While a few of our readers have gleefully pointed out the fistful of spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and typographic faults that sometimes appear in our (well mainly this writer’s) Hyperbola space blog stories, one who may now be turning in his grave will be your space correspondent’s old English school teacher and first year form master, Bruce Ritchie, who sadly passed away last October.

Your correspondent’s rather slapdash and careless approach to writing was all too apparent during his time as a pupil at Merchant Taylors’ school, Northwood, and yet, despite this, somehow Bruce Ritchie managed to get him though his English Language ‘O’ Level with a pass.  Well just about…any grade lower and a foreign passport would have been awarded. 

Your correspondent was thus allowed to carry on and do a year’s worth of English Literature the following year, an exam which he similarly scraped through despite only a passing knowledge of Shakespeare’s Richard III (whose body, by the way, they have just dug up from a Leicester car park, confirming his identity with carbon dating and DNA analysis).

Of course, during Bruce’s classes there was usually some fun to be had, As Bruce (aka Mr Ritchie or “Sir”) read out a passage from one of your correspondent’s most excellent essays to the class, he and the rest of the class burst into fits of laughter at the key phrase: “The man went into the pubic house.”  A spelling error, yes, but as Bruce pointed out in his well-to-do but kindly Scottish voice while wearing a wry smile, this sort of house was perhaps a more interesting one to enter than a public house (pub).  

As a tribute to Bruce, a firm-but-fair schoolmaster, a cricket and Ted Hughes’ poetry aficionado, and a jolly fine man; and, as an apologetic tribute to all Hyperbola’s mostly forgiving readers: yours truly will endeavour to do better at reducing his errors in the future. And pubic houses will (hopefully) not be mentioned again.