The Blogger Behind The Blog – The Early Years

I thought I would do a slightly different post this morning. Some of you might have delved into the menus above and discovered the About Me page, most of you probably haven’t and some of you may not even care – If you fall into the latter category I’d probably click the little cross in the top right of the screen because this post is not the one for you!

Still here? Excellent. I’ve had Sarah Withers Blogs for almost 18 months but in those 18 months I’ve not really shared huge amounts about myself, so for anyone who may be interested I though I’d do a little series on the blogger behind the blog. starting from the beginning, my childhood!

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The Really Early Years

On the 1st of October in the late 1980s I was born at The Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital – Heavitree in Exeter, Devon. A gorgeous county tucked right down in the South West of England. They’ve since moved the maternity wards to a new purpose built site across the city and I’m pretty sure the bit I was actually born in was demolished to make way for Waitrose!

I lived with both my parents, our two cats Posh Paws and Tiger, and our Golden Labrador-Retriever Cross Jack, in a terraced house near the coast in Exmouth; two and a half years later we were joined by my younger brother Simon – 28 years on I’m still not sure how I feel about this addition!

I was also lucky enough to grow up with my maternal grandparents just a ten minute walk up the road, and was blessed to have a wonderful relationship with them both, and their gorgeous Golden Retriever Goldie – My grandparents were not the most inventive when it came to names, over the years they had also had a black cat named Blackie and a ginger cat named Ginger.

Look how cute I used to be!

From a really early age books formed a really important part of my life, whether it was listening to dad reading me bedtime stories, sharing the Adventures of Sinbad the Sailor (which I adored) and The Hobbit (which I didn’t so much), or listening to my collection of storybook tapes (which Simon destroyed – See above statement about still not being sure about him). My parents also taught me to read relatively early, so I was already reading fairly confidently by the time I got to the next stage in my life

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The Primary School Years

I spent my primary school years at Exeter Road Primary School in Exmouth, it was literally just across the road from my house and I absolutely adored my time there. I was one of those children who actually loved school and was pretty academic, I promptly raced my way through the Oxford Reading Tree books, following Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy the dog through their adventures, and flew through the Ginn Maths workbooks. I was lucky enough to have some of the loveliest teachers throughout my time at primary school who were so encouraging of everything I did, from bringing in books from their personal collections for me to read, to letting me escape the classroom to work on the school newspaper when I’d finished all my work for the morning – I was even allowed into the hallowed ground of the staff-room to use the photocopier to create the copies for selling!

The one thing that has always really stuck in my mind though was being allowed to stock the school library – Back in the day Walkers Crisps ran a promotion where every packet had a token on it and they could be collected by schools and exchanged for books. I excused from classes to count the tokens, and then handed the catalogue and choose which books to get, it was heaven!

My mum thought posing in front of the Christmas tree before I left for the Christmas disco – she neglected to realise the top of the tree would look like I had a wayward bit of hair!

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The Secondary School Years

In September 1999 (So long ago!) I moved from primary school to start the second part of my education at Exmouth Community College – At the time ECC was one of the biggest secondary schools in the country with nearly 2,500 students, I went into a year group of just under 450 pupils. Moving into secondary school I drifted more towards maths and science, I loved them and I was good them, I’m quite logical and when it came to school, exams and wanting to get good grades I always preferred these subjects where you were either wrong or right, I didn’t feel as though my grade would depend on if whoever happened to be marking my paper happened to agree or not.

That all changed in year nine when I ended up with the most amazing English teacher – I still preferred maths and science but she managed to connect with me in a way my previous teachers hadn’t and my grades certainly benefited from it! At the end of year nine she shared with us the teachers we would have for GCSE and I begged her to move me back into her class, roll on the first day of year ten when our timetables were handed out and there I was back in her class – the benefits of being the Head of English I guess! During GCSE years my love of English continued to grow and Ms Mather introduced me to some of the most important books I read during my time at school, To Kill A Mockingbird, Beloved and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings amongst others. She continued to challenge my reading, and push me to read more challenging works and I will always appreciate that.

As a pupil the highlight of any school year for me (and probably the teachers) was the last week of the summer term, or activities week, we got to do some great things and it certainly encouraged everyone to work hard during the year, no-one wanted to be excluded from activities week! Our school offered a huge range of options – the benefits of being such a big school I guess! From surfing in Cornwall to trips to Alton Towers and my personal favourite the 4 day trip to Disneyland Paris!

Disney 1

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So there you have it, now you all know a little bit more about me and my school days! I’m keen to keep sharing more things so if there’s any posts you’d like to see please leave a comment below or drop me a email or a DM on twitter! It really could be anything – Podcasts, TV Shows, Films or Fandoms!

I’m also looking to do a Q&A post so click on the tweet below and leave me a question!

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Thank you for taking the time to read this! Normal book related service will be resumed soon!

With Love Sarah

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