Portrait of a Schoolboy

Sunday 01 Apr 1984

April, 1984

Filed under: Diary One - Portrait of a Schoolboy — David Matthews @ 11:18 am


Passed my driving test. It wasn’t until the evening that I thought of all the money I had paid, and it gave me great satisfaction to know that the money hasn’t been wasted.


Went to Froebel College of Higher Education for interviews in History and Religious Studies. The ratio of boys to girls is 75% female and 25% male, so I think I’ll be accepted on that basis.


While I was in bed I was having a nightmares because I felt that I had a cold. All I could think about was Woody Bear and how my run could be jeopardised by this cold that came on in the night.


I felt extremely weak and ill during my paper round, feeling depressed because I couldn’t run in Woody Bear if I felt like this. Obviously there’s Woody Bears reputation, there’s my reputation, and there’s £300 for Mencap at stake. Pleasurewood Hills are going to make a big deal of the affair.


Last night I asked mum to tell the paper shop that I wouldn’t be in this morning. I think I needed that extra bit of sleep, because I didn’t get up until 2.30pm.


There was another news paper article about Woody Bear’s run again today. The worry that was going on at this time was intense. There’s nothing worse than feeling so unenergetic, and doing hardly any physical activity, but at the same time knowing that on Sunday there was miles to be covered to maintain the reputation of Woody Bear and myself.

I’ve been asked to thank the host, read telegrams and cards and give a toast to Paul and Fiona, hoping they’ll be happy and all that. What a hassle.


It was mainly today that I paid for all the attention and admiration that was gained by the announcement of my run. I think of the wonders this simple run has done for me, but today was spent paying in worry.

I spent a good part of the afternoon in my bedroom trying to do work, shaking, feeling the worst, and looking repeatedly at the route and thinking how I’d feel at different stages.

The evening was spent in the same attitude. Finally I made up my mind I would go for a run to see how I felt. Previously I’d been trying to weigh my abilities by running short bursts in the front room. I only went for three quarters of a mile but I felt really good, and I went to bed with peace on my mind thinking, “I’m going to win the race.”


I looked in the mirror and said, “This is your day of fame.” As it turned out it was Woody’s.

After we were all off, the pattern began which I was to follow throughout the course. I waved to everybody I thought would wave back, and then I waved to everybody because they all waved back. I reached Beccles at 1.00pm. Dad told me afterwards that he had heard a child saying, “When’s the bear coming?” to which the dad replied, “Not long now.” I was greeted with applause everywhere. Practically everybody who had a camera took a picture of me. One person took a cine film of me.

When we went home we passed over the hills with ease, in that invention called the car.

My confidence for the exams is growing. I believe strongly now that I am destined for West London.


This is the last week of my morning paper round. I’m finishing because I want more time for study, I feel slightly embarrassed doing it because of my age, I know I’m getting a highly paid job in the summer and I’m jarred off with it.


When I was having breakfast I was handed a self addressed envelope and I knew it was from Froebel College. Would I be accepted or rejected. I was reasonably confident because they need males so badly, but it was a relief to find I was accepted. Now that’s off my mind – but what is still on my mind is fear of my A levels. Fear of failure increases as the dates approach.


F.O.Y. was handed over to me because nothing had been planned. We discussed the origins of man, the age of the earth, contradictions in the Bible, the possibility of Paul the apostle quoting the O.T. out of context, whether we have free will or not and how I feel Hell seems too harsh – if it exists. We also discussed other religions, and how people from all religions can have an experience or an encounter with God, thus inferring Christ was not involved, thus inferring Christianity is not the only way to God.

Pastor suggested many weeks ago that people from other religions who speak in tongues must have their power from the Devil. Christine said that in the case of other religions the Devil was mimicking God. I said that this was a dangerous attitude.

One thing that bothers me concerning “sin” is masturbation. The general picture from the Bible is that it is wrong. Jesus said that even if you think about women or men in a sexual way, then you have committed adultery in your heart. But maybe he was just saying that so that real physical adultery would not take place, with the idea that thinking leads to action. All the authors of the Bible say the same general thing, but none says, “Do not masturbate”. Why? My own theory is that, just as I am reluctant to write about it in my diary, being slightly ashamed, I believe the authors of the Bible might also be embarrassed by the subject. In the concordance to the Bible it goes from “Master” to “Master Builder”.


I worked until midnight, although the last hour was off and on as I’d had a pint of lager and a bottle of red wine. In that state I tried to think about the exams in a realistic way – because funny enough I think one can be more realistic when intoxicated. However I can’t remember what my conclusion was.


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