Barry Jackson Writes

Recently received from one our most prolific contributors, Barry Jackson (Warning contains medical references)
Please stop blowing this cold, wet and windy weather my way (editor). Well, the good old NHS or should that be in anticipation the NHUSA cancelled my last appointment on the Thursday before the Reunion so I would have been able to attend after all.

Anyhow, it looks like everyone enjoyed themselves, some even more so because of my absence perhaps. I do expect the landlord at The Bull (my old watering hole) would have been the only one financially put out by my non-show. I did get through my earlier visit to the Dermatology Department, however. they did several examinations of my skin and concentrated a lot of effort on my fingernails which have been steadily disintegrating, they took numerous photos of my hands to use as a marker against future changes. They concluded I don’t have any fungal infections and that the problem is probably a combination of Raynaud’s and my low Thyroid levels. You’re never going to guess how difficult it is to do simple things like pull on socks without complete hard nails. At least it doesn’t look like I’m going to lose any fingers or parts thereof which is great news, as at my age I don’t want to start learning to use a different hand to wipe my nether regions.

Anyhow, the outcome is another load of blood letting, I get the feeling they might have misplaced my earlier results or there’s a market for my blood in some faraway Chinese province. I don’t feel any worse in myself, I’m walking and bowling regularly but just feel so lethargic afterwards. I refuse to accept the theory that this is all due to the numbers on my birth certificate. I don’t know if I’ll get any treatment as I noticed that N.I.C.E have recently concluded much thyroid replacement treatment is either unnecessary or inefficient. I’m more concerned that they locate my missing white blood cells, I’ve personally looked inside the settee and down the back of the dog without success!

I did like the collection of reunion photographs from the CVTHS Archive and I recognised many of them, it’s just a pity some pictures lacked the names of the lads in view, however, many thanks to those who took the time to collect and submit the content.

One of the things raised in the subsequent Comments sections was the ability of many to reel off the names of the colleagues in their class. As you might recall Derek Ash and I have long debated if 1U -1959 consisted of 29 or 30 boys, we can certainly recall 29. I insist there was another but can’t name him. One of the exercises I would be willing to undertake is to collate a list  maybe class by class of all those attended who Cray Valley before, for obvious reasons it will soon become impossible. Well that’s all at the moment as I have get outside and chase the Polar Bears off the lawn before my own keeper returns.

Barry Jackson

About Colin Cadle

I trained as a pilot at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell flying jets and qualified as a captain on Wessex search and rescue helicopters in the Gulf. However, my professional future was destined to be firmly back on the ground... In 1976 a chance introduction to Julie Andrews' husband film producer Blake Edwards really kicked off my interest in photography after he invited me onto the set of the Peter Sellers' now classic film 'The Pink Panther Strikes Again' at Shepperton Studios. Stills photographer David Farrell further fired my enthusiasm when, during a break in filming, I was offered a short photo shoot with leading fashion model and 'Bond girl' actress Maud Adams. From that moment on art and photography have always played a major part in my life. I now live in the beautiful southwest corner of England with​ my designer and photo-stylist wife Jan. Following a serious illness in 2016 we were forced to leave commercial photography behind us but this now allows me to concentrate solely on creating art from my studio in Devon

4 responses »

  1. Johnny Wakeham says:

    Barry. So sorry you couldn’t make the reunion, and then frustratingly might have been able to do so. You were missed.
    With great thanks to Mick Abbott and Colin Cadle, it was indeed a splendid occasion. There was a particularly good turn out of the year of fifty-niners (including our adopted Bob Jones). Much talk of soccer, with due respect to John Conway.
    For the elusive No 30 in our class, was it not in 2U or 3U when Palmer (tall with spectacles) joined our happy band?
    Best wishes with your dealings with the Skin doctors, the Thyroid doctors and the Bleeding Haematologists. Is there not a black pudding factory near you?
    Might your white blood cells be going to the white pudding factory?
    Good luck with the Polar Bears.


    • BARRY JACKSON says:

      Great to hear from you Johnny, your thoughts on black puddings leaves me with another avenue of exploration. I must say you were looking well from my view of the photos of the reunion. I have never included young Palmer in my class count, as you rightly recall he was a “late comer” I think he joined our happy throng in 1961 during our branding as 3U. I think we were having a physics lesson on light/optics in a darkened lab on the second level when there was a knock at the door, its opening revealed the said Palmer bathed in sunlight. It seemed quite eerie because one could only view a faceless, tall silhouette until he entered the room. I don’t think he had a happy time with us, especially as far as sporting activities went (I realise he wasn’t the only one). Mr Carr who always tried to get the best out of each boy in terms of his physical stature, hence I became a lolloping prop, assumed the tall Palmer would excel at Basketball. This proved unfounded as Palmer lacked the co-ordination and strength to pursue the game. I’m certain he didn’t follow the majority of 3U that morphed into 4S the next year. I can’t even recall if he was the D.R or S.J Palmer mention in the “Rook” despatches of 1965. By the way did you get to meet our old fearsome flanker Mike Reilly?


    • John Conway says:

      Nice to hear from you John, it seems a long time ago since I came back to your house in Orpington supposedly to do my homework! Interesting to hear that there was much talk of soccer especially as most of you played rugby. I think if I remember rightly soccer only started when we began our time at Cray Valley, many parents lobbied the school to introduce it.
      It would be nice to meet up for lunch somewhere, I live in Hassocks a village just north of Brighton, maybe Tunbridge Wells would be convenient for you. Let me know what you think. John


      • Johnny Wakeham says:

        John, you took me to Stamford Bridge for my first Chelsea football match, ?63/64. ? 2nd division, ? V Bury.
        I will get in touch re the Tunbridge Wells reunion when I return from travelling.


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