I began teaching in a primary school in the  slum of Fulham in the late 1950s

I had wept my way through teaching practices.

I knew one just had to be well- planned and interesting.

I was given a class of forty 7-8year olds, C stream, so most couldn’t yet read.

I hadn’t learnt how to tell them I was well planned and interesting.

I managed to keep my weeping to Sunday nights.  Everyone said:


                                                                              “You’ll give up”. 

One Sunday evening when I’d gone home to where my mother helped me make interesting teaching aids, I found “The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse” by Ursula Moray Williams. I had forgotten it. It had first come out in 1938 and I was born in 1934 so it must have been read to me when I was very young. The huge effect it had returned as soon as I opened it. I made a miniature model of the little wooden horse as an extra interesting aid, and took the book back with me.


The following Monday afternoon, I gave this model to a boy who had shown no sign that he could sit anywhere for more than two seconds.  I said “You can hold this while I read a story, and when I read the next chapter tomorrow, I will give it to the person who sits quietest now”. He sat frozen for the whole session, as did the rest of the class. From then, every day ended with a quiet room and when the bell rang I could point to a group and say “You can leave”, and then another.


                                                                             I began to survive.

How do the Seahorses come in? One of the most overwhelming incidences in the story is when the little wooden horse is swimming back across the sea with his hollow body full of golden sovereigns for his starving master. He is challenged by real seahorses who try to drown him because he dares call himself a “horse”.


Later in life when my life was divided between teaching and sculpting I made a few models of how I thought the seahorses would have been as a threatening wave. Later still, in rash old age, I had a six foot version cast by the Tassis foundry in Athens.


The large Seahorses is now installed in a sea of long grass and wild flowers overlooking the Weald of Kent. It looks at home there but maybe it should have a home by water, preferably by the sea.


Now I have survived making this website. I thought it might save me from Altzeimers. It has felt more like giving it to me.