Hieroglyphs and Pine Trees on Murals

In my prep school it was customary to do art, pottery and woodwork. My bowl and ashtrays weren’t all that great, to understate. I enjoyed the glazing part. My four legged table was unstable. The wooden bowl that we had to chisel ended up with a big hole in it. The teachers knew that I was not gifted. So, when it came time to do the large class Christmas mural, I was charged with the safe task of doing pine trees.

I had previously been traumatised in an African convent school by having to draw bible scenes. I got low marks for Religious Education because my geezers with beards were pants.

On the class 10metre long mural I did 90% of the pine trees. A few green triangles on a wooden stick were within the scope of my painting ability.

After common entrance I staid back {August 30th birthday} to take the scholarship exams. I won the science scholarship to the big boys’ school.

Unfortunately, Zimbabwe was being born and there were terrorists / freedom fighters near our town. My mum wanted to leave so we came back to the UK. Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines had been paying my school fees. My dad was in a temporary job so we started at the local comprehensive school.

According to the rules I had to do something creative and as the woodwork projects were term long, it was decided that I must do art. They asked me if I was any good at physics. I said it was not my strongest so they put me in set 2 out of 5, which was an eyeopener.

I had been in a quaint hundred pupil boys prep school and now I was in 1500 people school with huge girls. I was the only boy in the top French set with 27 girls / women.

I explained to the art teacher that I was a pine tree sort of guy. She knew that I was probably only temporary. She thought, “Um, what might we give you to draw / copy?” “I know hieroglyphs.”

So, for the month I was at that school I sat on a bench on my own copying a coloured picture of a scroll of hieroglyphs. I found out that I could do these reasonably well.

Then I transferred into a boy only grammar school. Luckily the technical drawing classes, woodwork and art classes were all well into their projects.  

My one month’s exposure to hieroglyphs was the last bit of drawing I had to do apart from sketches in biology at which I did not excel.

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