I was so exhilerated at reading Tales from the new Forrest. Stan states she wanted to do German A level and remembers that she was so disappointed when a fellow student had a lesson before her to be told that the German for fountain pen was Federhalter.  No, no, no no, NO! I yelled at the screen, it's Fullhalter (with an umlaut but I don't know how to do that on my laptop).
"Der Fullhalter ist grun und die Bleistift ist blau". It's as clear to me today as the first day Barmi Armi got us to open 'Deutches Leben 1'.  The definite articles might be wrong as I wouldn't learn them, arguing that it is a stupid language where a girl is neuter and a window is feminine.  That's probably why I failed 5 times.  So I looked it up and, blimey, Federhalter IS pen but the kind you dip into the inkwell like a quill. Fullhalter is a fountain pen being short for Fullfederhalter. Well, well this site is educational as well as informative -you're never too old to learn.

I was somewhat shocked and surprised at Stan's condemnation of Miss Moorhouse as a teacher.  I have to admit, though, that she was far more tolerant to boys than she was to her 'Gals'.  But her teaching of English Literature to me was inspiring.  She brought things to life and is the only teacher who managed to give me any inspiration and love of poetry.

"And like the snowflakes lovely form
Evanishing amidst the storm."

"Evanishing, what a lovely word?"

I was not alone in this as Linda Shoebridge in her Brief Lives piece alludes:

My contribution is a vivid memory but also a tribute to Miss Moorhouse. Does anyone remember her dramatic rendition of the epic poem "Tam O' Shanter"  by Robert Burns? I certainly do, as if it was yesterday! She began the lesson by introducing the poem we were to study and she asked if anyone would like to read the poem out loud. No takers, of course! Then she asked if anyone could speak with a Scottish accent. Again, a wary silence. I think Miss Moorhouse was really pleased that no-one had volunteered because it was quite obvious that she was relishing the idea of reading it to us herself.

The poem is a tale speaking of the perils of drinking and is centred around a group of habitual drinkers in Ayr in the late 18th century, Tam being the central character, who, after yet another evening of drunkenness, sets out on his journey home.

Well, Miss Moorhouse started off, gently bouncing along, fully engrossed in the telling of the tale, but at the same time building up beautifully to a crescendo so that by the time Tam O' Shanter and his grey mare, Meg were being chased by the 'hellish legions' Miss Moorhouse was at the height of her performance, gesticulating and dashing helter skelter around the classroom. She was at such a pitch that you would have thought she was being chased by the legions herself!

I never knew that poetry could be so exciting! I was absolutely stunned! I think this occasion must have been the start of my interest in and love of poetry.

IAlthough, as I'm sure you'll agree, Miss Moorhouse could be quite fearsome and a bit of a battleaxe, she was very fair with everyone, treating us all the same.

In fact, I do remember her with affection. However, more importantly, she was a great educator. I really enjoyed her lessons and believe that through her teaching, English Literature became my favourite subject and it still is.


I do remember getting pissed off with her always criticising my style whereas Vinnie Waldron could do no wrong.  So I got Vinnie to write up my essay in his handwriting in his exercise book and I wrote his in mine.  And, yes, I had her bang to rights as Vinnie got a better mark for his essay (what I wrote) and I was criticised for my (Vinnie's) style. But overall she was spot on as Vinnie was, and is, a far better writer than I'll ever be.  We must, as teachers, learn to mark everything on it's merits and not presuppose the quality of a piece of writing.  I never held this against her however.

I suppose this all goes to show how we all react differently to people and situations.  For example there is no way Tizzy had a wig, 'cos if you were going to wear one you'd never get one with a style as crap as that.

But some things we all remember, and often it's the little things.  Like Stan I have an abiding memory of Killer's phrase when he got his dictation wrong.  "As you where".  I'd never heard it before and not come across it a lot since but when on holiday in the Canaries with Ron Jackson, we do the Telegraph crossword before dinner in the evening, and if either of us slip up we shout out "as you where" in Killer's inimitable style, but I have to admit I do it far better than Ron.

Love this new section - it should inspire more contributions.
From Nigel