Our big boy

Sebastian took the bus to his new school for the first time on September 10th, 2018. Jane drove him to the bus stop, near the care home, and he shouted “Hello Daddy”, as they passed the open window of room 23 at about 0745. Jane found two older pupils of the school at the stop and they kindly agreed to be with Sebastian to and from school. “They were nice”, he told us. When he came into my room after school, I said, “I think that it is a great achievement that you went on the bus on your own today. It shows what a brave person you are. I never went on my own. So, well done and can you give me a hug please?”

“What, you never went on your own”? Jane and I are right proud of him, and he knew had done something grown up. “Who did you go with”?

I didn’t have to be brave at all, because most of the boys from Poppleton went to Nunthorpe Grammar School for Boys. In my road, there were three older boys already using the bus; Richard Lipscomb and Nicky Woods in the 5th form and John Gawthrope in the year above me. We walked to the bus stop together. As the School Speggy drove round the perimeter of Poppleton, it picked up Paul Cartwright, in the same year as Richard and Nicky, and my friend from Primary school, Simon Turnbull. We got off at The Odeon cinema, and the others probably showed us to school a couple of times. On the way back, it was every man for himself.


In summary, he’s going to a new school, with nobody from his class and a different education system. He’s giving it his best shot. The Chemistry teacher covered science lab rules today. Good.

If you are of a certain age and from certain countries, this story won’t impress you. So be it.

PS – a stomach pain for a few days, Monday morning throw, sore throat for a few hours, limited diet for two days. PPS – carers and nurses make a massive difference to MND patients every day, but especially when they are sick.

Author: Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

4 thoughts on “Our big boy”

  1. Well done Sebastian.. ?It can be frightening doing things for the first time. And as I know very well… it’s more scary for the parents. So …for that Well done Jane and Andrew. ?

  2. It is a big deal. I remember the return journey did not go smoothly on the first day for me and Fraser Brydson. We missed the school speggy (the 163) and foolishly assumed other buses went straight back to Poppleton. When each bus stopped we asked the driver “do you go to Poppleton” and they all said no. One said we could take his bus to Rougier Street then change but we didn’t understand what he was on about so we declined. We started walking back to school and were stoped by a teacher who asked us where we were going. He proceeded to drive us up Holgate Road and dropped us off just over the railway bridge sayin we could get a bus to Poppy from there. We knew that wasn’t right and had to walk all the way to Poppy Road school before finding a working phone box, reversing the charges and asking to be picked up. Neither of our parents were worried too much because they had phoned each other and ascertained that as neither child was at home we must be together somewhere. So it proved. A lesson hard learned. But it shows that catching a bus by yourself and going to a strange school is no mean feat.

  3. Catching the school bus required a myriad of skills: number recognition (amazing how many times I over-shot Poppleton because I wasn’t actually on the School Speggy); tenacity – one had to work hard to juggle buying sherbet lemons from the shop whilst being ready to barge to the front of the bus queue at a moment’s notice; personal grooming – would I have time to brush my hair before the guy with long hair and cool desert boots got on?; spatial awareness – try climbing to the top deck with your massive art file – tricky! So well done Sebbo – it’s a giant step and you’ve been a super-dude to take it! X

  4. Andrew,the school was a big step for all of us,so Seb joins the club which I am sure he will enjoy (mucking about with the others). Being “only” a bit older than you Poppleton folks,back in the 50s I went on a Ribble Leyland Tiger Cub singldecker down Sedbergh Road about 5 miles into Kendal to the Junior School and looking back it was it was seen as the normal thing to do.No Chelsea Tractor in our family.
    The good thing is that our grandchildren Lucy and Evie 9 and11 have also just joined the school bus clan.
    Best wishes to both Seb and Valentina at their new schools.They will be fine.
    John/Gill Thaxted

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