Back in Time for School – Alison Howard

Paperwork complete, night spent near Coventry in a glamping pod (all that fell within the overnight budget agreed), husband saying that canal boat builders are better designers of the limited space available, breakfast good though I couldn’t eat much of it – suddenly the nerves struck home. Now it was off to Bablake School.

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Bablake School

Made required ‘phone call on arrival and met the Wall to Wall team (TV production team). Why FLexercise? Because we were Fitness League and it keeps that link – oh that’s great you must put that into your introduction. I hoped I could remember to say it.

So, to get ready, up to the 21st century Sixth Form Common Room, the break-out room. Help yourself to whatever want, whenever you want. Someone will come and collect you at 9.30. Get changed, I’m in today’s wear but no branded clothing, however, I do opt for our brand colours and seeing we are filming outside go for the purple t-shirt – do hope it doesn’t look as if it has been too worn and loved.  I’m raring to go by 9.30, getting anxious by 10.00 and by 10.10 I’m petrified.

I was led onto the field in front of the school – the boys were doing something with horses indoors! I presume gymnastic horses; even so couldn’t they be outside? Remember that hot summer we had?  Lawrence Walters 281468 UnsplashYou will have to stop every 15 minutes for the girls to have a drink. The girls are dressed in clothing of 1937; out they come with two teachers dressed very elegantly. Aertex shirts and shorts was what I wore in the ‘60s so I wonder if that is really right. Never mind let’s get started. Got to make sure we only have the old school building in the shots.

Mic all wired up and off we go and then stop. Can someone move the plastic folder out of shot? It’s mine and contains my various papers and my I-pod (taken along just in case). A member of the team becomes its bearer.  A blip with the music – to be expected, and off we go again. We start with a couple of routines with Mary Bagot Stack telling us what to do. I’m trying desperately to remember what comes next and to hear the music for some sense of timing (no rehearsing with the girls first – they just had to exercise!).

Now to the floor section.“I’m not sitting on the grass”, “oooh there’s a creature there”. Guillaume De Germain 1031284 UnsplashThe girls examine said creature and it is removed with great difficulty, along with further examination and an attempt at identification (some sort of ant I presume).

I point out that we must take care where the cameras are pointing as we are going to be lifting up our legs. Ow, the battery pack for the mic is painful in my lower back. Off we go again.

‘We’re running short of time’ says one of the team. ‘Is there something you can do to round it off?’

‘Yes’, I confidently say, wondering what on earth to do. However, off the top of my head, we do some movements without music.

We forgot to do the introductions at the start, so we brush off the grass we have collected by lying down and do the start at the end. Great stuff, but an aeroplane went overhead so could we do it again, and you could you make your speech shorter?

‘No, No’ comes the cry from the Wall to Wall team ‘we want the link from Women’s League of Health and Beauty to FLexercise’. So repeat performance and at the end – an aeroplane overhead. Someone pipes up, ‘you do realise we are under the flight path from Birmingham Airport?’ So, when watching the programme, listen out for the aeroplane in 1937.

‘One last thing, we need to film you putting the record on the gramophone player P1050675 (002)and one of the teachers winding it up’ This made me smile as the actual music came from an MP3 player under the table!

I go over and thank the girls. They were great and really entered into the spirit of the day.

Finished. Where’s my folder bearer? Walkie talkies to the fore as the person can’t be found. I wouldn’t be too worried except my I-pod is in there. Phew, she appears and I am reunited with my modern technology.  I’m dismissed, use the wrong staircase to the Common Room and get lost.

Conclusion; flexibility is the name of the game not only in body but also in mind.

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