School Days Reminiscences of Carol Taylor

School Days, Reminiscences of Carol Taylor

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 Carol Taylor who blogs at CarolCooks2 and writes about food, health, cooking, the environment and life in general, but especially in Thailand. I enjoy her positive outlook and the honesty with which she writes. I first met Carol at Sally Cronin’s where she contributes a regular column about food and cooking. She has taken a great interest in the school days reminiscences shared by others and was happy to join in the conversation sharing her own.

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

Enjoying life in The Land of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have come to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about …Plastic, Recycling and effects of Global Warming are all high on my agenda now…I am appalled at man’s waste and how they are destroying our beautiful natural world…But also how successive governments around the world are not doing enough to address this problem.

introducing Carol Taylor

Welcome, Carol.

Let’s talk school. First, could you tell us where you attended school?

Carol Taylor in class photo

My school days…I am dredging deep now as that was many, many years ago…I started at Potter Street Infants and Juniors and then progressed to the local Comprehensive which it became just as I started. Brays Grove, Harlow, Essex, England.

I then progressed to Tottenham Technical College before starting work…

What is your earliest memory of school?

I can’t remember much about my early school years …I was happy I don’t have any bad memories I remember my mother still tells that tale as how when I first started school I stated I was now old enough to walk on my own…She got the bigger girls in the street to watch me..we didn’t live far it was maybe a five minute walk but I never let my mother take me I was always an independent miss or minx…ha-ha

What memories do you have of learning to read and write?

Carol Taylor explains her love of reading

I think I was born being able to read and write I never remember struggling and my handwriting was always neat and tidy I tried to emulate my father who wrote beautifully. The local library was my home and I always took out the maximum books and I was back again the next Saturday for more…Like many of us I read under the bedclothes and from memory early presents for me were always books…I loved the famous five and my Rupert Bear annuals…That was until I received my first set of encyclopaedias…and also a set of reference books on Botany …

What was your favourite subject?

Carol Taylor enjoys playing piano

My father thought girls just got married and had children my mother always said very nice dear when I showed her my A+ marks…I was a good student…Particularly in Biology, History and Geography because I could write and add illustrations…Domestic Science and needlework I have always loved and music I mean we should all have music in our lives and I love to play the piano which was my first instrument. My nana’s every day after school as she had a lovely piano…and practise I did…until she passed away and her piano was given to the nurse who looked after her…I have never quite forgiven that action…

What do you remember about math classes?

You have probably noticed I didn’t mention Maths, Physics or P.E….Apart from the swimming I hated the rest and avoided where possible…Or tried to sit at the back of class unnoticed…

What other memories do you have of school?

Languages I studied 3…Latin, German and French… all at my senior school which I think is too late to start…Language is learnt far easier when the child is younger I can only speak for here( Thailand) but English is taught from when the child first starts school so much easier to pick up…

I was never the most popular or unpopular I was just there. I had a few friends rather than everyone…

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

From senior school I progressed to Tottenham Technical College to do Hair dressing and Beauty culture …I enjoyed my two years there. I learnt a lot about culture as I was meeting people from different backgrounds…I had led a sheltered life until then… I have always had a streak in me which didn’t want to conform to the norm so college allowed me to do that…I was a competition model my hair has been all colours and wacky styles which meant when my children wanted to dye their hair green I was overjoyed not the reaction kids like …ha-ha..

I finished my two years with a distinction and came out raring to go…First Year improver…Hmmm…Not for this girl… I joined an Engineering company and did their stats for them…I left school and college still not knowing what I really wanted to do…

I then had my first daughter and worked part time at our local Hospital…I was there for a few years mostly enjoyable and a learning curve …I was still an avid reader but apart from a diary never wrote much…That came much later in my life…

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

Carol Taylor's thirst for learning and inquisitive mind

I have always had a thirst for learning and an inquisitive mind and when I saw an advert for a Banking position I applied…Although maths was not my strong point in Senior school I can add up in my head all that early learning in Infants and Juniors paid off I still remember all of that…I passed the entrance exams…That really was the start of learning as while at the bank I took evening classes and passed A-level law and The London Institute of Banking and Mortgage Practise exams with distinction which is my highest level of education…

My dear friend Jilly was my mentor she was a nursing sister…and she encouraged my thirst for knowledge telling my children and me that when I was studying I was unavailable…anything they wanted they asked before or after and it worked after a few days…

After 15 years in banking I then started work for the government until I retired…Another learning curve …That was when my real distrust of politicians started…

After retiring to Phuket and by chance joining a writing group…All my thanks go to them, they encouraged me …In my friend Dianne’s words…’ Oh my Buddha what have we released?” My writing journey began in earnest as did my cooking as much is not available here so some was borne out of necessity and the rest out of my growing awareness of what is in our food.

How do you think schools could be improved?

Carol Taylor's suggestions for improving schools

Having lived here, Thailand for 8 years now…and watched my grandsons grow up through the Australian school system …My observations are that schools are too politically correct now…too qualification driven…I think children should be allowed to be children first and foremost…I think more attention should be paid to the fact that not everyone is academic and if they have other qualities like working with their hands it should be encouraged…

So should a community spirit which is high on the agenda here in Thailand…I was a late starter as regards qualifications and that door should always be open…By listening and advising in a non-doctorial way but a two way conversation… if a child struggles with reading let them read a book which is of interest to them and fosters questions.

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

Carol Taylor on what schools do well

From my research into climate change I have been heartened by the fact that many schools now are encouraging children to learn about the environment and showing them how to grow food…I think that is good way forward …

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Carol. It’s been wonderful to have you here. I love your attitude to learning and agree that it should be life-long. I also agree that ‘children should be allowed to be children first and foremost’ and to ‘let them read a book which is of interest to them and fosters questions.’ I am heartened by your observation that ‘many schools are now encouraging children to learn about the environment’.

Find out more about Carol Taylor

on her blog:

and connect with her on social media


Face book


Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Hugh Roberts

Debby Gies

Pauline King


D. Avery

Christy Birmingham

Miriam Hurdle

Robbie Cheadle

Marsha Ingrao

Ritu Bhathal

Joy Lennick

Darlene Foster

Susan Scott

Barbara Vitelli

Sherri Matthews

Mabel Kwong

Chelsea Owens

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

Pamela Wight

Pete Springer

Yvette Prior

Colleen Chesebro

Thank you blog post

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


103 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Carol Taylor

  1. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Balroop Singh | Norah Colvin

  2. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Pete Springer | Norah Colvin

  3. Jules

    I enjoyed reading this post. I’ve been a bit busy the last couple of weeks so I’m late to this party.
    Thank you Carol for your insights in learning. I too have felt that language should be started early in the schools rather than later. And that test scores are hampering the true value of education. Now some schools who have limited funds are cutting out physical education and sports teams. Even twenty – thirty years ago in crowded cities the arts were cut out to concentrate on the basics. Some areas schools are open all year round and the shifting schedules makes it difficult for parents who have children in different schools or even different grades in the same schools to vacation at the same time.

    While I do think it is important to use school buildings all year round – I think there could be other programs like helping seniors – more than just summer school for remedial lessons. Some schools though do offer free lunch programs. It does though all come down to money and politics.

    One of the local schools did have a summer garden. But when the woman who started the project moved on and no one else took her place…the grounds returned to grass and weeds.

    I do like though that in our city a Gent had set up a basket ball area in his backyard. However he had to move. The new owner has chosen to keep the court open and also continue to encourage the neighborhood children to have a safe place to learn and play.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for adding your wisdom and insights to the post, Jules. Sadly, I think you’re correct when you say it ‘comes down to money and politics’.
      It’s a shame about the garden project. That’s a problem when projects are reliant on one person. It’s a good thing the basketball continues. How wonderful that the neighbourhood children have a safe place to learn and play.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Pamela Wight | Norah Colvin

  5. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly Roundup…Schooldays, Salpicon and much more | Retired? No one told me!

  6. roughwighting

    Another fascinating interview. I suppose we should just face it – we bloggers are fascinating! I enjoyed reading about Carol’s school experiences and her jump from hair dressing to banking. Isn’t it amazing what we end up doing in a careers because of (or in many cases despite) what we learn in school? :-0 xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Good point, Pamela. I wonder how many writers are writers despite their schooling. I think they must be a determined bunch or nothing would ever be finished. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan Scott

    I so enjoyed this Carol and Norah thanks so much! It is a perfect way to end this day after some long distance travelling – I feel energised which is what a smile always does. Your life as a child sounds fun as it clearly is these days too! I’ll check out your blog thanks Carol and the recipes (I’m assuming you supply them) – there’s nothing quite like Thai food.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2

      Thank you, Susan, and yes a smile goes a long way and I guess most of the time I am doing that sometimes no doubt is seen as that of a maniac…haha..I look forward to seeing you over at my place and yes there are a few recipes…from all corners of the world 🙂 x

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you feel energised after reading Carol’s post, Susan. I’m sure you’ll enjoy Carol’s blog with all her delicious Thai recipes, amongst other things. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jennie

    Delightful interview! I laughed at the term “domestic science.” Back in the day we called it Home Ec(onomics). So sorry about the piano, Carol. That was unfortunate. Also, your thoughts on how schools should let children be children is absolutely true. Thank you Carol and Norah.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. CarolCooks2

    Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    School Days…How many of us were told they were the Best Days of our life? How many of us echoed that to our children and got to see the same look of disbelief? Almost all of us I am guessing…Kudos to all the good teachers out there because there are many of you so take a bow 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for participating in this series, Carol. It’s a delight to have you here. I enjoyed learning about your school days and appreciate your suggestions for improving the way education is ‘delivered’.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Miriam Hurdle

    So nice to see you here,Carol. I’m glad you learned piano growing up. I agree with you that the schools put too much emphasis on being politically correct and achievement driven. I wish student could just learn for fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2

      Thank you, Jacquie…Maths is a hot topic in our household at the moment with my grandson. We are trying to get over to him that although much of the maths taught in schools is not required in daily life or in many job roles it is, however, a requirement. Also that in life we have to accept such requirements in order to go forward…But yes I never thought as a schoolgirl I would end up in banking( neither) probably did my school teacher…haha…Life has a habit of doing that, doesn’t it? Thank you for your kind comment 🙂 x

      Liked by 2 people

  11. petespringerauthor

    Thanks again for this wonderful weekly feature, Norah. I was most interested in reading about Carol’s thoughts on how best to improve schools. Her words, “children should be allowed to be children first and foremost” matches my philosophy. There is a growing sentiment among teachers in America that we have pushed kids into academics prematurely. Kindergarten used to focus on learning to play with others in appropriate ways—now it’s all about meeting some rigid academic standards.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2

      Hi, Pete…A teacher agreeing with me..most of mine didn’t, haha…The thing I forget or omitted to say was I received a ruler across my palm on many occasions when in Senior school mainly for flaunting school dress code rules ….Always the minx…haha 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. petespringerauthor

        Such a rebel, Carol. I enjoyed some of my spunky kids; they made teaching interesting. I also liked to see a little backbone or not accepting everything at face value in kids. I knew they would not be taken advantage of if they possessed that trait.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. CarolCooks2

          It did me no harm, Norah…The deputy head just didn’t like me however the headmaster did like my choice of boots he was more forward-thinking…A lovely man …Although thinking back a copy of Nancy Sinatra’s cut out white boots were probably not suitable school attire…haha

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Norah Post author

            I’m pleased you suffered no harm, Carol, and that the headmaster was forward-thinking and on your side. Sounds like you were a fashionista at school. 🙂 I had no chance in a uniform.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2

      In part, Robbie as regards playing to a child’s strengths which is my observation, two of my grandsons went through the Aussie school system and Callam was allowed to leave at 14 years providing he had a recognised apprenticeship. He has since done extremely well as a marine engineer for Austal…If he had stayed at school I don’t know what would have happened likely expelled is my guess he hated it…:) x

      Liked by 4 people

  12. Darlene

    So nice to see Carol here and read about her school days. I so agree that languages are learned much easier at a young age. In many Europen countries, children know 4 or 5 languages before they leave school and are able to converse in all of them. I am always so impressed by that.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. CarolCooks2

          Haha…He would tell you 5 as his 5th is American..cheeky boy…He is a native English speaker but to go to a Thai school who mainly teach by rote..He had no choice it is also a Chinese Thai school so Chinese was mandatory and both my son’s wife and his nan’s family speak Laos so again he learnt Thai and Laos together hence from a young age he has learnt both and now both children just switch languages depending who they are speaking to…It always fascinates me to see with what ease they do it…Plus he corrects I am told now that I don’t sound funny when I speak Thai..all good fun here Norah, with the languages…

          Liked by 2 people

      1. Ritu

        Only wish the powers that be, aka the government, would realise just how ‘simples’ life could be!!!
        We do what we have to, but I always try and sprinkle fun into it all too!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. CarolCooks2

          I just wish I knew where they get the info for all this surely not from normal people and teachers on the ground….Probably from high flying educationalists who know diddly squat about the real world and real children…

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Norah Post author

        Learning needs to be purposeful, I think. Purpose makes it enjoyable, particularly if it is child-driven. That’s where the fun comes in. 🙂



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