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11-08-2016, 01:08 AM
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I was always top of the class at primary school. It seemed my natural place was at the top. I wasn't a swot, mind. Just naturally brilliant! I became the first pupil of that school to pass the eleven plus exam (don't worry - it's history) in decades, and I was only aged 10!

At grammar school, I found I wasn't quite so clever. No longer did I shine effortlessly. But I still wasn't a swot! So from the age of 10 until 13 I sank inexorably from the 'A' stream to the 'D' stream.
Then we moved and I went to a new school. It was much smaller. They only had two streams - 'A' and 'B'. Naturally I was put into the 'B' stream. Suddenly, I was top of the class again! Naturally brilliant once more! And still not a swot! I was transferred to the 'A' stream. Now I settled towards the lower end of the top third.

But there were compensations. I was suddenly a sporting hero! The school had just recently changed its winter sport from soccer to rugby. And I had transferred from a rugby-playing school! I knew how to play this game! At the age of 14 I was in the school first team! And what a first team it was! Our pack was so heavy that we pushed every other team off the ball. We won game after game. Great to be back on top.

Academically though, I was still only a little above average. I grew to dislike school. I didn't want to work and without work could see I was never going to regain my natural position at the top.

I became passionate about wanting to join the RAF as a pilot. There were many war films around at the time and I fancied myself as a Douglas Bader (with legs) or a Guy Gibson of the Dam Busters. But I was blind as a bat! I even failed the RAF scholarship selection board - not entirely because of my eyes, I suspect.
But I still nurtured ambitions in that direction so, when I collected my handful of GCE passes, I stayed on into the sixth form. The science sixth, naturally as I still wanted to fly.

Suddenly I realised I had made a dreadful mistake! I didn't understand what the teachers were talking about! Calculus, pure and applied maths, physics. It was all gibberish! I had to get out of there! Not only was I not at the top where I belonged - I was drowning in a sea of incomprehensible jargon. I was a total failure!!