Our Old School

I can remember Grantchester Road in Cambridge where I lived for under a year when I was 6 going on 7; I remember the flowers and the grass, and the ponies and the fields. But most importantly, I remember the school.     

At first, we went to St Paul’s in Cambridge, my brother and I, but they were too strict about food. They wouldn’t let my brother play football unless he ate his Brussel sprouts! 

That won’t do, my Dad said, so he went off to look for another school to move us to, and there it was, this magnificent school, The Church of England, Granchester School. Every morning my Dad took us down the country winding lane to Grantchester and every evening he picked us up.

The school was like a beehive and we loved going there. There were only three teachers, one KS1 and one KS2 who was the head, and one music teacher.     

My brother Bashar and I

Every Friday we went to the village church and sang; I loved singing and had no idea what my religion was! When I was asked if I was Christian, I just said yes. Muslim and Christian both sounded the same to me. 

One day, my father came early and found me coming back with the rest of the children from the church. He asked me why I went, and I told him. Then he asked me if I knew I was Muslim, and I said, no, and I don’t care, I just want to sing. He laughed and said ok, you go ahead.

I loved reading too. I was only supposed to take two books home to read at the weekend, but I wanted more, and when the head teacher was asked if that would be ok, she said of course. I took 4 books home every weekend and couldn’t wait to get home to drop onto the carpet in the living room and start reading, while inhaling the aroma of my gorgeous Mum’s cooking. 

We had a pretend vegetable and fruit stall and pretend money to learn how to do maths and we went out for walks to learn about wildlife and plants; we had one day when we went swimming and one day when it was story time. I loved making short cookies, I loved playing in the fields in front of our house and I loved going to visit the ponies at the top of our road. They are gone now, and some allotments are there instead…I loved being in the Brownies. 

We went back to Baghdad and I loved my school there too, but that childhood year in Grantchester was always more vivid in my mind than the years that followed in Iraq. I had it in my mind that one day I would come back.           

Bashar and I as grown ups

Years went by and I finished my studies in Vienna and lo and behold, I married an English man! I moved to the north of England with him, but I made sure that I went to Grantchester  at the first opportunity I got.  

I cried when I found the school and saw that it was turned into a private home. I met some lovely ladies in the church who pointed me towards a lady who had been in charge of the village gazette; I visited her at her lovely home and she welcomed me and remembered me as her girls went to school with us at the time. The lady told me all about what happened with the school about a year after we left…. 
                                                      
Years went by and I had a daughter and left my husband and went back to stay with my parents, first in Jordan, then in Dubai. 

My daughter Fairouz and I
I started planning my return once more! 
We would either go to Vienna where I spent the best years of my adult life or to Cambridge. 

We finally decided on Cambridge and here we are again. 

It’s fantastic and I love it….

 

Rasha Lulua a piano teacher lives in Caldecote, Cambridge

Her website is www.piano-101.com

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