Thinks: " I've got to do 'Jack' Hurley's maths homework in a minute. Oh, I'll do it tomorrow, or maybe the day after. I know, I'll tell him I left it at home! ....Hang on, I think I used that excuse last week, and the week before that, and the week before that... Oh, bloody hell! I hate homework. I'm in school long enough as it is, but they expect me to take work home with me as well! I wonder if I'm old enough to join the French Foreign Legion? "
Long trousers at last! And not for want of trying either. Boy, was I proud of them! During the summer holidays after form 1, my mum and I went from shop to shop in Cardiff to try to find a pair to fit me. I wanted them so badly, as only 'little boys' wore short trousers to school. But no luck. It was with a heavy heart I arrived back at school after the summer holidays ready to start in form 2 still wearing the (increasingly) despised short trousers, although I wasn't the only one still wearing them in my year. Most of the remaining, now, small number of the 'bare knees' brigade managed to get a pair during the Christmas break, so that in January of that second year (1965), I was one of only three left out of almost one hundred boys in our year still wearing them. (One of my mates, Phillip Cameron was one, but who was the other one?).
The following summer arrived. Would I now be able to get a pair? Surely I could. I must have grown a bit during the year since that last abortive attempt. And so must have the other two boys, and they were bigger than me. Would I be the very last to be still wearing shorts when I went back? Please, God, no!
Well, as they say, good things come to he who waits. I got them at last! I couldn't wait to go back to school at the beginning of that third year and show them off. For some adolescent boys in the mid 1960s, wearing your first pair of long trousers was better than your first snog!
I was four months past my 14th birthday when this photo was taken. As you can see, I was still every inch a boy (no pun intended, but that was just about the size of it at the time). 14 year-old boys these days aren't 'boys' at all, but young men. But that is only to be expected when they stuff themselves full of steroid impregnated McBurgers (Muckburgers?) from almost the day their milk teeth come through!
If you look in the top left hand corner of this photo, you can just see a tin bath hanging up on the wall. When I was younger, me and my brother used to have our weekly bath in it (me first, 'cos I was older), whether we needed one or not, on Saturday nights after 'Cheyenne' (a popular cowboy drama on the TV at the time) had finished, in front of the living room fire and the rest of the family, which sometimes included a visiting elderly aunt of mine, or our lodger. This enforced nudity never bothered either of us, since it was within the family setting, and that somehow didn't count or matter. In fact, sometimes I would try to amuse these various onlookers with my " Look at me! I'm a fountain! " routine. (Don't say you don't know what I'm talking about, or never did it yourself, either!)
My younger brother sometimes performed the same trick, although, a few years later, just after he had started in his own secondary school, he once demonstrated to me in our bathroom a trick he had just been shown by some other boys at his school when they were all showering naked together after games - PISS BOMBS! I daresay you probably know it - maybe played it yourself. The mechanics of it were, obviously, unknown to me, and I'd never realised until then a foreskin could expand like that. Amazing! I was more than a little jealous, but I soon got over that when my brother released his foreskin, now almost the size of a rugby ball, the piss exploding all over the front of his shorts. Messy! I think he saved this trick for his school showers from then on!
If you click on the picture, you can get a further enlargement.