The other night, while trapped under Dulcie, I watched (for about the umpteenth time in my life) a Top 100 Christmas Moments programme on More4. It was a terrible selection, mostly. The list was compiled in 2005 and at least 90 of the clips were taken from programmes made in 2003/2004 that have not stood the test of time. However, it did also feature this clip of the time my primary school teacher, Mrs Smith, appeared on the This Morning nativity with Richard and Judy. The clip has gone down in history because Richard Madely headbutts one of the children from my old school while impersonating a donkey. And no, I am not in the clip. I had long since left Drumblade Primary by the time they made it to these dizzying heights of fame and fortune.
Mrs Smith was my teacher in primary one, primary two and primary three. That's because my primary school was tiny (less than 40 pupils) so only had two teachers/classes. Before I started school, my dad was the other teacher alongside Mrs Smith. When she retired we went along to her retirement party. In her speech she spoke about her three happiest memories and I was one of them. Aaw! Before I was even at school, Mrs Smith had to have brain surgery. She was really anxious about going back to school in case her appearance (she'd had her head shaved and had lost some movement in one side of her face) frightened the children. A few days before she was due back in school, she bumped into little three-year-old me and thought I would be horrified, but I marched straight up to her, threw my arms around her neck and gave her a big kiss. I have never managed to do anything so socially unawkward since, I'm sure. One of the other memories she used in her speech was a story written by a boy in my class called Garry. In the story he had magic powers and used them to turn his little sister Debbie into a football before smashing her repeatedly against a wall. Hee hee!
Mrs Smith was a great teacher. I'm sure it was her teaching me numbers as shapes (using those plastic bricks that lock together) that resulted in me being able to add things up in my head even now. I remember her wearing great boot/skirt combos and the day she walked in and caught my friends and I kneeling then leaning backwards so we were lying on the floor with our legs bent back up our sides. She promptly joined in and put us all to shame with her flexibility. She probably wasn't that old then, but to us she seemed ancient. I also remember the day I didn't want to share my pens and Lyndsey Scott told on me. Mrs Smith said, in her best north-east accent, "Ach, dinnae be coorse!" For some reason, that minor telling off really stuck with me and I often say it to myself (or to Dulcie) now when a reminder to be kind is needed.
Mrs Smith passed away a few years ago now, but thanks to Richard Madely's headbutt, I will get a nice little reminder of her every Christmas.