A Lesson in Horticulture

It wasn’t me that dressed our School Chapel’s figurine of the Virgin Mary in bra and panties. I got the blame though. I got my revenge a few months later.

Our school had been renamed King Edward VII and re-built, in late Tudor style, over its original medieval site in the early 20th century. The whole seventeen acre site had been levelled and graded and the collection of large buildings erected on a two metre high mound at one end. The rest of the site was occupied by playing fields. The graded perimeter around the mound upon which all of these schools buildings had been constructed was known as ‘The Slopes’. The Slopes were out of bounds to the boys. Mainly because otherwise boys would slide down them on their backsides and destroy the turf. Particularly after rain and when they turned muddy. A practice not too popular with old ‘Cotterchops’, the gardener and head groundsman and even less so among the school's Boarders' laundry staff.

The Slopes extended all around the perimeter of the couple of acres upon which the school stood, including The Beak’s study. The Beak thus had a fine view over the whole of the school’s soccer and rugby playing fields. These of course became cricket pitches during summer term.

It was during Spring of 1965 and I was now 15 years old and a ‘Senior’. It was the year after the incident in the Chapel with the ladies underwear and I could still see the scars. Well I could if I used a mirror!

The Beak’s view from his ground floor study overlooked the forbidden zone of the Slopes at a very acute angle because of course they were graded downwards and away from him. For a whole week during Spring old Cotterchops, along with his team of around half a dozen ground staff, were all busy beavering away at setting out the cricket pitches. Strange how none of them said anything as they had a perfect view of the Beak peering back at them from his rooms. The Beak’s view was much foreshortened due, as I said, to his angle of observation.

Therefore all the Beak could see and admire immediately outside of his window was a magnificent display of heads of Spring daffodils.

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