Thur Jan IV
Got our stationary today. The books. We were let out at 1.30. Mum met me coming up Lloyd Avenue and we went shopping. Got my school sox. Went swimming.
Trains = 32
One of the quirks of the New Zealand system was that, unlike in the UK where school books were provided and once you filled one up you simply had to ask for another one, in NZ you had to buy them from the school. In all other respects there was actually no difference between the products other than that the MAGS books came with the MAGS ‘corporate identity’ (or whatever we called it in those days), with the school name and crest and being in the school colours. I’ve always believed those to be sky blue and gold, but no doubt will be corrected.
It was slightly baffling to be presented with a stationary list on the first day and be told to select whatever we wanted by the third day of term. I remember going through mine with Mum and Dad and trimming it down to the bare minimum – books, essentially, and a couple of set squares. I also remember that Nathan seemed to have gone through his list and just ticked everything, which meant that he ended up buying a slide rule, something which even then was pretty much obsolete.
We then had to queue up outside the school office on the Thursday to be issued with whatever we had ordered. The queuing took far longer than the actual issuing, such was the efficiency of the system.
Being let out of school at strange times happened a lot and was again very different to back home, where you were in school until 3.50pm unless there was an emergency or unless a lot of notice had been given to your parents. The NZ attitude was much more laissez faire, but it operated in the other direction, too. Sports practices would suddenly be called for that evening, and if you landed yourself a detention there was no time to contemplate or plan, you were staying behind at 3pm no matter what plans your parents might have*. I am not sure how disconcerting this was for my parents, bearing in mind that there was no way of me telling them where I was, and you will see later that the system broke down a few times along the way.
Buying the school socks became essential once it was clear to me that almost no-one took the ‘bare feet and sandals’ option mentioned a few days ago. I think my parents felt that the shorts were traumatic enough for me and took pity upon me, so splashed out for the socks. They turned out to be a good investment. They lasted until I was eighteen, when I used them to make black armbands so that a number of us could mock Richard Phillips’ latest relationship failure