Magic, Minty, Monty-Gomery. Sorry, it’s another nostalgia trip but in the unlikely event anyone who actually went to Montgomery Primary School in Höhne is reading this blog, then I hope this’ll conjure up some half-way decent reminisces.

Without trawling through what has been written before, I’ve been spending some mental time reliving some of those halcyon days and felt the urge to write about them, not least because its marginally more interesting than reporting on last night’s quiz. Though you’ll get that later. Of all the schools I attended between 4 & 18, this was probably the one I hold in the highest of esteem. For a start, the campus was big. And when I say big I mean huge, even considering the fact I was here from the age of 6-8. The school boasted four playgrounds, a football pitch and the entire school was single storey making it incredibly long.

It’s the playgrounds, always been about the playgrounds for me. In Stillington Street there was nothing, Chelsea Barracks had a concrete jungle playground which caused many a bump and scrape – though we did go to Battersea Park at the weekend but I never developed the nerve to try the adventure playground. So for me, Höhne was the definitive eye-opener in terms of how children could be catered for. We were spoiled, really. The street where we lived had another three children’s playgrounds in spitting distance not to mention the infamous private forest which I’ve alluded to. Small wonder that when I take my breaks from reality, I can be found in 1986 wandering around Lower Saxony.

I’ve occasionally mused about providing an “adult playground” (which has unfortunate immediate connotations) if I were to win a good sized chunk on the lottery. That is to say a playground designed specifically for adults. Theme parks and funfairs can come close but aren’t as physical as the original child experience. One of the best experiences was at Traumland in Germany where there was a series of slides which could only be accessed by climbing up a large rope net (you could walk up rather than climb up). It appeared to be free and unsupported which added a sense of (non) danger to the climb but of course the slides were totally worth it. And the best slide was the one with the rollers underneath which enabled you to shoot straight out.

Back to school then – I guess that Montgomery was one of the only places where the teachers never really knew who I was. At St Barnabus, Oxford Primary, Stalag Woodhouse & High Pavement I couldn’t help but stick out for one reason or another but here, definitely a face in the crowd. So my experience was noticeably different. As it’s been almost 30 years since I was there, many memories of names have faded but there are still a couple of teachers and people that still have reverberations today. Somewhere in my mother’s attic is a bag full of photo albums and old school pictures which I should dig out at some point.

And the other thing I vivdly remember was the library which although was generously stocked with great big picture books, it was rare that you actually got to visit the library. This seemed to compound the fact that most classes undertook what we termed “project work” and needed to visit the library for research purposes like for the Vikings project when we were in Top Infants. There was a secondary library in the school which contained nothing but fiction. The main one also stocked fiction but its primary focus was reference. It was there I discovered the “Tim & The Hidden People” series as well as a range of books based on the Norse legends. I also remember when the school got Ginn 360 literature and I had reached level 13 until I went to Oxford Primary School when I was busted back down to level 8 as they couldn’t believe I read at that advanced level.

The magic of Granny’s Garden and other BBC B games were introduced at Monty – earning computer time was a privilege from hard work and as this interested me more than the actual school work, it was a powerful motivator to learn quickly so I could maximise my time in front of the machine. There was also a rumour that one of the teachers had Elite for the computers but was never substantiated. My teacher Mrs Walters was the school’s IT expert so we were able to maximise our time in front of the machines. We also looked in rapt adulation when the Logo Turtle was brought out but that language never seemed to go anywhere and the Turtle was undoubtedly shoved into a cupboard never to return.

Ah well, that’s enough for memory lane for today. Coming up next; the quiz.

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