Tag Archives: Mill Hill School

My ‘Mill Hill’ 1971 School Picture — A Few Months Before I Was Expelled.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

So, can YOU spot me. I have NOT changed. Honest. Still as dark (in every way & sense) as I was then — 49-years ago.

This picture was sent to me by a classmate, in 1971, from Mill Hill. He is in this picture.

He found me, on the Web, a few months ago. So, we reconnected after 49-years. He had gone onto become a very well respected doctor. Good for him.

It has been great chatting with him.

Wow. 1971.

A momentous year. I got expelled, from Mill Hill, around May or June. All I know that it was 2-weeks ahead of the A-level exams. They let me come back, to take the exams — but could only stay for the exams. I was well are truly expelled for being ‘an undesirable influence’! Haven’t changed, have I. Just think of ALL the people who would still like to expel me from their lives for being ‘an undesirable influence’.

My 2nd expulsion, from a school, in 2-years!

I was good — at getting expelled.

Got expelled in 1969 (around May/June too) from the prestigious ‘English School of Paris’ in 1969. Why. Because I refused to have my haircut for the upcoming prize giving. Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s daughter was attending to present the prizes. I had (per what used to my wont) won a few. They wanted me to look presentable. I refused. They called my parents. I still refused. I was expelled & banned from attending the prize giving. My parents went. My mother collected my prizes.

I will be honest, in my old age, as a HUGE FAN of Winston, I regret not getting to shake Dame Soames’ hand. C’est la vie. I didn’t want to get my hair cut. SMILE. Haven’t changed, have I.

This was also from Mill Hill, but the prior year. I am wearing tinted glasses. I must have got my contact lenses between these pictures. I know I started wearing contacts when I was around 16.

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by Anura Guruge

Mill Hill (Public) School, London, My Ol’ Alma Mater, Gets First Female Headmaster, Mrs Frances King.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail.

by Anura Guruge

Related Posts:
** Millhillians of my era.
John Cranwell …
** Two expressions from Mill Hill.

>> Allegations re. Winston Churchill.

++++  Search on ‘Mill Hill’ for other related posts >>>>


From my favorite newspaper, the U.K. “Daily Mail”. Click to access Mrs. King article.

Wow! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same) sure does NOT apply here. First female head — of what used to be, even when I entered, kicking and screaming, in 1969, an all boys school. Yes, in my last year, two years later, they did let in some 6 young ladies, strictly as day scholars. But the boarding school was still all male.

We didn’t even really have any female teachers. Yes, there was a female that taught, just “Use of English”, and she did that on an ad hoc basis in that she was the then Headmaster’s wife, Mrs. Hart. She was American to boot. Savor the irony. The only female teacher at an all boys school teaching “Use of English” was a Yank. A very nice one at that — probably because she was American. She was the first person to encourage me to write. I wonder if she is around. It would give her a kick to see what happened to her unruly student.

The new female head is the Mrs Frances King, who from the quick Googling I did (when I heard the news, via an e-mail) is quite famous for leaving Britain in a huff, for Switzerland, because she was was not happy with the prevailing British attitude to private schooling. Not sure why she is coming back. Is she implying that things have changed. I doubt it.

That she was Headmistress at Roedean is kind of funny. In my short time at Mill Hill, before I was summarily expelled, Roedean epitomized the snooty girl’s boarding schools that we loved to make fun of — along the lines of “OK girls, lights out, candles in …”. What can I say. We were teenagers. I will, however, spare you the sound effects.

That her Bachelor’s is in theology from Oxford is also interesting. Theology? Wow.

Of course the school is not the same as what it was 44 years ago. A female head will certainly be different. I wish all of them the best.

Alton Central School (ACS), To Their Credit, And Amazingly, Taking Part In ‘Code Day’ To Expose Kids To The JOYS Of Programming.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

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Yes, they had sent flyers home.

But, I only really heard about it last Tuesday at the ACS ‘junior school’ concert when the Principal spoke about it twice (one in each ‘half’). Since I had NOT read the flyer and I could only go by what the Principal was saying I had NO IDEA what this was all about. The Principal spoke MAINLY about all the FREE food that will be available and the local restaurants that are kindly donating that food. I am glad. But, I wished she had STRESSED, did a little jig, and explained that this was an initiative to expose kids to the unmitigated JOYS of programming. Yes, I appreciate, that the Principal, the Superintendent, William (Bill) Lander and the School Board are extremely ‘oral‘ — but a little bit of elucidation about the ‘code‘ aspect of the evening as opposed to the ‘gastronomic‘ would have been cool.

That ACS is taking part in ‘Code Day‘ is cool.

Not sure whether the kids will get a full, uninterrupted HOUR to write some code that evening — but this is a good start. I just hope the kids aren’t distracted by the food. Hopefully, and this is a BIG hope, some of the teachers will try and continue this program sans the free food. But, to be fair, Devanee was taught MIT’s SCRATCH ‘animated programming’ a couple of years ago at ACS. So, that was good.

See below, after the images as to why I am so gung ho about kids getting exposed to the JOYS of programming.


Click to ENLARGE. Use link below to access Website.

Link to access Website.

Link to access Website.


Click to access article …

I got a chance, in 1969, yes 1969, to take weekly 90 minute Computer Programming classes in school, viz. Mill Hill School in North London (also attended by Denis Thatcher and where James Murray, the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary once taught).

It was every Thursday and the classes were sponsored by the British International Computers Limited (ICL). They provided each of us with a BIG light green binder about computers and programming. I had yet to see a computer! But, computer programming and I clicked. Duck to the water. Natural affinity.

In those days there were no PCs. We didn’t have any terminals at the school. We wrote our programs on coding sheets; a practice that I continued to use, off and on, even when I worked for IBM, 8 years later — though by the time I was at IBM, and writing microcode, for the 3270 display system, I was classed as a programmer who wrote his code in ink (which I often did do) as opposed to pencil (because I was sure of what I was coding).

Our coding sheets were sent by mail (which is always overnight in the U.K.) to ICL. They punched it onto paper tape and ran it. The next Thursday we would get back our original coding sheets, the paper tape and the computer output. If you made a mistake you program would not have done what you wanted. But, it took a week to find out.

The rest is history. I went to Swansea College, University of Wales, to ‘study’ a 3-year B. Sc. course in Computer Technology. I, for the first time in my life, had unlimited access to computer resources. I programmed like I was possessed (in between near non-stop fornication). I had a great 3 years at Swansea. By my 2nd year at Swansea Ph. D. students were coming to me for help with their programs! One of my lecturers told IBM about me. IBM hired me during my 2nd year, after getting me to sit three IQ tests (as is permissible in the U.K., one of them at 10 pm at night) and told me that I can start work whenever I wanted — with or without a degree. Since I was having so much fun and really didn’t want to work — I hung around Swansea for another year and did get my 1st degree. Yes, I also do have a M. Sc. in Computer Science from the University of London — paid for by IBM.

Programming has been good for me, though in reality I didn’t write that much code professionally! I was considered ‘too good’ to just write code! A sign of the time. IBM and others wanted me to do more ‘executive’ tasks or do much more technical tasks such as Systems Programming or crafting microcode. I was IBM youngest ‘Planner’ — essentially a Product Manager. But, I wrote code in my ‘spare’ time — a program that I wrote as such in my spare time, which I called ‘NDSIO’, ‘New Display System Input/Output‘, where the ‘NDS’ was the now legendary 3270 display system, became a primary testing tool within IBM in the U.K., U.S. and Germany.

So, I am all in favor of kids being taught to program early.

I Bought A Painting At ‘Laconia Multicultural Day’ + My Favorite Booth In 2013.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> 2013 Multicultural Day: Impressions — Aug. 4, 2013.
>> Shame on Belknap Mill … — Aug. 3, 2013.
>> Laconia Multicultural Day, 2013 … — July 12, 2013.
>> Laconia Multicultural Day, 2013: Program — July 30, 2013.
For all the posts related to 2012 ‘Laconia Multicultural Day’:
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Saad & Hassan Hindal

Art from Memory

Iraqi Artists now living in Concord, NH.

Click to ENLARGE.

Father and son, Saad and Al (17) at their tent. The painting on the easel, with the school bus, painted by Al. I like that one TOO.

Father and son, Saad and Al (17) at their tent. The painting on the easel, with the school bus, painted by Hassan. I like that one TOO.

The painting I bought, or at least got. Haven't paid for it yet, though it now hangs right by our front door.

The painting I bought, or at least got. Haven’t paid for it yet, though it now hangs right by our front door.



THE picture, to the left, as it was hanging in the booth.

They were there last year too. I had seen their paintings and had liked them.

I, of course, stopped again this year, as soon as we got to the Mill. I spoke to the son, Hassan, and told him how much I liked the paintings.

Later on in the day, around noon, I went back to take a picture of the father and son. That was the picture at the top. The father was seated.

I told Hassan to tell his father how much I liked all the paintings, but the nude in particular and how I would buy it if I had the money.

Hassan translated. The dad told him something back, and both their faces lit up in smiles.

He tells me that his Dad has said: ‘Take it. Pay when you have the money‘!

I was shocked. They didn’t know me from Adam. That was an amazing gesture. There was no time period mentioned. Just unconditional goodwill.

With close to 38 years of marriage experience under my belt, I am savvy enough to know that you don’t buy a painting, especially a nude, without at least mentioning it to the wife. So, I explained that and we left. Devanee was with me and she was amazed.

When we told Deanna, we discovered that she too had seen the pictures and had liked that nude. Bingo. She too was amazed at this amazingly generous and brave gesture. She wanted me to get it.

So I went back and told them that I would come back at 4 pm, when the activities concluded. I wanted them to have it on display as long as they could. I think they were kind of surprised.

Just after 4 we all went to pick it up. Saad, in conjunction with Hassan, explained to us what the symbols meant. Some of them, like the cats and the 2nd from top symbol on the thigh denote good luck. Her lips are sealed about her prior life — but she is not a ‘virgin’. She is dreaming of another man. The fish skeleton and the whole fish indicate before-and-after.

It is vividly bright, very evocative, strangely compelling picture. We all love it.

I plan to pay for it at the end of this month. To be fair, it is not much — and many would find it amusing that I actually don’t even have that much in liquid cash. It is the first ‘original’ I have bought in decades!

We are truly honored that Saad trusted us and of course, we will not let him down.

Moreover, he now has a AVID supporter for life. Of course I am going to promote their work.

Not only do we like their art, we think they are remarkable people.

They have been living in Concord for 3 years. Hassan goes to highschool there. Saad has three other children, another son and two daughters.

We plan to visit their inhome gallery and do a longer interview. Also take some more pictures.

So stay tuned.

IF you are interested in their work, in particular their paintings, contact me (see sidebar) and I will put you in touch with them.


Their trust and generosity reminded me of an incident from 44 years ago, i.e., 1969, which also involved a person from the Middle East. I had just started at ‘Mill Hill’, the private school in London I was consigned to when I turned 16. There was a fair number of foreigners at ‘Mill Hill’. Most of us, who were new at the school and were foreigners had a fairly torrid time from the locals. But we weathered it. We were allowed to walk down to Mill Hill village three or four times a week. I was at the village and was buying an ice cream when I saw one of the other foreigners. He was older than me and bigger. He didn’t speak very good English at the time and I knew that he wasn’t too happy. On a whim I asked him if he would like an ice cream. He, of course, wanted one. So I got him one and handed it to him. It was just a cone. When he took it from me, I could see tears in his eyes. I asked him what was bothering him. He replies: ‘I have been in this country four months now, and this is the first thing somebody bought for me‘.  Wow. I really didn’t know how to react. But, I can still remember that incident. Well yesterday, the shoe was on the other foot. I felt like the young man receiving the ice cream.