I was never any good at Art, and Mrs B asked the class to paint EITHER a scene from our school trip on the Royal Daffodil from Tower Bridge to Canvey Island, OR a scene from our summer holidays.
I decided to try to paint a scene of the Ford plant at Dagenham which our boat had passed. My first effort was pretty dreadful, I must admit. Mrs B grumbled about wasting paper and paint but gave me another chance. If anything this effort was even worse and I was hugely castigated and told that I was to try again but if I could do no better, then ‘Woe betide’.
I decided to change the subject and painted my impression of the Swiss mountains, which I had visited last year. I was quite pleased with my effort, especially the snow clad peaks which resembled a Toblerone chocolate. She took one look and accused me of trying to be funny. She told me that no mountains looked like that and hauled me out to the front of the classroom. She pushed me over her desk and gave me my first ever six of the best. She hit me very hard and it was all I could do to hold back the tears, which were a mixture of pain and indignant anger. When I got home I saw that my bottom was still red and bruised!
This story has a twist in its, rather sore, tail.
The next art lesson, we had to paint a monogram designed around our initials, my initials being H and L.
I painted what looked like a TV aerial. At that time there was a childrens’ TV presenter with my initials. He was known as HL.
I showed Mrs B my effort with not a little trepidation.
“That is excellent,” she said. “Look class, Harry has made his monogram like a TV aerial to remind us of the presenter, HL. It is easily better than anybody else’s effort. It will go on the wall!”
I am certain this was her way of apologising for her treatment of me on the previous week.