Wednesday 3 September 1986

..PE was a bundle of laughs.
We were practicing our so-called ball skills.
We used tennis balls, of course.
Everyone kept dropping them and they went everywhere.
Did more SMP this afternoon and had to explain
to Edward [a classmate] about factor trees,
whatever they might be.
The Muppet Show is back on the TV…

PE was always made more bearable when things went wrong. This particular lesson took place in the school playground, rather than on the council playing field over the road, and hence the potential for mayhem as soon as balls were let free. Which duly happened.

Imagine 20 or so children each trying to keep control of up to three balls at a time, and failing. Some ended up on the school roof. Some landed in the outside toilets. A great deal more were simply whacked, slammed and ricocheted back into our own faces.

Some even bounced over the wall and on to the surrounding roads. Naturally we weren’t allowed to collect those.

I should mention that the teacher who’d made us do such demented activities the previous year – the likes of shinty, non-stop cricket and, worse of all, crab football – had left. His replacement seemed, at least so far, reassuringly conventional, if not positively unimaginative in his attitude towards sport.

This was of great relief to me. As far as I was concerned, when it came to PE, the more boring the better.

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