school days reminiscences of Hugh Roberts

School Days, Reminiscences of Hugh Roberts

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Hugh Roberts, author, blogger and WordPress Whiz who generously shares his knowledge and advice to assist others along their blogging journey.

I’m not quite sure when or how Hugh and I met, but it was probably over at Geoff Le Pard’s blog some years ago. They are both now involved in the organisation of the Annual Bloggers’ Bash celebrating its fifth anniversary in London later this year (find out more on Hugh’s blog here).

Hugh Roberts and Books

Hugh features many interesting series on his blog and always welcomes new readers and often contributors. I read and enjoyed Hugh’s first book of short stories Glimpses. The second volume More Glimpses has recently been released, and I am looking forward to seeing what twists and delights Hugh has in store for me now.

Hugh also entered both Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contests that I hosted. Although they are judged blind, Hugh won the first competition and came second in the second. That’s a fair indication of what I think of his story telling. 😊

Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Hugh to tell you a little of himself:

Hugh W. Roberts lives in Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

Hugh gets his inspiration for writing from various avenues including writing prompts, photos, eavesdropping and while out walking his dogs, Toby and Austin. Although he was born in Wales, he has lived around various parts of the United Kingdom, including London where he lived and worked for 27 years.

Hugh suffers from a mild form of dyslexia but, after discovering blogging, decided not to allow the condition to stop his passion for writing. Since creating his blog ‘Hugh’s Views & News’ in February 2014, he has built up a strong following and now writes every day. Always keen to promote other bloggers, authors and writers, Hugh enjoys the interaction blogging brings and has built up a group of on-line friends he considers as an ‘everyday essential’.

His short stories have become well known for the unexpected twists they contain in taking the reader up a completely different path to one they think they are on. One of the best complements a reader can give Hugh is “I never saw that ending coming.”

Having published his first book of short stories, Glimpses, in December 2016, his second collection of short stories, More Glimpses, was published in March 2019. Hugh is already working on the next volume.  

A keen photographer, he also enjoys cycling, walking, reading, watching television, and enjoys relaxing most evenings with a glass of red wine.

Hugh shares his life with John, his civil-partner, and Toby and Austin, their Cardigan Welsh Corgis.  

Welcome, Hugh. Now let’s talk school.

First, could you tell us where you attended school?

I spent my whole school life in the town of Chepstow; a town on the south-east border of Wales and England in the UK.

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

They were government-run schools.

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

I left school at the age of 16 with five ‘O’ Levels and three GSCEs.  I then did a brief stint in college on a hotel and catering management course. A job offer meant I left the class before it finished.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?

My first job was as an office junior before I went into retail.  I enjoyed an office environment, but it wasn’t customer facing (which is what I wanted). I told my careers teacher at school that I wanted to join the police force or fire brigade. Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify to join either because you had to be above a certain height. I was a couple of inches too short!

What is your earliest memory of school?

I was the only one standing up in class crying my eyes out while I watched all the mums and dads walking away. It was my first day at school, and I didn’t want my mum to leave me there. I was very emotional and felt she had abandoned me and was not coming back. Of course, she did.

What memories do you have of learning to read?

I remember the ‘Peter and Jane’ books which started at 1a, 1b and 1c and went up to 12c (which was the last book in the series). They got harder as you moved up to each one, and you were only allowed to move on to the next book when your teacher was satisfied that you could read the current book satisfactorily.

What memories do you have of learning to write?

I remember the first ink pens given to us to practice writing. They were very thin and had to be filled with ink from a bottle, which we had to fill ourselves. It could sometimes get very messy.

While many of the children around me were doing ‘joined-up’ writing, I was doing all mine in block letters. I can remember being taken aside and told that I had to join the letters together. It took me a long time to gets to grips with joining the letters together, and it wasn’t long before I was left behind.

What do you remember about math classes?

I was not too fond of maths. Numbers did not interest me. All I wanted to do was make up stories. All my maths teachers were rigorous, which didn’t help in me gaining any confidence in numbers. I saw them as nasty, uncaring people, who didn’t seem to care about the children around them. I’m sure they did, but I didn’t see it that way.

What was your favourite subject?

Geography. I enjoyed learning about other countries and the people who lived in them. I was fascinated by maps and the names of towns and cities and the roads that connected them. Even the positions of countries intrigued me, and when I discovered time zones and realised that it wasn’t ‘lunchtime’ everywhere at the same time, ‘time-travel’ entered my life.  I remember wishing that it would become part of the Geography education module before I left school.

School Photo - Hugh Roberts

What did you like best about school?

Drama class. In primary school, I could run around being who or what I wanted to be. Whether it was a tree, an animal or somebody driving a vehicle, I enjoyed the fun, laughter and enjoyment of the class.

As I grew up, Drama got more serious, but I enjoyed playing different parts in the school play.

What did you like least about school?

Playing sport. I had no liking for playing any physical games, especially on cold, wet days on muddy fields. After Easter, we would do athletics which I enjoyed a lot more. The long jump was my speciality!

How do you think schools have changed since your school days?

Unfortunately, I think there are now more children who have no respect for their teachers than there were in my school days. Not only that, but some of the parents also have little regard for the teachers.

It also saddens me to hear about schools not being able to afford to buy the basics like pens, pencils, books and even toilet rolls, because their budgets have been cut so much. Many now turn to the parents asking them to help fund children’s education when it really should be the government which funds it. I was so lucky to have ‘free’ education but, these days, ‘free education’ is something that is disappearing fast.

What do you think schools (in general) do well?

I hear more and more about schools inviting authors, writers and experts to come in and talk to the pupils about a particular subject. Whether it be about self-publishing, how to be safe on social media, or help and advice on careers or money matters, it gives those who want to help a chance to pass on their knowledge to new generations to come. I think it’s fantastic that they also ask people to come in and talk about their memories about specific events. It helps keeps memories and ‘past ways of lives’, alive.

How do you think schools could be improved?

More needs to be done in educating children about diversity and the hate crimes we hear so much about nowadays. Nobody should feel afraid to go to school because they are bullied or just because they’re told they are different and don’t fit in. Children should be encouraged to read about different ways of lives and to speak out about bullying. As a child who was bullied at school, my life was made much worse because I was afraid to tell an adult what was happening. These were the days before social media where bullying and hate crimes have now taken up residence. Children, these days, have a lot more to put up with, but I think there are also more bullies these days than there were when I was at school.

thank you for your participation

That’s an interesting observation with which to conclude, Hugh. Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general. It’s been wonderful to have you here. I’m sorry you were bullied in school and wish bullying was something we could eradicate.  

 

Find out more about Hugh Roberts

on his blog: Hugh’s Views and News

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Connect with him on Social Media

Twitter: @HughRoberts05

Flipboard

Mix.com

Purchase Hugh’s books here:

Glimpses by Hugh Roberts

Universal Link for buying Glimpses

More Glimpses by Hugh Roberts

Universal Link for buying More Glimpses

 

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.

Coming soon:

Debby Gies

Pauline King

Jules Paige

D. Avery

with more to follow.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

 

110 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Hugh Roberts

  1. Terri Webster Schrandt

    Hi Norah, thanks for hosting Hugh’s school days on your blog today! I had guessed Hugh in the orange shirt, too!! It makes sense you had a love for writing and storytelling at a young age, Hugh, with your active imagination! Great interview!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Liesbet @ Roaming About

    Wonderful interview! I enjoyed learning some more about “little Hugh”. I can see similarities in your face back then and now. Hugh. Geography was my favorite subject as well. I wish we had drama when I grew up.

    It’s interesting to me how different countries have different focuses in regards to school subjects and priorities. So far, I only remember what was going on In Belgium when I grew up – or as a teacher later on – and I vaguely know how it works in the US from my in-law family. Good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for adding your thoughts, Liesbet. I guess when we’re at school, we don’t think too much about what it’s like elsewhere. I think that’s what’s great about these interviews – finding out about the experiences of others. 🙂

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  3. lindasschaub

    Thank you for spotlighting Hugh today Norah. I enjoyed reading more about the man behind the blog and his other endeavors. I too was bullied in school Hugh – it is terrifying and mine began after moving to the U.S. from Canada. I lived in Canada until age 10 and we moved the Summer of 1966. Upon starting 6th grade in the Fall, not only classmates, but also the teacher (yes, not a typo) made fun of my Canadian accent and proper Oxford English pronunciation. I was made to read to the class whereupon everyone would snicker and laugh. It was worse at the next school (middle school) where I was routinely paddled when classmates said I threw spitballs at them or tried to pass notes to them (all childhood pranks, but none which I participated in). I was beaten up in the bathroom and walking home from school. Finally I got my parents involved when my teacher accused me of making obscene calls to her home on Easter Sunday. My father had a temper tantrum and I never wanted to invoke that. Hugh and I grew up fine, despite this childhood bullying, but my heart softens toward any child who must endure such cruelty. Today, here in the States, a child who is bullied physically, or through social media, often attempts self-harm. I cannot tell you how many news stories I read where teenagers committed suicide due to bullying by their peers.

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  4. D. Wallace Peach

    What an interesting glimpse into Hugh’s memories and thoughts about school. I love his last answer and couldn’t agree more that schools need to encourage respect for diversity, curiosity, and kindness. Excellent interview Norah and Hugh. ❤

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  5. joylennickJoy Lennick

    Hi Norah, I enjoyed reading about Hugh’s school-days Thank you..Quite late in life, I became a ‘Dinner-lady’ (just before retirement age) and took a poetry class and coached a few lads who were slow at reading, which I loved. I soon spotted the few bullies and kept my eye on them – little sods…Two brothers in particular (crafty pair, whose mother thought they were angels) so our Head-master also had her to contend with..”My sons would never do that!”.Deluded woman. Bullies are usually cowards themselves.My eldest son, a studious soul, was bullied because he wouldn’t join a gang who got up to all sorts of tricks in the lunch-hour. Luckily the head-master sorted them out.

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      I’d forgotten about the ‘Dinner ladies’ at school, Joy. I always remembered how they looked out for us all during the one-hour lunch break. Usually two of them. How they managed all those children at the same time I’ve no idea. However, they kept us all safe.

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Joy. Being a dinner lady sounds like an important role. You did more than feed the children’s bellies. You must be very proud of your son for refusing to join the gang and you did well to report those bullies and get them sorted.
      What diverse roles you engaged in: dinner lady, poetry teacher and reading support. What a fantastic contribution. Thank you. 🙂

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  6. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Hugh Roberts – Hugh's Views & News  

  7. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Debby Gies (D.G. Kaye) | Norah Colvin

    1. Hugh's Views and News

      Thank you, Anne. When I left school, I had two dreams. One was to publish a book, despite being dyslexic. The other was to have a number one hit single. Now with two self-published books under my belt, I’ve given up on the singing.

      Liked by 2 people

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      Thank you, Susan. I’ve been amazed at how similar life is despite the thousands of miles between people. This new feature from Norah has certainly helped me understand a lot more of the past events of people’s lives. Thanks so much for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

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  8. dgkaye

    Loved seeing Hugh here today. Hugh, I had to laugh at your dislike of sports, so similar to my reply to this question in my interview with Norah next week, lol. We would have been best buddies in school. ❤

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      I’d often leave school and go and hang out in the nearby cemetery, when there was a sports lesson, Debby. Sometimes, a few friends might tag along…until I started telling them ghost stories. 😱
      I’m looking forward to reading your school day memories next week.

      Liked by 2 people

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  9. Wendy Janes

    Another lovely interview, Norah and Hugh. I’m really enjoying this series. Love the school photo. I’m another one who was never keen on playing sports on cold, muddy fields – hockey at secondary school was a nightmare! Three cheers for your comment about diversity and bullying, Hugh. I think some schools already do a great job, but others have quite a way to go.

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      Yes, I agree with you about some schools doing a great job, Wendy. It’s just a shame that bullying has now spread to the online world; a world where many children seem to hang out rather than be outside with their friends.

      I hear almost weekly that governments are doing what they can do get social media companies to act responsibly in removing offending posts and images, but I can’t help but think what a massive job it must be. I only have to look at some of the followers I have on some of my social media accounts to know that they are not real people or are only following me in the hope that I will engage with them so they can extract money from me. Despite me reporting some of these fake profiles, the accounts remain open. Of course, I can block them, but how would a child deal with them?

      Thanks so much for reliving some of school day memories with me.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Norah Post author

        You’ve touched on a subject that concerns me too, Hugh – internet safety for children. It’s such a different world for them from the one we grew up in, and parenting and teaching has so many more demands. I’m thankful I parented in the pre-internet days. We, as a society, have a long way to go in deciding what is acceptable and permitted.

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Wendy. I’m pleased you are enjoying the interviews and that Hugh’s experiences connected with you. Yes, many schools do a good job and many need to do more. But so do parents, families and society as a whole. We can’t leave everything to the schools. Teachers are often overburdened as it is. I know that’s not your implication, just my thoughts. 🙂

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  10. Jennie

    Another wonderful school days interview, Norah. Thank you! And, thank you Hugh for sharing your school experiences. I worry about bullying (which unfortunately has been going on forever), because I think stopping it starts with me, at the preschool level. It’s what I do. I’d like to stroll the playgrounds at elementary schools and step in when I hear or see bullying. It’s important.

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      I agree, Jennie. I only wish that more children would report it when it happens, or even go to the aid of another child who is being bullied. Standing up to bullies can be a tough thing to do, so that’s why it’s essential that we have people like you looking out for it and stepping in if necessary.

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      1. Norah Post author

        Standing up to bullies can be difficult. Being a bystander doesn’t help anyone though and has negative repercussions in the long run. Jennie does a wonderful job with her little ones. I admire her greatly. She is to be applauded for the positive influence she has on so many lives.

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    2. Norah Post author

      The increase in bullying is worrying, Jennie, and you’re right in that it starts with you. But not just you – it starts (and finishes) with all of us. All we need is a little respect and bullying will be eradicated. Respect cuts to the core of how we treat ourselves and each other. It is important for all of us to step in when we see or hear bullying occurring.

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. calmkate

    Enjoyed this interview particularly because it clearly demonstrates that we can achieve without being top of the class or with a string of degrees … this is very inspiring, thanks Norah and Hugh!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I’ve written about dyslexia on my blog in the hope it encourages others with the condition that they can fulfil their dreams, and should never allow it to stop them from doing what they want to achieve.

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            1. Norah Post author

              It is school holidays in Queensland, but I’m not at school any more. I’m trying to catch up, and get a bit ahead as I’ll be spending the next three days with my grandchildren so won’t have time to read, comment or respond until they’re in bed, but I might be so pooped I have to join them. 🙂 I will be over to visit you as soon as I can.

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              1. calmkate

                lol take your time I’m still settling in, owners have an airbnb apartment or you can rent nearby … or we just meet for lunch at your Macadamia Castle 🙂

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  12. thecontentedcrafter

    I have to admit that even though I have stumbled upon Hugh’s comments on fellow blogger’s posts I don’t believe I have ever visited his own blog. As I love finding people who don’t accept their ‘inabilities’ and who simply do what they know in their bones they were meant to do and therefore overcome the vision prescribed for their life, I really must change that. (Sorry about that heavy handed sentence – 6.40 am, first coffee only half drunk etc etc) A fascinating conversation here Norah and Hugh, thanks so much for sharing this. I’m off to visit.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      Thank you, Pauline. I was delighted when Norah asked me to share some memories from my school days. Although they were often not the best of days, I managed to get myself through them and did my best despite having a condition that not many understood at the time.
      Unfortunately, as I entered adult life, I allowed dyslexia to stop me from pursuing my love of writing. Then, in February 2014, I discovered the wonderful world of blogging. The rest, as they say, is history.

      Liked by 2 people

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  13. Chelsea Owens

    I currently follow a blogger who writes a bit about his son’s struggles with dyslexia in the school system. They do not sound accommodating! Did you feel that limited you, Hugh? Did you feel pushed to work at the same level as everyone else, even with some troubles related to the dyslexia?

    I agree with your observations and suggestions regarding education these days, too.

    Thanks, Norah, for posting!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      During my school years, dyslexia was not recognised as a condition, Chelsea. At ‘Parent’s Evenings’ many of my teachers would tell my parents that I was a ‘slow’ learner. Even though I would tell some of the teachers that letters or words were jumbled up, they never believed me. Some even suggested I wear spectacles. When my eyes were tested, they were given a clean bill of health, so I continued to struggle with both reading and writing and had to work at the same level as the rest of the class.

      I’m just very glad that these days there are some help groups for both children and adults who have the condition. Being dyslexic certainly subdued my abilities when it came to exams. Now, however, I no longer allow it to stop me from writing, although I still struggle with reading.

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      1. Norah Post author

        You’re a dyslexia success story, Hugh. We need to hear more of them, though I am aware of a few. I think little recognition was given to learning differences ‘back then’ and even less was known about them. Now, even though more is known, the support is not always available.

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        1. Hugh's Views and News

          I agree, Norah. I was amazed when I heard that people like Richard Branson and Steven Spielberg were dyslexic. Knowing helped me come more to terms with having the condition, but I also told myself that I had to make a difference too if I wanted to succeed with what I wanted to do the most.

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Chelsea.
      It saddens me when I hear that children’s needs are not being catered for. So much lost potential. But we can’t always blame the teachers. Some do an extraordinary job with little support. It is good that you ask Hugh about his experiences. It is always enlightening to find out how others felt.

      Liked by 1 person

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  14. TanGental

    Chepstow is delightful. I wonder if it’s always been ? Was it deliberate to ignore how school did (or more likely didn’t) try and help with your dyslexia? Unless I read too fast and missed that bit!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      I had no help with being dyslexic when I was at school, Geoff. At the time, it was not a known condition. My parents were only told that I was a slow learner. I was made to feel very isolated about it and thought I was the only person in the world who saw words and letters jumbled up. How wrong I was.

      Thank goodness that most children, these days, with the condition, get some help with it.

      Liked by 3 people

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      1. Norah Post author

        It is very difficult feeling that you’re the only one in the world, Hugh. I’m pleased you managed to pull through and do well for yourself, despite the difficulties. It says a lot about your character.

        Liked by 1 person

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  15. robbiesinspiration

    An interesting interview with Hugh, Norah. Hugh is also one of the first bloggers I met and his book, Glimpses was the first book I ever reviewed on Goodreads and my blog. I enjoyed his memories of school and the picture.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Hugh's Views and News

      Thank you, Robbie. I enjoyed reliving the memories from my school days. I was delighted when Norah asked me to participate, especially as it helped me uncover the school class photo in this post. I still remember some of the names of my classmates in that photo, as well as the teacher.

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you are enjoying these posts, Joy. It is lovely to read about people’s experiences, isn’t it?
      I didn’t mind maths, up to a point, and still quite enjoy it, up to a point. But sport, exercise and I definitely don’t get along. 🙂

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  16. Hugh's Views and News

    Thank you so much for asking me over today, Norah. I enjoyed sharing my memories of my school days with you and your readers. Bullying was a problem, but I was also lucky to have some close friends at school who were always there to face up to some of the bullies. It’s strange, but I felt rather sad for the bullies and often saw them as children who lacked confidence in anything they did. Then, if they saw others around them doing well at something, they’d often take it out on them.

    I think it may have been Geoff’s blog where we first met, although it could also have been Charli Mills’ blog. I’m sure it was Geoff who introduced me to the Carrot Ranch.

    Thanks ever so much for inviting me to take part in this wonderful feature, Norah.

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    1. Norah Post author

      It was my pleasure to host you, Hugh, and a delight to read your school memories.
      I think the thing that struck me most as I read your post was your inability to join the police force on account of your height. That was the way back then. Here, I think, candidates had to be over six foot and there wasn’t a female officer in sight. How different it is these days. As the rules have relaxed, young people have far more choice in career paths.
      I guess it doesn’t really matter where we met, Hugh. I’m just pleased we did. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Hugh's Views and News

        Yes, indeed, Norah. I never imaged just how many wonderful friends could develop in the world of blogging when I published my first post. My day would not be complete without catching up with some of my blogging friends.

        Yes, these days, just about anyone can now join the police force and fire brigade. It’s strange to think that back in the 1970s your height could restrict some of the career choices you wanted to take up. Thank goodness the world has changed.

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      1. Darlene

        In grade 4, the teacher gave us a spelling test. Those who passed could go outside and play baseball. Those who didn’t, had to stay in and read. I was a good speller at the time but purposely spelled some words wrong. The teacher caught on and was very angry with me. She made me go outside and play the dreaded baseball anyway.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Oh, no! Sprung! You know, Darlene. I would have done the same thing. In fact, at teacher’s college, when we were learning how to do exercises to teach to children, I’d wait until the teacher’s back was turned and pretend I’d done the forward roll or whatever it was. Tut-tut. Shame on me. 🙂

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        2. Hugh's Views and News

          Oh dear! I was never very good at spelling. However, if I concentrated on it and spent a lot of time learning the correct placement of all the letters, I could sometimes do quite well at it. Punishment for us was detention – usually during break time when we’d have to write 100 lines of the same sentence.

          Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed Hugh’s post, Darlene. Aren’t these old school photos and memories, fun? I’m enjoying sharing them. I’m finding that, for all our differences, we have quite a bit in common; including a dislike of maths and sport and a preference for English. Funny thing that. 🙂

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