddenly, the crowd melted, only to be replaced with the teacher!! I must say I’ve never had such a shouting at by a teacher in Hermitage!
5. The Dreaded Detention Form
Up until Year 9, I had a spotless record for not being in Detention. That’s right, a 100% detention free record! One English class, again took by Mrs R, a girl called Michelle was sent out the classroom, and gave Mrs R such a mouthful that I just collapsed into giggles. Mrs R gave me a shout of “If you want to laugh Steven Hughes, you can get outside with Michelle!” That was the end of the story, or so I thought!
When our form teacher came into the room the next day, she handed me a sheet of paper! To my horror, it was a Detention form, from Mrs R, with the reason filled in as “Irregular Behaviour”! I was mortified, and was nearly in tears!! Everyone found it so funny, except me, and I was dreading the English lesson that afternoon.
English finally arrived. We all sat down, and someone shouted, “Miss, why didn’t you put Michelle on detention as well a Steven?” She looked, and said, “What are you talking about?” I then handed over the form, and her face went violet. To my relief, and her extreme annoyance, someone had forged the slip very expertly, and she was going to keep the class in for an hour’s detention, until someone owned up. Finally, the culprits emerged, only to be found out as, Jonathan and Martin! The pair of them got just rewards, of a detention each!
6. The Changing Room
The changing room we were in didn’t have any windows, and the trick was to turn the lights off, leaving us in blackness, then whipping each other with ties! Currently, there was work being done in the showers, with workmen leaving their tools in there. We had an idiot called Ross in our class, and as soon as the lights went out, I knew he would do something. I leapt onto the bench to avoid being whipped, and next I knew were the lights coming on in a blaze, with the teacher shouting “What the hell is going on in here?”
I looked, and got such a shock. In the two, possibly three minutes that the lights were off, Ross had dragged a full set of ladders out of the changing room, and set them up. To complete it, he had got on them and was bouncing up and down on them. The look on his face was a picture when he saw the teacher, and we all knew he was destined for more trouble…
7. Crude Oil
This was Year 11 Chemistry, involving an experiment with Crude Oil, and Louise and Me. Louise is excellent at Science, and I wasn’t too bad at it, but we made a complete mess of this practical! The Crude Oil we were meant to be distilling went haywire, bounced out of the tube, ran everywhere and soaked the desk, the apparatus, and the textbook! Louise and I could only look at the mess, and Mrs Barnett, the teacher, was creased with laughter when she saw it! To be fair, we did get 10/10 for effort, but she said it was a disaster!
8. The Edinburgh trip
One of our friends on the 6th form English trip, called Alex, had a friend who lived in Edinburgh. She had a meal with us, and came back for a couple of drinks at the hotel. Next thing I know, Alex was telling me to cover for him, and he left with her. I was left telling Mrs Pilch and Mrs Riley that Alex had gone to bed feeling ill, when I knew he had sneaked off to Edinburgh’s nightclubs! Our room was facing one of them old style courtyards at the front, where you have to use stairs to get to them.
Next thing I knew, Alex was sneaking down that courtyard at 3 am, demanding I opened the window. I did, and he climbed in, with me realising that he had taken his heavy boots off and rolled his trousers up, as the teachers window was on the front, and he removed them a not to make a noise. The entire thing was a sham from start to finish, and I don’t know how he got away with it to this day!
9. The Car
It was two weeks after I passed my driving test, and decided to bring the car into school. I parked it in the car park, knowing full well that 6th Formers were not allowed to park their cars in the car park. Next thing I knew, I looked round and saw Mrs Riley’s car come into the car park. In my panic, I threw myself across the passenger seat and she drove straight past, not noticing. I crouched out the door, locked it and waited till she turned her back, ran to the pavement, and she turned, saw me and bade me good morning! I had got away with it!!! (Until some one told tales behind my back that it was my car, and I was told to remove it!)
10. The Aftermath of the 6th Form Ball
The leaver ball, what fun it was. The buses arrived at twelve, and we all piled on the coach. It started down the A1 to Chester le Street, and halfway down, someone turned the microphone on. “Ding Dong, This is Mr Murray tours!” (Five teachers were on the bus) “Tonight, we are going down the backbone of the north east, the A1, and we will be turning off at Chester, famous industrial town of the north, and also home to the famous place of….CROCODILLOS!” Crocodillos, for all those that don’t know, is a horrible nightclub in Chester le Street, one which actually reached 2nd worst in the country in a newspaper poll! I had sworn never to touch the place…
Two minutes later, Mr Murray was on the microphone, “Hands up who thinks Steven Hughes should go to Crocodillos!” To my horror, the whole bus started cheering and stamping, and I could feel my face redden. There was no getting out of it know. The coach driver made an unplanned stop at the place and next thing I knew I was grabbed from all angles by friends, hustled off the coach, and up them dreaded stairs to Crocodillos.
It was just as I thought; the only word I could use to describe it is five letters long and begins with “S”!
Those are my school memories, from Hermitage. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed recalling them!