Fiction Romance


Brian grew up on a farm a mile and a half from the nearest village and two miles from the school in that village. After leaving the village there was a footpath along one side of a rural road which lead to the village church, nearly three-quarters of a mile from the beginning of the village. After half a mile a muddy track ran for a mile up to the farm. The nearest  house to Brian’s was more than a mile away in any direction.

He usually arrived at school with muddy wellingtons which often smelt of farmyard manure. As he lived so far away he rarely had time to play before school as by the time he changed into shoes the bell would go. At the end of school he started for home as soon as possible in the hope he would get a ride on his father’s tractor up the lane.

He enjoyed primary school and found it easy to make friends at playtime but no one was willing, or if they were their parents were not, to take the journey to play at Brian’s home. Brian’s parents were not happy for him to play in the village unless they could take him, which was very rarely possible with all the work they needed to do on the farm. So Brian got used to playing on his own.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brian loved feeding the animals and helping around the farm but when he was about nine he realised that the pig’s carcase hanging up in the pantry was his favourite pig Percy who had been taken away whilst he was at school. He decided that he did not want to eat any other of the farm animals, except for chickens – they were such stupid creatures. When he was twelve he was scything nettles in the kitchen run and a hen stood up and started to run, just at the wrong moment. To Brian’s horror he sliced of the chicken’s head, but still ran with blood spurting from its neck. So Brian became a full vegetarian.

Before he was ten he realised that unless he was willing to rear animals for slaughter he was not going to be a farmer. His parents came to the same decision and wondered what he would be able to do to earn a living. They were delighted when Brian passed the eleven plus and was offered a place at the local grammar school. Luckily a bus company had recently started a regular service and Brian could catch the bus at his end of the village. Arrangements were made with one of his father’s friends for Brian to be able to change his boots in the friend’s shed and leave them there for the day.

The bus took three quarters of an hour to make the ten mile journey round the country roads to the town .Brian was the only boy from the village that had ever passed to go to the grammar school so he was still very much a loner. The grammar school was for boys only and had a strict uniform that had to be worn. No boy was allowed to talk to any girl – Brian was told that one boy had been caned when his sister stopped him to give him a message from his mother. As the school uniform stood out Brian studiously avoided any contact with girls in the town or on the bus.

Brian did not enjoy grammar school he found most of the lessons boring and hated the fact that most of the teachers would not answer his questions. The exception was a young history teacher who made history live and positively encouraged questions.  The only other member of staff that he enjoyed was the school Chaplin. He was impressed with the Chaplain’s sincerity and took to heart everything that the Chaplain said. He thought the Chaplain was right when he talked about the sanctity of marriage and the need to respect females and not take advantage of them.

After he had passed his GCE ‘0’ levels his father asked him what he wanted to do. “Please can I stay and take ‘A’ level in History, English and Economic and Public Affairs and try and get a place in a teacher’s training college? I want to help other children learn by making my lessons exciting and answering children’s’ questions.”

His parents were delighted. They could manage well enough without Brian earning and knew he would get a full grant so that going to college would not cost them anything – even his living and pocket money would be covered. So at eighteen he applied to several teacher training colleges.

His first interview was at an old established male only college in London. When he saw the college he thought it looked much like his school and he did not enjoy the interview. The interview took place in the Principal’s office and was conducted by the Principal. Brian sat facing the Principal and the Vice-Principal sat behind him. Brian did not know whether to turn round or to keep facing the Principal when the Vice-Principal asked him a question. He went home very disillusioned and did not expect, or want, to be offered a place.

The second interview was at a brand new college in the midlands and was one of the first to have a mixed sex intake. When he arrived at the college he saw just how new it was. The main building was complete but the rest of the campus was a building site. There were about twenty others to be interviewed and they were all invited into the brand new dining room and offered coffee and cake before the Principal addressed them. He said that although the college was for men and women he expected exemplary behaviour. Women would be housed one side of the main drive and men the other. No one was permitted to be on the wrong side of the drive before 3.00 p.m. or after 7.00 p.m. One or two people seemed disappointed by this news but it made no difference to Brian he was not really bothered that it was a mixed sex college – just that it was new. The Principal then talked about his ambition for the college to be not just the best in the U.K. but the best in the world.

Brian was interviewed by the head of history and the head of education. He found the interviews stimulating and when asked if he wanted to train for secondary, primary or for junior secondary by the head of education had to ask what the third option meant. He was told that the college anticipated some new schools being built and expected them to be called middle schools. Taking a junior secondary course would mean that one would be among the first trained for this kind of school but – if middle schools did not come into being- one would be equally equipped to teach in a Junior or secondary school. So Brian opted for that option adding if he was offered a place.

Two weeks later he had an offer from his first and his second interviews and an invitation to a third interview. He had no hesitation in accepting the second college which was obviously nothing like his grammar school. So sent a letter to third college thanking them for the offered interview but saying he would not attend.

He soon settled into his college and got used to having lectures and seminars where women outnumbered men. He found that he had to work really hard to compete with the women in his groups as they were very conscientious – the men, in the main were very laid back sure that they would pass and that was all they needed to do.

Throughout the three years Brian got on well with all the students he met but never really made and friends except at a superficial level. Although he took an active part in college life he did not have a girl friend, in the accepted sense, but was friendly with most of the girls he met. He did become close to a girl in his history group. They both wanted to be top of the year and they found working together improved their grades.  Although they spent a lot of time together it was a strictly platonic relationship.

Middle schools had still not come into being, so Brian took a post in a junior school not far from his parents’ bungalow. They had sold the farm and retired when Brian was in his final year at college.  His mother had kept asking if he had met any nice girls when he was at college. Brian always replied that all of them were nice.

“But is there one that you are really close to?”

“Well yes Pat.”

“Is she pretty? Do you take her out?”

“I suppose she’s quite good looking and we spend a lot of time together almost every day working on improving our ability to produce a well reasoned history essay.”

“So what do you do when you’ve finished working together?

“She goes back to her friends and I go and play rugby or go back to my room.”

 His mother despaired she wanted grand children and working on history essays was not going to help. When he took his first job she thought things might change when he told her that, apart from the head, he was the only man on the staff. However she became even more dispondent when he said that the women were much older than him, in fact,­­­ the youngest had been a student and taught him when he was in junior school.

Brian became very interested in drama at college he enjoyed working back stage and was stage manager for all the college performances in his third year. The head, at his first school, was keen for children to put on plays and Brian wrote and produced several which were well received. So when he saw that there was to be a summer school for two weeks during the summer holidays to learn stagecraft, scenery making, prop production and producing he signed up.

He wasn’t surprised that women outnumbered the men on the course by more than two to one. At the first session the tutor paired of people so they could work together. She stressed it was important to get close to your partner so you really cared about the other’s performance when trying dialogue and dance routines. His partner was a blond, attractive woman who, he thought, was a few years older than him.

They got on well together, they found their dialogue exercises worked well and they were naturals at working together with dance routines. During the second week they started going to the pub together in the evening in Brian’s sports car. On the third evening she kissed him good bye when they parted. They ended up kissing and cuddling in the car every evening after that but it did not go any further. Apart from Brian’s belief that anything more was wrong before marriage there was not much room in a low slung, narrow, two-seater sports car.

On the final evening, just before they parted, Brian asked if he could visit her some weekends and in school holidays. Her reply took him completely by surprise.

“I don’t think my husband would approve.”

“But you’re not wearing a wedding ring. I thought you were single.”

“My ring had become too tight so I took it to a jeweller to have it loosened before I came to this course. I have really enjoyed being with you and I’d like to show you how much I care for you. My husband no longer believes in romance and sleeps in a separate room so I wonder I thought you could come and spend tonight in my bed with me. I couldn’t ask before as I am sure men in the women’s block is not allowed and we would be caught but on the last night ... My window is next to the door that you can see by those bushes when you’ve parked the car come back and knock on the window and I’ll let you in. My husband is picking me up straight after breakfast. You’ll need to leave before seven in the morning anyway so that none of the other girls see you.”

With that she kissed him and got out of the car.

“See you soon,” she said as she jubilantly skipped up the path.

Brian couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. He thought that what they had had was special and had hoped that he might marry her. After a moment he drove to the car parking area. Got out. Locked his car and went to his room.

He had no intention of sleeping with a married woman and did not believe in sex before marriage. He knew he wouldn’t meet her again as breakfasts were served in separate dining rooms for men and women.  It was some years later before he married and he was still a virgin on his wedding night.

February 18, 2021 18:50

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