Monday, June 25, 2007


Today is the 131st anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or as the native americans called it, The Battle of the Slippery Grass, those native americans always did need a good marketing man behind their battle names though.

I love reading historical accounts like this, it actually interests me now and I was surprised to read in that account that Errol Flynn doesn't get a mention what with it being well known that he was in fact General Custer, the phrase "They Died With Their Boots On" doesn't appear anywhere in that account either, what a load of rubbish history lessons are.

But history lessons were never more boring than when you had Pussy McNeil as your history teacher.

O Level history in 1973 consisted of a list of kings and queens of england and the dates of their reign - and thats about it.

So for five years of high school education Pussy McNeil took us twice a week for a session of reciting kings names and the dates of their reign, and thats about it.

It wouldn't have been so bad if Pussy McNeil was an entertaining sort of teacher, a teacher who put his heart and soul into his subject, someone who's lessons you looked forward to all week, a mentor who would instill a love of history into each and every boy who appeared before him in his classes, a teacher who could change lives.

He wasn't one of those.

Pussy McNeil was a short fat old man in a shabby suit, balding, a permanent sweating brow, thick black rimmed glasses and a short temper for boys who could not remember the dates of the reign of a particular king or queen of england two minutes after he'd just randomly reeled it off.

He was also increasingly senile.

We would often turn up for one of his classes to find that he didn't turn up and soon realised that if we caused a riot in the classroom then it wouldn't be too long before another teacher came to see what the commotion was all about and send Asquith (who always sat next to the classroom door - we all had to sit in alphabetical order at all times) tot he staff room to remind Pussy McNeil that he had a class to teach. The plane of action quickly turned to "not cause a riot" whenever Pussy McNeil didn't turn up but to sit around, talk, throw paper darts, quietly beat up the class punchbag, do anything but do it quietly and in this manner we often spent whole history lessons not doing histroy, and Pussy McNeil was never any the wiser.

He also sometimes turned up but left halfway through lessons, on several occasions he would be doing his usual walking back and forth in front of the class, droning on, reading from a list of kings and queens reign dates when he would without warning walk straight out of the door and bugger off to the staffroom, leaving us to quietly riot again for the rest of the lesson.

On one occasion when he hadn't turned up we were quietly rioting as per the class rulebook when the stationary cupboard door in the corner of the room opened and out stepped Pussy McNeil having locked himself in there for several hours, the bloke was a nut, a first class old git and a nut.

Completely destroyed any passion that I may have had for history, I failed my O level of course, as we all did.

I love history now though.


Anonymous said...

I love history! Enjoyed it at school and majored in it at university. American history is fascinating.

I was lucky at school with my teachers. My main history teacher was fantastic. His name was Mr. Pipe. What the heck is up with history teacher names?!

Gary said...

I'm into local history, what with our Yorkshire woollen mills and all, unfortunately Pussy McNeil decided to teach us nought of the locality and instead insisted that we should know the dates of the reign of Henry II and his like.

No, I don't know the dates, I never did.

Anonymous said...

Bugger Henry. The mills sound far more interesting.