Doctor doctor

Our next writing group meeting will be when we present our attempts at being creative around the word ‘Doctor’. We all have marvellous ideas about topics and challenges when we’re not together, but at the end of a meeting, when we have shared our writing, our minds go collectively blank, which is why so often a single blurted word is chosen for the next session. So ‘Doctor’… so difficult to be original with something like this… hmmm… doctor…

The doctor I had as a child was a Dr Apthorpe Webb, who had been my dad’s family doctor. I remember him as rather kindly but can’t altogether recall what he looked like, black rimmed- glasses, I seem to think. Over the years, of course I’ve had many different doctors as I’ve lived in different places, but the next doctor I recall was the headmistress of the school I went to when our family moved to Weston-super-Mare. Going to school there was like stepping back into the dark ages compared to the school I’d been fortunate to attend in Cambridge. The headmistress in Weston was Dr Mavis Beale, and I was distinctly unimpressed by her – my previous head had been somewhat monstrous, Dr Beale, was kindly but insipid.

The next doctor in my life was the man who interviewed me and changed my life. I didn’t do very well in my A-levels, for various reasons, in fact I didn’t do so so well that not only did I not get into Uni, I didn’t even get into anywhere through clearing. Out of the blue, as my friends were preparing to go away and start a new academic life, and I didn’t know what I was going to do, I was rung up by Dr Chivers who asked me to come for an interview at the very new Manchester Polytechnic. I went to Manchester, had the interview with the very jolly Dr C. and within a week was packing my bags to go back there to do a degree in English and History and French! What an absolute stroke of luck! Not luck to get in (although that too!) , but luck that I did so badly that in my exams that I was not given a place anywhere else! Manchester Poly was brilliant, the degree I did was excellent, the friends I made were life-long! So thank you very much Dr Chivers (even if you did describe on of my essays as ‘journalistic bombast’!) I’m not sure I remember many other significant doctors, my dear Uncle Sid Elsden was a Dr of microbiology before he was a prof, my childhood beat friend’s dad and my dad’s boss and friend was Dr. S. M. Partridge…

I’ve had various doctors in my life, but I’m not sure I can actually write about any of them as an offering to the group next week… I must put my thinking cap on…

My featured image is of the remains of the faculty of Manchester Poly I attended, the College of Commerce, in a very sad state when it was being “renovated” a few years ago.

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