Monday, 6 February 2017

Restoring things!

Yesterday i wrote about Kapka Kassabova, a writer I had only just heard of, and assumed this was a male writer. Wrong! A female writer! Fancy my jumping to stereotyped conclusions like that. That will teach me to check facts before I put pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard for that matter. She seems to write very nicely, judging by the excerpts from her books included in the later article I read about her:-

 "One evening, when mist had risen from the river, chill and clammy on the skin like a ghost, a Belgian guy arrived in the village in the valley."

Describing a flat: "the carpets full of cigarette ash and old sorrows".

Of course, I have no idea how these words sound in the original Bulgarian. Translated, they become the kind of words you would like to have written yourself.

Meanwhile, here I am, still spluttering about the daftness of the USA. On Thursday Republicans voted to overturn a rule that restricted the sale of firearms to people with severe mental illnesses. Maybe it's because it was an Obama administration law that the Republicans wanted to get rid of it but really, how can anyone think it's a good idea for people who are bi-polar or schizophrenic to be able to buy guns easily? But then a whole lot of people have a funny-peculiar attitude to guns in the USA. Here's a sort of vaguely connected link to an article where Rich Hall rants a good deal more amusingly than I ever could about the banning of immigrants to the USA.

Back on our side of the Pond, there has been a good deal in the press about boys being beaten decades ago in summer camps organised by posh schools, possibly in conjunction with the church. Giles Fraser has been writing about his experience in the Guardian. Here's what he had to say.

I was particularly struck by the fact that even though judicial corporal punishment for adults was banned in 1947, it only became illegal for all schoolchildren in England and Wales in 1999!!! As late, as recently as that? I remember being a young teacher in the 1970s and turning down the opportunity to have permission to "strap" pupils. It meant I could not send miscreants along to more senior members of staff if they challenged me because I knew that those senior members of the profession might well get out their leather strap and wallop the aforementioned miscreants. I had seen them practising on tables in the staff room and did not want to have anything to do with it. More and more of us found other ways to persuade our more recalcitrant little dears to do what we said!

I thought it had disappeared from our schools long before the end of the 20th century. It was something from a dim and increasingly distant past. My husband and his friends still recount tales of corporal punishment at their boys' grammar in the 1960s: whacks around the head, slippers (ie gym shoes) on the backside, canes of various thicknesses! But that was the 1960s!

And none of this went on at my girls' grammar school. Were bright girls simply more civilised that bright boys?

Is this one of the things that some people would like to see brought back into our odd world?

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