Friday, 28 February 2014

Six Of The Best

Fergie got belted. It's in the newspapers and on the wireless this morning. Alex got the belt off his teachers at Broomloan Rd School for fighting in the playground and suchlike, and one of them gave him the belt with such determination, personality and energy, that it turned him into a world class football manager, capable of hairdrying his team with a force familiar to all who frequent Govan's streets.

Round the table tonight, we reminisce on the good old days of corporal punishment. 
What did you get the belt for? 
Forgetting books, forgetting to get books covered, forgetting homework, forgetting a note for an absence and - something I got caught at a coupla times - forging a note.
"Tillie Tells A Tale" got the belt on an almost daily basis for . . . you guessed it - talking.
Eric got a hefty belting for running a card school at the back of the science lab - not before he'd done well out of it though.

A common offence was answering nature's call. You put your hand up and asked to be excused. The teacher would say, "On you go, but when you come back, you will be belted." 
You had to weigh up which would cause the greater discomfort. Most people chose to visit the lavvy cos it gave you a chance to get out of the class for five minutes. 
One morning, the heidie came into our classroom and spoke in a hushed tone to the teacher, all the while casting his eyes malevolently up and down the single rows where we sat.
Then he summoned 8 year old William to the front. He got belted twice in front of us all by the headmaster because he had urinated on the floor and on the seat of the stinky outside toilets.

Headmasters had the most heavily weighted belts and routinely adminstered beltings to the bad boys, including Sammy M in my class. Young Samuel, always set off with a show of bravado and came back blowing on his hands to cool the pain, tears rolling down his cheeks.

The sting was tremendous, probably due to the salt and pepper the heidie sprinkled on it.

Edward got belted on his first day of secondary. The teacher asked who didn't have a pen and he put up his hand, thinking that one would kindly be given to him.
Eh, naw. Him and the other pen-less pupils got lined up and belted.
From that day onward, he got belted every day, at least once, until he left in fourth year.
His most memorable belting was at a snowy lunchtime. He was pounding his pals with snowballs and a few went astray and hit a car and a girl. Edward got hauled inside and belted x 6. There he stood in the corridor, just wearing a jumper, shirt and trousers, his hair wringing, his feet soaking and his hands stinging with pins and needles. The radiator was glowing against the wall and Edward seized the chance to reach out to it to soothe his aching palms. Aaarrgh! The heat on his freezing hands magnified the agony ten fold and left him with tears in his eyes.

Donny's physics teacher belted each and every one of his pupils on the day before the belt was banned in the 1980s. Class that day was just waiting in a queue to get the belt before it became illegal to use it. 
Funnily enough, in our 1970s class debates about the belt, I remember most of us pupils being in favour of keeping it. We must have had an inkling of what would happen if it was taken away.
And, turns out we were right.

Everyone agrees the PT department really did stand for Physical Torture. Those teachers were pretty vicious - although we can all think of science teachers, and maths teachers, and English teachers, and history teachers who can rival them. Not so much music teachers, or art of course; too woolly.

Again, you had to weigh up the discomfort of gym activities against getting the belt for forgetting your gym kit.
Best story of the night from Robert. He broke his arm and it was in a plaster cast. Double PE loomed and it was swimming. I'll have to sit it out thinks he, and so doesn't pack his swimming gear. 
At the poolside, the teacher orders those who don't have their kit to line up. 
"Ye're getting belted," he roars. 
"Sir, Ah've broke ma erm," says Robert confidently.
"Just put the one hand up then!" is the reply and the Lochgelly tawse swishes smartly through the air.

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