Before dinner we took it in turns to fetch the put up tables from the air raid shelter across the playground. In winter they were put up in the hall, and in summer in the playground. Any left over food was scrapped into a large bucket, and Mr Roberts collected it once a week for pig swill. Mr Roberts kept pigs in the field near where the allotments are. He also kept lots of bee-hives there and sold delicious pots of honey.
Playtimes were always outside whatever the weather and we girls played skipping and ball games mostly whilst reciting rhymes. In the morning we took it in turns to be milk monitors handing out the small bottles of milk, always have cream on the top and in winter they always froze so stuck out of the top of the bottles and got pecked by the blue-tits.
I can’t remember our lessons being labelled Maths, English, History – they were just lessons. We always started the day with prayers and a hymn, and sometimes the large brown wireless was switched on so we could listen the the BBC schools programme. We did sums and reading and writing. I think I should have been left handed, but Miss Rawlings used to rap my hand with her ruler and say ‘Susan, you write with your right and what’s left is your left’. This gave me enormous problems with her as country dancing was a challenge when she shouted ‘off to the left’ and I was off to the right. If it was my turn to lay the table I was in trouble with her for misplacing the cutlery.
In the afternoons very often we would go on nature walks, usually to Grove Park, and we were told to collect different sorts of grasses, leaves, or flowers to bring back and stick in our workbooks.
At Christmas we would always put on a Christmas show for our parents to watch. This would always be performed at the village hall. Church services were most often held at the Chapel (St Lukes) on the Henley Road. It always smelled musty and there were often dead mice under the wooden pews. Sometimes we were allowed to cross the road to the little shop and buy sweets. It had a beautiful tunnel of roses and honeysuckle up to the shop door.
Miss Rawlings had many sayings she would drum into us but one that has always stayed with me is ‘Do as you would be done by’ from Charles Kingsley’s Water babies. I do think that ‘Mrs Do As You Would Be Done By’ was Miss Rawlings.