Teaching Practice .. and Romance

by Dai Griffiths

I returned to Killerton for a second term early January 1972, and before I knew it I was off to Bodmin Secondary Modern for teaching practice. Aged just 18 and a half I was not much older than some of the pupils and  was not all that well prepared but thankfully I had Martin Hannant and Jeremy Snow staying in the same digs and they were a great help, not that I saw much of them after the 1st week as things turned out. Our lodgings were very comfortable and the very pretty landlady was extremely friendly we were situated up the hill in Bodmin towards the Gaolhouse Nightclub centrally situated beteeen the town centre and the school.

The headmaster was Mr Jenkins, a Welshman who was on the committee of Bodmin rugby team (they did not have a clubhouse at the time but operated from a local pub), the P.E. teacher was Mr Goodman, a really nice young man who helped me and gave me a great welcome. I taught P.E.and history  - luckily Welsh castles was the main topic as I've never been too keen on history,just felt there was no future in it ! On the P.E front, lessons were mainly rugby, 5-a-side football, rugby, swimming, rugby, cross country, rugby, circuit training in the gym and more rugby though for my pains I once had to take the 6th form girls for educational gymnastics,dance,arches and curls. Then one day Martin Underwood turned up and I had to do a full day of gymnastics in the gym with vaulting etc.

We drove down to Bodmin on the Sunday and on the first evening visited the local, the Duke of Cornwall, great beer and a very attractive young barmaid. The first day in school a pupil came up to me and said "Sir, my sister fancies you". Fortunately she was not a pupil at the school, but it turned out to be the barmaid, the landlords daughter - and romance blossomed,  I thought I was in heaven, a pretty young lady, in a pub, with colour telly (so I could watch Wales play). The only time we were apart was on rugby training nights, Saturday afternoons and schooltime of course.

On the rugby front I had a great time earning the nickname the Barry John of Bodmin aftere scoring the winner in a local derby against Lankelly.

The four weeks flew and I retuned to Killerton with a heavy heart but soon took the train down to Bodmin for the weekend.This time we were playing Helston so quite a long trip and a few beers on the way back, Allison wasn't too pleased and there was an ultimatum I think, rugby or me, so that was the end of the relationship.
I will always remember the Valentines day with a special card for Allison and the following verse written with the help of Jeremy mainly, it went as follows -

Bodmin to some means granite and wind,
and rain and iced puddles too.
But Bodmin to me means love in my heart,
for Bodmins the place I met you.
When you read this I will be gone my love,
still dreaming of walks in the rain,                                                                 
but I want you to know I am longing my love,

for the time when I will see you again