Sunday, December 25, 2016

Way on down south London town (Dire Straits)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 6)

Jacky Purdy: hates the cold, loves the snow!

While we were living in Leigh-on-sea we moved (shock horror) from Victoria Road. Jacky found it hard to stay in the place - too many memories of Adam. Plus Keegan and his girlfriend were going to be staying with us for some months and Jacky thought we needed more room. Plus the rent was going up at Victoria Rd. Plus the drunken patrons at the Broadway's bars were becoming a pain with extended licensing hours.

Sister snow bunnies
So we moved.

We'd arrived with a suitcase each. Now I had to hire a van to ferry our belongings to the new semi detached house in Western Avenue. Still a great location in
Leigh - close to the train station, nice walk along Marine Parade to the shops, closer to the Hadleigh Castle park. But I missed Victoria Road!

Outside Victoria Road looking up to the Broadway

Sam discharges a snowball...

...but gets back some with interest!

Victoria Road, Jade eats a popsicle and takes
a selfie, while it snows!
Keegan and his girlfriend, Jemma, duly arrived. Together with them, we decided to take a big northern tour of England and Scotland. We'd taken Adam and the girls north before and had loved it so...We hired a van for the six of us and booked hotels and headed off on a road trip, from Leigh to Inverness and back! It was an interesting trip. Keegan and Jemma were not in the best space so there were some difficult, sultry moments.

On our holidays
Nonetheless, Jacky and I loved visiting Culloden in the misty dawn, travelling through the locks down to Glasgow, revisiting Edinburgh and seeing Christine and her family in Bury.

Keegan and Jemma returned to New Zealand and we tried to get back to normal, whatever that is!

In September 2006 Margaret Wilson asked me if I wanted to be seconded to a new academy to help with their leadership problems. I was game, even though it was a bit of a mission to get to Walthamstow from Leigh each day.

With Fran and Lew at Chrsitine's.

It was winter and I had to take the C2C to east London, then a Silver Link train to north London's Blackhorse Road station, then a bus to the school. Phew. All up it took close to 2 hours if the Silver Link was running on time (which it hardly ever was).

Life at the school was interesting - I had some tough jobs to do and I had to teach Geography! The students were mostly from Somalia, Pakistan, or the Caribbean. The Somalian students were pretty battle hardened, being recently in the badlands of Mogadishu. Once they figured out who I was there were no real problems and I enjoyed the experience on the whole. 

Up north with Adam
One of my duties was to oversee the lunch queues into the dining hall. After a few titchy moments of being overrun by them, I learnt some names and made some 'friends' of the tougher kids. Then it went fine. Every day I chatted to the troops, let them in by year groups to the dining room and then, at the end, had my own lunch. By that time it was always some variety of cake drowning in warm custard. YUM. Seriously - it tasted great! After a week the dinner ladies caught on and kept me two portions to enjoy!

Unfortunately, we were a long way from Adam and things back in NZ weren't going well for Keegan so we made the decision to return. Jacky was keen for us to go back to Taranaki, so I applied for the Principal job at Hawera High School (which went to my friend Paul Ryan) and then to Stratford High School via the same recruiting organisation. 

I was shortlisted; got leave for a week from Walthamstow and flew back for the interview.

With Christine in Bury, wearing Tom's jersey
The journey turned into an epic both ways - Heathrow to Auckland/ Auckland to Wanganui (the plane tried twice to land in New Plymouth but couldn't)/ Wanganui to New Plymouth by bus!

Next day I did the interview; got the job; got back on the plane - New Plymouth to Auckland/ Auckland to Heathrow/ train back to Leigh-on-sea/ had a shower/ C2C etc back to Walthamstow.

I was a complete zombie for that week at school but we were buzzing! We (Jade, Samantha, Jacky, Finn and me) were going back to Taranaki for a January 25 2007 start as Principal at Stratford High School.

Love and peace - Wozza

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