Monday, July 21


Many kids in England are taught the colours (with a u) of the rainbow using the following mnemonic: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.

Richard of York gave battle in vain at The Battle of Wakefield on Dec 30, 1460. Whereabouts in Wakefield you might ask? At Sandal Castle.

I know this because at the time I learned this mnemonic I went to a school that backed onto Sandal Castle. In fact our cross country running course went around, up and down the castle.

This battle is also the origin for The Grand Old Duke of York. You may remember, "he had 10,000 men and he marched them up to the top of the hill and marched them down again."

Like the Grand Old Duke of York and his 10,000 men, the pupils of Manygates Middle School also found the hill to be an absolute bummer. Unlike the mnemonic Duke, we often had to do the run in our football boots, complete with studs (cleats).

This was no problem when running on grass, but the tarmac parking lot of Sandal Castle (which probably wasn't there in 1460) was a nightmare. Once you bypassed that skid row, you ran down hill on a paved road. Exhaustion plus the chance of splitting your head open.

Continuing the castle theme, our school had a concrete dry moat running around it. Again, a wonderful way of stopping when you were running around during break time.

Good times.

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