An Ode To A Dolphin

Dolphin School. It is a strange name isn’t it? Dolphins are marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises and there are about forty different species. My little old school then would be the forty-first.

My memories are rather fractural but nowhere in my memory banks do I find any logical link between my wonderful scholarly arena and a friendly wet beastie. Having said this, the first image that tiptoes its way to the forefront of my consciousness when I think of the place is that big, square, white sign with the bent over, blue member of the Delphinidae Family that stands proudly at the little entrance on Waltham Road. I suppose I was a member of that family too and I’ll never forget its name.

I attended the school from 1993 up until 2000. I should have a fat, swelling bank of memories into which I can dip and share. I do. But they’re memories that wouldn’t mean much to anyone except for my friends from the time.

What memories can I share then?

Well, shared memories.

The wonderful school plays. The heady mix of teacher-led makeup, parent-aided costumes, Judy-led plays and Mr. Cooper-led music. I remember the light-hearted miming of Pinocchio one year and the demented darkness of Dream Beasts the next. And of course everyone remembers the quintessentially Dolphin-esque Pied Piper of Hamlin. I was a rat, of course.

The lack of a uniform. By golly gosh of goshington that was fantastic. As Pinkey’s Green school kids laboured home, chafing in the ‘heat’ of the English Summer [he remembers through rose-tinted glasses], I meandered gaily back in shorts and a t-shirt. Logical, liberal and loose fitting seemed to be the school’s motto. Why try and make children drool over the genius of Shakespeare if all they can think of is removing their tie. I swear if every school followed that same maxim, kids would genuinely enjoy learning more than they currently do. Yes I would have preferred not to be at school, but I didn’t hate it. From a 6-13 year old, that’s quite some achievement.

2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate, PLANTAGENET! Yellow and the best. That’s enough said about that.

Lastly I think my start in life, and my outlook on it, was greatly aided by the frankly outstanding school trips we had: Brecon Beacons, Ireland, Snowdonia, Caen, Boulogne, Iron Bridge just to name a few. The mere act of showing a child the world in which he or she lives is enough to spark an interest in it. It sparked one in me. Maybe that’s why I always opted for languages and science.

More than lastly a quick thank you to the teachers. I shan’t name names, you know who you are. Each one was inspiring, unique and did what they do best. The human resources department at the school didn’t miss a trick.

Dolphin School. Others think of a sleek, fish-hunting, pregnancy locating, clicking animal. I think of a school. My school: the very best of schools. 13.8 billion years before my life there was nothing. When I go wherever I go at the end of my life there will be nothing of me for the next billion billion years after. How lucky I was to be, how lucky I was to have met the people I’ve met and how lucky I was to have been to that little school that lurks just behind the coral, over there by the kelp.