Decisions, decisions

We need to repaint the exterior woodwork, and we thought that perhaps we wouldn’t do the carriage green and off-white again, but would find a nice blue-grey. We found a nice blue-grey, but though it does well with the windows, it really didn’t work for all the trellises and that — there’s so much, acres of the stuff, that in a light colour it would just jump out at you. For one reason or another we settled on Hague Blue. Actually, when we did the first paint run some 11 years ago, I bought front door paint in Middelburg, where I was researching something, and bought Amsterdam/Leiden green (Dutch front door paint is a sort of glaze, a splendid effect if you build up the layers). But I was seriously tempted by Hague Blue. Unfortunately the colour offered by an English supplier as Hague blue isn’t quite the colour I remember. It is, unfortunately, the colour of my school uniform. A good colour, I am the first to admit, but carries hideous overtones. Motto, ’serve and obey’. School hatband, ‘hague blue’ and red, worn on a boater in the summer, and a velour pudding in the winter, school song ‘Mater nostra quae securas servas aede filias cuius stabilis virtute vivimus communitas’ and so on and on and on, turquoise blouse, navy knickers for gym. Oh, God. By the way, this was an archaic form of education called a ‘direct grant’ school, a sort of forerunner of today’s academies, not a public school, but when I was a tiny wee it was still set solidly in the Edwardian era in a variety of key respects. I may learn to love this colour, or perhaps it will turn my brain and I will end up painting a thin red stripe round the panelling of the front door, and singing stuff about Service and Obedience in Latin.

6 Responses to “Decisions, decisions”

  1. canadian professor Says:

    You could take to wearing an adult version of the school uniform, minus the seasonal hats.

  2. Jane Says:

    No. no. no. no. no.

    School hats were discontinued before I hit the sixth form but, suffering in fourth year, my friend and I vowed that when we left school we would go up to Piccadilly Circus and skim our boaters under the oncoming traffic. I didn’t, because someone begged it off me for an amateur production of Salad Days (or some such).

  3. katiebee Says:

    I googled “mater nostra quae securas” as I couldn’t remember any of the rest of the words and it was bothering me. Your blog came up top. Hilarious! Twenty years after leaving and I still can’t wear anything resembling that colour.

  4. Jane Says:

    Katiebee –
    on a good day I can remember all of it. This is not a good day. I’ve forgotten some of the verse which has ‘tu perennis nos diurnae’ and ends ‘restat perdurabilis’. I do recall
    Sunt quae legem dant scholarem
    sunt quae sub imperio
    sed paremus, sed servimus
    omnes in consortio.
    There is more … when I was a 9 year old, in 1968, they made us learn the thing by heart. Since I now teach in history and one of the things which interests me is what people can remember without the aid of writing, I’ve thought about the School Song therefore, words learned as, at the time, quite meaningless, and how they can stick with you.

  5. Katiebee Says:

    That’s much more than the four words I remembered!
    According to facebook:

    Mater nostra, quae securas,
    Servas aede filias,
    Cuius stabilis virtute
    Viviumus communitas;
    Tu perennis, nos diurnae,
    Parvis clausum terminis
    Spatium iuventutis, schola
    Restat perdurabilis.

    Sunt quae legem dant scholarem,
    Sunt quae sub imperio,
    Sed paremus, sed servimus
    Omnes in consortio;
    Quisque praemia tribuantur,
    Quisque laudes meritae.
    Sumus tantum tuae, mater,
    Partes excellentiae.

    Et cum veniet qui dilecta
    Nos ab aula subtrahet,
    Corpus rapit ille dies,
    Animum non rapiet;
    Membra sumus tui semper;
    Quicquid nobis alias
    Patiendum, peragendum,

  6. Jane Says:


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