Tag Archives: geography

August 20th 1974

“Got 5 ‘O’s including Spok. English”

Let’s review these results shall we?…..

Economics: Grade F FAIL
E.Lit. Syll.B: Grade E PASS (English Literature Syllabus B)
Physics: Grade F FAIL
Eng. Language: Grade E PASS (English Language)
Geography: Grade F FAIL
Rel.Studies: F FAIL (Religious Studies)
Spok. English: C PASS (Spoken English)
History: E PASS
Tech. Drawing: E PASS (Technical Drawing)

The back of the actual certificate (shown below) states “Attainment in an Ordinary level subject is indicated by a Grade A, B, C, D, or E of which Grade A is the highest and Grade E the lowest……. Grade E is the lowest level of attainment judged by the University to be of sufficient standard to be recorded

I think it’s fair to admit I was…. a somewhat less than an average student who somehow managed to barely SQUEAK by in some of these important examinations. It feels astonishing to me now that I could apply myself quite admirably the year earlier and take/pass Mathematics quite easily (albeit also with an “E PASS” grade) but then when the rest came around I was phenomenally sloppy and without any personal application.

I’m surprised in retrospect that I failed Economics (it being something I dealt with quite successfully later in my career) and amazed that I completely stumbled in Physics when, just 2 years earlier, I was flying high in the subject and was first in my class.

No surprises regarding Geography (my wife is nodding her head as I type) or Religious Studies. I don’t think the *ahem* things I was ‘studying’ during my church retreats were necessarily likely to turn up on the exam paper?

I’m afraid I can only be flippant about all of this 36 years after the event. I can’t be convinced that passing more of these O-Levels would have changed my life that much so there’s no point in being regretful after the event is there?

In a nutshell I seemed to adopt ‘slackerdom’ at an early age?!



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June 18th 1974

“Had geography – all good for a laugh. TD – not bad; not good but not bad”

Remember, if you will, that these were my bona fide GCE O Levels we are talking about here.

Not the end of year exams or the o-level ‘mocks’ but probably the most IMPORTANT examinations of my entire scholastic career. I am 16 years old and these are exams that would/could determine my eventual educational destination after Barton Peveril and/or my entire life’s path.

So with that in mind lets recap shall we?….. Geography was “good for a laugh” and Technical Drawing was dismissed as “not good but not bad

Was the term ‘slacker’ even in use back in 1974?

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June 17th 1974

“Really tried to do some Geography revision for O Level but somehow couldn’t get going”

…. and so it came to pass that on this day in 1974 I would set myself up to be ‘geographically-challenged’ for the rest of my adult life.

I really am too.

There are days when its surprising I find my way downstairs in the morning. Some people – my friend Malc for instance – appear to have a built-in compass in their noggin, instinctively able to know which direction they’re facing and which way they need to go to get anywhere.

I possess whatever is the exact opposite of that.

I have become lost more times than I am EVER able to admit to.

Which is why when my wife bought me a Garmin GPS machine a couple of years ago it was like she was gifting me an “affair to remember”. Emily, for that is what I named my GPS, loves having her buttons pushed and then taking me all the way.

If ONLY I could have “got going” back in 1974…. *sigh*

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January 21st 1974

“Economics -> Hard” / “Geog (Europe World) -> Hard”

The mocks continue to mock me back!

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June 27th 1973

“Geog Reg <- Hard. Done great amount of revision for istory in evening”

How did we ‘revise’ exactly?

I’m buggered if I can remember. Did we read through all our year’s notes, essays etc? Or did we read text books crammed with information that may or may not turn up as a question on exam day?

How do you revise for History (or istory, if you prefer) when there’s so bloomin’ much of it?… and being added to every single minute of every single day.

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June 22nd 1973

“TD2 <- Easy. Geog (Phys) <- Easy.”

Another day of exam cockiness. Technical Drawing and Geography both proving easy.

My wife will doubtless comment about me finding that second one ‘easy’

Let’s just say that after moving to America I have found myself almost permanently lost and am somewhat “geographically-challenged”

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The 1973 Diary (II)

This shows how hard I worked as a 15-year-old schoolkid!

Here’s my school timetable, at least (presumably) for January – July 1973. (The diary makes no reference to a timetable from Sept 1973 onwards… maybe it was the same schedule?)

I had Economics (as in ‘world financials’, not ‘home economics’ and all that cookery nonsense) to kick off the week, followed by Religious Education (ha!) and English Composition after the break. Monday afternoon was History, French, Physics and Maths.

Tuesday morning consisted of a double period of Technical Drawing (TD), Geography and (the dreaded) Gym, whilst the afternoon offered up (more) Geography, French, English and History. (I have no idea why the two Geog lessons of the day weren’t twinned together)

Wednesday commenced with French (“quelle horreur”) followed by Grography (again??), SINGING (!!!???!!!) and Maths and after lunch I was subjected to English Drama, History and a double TD.


Thursday started off BAD for me with double Games (outdoor physical nonsense like football, hockey, basketball, running, cross-country leg tiring) with Physics and French after the morning break. The afternoon threatened double Maths and double English.

My Fridays were top and tailed with double Economics and double Physics with French, Maths, History and Geography in between.

The one thing I really CAN’T remember is that the timetable suggests we had preset evenings for specific homework. The nights don’t even seem to always line up with next day lessons, so what was the point I wonder?



Filed under 1973 Diary Entries, 1973 Diary Introduction