Anecdotes

  updated 08/10/02 Any contributions to webmaster

"Asking your blessing
Reverend and Dear Father
I have the honour to be
Your humble pupil"

"Folibus sitibus on the descalorum
Descibus collapsibus
Foli on the Florum"

One pupil managed to smuggle a live frog into English:-
"We will now discuss - reddip! - the merits of - reddip! - irony in The
Power and - reddip! - The Glory"

The voice of the apocryphal "Monsieur Thibaut"
who must take some reponsibility for the subsequent '69 intake French 'O' level results.
Unceremoniously dumped after our first year when first year traditional French grammar books were handed out to the then second year.

David Score used to teach French using projected slides of Monsieur Thibaut directly on the classroom wall.
One time he was unfortunate enough to point to a slide with his hand.
Some delightful person had been firing spit balls in the dark........

Gobbo during a walking trip through a field full of cows:-
"Hello,Daisy!"  ,  "Hello, Ermintrude!"  ,  "Hello, Claribell!"  
A First Year's reply:-
"Sir, how do you know all their names?"

The account of resignation interview with Fr McGuiness when Neil Creighton left to join the fire service - have you still got the reputed tape, Neil?

"Much satisfaction can be gained from kicking a large cardboard box down a flight of stairs"
Preface from one chapter in "School Mathematics Project"

Rob Underwood's wonderful objection to Pop Richardson's indelicate treatment of a student with the words "Father, Father, is that like Jesus in the temple?"-after which poor old Rob was hurled out!

Mr. Rouse's outburst during a particularly unsuccessful maths class (1974 intake heading towards O levels): "Boys, boys, the sands of time are running out!"

The banning of the proposed third year class debate on contraception?

Homework by candlelight in the 1971/2 powercuts

The gym master who used to wear 3 plimsolls - one on the hand!

The Plague of Locusts in the Biology Laboratory (predictable but not prophesized!)
The deliberate release of  a number of laboratory rats during Mr. Hall's biology class.

Sex education lessons taken by a priest (introduced by a brief discussion on "Girlie" magazines)

"I can smell gas, Sir!" (the calcium carbide episode)

The flooding of the chemistry lab after a tap "fell off"!

The Fountain experiment . . .? and the Fountain experiment . . .? and the Fountain experiment . . .?
> > > and the
Fountain experiment . . .?

During a chemistry experiment collecting gas through some expensive apparatus involving water at the end point with the Asian technician (circa 1977): Watching in horror as someone carelessly leant on the gas tube supplying the Bunsen burner, only to see the water hurtling back down the tube towards the red hot molten material and diving for cover as it exploded into thousands of slithers of glass.

Filling pencil cases and Adidas sports bags with gas from the chemistry labs to take back to other classes.  

Locking of the Physics lab door during the last period to prevent premature escape of pupils!

"Spiders" descending from the physics lab to the history class beneath

The unauthorised (and irresponsible) use of CO2 Fire Extinguishers in the Physics Laboratory

The howls of mock hilarity,stamping and screaming, which eminated from the Physics Lab every time Joker Geoff cracked a "joke"

Remember Mr Fearnley who was the spitting image of alan minter trying to conduct his geography class with 30 lads shouting 'minter,minter,minter' & 'come on alan' every time he turned back to the blackboard.

The stunned atmosphere in the Assembly Hall on the Monday, Mr David Score's sudden death was announced

The paroxysmal attacks of coughing at assembly (immediately cured by the Monsignor's return!)

Leaving a certain word out in Good King Wensleslas (en masse!) after being criticised for over-emphasizing it!

A contingent from the '74 intake deciding that "To be a pilchard/pillock" would make an excellent alternative to the original ("To be a pilgrim"). The trick was to try and stop your shoulders from jerking as you sabotaged the decorum of morning assembly!

The sad day when the ailing Monsignor allowed derisory laughter in assembly, once the sanctum sanctorum of the day

Spike's repeated attempts to amuse us at assembly with his 'curate's egg' joke(?), for the most part resulting in six hundred schoolboys bellowing a forced laugh in unison, and Spike, amazingly enough, not very happy with the response!

The mass indiscriminate hissing of staff, on the few occasions, mass indiscriminate break sanctions were imposed!

The challenge of playing Bridge (illicitly) during free periods

Groups: SFW
Smooth Approach
The Smiths

Norbert Wyatt and his blue Moscovitch

Matthews and his

Barry Thorpe and his yellow Escort
Peter Phillips and the long wheelbase Landrover
Peter Foley and his rusty red Triumph Spitfire
Father Gerard McGuinness and his old Renault 4

Running around Gatley in a nice white (with blue trim) gym outfit ... and the cold air of Hollyhedge Park on your legs.

A few of us learning (fast) how to down a pint in one, on the evening a fully uniformed policeman walked into the Contact Theatre foyer

The enterprising individual who ran the 6th form tuck shop as a profit making venture!

One of the priests ripping up a kids copy of Jaws by Peter Benchley because of the "disgusting, evil" chapter eight

HR witnessing a new land speed record in the descent from the physics lab to the sixth form lunch queue!

Trying to turn the courtyard into a croquet lawn!

Spike losing his medal from Aden and then having everyone in the school look for it.

Does any one remember Barris Walker answering the register from a third floor ledge?

Very little tops Spike playing something akin to "I do like to be beside the sea side" on the organ.

Who remembers when Father Gerard McGuinness used to drive to school in his old Renault 4? - He used to drive in the back way past the wood/metalwork rooms and then do a lap of honour on the school playground!

A painting on the top floor (next to the Biology classroom), called "Whistlers' Mother"
- the famous one of the old woman sitting in the armchair.
- > Someone attached a piece of paper in the corner with the words "Who nicked the telly?!"

The closure of the Tuck Shop for a brief period during the 1974 - 1975 school year due to widespread fraud.

The window being pushed out of the top deck of the 44 in Northenden

Trips to the bus depot to be reprimanded by the inspector for appalling behaviour

John Morgan-Evans falling off the stage into the Christmas tree during a carol concert

The feeling of guilt over all the bad things we had done to Ken Starkey when he brought in pictures of his daughter (who I think was disabled) to show us.

Someone getting shot in the eye with an air rifle.

The time some evil type put ink all over the desk of the blind student French teacher.

Spike swaying down the corridor past the music rooms singing at the top of his voice.

Sharston getting on the 44
Hollies girls on the 41

toffee logs from the farm
the smokers buying fags

I don't want to talk about Latin today
...what shall we discuss
......yes Cochrane
.........masturbation?
.............Oh OK!

The audacious attempt by a staff member who, one speechday, wore his scarlet St Andrews undergraduate gown ...
Was the objection the voiced one of wearing of an undergraduate gown?
... or the potential upstaging of the Bossman?
... ... or the clash of Magenta with
Scarlet?

The year of inappropriate applause at speechday

The History lesson which was held up while Noddy was chased around the classroom by a wasp

The Medical Examinations were held in the Green Room,which was just down the corridor from the Chapel.
Half way through the form mass:- "Let us now pray for a while in silence.............
"Cough!Cough!" (high pitched from the Green Room)

When Matthews took us for General Studies he used to lean back on his chair
with his head on the black board.
We caught onto this and used the board rubber to create a thick film of
chalk dust just where his head went. 
So he actually wasn't as grey as he might have appeared........

At the Altrincham Road end of the playground, it was separated from the grassy slope by a concrete wall with a fence on top.The slope also dipped along the length of the  wall, so that the drop near the corner of the playground furthest away from the school was higher than that in the corner near the school. We used to flip over the fence by leaning over it, placing a hand on the wall and throwing our legs over.We would then fall onto the grassy slope below. The dare was to see who could do this furthest along the fence.
I don't think anyone managed it right in the corner

Occasionally Spike could be unintentionally hilarious.In 4th year we were being given a talk about vocations to the priesthood by Fr Kevin Byrne in the Assembly Hall.
After a few minutes an arm (in a magenta sleeve) shot the the gap between the curtains, grabbed the microphone, and disappeared again.The other arm was used to hold the curtains together. Eric Morecambe couldn't have got the timing better.The whole group erupted with laughter (you had to be there)

During the visit of Bishop Eric Grazer:  
Spike: "Now boys, if you would like to come to the front of the class, you may kiss the Bishop`s ring"  
[Class disolves into laughter. August churchmen seem bemused, form master shits himself.]

Arriving at any excuse to have a chat with Miss Shiner (say no more).

Occupying the school roof as some kind of protest in 1978(?)

The last ditch attempt by the Monse (presumably) to reform elements of the 1974 intake by the introduction of a 'Pastoral Care' programme.

The 'charge' on Sharston (circa 1979).

Secreting a window pole on the separating strip of the blackboard, in the vain hope that Mr. Wyatt (Nobby), might do his usual trick of pulling it down rather too rashly!  (kids, hey?)

The incoming 5th form becoming prefects in 1978(?) whilst we still had a 6th form. As I remember, officially, we had authority over them. Officially maybe, in reality, no!

Being dragged into Spike's office whilst on detention in my first week at SA, and being presented with a copy of 'Which University', with the suggestion that I read it over the weekend and discuss my future plans with him on the Monday (mmm.......).

Remember a student French teacher called Dominic (?) who was a 'Planet Gong' freak? It was like having an ally on the outside!

'Twelve Angry Men' performed by the sixth form drama group. Still my favourite film!

'Scenes From Soweto' performed by a visiting theatre group, featuring an enactment of torture.
Was this SA's way of telling us we'd never had it so good?

The utterly bizarre doctoral hat worn by Phil Griffin(?) at Speech Days which, it has to be said, would have looked no different had he sported a luminous pink lamp shade on his head!

Who remembers one of the PE teachers getting caught on camera completely pissed and doing the dying fly on the pitch at the Roses match at Headingley?

Does anyone remember the time when John Stevenson was pestering Fr. Peter Phillips to listen to him about something. After several minutes he turned to John and said: 'Now Stevenson, I'm all ears'. Stevenson replied, 'No comment'.

locking Starkey in the classroom for the entire lunchtime!

The classic morning when the Greater Manchester Police very kindly gave us both a lift to school (Steve Hampton and John Grundy)

Does anyone remember the day the low security of the library was exploited? Hylo is still at large.

Yeah I remember it well. the thief escaped across hollyhedge park, I believe. I can't wait for the Crimewatch reconstruction. rumour has it that certain teachers knew the suspect but were frightened to pursue him! Any ideas who it was?

Neil Creighton's 'Let's talk about the Fire Brigade' lessons in the period before he left to become a fireman.

Gobbo Thorpe's matter of fact discussion of Sex with 30 hormone driven, sex crazed 14 year olds.

The regular removal of Christine Dawson's academic gown from the ladies' staff toilets and stowed said article below the stage so she wouldn't be suitably attired for daily assembly; much to the Headmaster's dismay.............

ETM falling asleep at the organ and slipping onto the organ keys right in the middle of Spike's daily speech.

The prefect who stood on the stage used to get the cue from the Head boy at the back of the hall, and then shout "Stand!!" One time a prefect from year 69 intake (Ged Battle) shouted "arise!" instead!

The Photographers classic line just before he took the photo: "All I can see is a load of noses......."

The time when the notorious calcium carbide stuff was sprinkled in the Mr O'Mahoney's hair at lunch, so when he went in the rain his head would have fizzed up even worse than normal.. oh to be a teacher eh?

Occasionally Gobbo had a lesson where the agenda was ‘freeform’ for want of a better expression. During one of these he asked the assembled pupils if any of them had any questions they wanted to ask him, Martin Howley came out with two belters:
“Why do farts smell?” and
“Is it possible to fit two penises in one vagina?”
Gobbo, to his eternal credit, answered the questions in a completely scientific and matter of fact way.

One of my most abiding and life-affirming memories of life at SA was the habit of boys showering their bus passes from the top deck of the 44, so that those still wrestling to get on could do so without having to pay. Even at the time I recognised this to be a act of collective solidarity. The first part of the journey home therefore invariably involved the distribution of passes back to their rightful owners! As I recall, this was especially upsetting to the bus conductor, who was a particularly surly and bad tempered so and so who always went out of his way to give us a hard time. Nice to remember times when we looked after each other.

Whilst on the subject of the 44 bus, does anyone remember a mass strip on the upper deck, after having been caught in the famous torrential downpour of summer '76?

Amazed that no-one has mentioned the time when Kenny (Starkey) set his knees on fire...

The enamel cuff links we made in metal work
The carving we did out of plywood, that was mounted on hardboard in wood work (I think half the class did sharks)
The fibre-glass book shelf
The picture of a 1967 cortina we had to draw in G E D to prove how terrible we were at observing the real world
The drop forge handles we made out of aluminium for our hacksaw projects
Book reviews for Scrowston - I remember enjoying King Solomons Mines and the Weird Stone of Brisamingam (or something)
Drawing pictures of saxons being spread eagled by the danes for history in the first year
Learning rude words in Latin - pedicabo et irrumabo vos
Re-enacting that book with all the kids on the island -It's late my brains dead). Someone broke my thumb with a stick and I was excused from writing the final exams! A lucky break!

Some unanswered questions -
Who was working on the go-cart that never went?
Who was making an electric guitar that never got finished?
What happened to Peter Fogarty - did he go one to rule the world - or at least a small foreign potentate?
Why did Brooks always read from "Bored of the Ring"? Who did he identify with?
Why did Tommo work out in full sight of the boys?
Why was the squash court never finished? What happened to my pound sterling?
Why did Dido sit on a high couch?
How come 69 in English doesn't look quite so evocative in Roman Numerals, but, nevertheless the number LXIX always kept popping up in Latin?

The Cinematographic Society (any where else it would have been called a film club!). It did produce at least one production on the old Cine 8 camera provided by the school - a short adaptation of the Invisible Man, if memory still serves me correctly diected by Roger Callan. I don't suppose this footage (or any others produced) still exists?

Singing 'Oh God our help in ages past',one of Spike's favourites,in a Cockney accent at a Speech Day practise ie.''Oh Gawd our 'elp in oiges pawst etc.''

Michael Legierski being asked to see if the Physics books were in the lab, 3 floors up. After 20 minutes he returned and said to the master (I forget his name) :''Yes Sir,they're there !'' - Cue for whole class to crease up !

Father Arthur's 'Model Answers' in RE which seemed to go on for ever.He went ballistic one day when we drew an affectionate cartoon of him on the board.

Dave Ireland not being allowed to contribute to debate in RE - resorted to placing head fully into Vinyl sports bag and shouting expletives at priest.