Friday, 29 July 2016


I was browsing the old Kodachrome Archive the other day and was disappointed - not with what was there, but what was missing.  I'm thinking Taunton, in the West Country, where I lived for 2 years in the late 80s.

Christmas lights in Taunton - down by the River Tone. 1987
Taunton was where I had my first real paying job, after graduating.  Teaching at the Richard Huish Sixth Form College, which was a great place to learn your craft.  The kids were lovely to teach, full of life and enthusiasm and just beginning to realise that they were about to inherit the world.   I say kids, although I was only a few years older than most of them.

As anyone who has ever taught knows, things are pretty full on at the beginning of your career.  Ideally you are at least 2 steps ahead of the students, but of course it doesn't always work out like that...and that's when you have to learn the essential art of bluffing.  Of course after a while you begin to relax into the job and realise that admitting 'Actually, I don't know the answer to that question' can lead to one of the best learning experiences for everyone in the classroom.  But it takes time before you are confident enough to go down that road.

So I don't remember thinking much about anything else other than lesson preparation and marking during the Taunton years.  Well, I do remember having to have another hip replacement towards the end of my first year of teaching - probably as a result of all that prep and marking.  But I was young and (ankylosing spondylitis aside) I was pretty healthy so I was back at work 6 weeks post op.

I really did like Taunton - the people were very friendly and I always thought it would be a lovely place to live when I was about 50.  But when you are twenty-five you want action and adventure and so after a couple of years I upped sticks and headed for the bright lights of Brighton.  More of that another day.


  1. It's nice to learn something... and just now I learned a little but probably very significant thing about teaching. Or maybe I already knew it had to be that way, but it's always nice to know.
    And I learned a small bit about Taunton, which is a piece of the world I've never been to and actually never read too much about until right now. Google maps and everything, as you do these days.
    And a nice set of Kodachromes as well, of course. Reminds me that we're heading for winter and such...

    1. Autumn/winter colours always tempt me to stick in a Provia slide film for a change. Just the odd one, you understand ;)