EDUCATING YORKSHIRE – final episode, Mr Burton and Musharaf

They really saved the best ‘til last, didn’t they?

The snow had finally melted at Thornhill, and GCSEs were looming on the horizon. Mr Burton, the popular deputy head and English teacher, was quite clearly my perfect man (save for the fact that he’s married; we’ll gloss over that though) – he thinks that punctuation is “sexy”, comes out with glorious quotes such as “we’ve come to party – it’s semicolon time!”, and demands that students thank him when he holds doors open for them (and rightly so – one of my major pet hates!) He had his work cut out for him with getting his Year 11 English Class to the all-important C grade standard, in particular Hannah, who spent a lot of her time hiding behind lockers instead of actually attending lessons, and Musharaf, who had a stammer.

Musharaf was especially worried. Bullied so badly in his first year because of his stammer that he’d considered leaving Thornhill, he’d been persuaded to stay and had flourished – but a combination of his imminent speaking and listening exam plus having his prefect duties removed following a Facebook “incident” had knocked his confidence to the extent that he’d been rendered virtually mute. As he succinctly put it, “how am I going to do a speaking exam when I can’t even speak?!”

Mr Burton refused to give up though. During a one-to-one session, when Musharaf was struggling to even get one word out of a poem he’d been asked to recite, Mr Burton asked if he’d try a technique that he’d shamelessly stolen off The King’s Speech – listening to music while speaking aloud. The result was truly astonishing; Mr Burton’s face was an absolute picture, and another teacher brought in to witness the event was brought to tears. A marvellous breakthrough and Hollywood moment that Colin Firth himself would be proud of. “At last I have a voice – [DRAMATIC MUSIC],” typed Musharaf.

All that remained was for him to complete the actual exam, footage of which we weren’t privy to, but which must have gone well as Musharaf gained his precious C grade – this caused scenes of jubilation in the Crilly household the likes of which have never been seen before. The lump in my throat I was wrestling with when he told Mr Burton that he really appreciated his support and encouragement gave way to heaving, racking sobs when Musharaf addressed his whole year to thank them too. As Mr Burton said, he should be very proud of himself – so very brave in the face of adversity. It was a perfect and uplifting end to the series.

I would absolutely love Michael Gove to sit in on one of his classes – according to my sister’s boyfriend, who’s a teacher himself, Mr Burton would fulfil hardly any of the criteria on the current Ofsted checklist. However, I would defy any inspector to observe him and dare tell him that his teaching style was not right. He is clearly born to teach and engaged with his class like no other teacher we witnessed on the programme. Plus, his bromance with Mr Steer, and his skinny suits, were an absolute joy to behold. SWOON.

Educating Merseyside, anyone?



Apologies for the tardy blog. My usually dedicated television viewing has been somewhat sidelined by wedding preparation. I still haven’t even watched X Factor for goodness’ sake! What has happened to me?!

To the penultimate episode of Educating Yorkshire, featuring Jack, a pupil who’d only been at Thornhill for six months as his family frequently move area. To put it mildly, he was a “handful” and had “a temper the likes of which I have never seen” (so said Mr Mitchell), but “wants to do the right thing but doesn’t know how to at the moment”, according to the quite, quite marvellous Mrs Marsden.

You could tell that the lack of stability due to the constant uprooting had seriously affected him in the classroom – Jack had never felt like he belonged in school, and had serious issues with thinking that everyone was out to get him. However, underneath his aggressive exterior, he was actually quite sweet – talking about being a member of the choir he said “When I sing, it’s just me, it’s nobody else.” (Sob! I hear ya Jack, I hear ya!) – and eloquent, when he stopped effing and blinding for two seconds: “I’m like a fortress, I’m clamped shut,” he said, about why he struggles to let people get close to him.

He was also obsessed with History – academically, it was the only subject that really interested him. It was an absolute given that he was going to choose it as one of his GCSE options with Jack confident that he could get an A. Mr Steer was a tad more realistic, stating that he would struggle to scrape an E. Would he be allowed to choose the only subject he really loved, or would the harsh reality of the school’s targets shatter his dreams?

It didn’t look good for him in the run-up to it. We saw him promise Mrs Marsden that he was going to have a good day, only for him to last approximately eight seconds in his first lesson. Mr Burton admitted that Jack was “floundering” and Mr Steer expressed concern about the fact that he was like a “timebomb” waiting to go off, to the point where the staff had no option but to refer him to the Inclusion centre, where students who require counselling and behavioural help get the support they need. It worked wonders for Jack, who managed to go for over a month without getting a comment for bad behaviour.

And so to D-day – a meeting with Mr Steer for Jack to find out his fate. Mr Steer, doing his best X Factor impression, kept us hanging right to the very last second and, just when it sounded as if all was lost, it was confirmed that Jack would be allowed to take History after all. Result!

Alas, at the end of the episode it was revealed that Jack’s family had moved yet again, so Jack would have had to start afresh at yet another school, another school that perhaps wouldn’t be as supportive of him and his love for History. For the first time, I felt real sympathy for Mr Mitchell (while I have liked the majority of his staff, I have at times found his leadership style slightly cringeworthy.) It was clear that he was upset and disappointed that Thornhill would not have the opportunity to keep Jack on the straight and narrow. But I was entirely in agreement with him when he was asked whether all the resources dedicated to Jack had been worth the effort. His response was a definite “yes.” And I agree. To hear Jack say that this was an “amazing school, with amazing teachers” would surely make all involved – Jack especially – feel incredible; definitely not a waste of time in my eyes.

A Few More Things

Ryan and his latte obsession make me laugh my head off.

Mrs Marsden trying to answer her phone had me in stitches.

I loved the footage of the kid annihilating a poor unsuspecting fellow pupil with an enormous snowball. It took me right back to the days of abject terror of being attacked by kids from the lads’ school next door to ours, whose weapon of choice was snow when there were blizzards, and eggs the rest of the time *sadface*

Mr Burton is totally hot. And tonight’s episode is all about him. SWOON.

“She’s A Bridges” – lyrics and video!

A tradition that we shamelessly stole from the Glaswegian contingent, here’s the parody song we did for Maria and Phil, plus the lyrics! Thanks to Peter, Michael, Charlie, Bob, Helen, George, Patrick, Kieran, Harry, Paul, Caitlin and Isobel for singing and playing your hearts out, and to Rachel for providing the footage!

“She’s got a bad knee

Her spelling’s a little bit dodgy

When she was born she was podgy

But she’s the same weight now

He’s from the dark side

But came over here to find a bride

He met us and didn’t run and hide

So we’re very impressed with that

We weren’t one bit surprised

By your whirlwind romance

It was meant to be

Less than one year from your

First date to your first dance

There’s been loads of

Afternoons in Sefton Park

Upon Lark Lane you’ve made your mark

From day one there’s been a spark

He’s Mr Bridges

Now she’s a Bridges too

She loves Thai Sweet Chillis

Her phobias are numerous and silly

She’ll always be one of the Crillys

Whether she likes it or not

He supports Tranmere

A glutton for punishment, that’s clear

Maria’s a jinx it would appear

But she’s a championship winning bride

Funky Unkey, d’you know

What you’re marrying into?

But you don’t need more time

You both said from the start

That you’d be saying “I do!”

And you’ve proved us…

Right, and now your wedding day

Is finally here, we’d like to say

Let’s sing and dance the night away

He is Phil Bridges

Now Maria’s a Bridges too

Maria’s a Bridges too

Can we all be Bridges too?! X2

The perfect post-wedding soirée – VIDEO 1

Not for us a quiet, relaxing time after the madness of the nuptials the day before. Nope! Following the slightly rowdy breakfast for fifty people in Leaf, last night some of the gang headed down to St Michael’s Irish Centre for the monthly folk night, which proved to be the perfect way to end the perfect weekend.

Apologies in advance for a.) my running commentary, and b.) the shoddy camerawork.

First up – Caitlin and Pete did a lovely father-daughter performance of Where Have All The Flowers Gone, the footage of which is RUINED by Mad Tam’s massive face looming in front of the camera.

Introducing Mr and Mrs Bridges!

So, after eight months of planning, the deed is done. Mr and Mrs Bridges are married!

We’ve all had the most perfect weekend. It all kicked off the day before when we had to decorate the venue, the Black-E. As I’m not the most creative of people, I will admit to being hugely daunted by even the thought of this task but I shouldn’t have worried – our families were amazing and we were truly humbled by the phenomenal efforts everyone put in. Special mention must go to Wendy who decorated the entrance hall beautifully and made all the table runners plus 650 birds which were used for the bunting; Joanne, who created the fabulous centrepieces, and Liz who produced a quite epic sweet buffet.


The stunning hall


Gorgeous centrepieces


Sweet buffet!

Once the hall was done it was time to dash home for a Shellac manicure courtesy of the legend that is Dave the Laugh, and a takeaway with some champers whilst watching Bridesmaids. Cliched much?! Maria also gave Mother Goose and Mad Tam some photo gifts of their parents on their wedding day, and we gave Maria her garter (something new and blue!) and a couple of trinkets to put in her bouquet – a badge that belonged to the late, great Auntie Lil, and a shell from Abersoch beach, a place that I’ve mentioned before as somewhere we hold very, very dear. Not a dry eye in the Crilly house at that point, I tells ye.


The actual day dawned…well, I’d like to say bright, but it was rather grey if I’m being honest. Nevertheless, the mood in camp was sunny enough to make up for this. I snuck off to get my hair did by the frankly marvellous Emily at Bobbers Hairdressing – Maria hadn’t wanted anything too formal or “done” for our hair, and this was what mine ended up like:


Just what I wanted!

By the time I got back the other bridesmaids were arriving thick and fast, and Kelly the hairdresser and Lizzie the makeup artist were hard at work. After I’d had my makeup done, the only task that remained for me was to ensure the drinks were a-flowin’!

All too quickly, it was nearly time to go. The brilliant wedding camper van arrived, as did the rather suave ushers, and off to the church we went.


Travelling in style!


Ushers, ushers, ushers...

The actual service was truly beautiful. Our Helen (maid of honour, voice of an angel) did a couple of solos which were spectacular, accompanied by the glorious St Julie’s choir. Also spectacular was the FULL ON STORM that started halfway through the ceremony – a torrential downpour and thunder galore – but even that couldn’t dampen our spirits as we danced down to aisle out of the church to “This Old Heart Of Mine.”



Off to the Black-E to get the party started – and, oh my, what a party it was. A couple of people said that it was “like a mini-festival” – and they’re right. It’s exactly what Mr and Mrs Bridges wanted. Sense of Sound performed (a surprise from the groom to the bride – you should have seen her face!); Sean and Kirsty Butler did a beautiful performance with a gentleman on mandolin whose name escapes me – sorry lovely mandolin man!; The Springtime Anchorage played a dancefloor-filling epic set, at what apparently was their first wedding, although you never would’ve guessed; the cousins did their customary parody song for the newlyweds, and then Phil’s mates did a sterling job of DJing. Special mention must also go to Maria and Phil’s amazing Strictly-esque lift during the first dance – brilliant! – and the boys (and Claire!) having the time of their lives on stage during an outstanding version of Everybody Get Up by 5ive, complete with dance routine. Hilarious.

All too quickly, the night was drawing a close and fond farewells were being said. We still couldn’t quite let go of the party vibe though, organising a breakfast the next morning for friends and family in Leaf for around 50 – I think people who’d popped in for a quiet brunch were rather taken aback by the standing ovation and round of applause that greeted the newlyweds upon their arrival…


A quiet breakfast - for 50...

I really can’t believe it’s all over. I’d like to thank everyone that made this day truly stunning. To everyone who helped with the planning, to everyone who made the effort to attend, whether they travelled from far away or from down the road. To the Black-E, for all their hard work and for providing the perfect venue for Maria and Phil. To the ushers, who looked oh so very smart and who tore up the dancefloor in a big way. To my in-laws (eeek! I have in-laws!), for helping out and getting into the swing of things so brilliantly. To my beautiful sister Helen, who kept the whole thing going, who sang so fabulously, and who looked amazing.

Finally, I’d like to say thanks to Maria and Phil. Without you two, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be at the best party ever. Phil, my brother-in-law, you’re a star – here’s to many more happy family memories together, yeah?!

And Maria, my sister, my midget Mazzrin, Mrs Bridges – what a stunning bride you made. Thank you for involving me in your special day. As you said in your card to me that made me SOB – we’ve had our ups and our downs, but, my word, Saturday was quite the “up.” We smashed it. I love you too, always.


Mr and Mrs Bridges ♥