John Taylor: Apostrophes rule

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O’ Miss Uren from ‘Educating Yorkshire,’ it would be such bliss for us to snuggle in front of a roaring log fire, glass of port in hand, and for you as an English teacher to slowly unveil the mysteries of the apostrophe.

Hey ho. Dream on. But alas, the puzzle of the endangered apostrophe remains.

Yet it must serve some purpose, and indeed, the sign at Stony Stratford advertising a Farmers Market is in need of such clarification.

Is it one bloke selling his produce, ie a farmer’s market, or a collective effort, ie a farmers’ market.

But then the Womens Institute is the Women’s Institute, although they must surely have more than one member.

As does the Boys Brigade, because it’s the Boys’ Brigade. O’ for an English teacher, to ‘get it sorted.’

And on the subject of English teachers, perhaps Bletchley readers of my era remember Mrs Leisenring, Mr Willis, or Mrs Celia Duncan, who was affectionately known to us spotty faced kids as ‘Dolly’.

Celia was the daughter of Mr Ernest Cook, headmaster of the Bletchley Road Secondary School and, having in June 1941 obtained an A grade in the English Distinction Paper, in the Higher Oxford Exam, she would pursue the same career as her father.

Then living at 3 Cottingham Grove, after teaching at Church Green Road School, she joined the staff of Wilton School, also in Bletchley, to teach history and English, subsequently moving to the Grammar School. Her home was now in the village of Nash, while as for her father, after retiring in August 1953 he and his wife would make their home at Flat 1, Shenley Park, Shenley Church End.

Celia has now sadly passed away but in recent years she was an invaluable source of inspiration and knowledge in my local history pursuits.

And so I can only hope that my later endeavours would have met with my ex teacher’s approval. As with all my ex teachers’ approval.