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Jiggery Pokery



Ad Infinitum


So, naturalists observe, a flea Has smaller fleas that on him prey; And these have smaller still to bite 'em; And so proceed ad infinitum.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)


Many of my formative years were spent at St Austell, County, Grammar School the ghost of which is exactly 1 mile away. Recently I hadn't spent a lot of time cogitating my time there but recently I received a few pictures from the past. A friend and fellow alumnus had been sorting some old documents and came across some interesting stuff.


These pictures may just be worth sharing.


The school was a cornerstone in our lives. My older cousins, who lived in the area, went to the school. Both my older brothers and, of course, I went to the school and although it had somewhat changed both my younger brothers attended the same buildings if not the school. Tricia and her elder sister are both alumni her younger sister, like my younger brothers, went to the same place. My late father-in-law was a pupil and my parents were involved in the PTA. On the 30th June 2007 the school celebrated its 100th anniversary which was also my 50th birthday.


When I attended the year was divided into 5 groups 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E. On our first day the sorting into groups was done alphabetically. I happened to be the very first on the register so I was allocated to the group 1A. As it transpired Tricia also ended up in the same group. See if you can find us in the photos?

In the early 70s the school, over a period of 4 or 5 years, transitioned from St Austell County Grammar School into Poltair School. Back in the day there was definitely a sort of cachet being able to say you went to a grammar school.


Whether it was a good idea to teach at Poltair School in the early 80s I’m not sure but after 3 years I left not to teach again so I guess not.



When I was 11 (Tricia was 12, I like an older woman) the school staged a play. Nothing lightweight here. The Insect Play or Pictures from an Insects’ Life is a satirical play that was written in the Czech language by the Brothers Čapek (Karel and Josef). In the play, a tramp/narrator falls asleep in the woods and dreams of observing a range of insects that stand in for various human characteristics in terms of their lifestyle and morality: the flighty, vain butterfly, the obsequious, self-serving dung beetle, the ants, whose increasingly mechanized behaviour leads to a militaristic society. The anthropomorphized insects allow the writers to comment allegorically on life in post-World War I Czechoslovakia.

Strewth! I definitely didn’t understand it at the time. That was a Grammar School for you, (we also had to learn Latin).



Another thing I was sent was an extract from a 6th form students magazine (Jiggery Pokery, I have a vague recollection that my brother drew the cover). It appears that I couldn’t resist subjecting readers to my literary efforts back then.


Subjecting you to my nonsense seems a bit tougher at the moment. Cumulatively my chemo is beginning to have an increasingly detrimental effect. Gradually I’m losing more time to chemo. Each session of treatment steals more days. On a daily basis it’s harder to get going in the morning, invariably I wake up with a headache. Any activity may not leave me exhausted but definitely tires me out. But I can’t afford to ignore my tiredness because eventually I will become exhausted. Yesterday evening I needed to drive to RCH Treliske for a CT scan. In itself not too challenging, I drove both ways, again not too tiring but add to that not eating until I got back home all conspired to wipe me out. I crawled into bed dead on my feet. I’m finding this general knackerdness quite difficult to explain.


You may find it hard to understand why some people choose to stop their chemo, effectively shortening their lives because they simply can’t cope with the chemo effects. I totally understand. During my 14 day chemo cycle I now barely need one hand to count off my good days. With two more chemo sessions to go the end is in sight. But even so the prospect is harrowing. I seem to be pretty good at passing off chemo as a breeze. It’s just one of my coping strategies. I can assure you there’s nothing breezelike about it.



Later this morning I expect to find out the interpretation of my latest CT scan and if the chemo has been having the intended effect. If not my treatment it stops. I hope it’s working, of course I do. I’ll tolerate another 4 weeks of treatment if I need to but it’s gonna be tough. If it stops I instantly get 4 better weeks now just a lot less time later.

Whatever the news is this morning I have a fantastic few days ahead which I’ll enjoy whatever.


No doubt my news will find it’s way on to this instrument in due course.

Stand by.




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