Two very bad things have happened in the last six months:
1) I realised that the geographical location of the Falkland Islands was absolutely and categorically NOT where I thought it was;
2) I told my boyfriend about it.
The consequence of number 2 is that I have been mocked and ridiculed to within an inch of my life by those who are supposed to be my friends. This is possibly justified. Before I tell you where I thought the Falklands were, let me tell you that my knowledge of geography couldn’t be any worse if I had been born underground and lived for my entire 27 years in a cardboard box deep in the folds of the earth with no communication with the outside world, no knowledge of anything at all, and then been led to the surface on my 28th birthday and asked ‘Okay, now tell us where Svalbard is.’
Let me also tell you that the Falklands war was in 1982, I was born in 1985, it was NOT on the national curriculum at school (I know all sorts of important things about the world wars, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Cold War by the way thank you very much), and unfortunately it just happens to not be one of those things I just ‘know’ about, like you just ‘know’ that the Statue of Liberty is in America or that Henry VIII had six wives. You just know these things before you’ve been taught them. I was never taught about the Falklands. I have never read up on it, never saw anything about it. Yes, I knew there was a terrible war there. And it is terrible, awful, atrocious and disgusting that I don’t know what happened or, more importantly, WHERE the hell it happened. I know, I know that this is a disgrace.
So here we go.
I thought that the Falklands were part of the Channel Islands.
I’ll give you a minute to exclaim things like ‘Nooooo!!’ and ‘She never did!’ and ‘What a complete loser‘ and ‘She comes across as reasonably bright but she’s actually a total idiot face!’
Now look. I am aware that this is an appalling thing to have thought. But give me a moment to attempt to, not justify myself exactly – I’m sure Stalin tried to justify a few things in his time – but rather explain why I may have come to this conclusion.
Firstly, I gave up Geography after Year 9. This means I was 14. I’ll tell you why I gave up Geography in Year 9. It’s because I was fed up with learning about the exportation of bananas from Ghana, fed up with trying to tell the difference between sedimentary and metamorphic rock, and fed up with drawing tributaries and meanders and deltas (remember those?). In all my years of national curriculum Geography I never once looked at a map of the world. Or a globe. Look at this map:
Isn’t that just brilliant? Instead of looking at this brilliant map, we went on a field trip to Tolworth Broadway. This is Tolworth Broadway:
Tolworth Broadway was less than a mile from my house. I knew about Tolworth Broadway. I knew there was an Iceland and a Marks and Spencer’s and a really cool stationers where I’d get my start-of-term rubbers and pencils and stuff. I didn’t need to learn anything else about Tolworth Broadway. What I did need to learn was things like where countries are, and which countries are attached to each other and which countries are separated by things like seas and oceans, you know, things about the world we live in.
Because I wasn’t interested in what I was taught in Geography, I wasn’t very good at it. In a mock test for end-of-year exams I came across the question ‘Why do you think child mortality rates are higher in certain countries?’, or words to that effect. I thought child mortality rates meant children being born. I had no idea why this might be. So I thought I’d be clever, and wrote:
It was only afterwards in discussions with my classmates that I realised child mortality rate meant deaths; so consequently my amusing little quip implying that adults have nothing better to do than make babies (tee hee hee), actually implied that adults have nothing better to do than go around killing children. I didn’t do very well in my exam.
Secondly, the Falkland Islands look like the Channel Islands.
Look at these two pictures:
I mean, come on. There’s not much in it, is there?
And where do you think this is?
It’s the ruddy Falkland Islands. So when I saw interviews a few months ago with British Falkland Island residents giving their opinions on whether Prince William should visit, and these little old ladies were standing in front of red phone boxes and saying in what sounded like West Country accents ‘Well I don’t really mind, ‘e seems like a nice lad’, it did nothing to make me reconsider my conviction that the Falkland Islands were nowhere near Argentina.
So, mock away. I know it’s terrible and I know there’s no excuse, but I’m just not good at Geography.
Now I’m going to escape the hullabaloo by driving to Brunei.
12 thoughts on “Becky says things about … not being good at Geography”
Laughed out loud a number of times because you are SO VERY right… I think I’d have loved geography if we’d actually learned about places… oh well… my geography brain stopped at 13 because I’m an August-born… so at least you had a little bit more of a chance!
I’m so glad a fellow TGS-er had the same experience!
What’s this place “Argentina” that you write of.
By the way, The Iceland on Tolworth broadway is not the country that went broke.
Becky, I’m a big fan of your blog. They always make me laugh and this one was a belter. Fair play to you for fessing up. I was rubbish at geography as well. I was so bad at it that I couldn’t even find my way to the classroom. Keep up the great work. I look forward to the next “Becky says things about” very much. Ian.
Thanks Ian! Glad they tickle you 🙂
“Adults have nothing better to do” I literally LOL’d.
You’re not alone obviously, I was shit at Geography; what can you do with a Geography GCSE? Nothing that’s what. If I need to know where somewhere is nowadays that’s what Wikipedia’s for. I didn’t know where the Falklands were either, I don’t know my way around the city I live in let alone where whole islands are.
I remember fondly falling asleep in my Geography GCSE exam and waking up two hours later with everyone gone. Just a lone teacher collecting shit. “Didn’t want to wake me” they said.
We did sex education in Geography once, that was the best Geography lesson we ever had and that was just a wrinkley old woman putting a condom on a cucumber.
“As if she’s not used that before.”
“Peter! Out! NOW!”
I am the exact opposite – I did Geography bloody A Level for no apparent reason and gave up history in year 9 – possibly the worst decision of my life so far as it would have been a whole lot more useful to my English degree than knowing about sand dunes on the Gower Peninsula and the difference between a cirrus and cumulus cloud. I often get mocked for my historical ignorance – most recently in an adult Spanish class of all places… And Tolworth Broadway?! What were we meant to learn there?
Well, I thought Africa was a country until I was at least 10, when my dad, terrfied about what they were teaching us in these schools, informed me it was a continent. All Geography taught us was to colour very well horizontally: the sea around the UK, the green on the inside to indicate land. Huge emphasis on that. Or maybe that was just my school. Great blog post, Becky!
I was 20 in 1982 and I (and I think lots of other people) thought the Falklands were off the coast of Scotland….see the diary of Adrian mole – very funny blog, I really enjoyed it
I am SO pleased to hear that! I don’t feel so thick now. With a name like ‘Falklands’, you wouldn’t think it was just across the water from somewhere called Rio Gallegos, would you? And I didn’t realise it was mentioned in Adrian Mole! That’s even better! Glad you enjoyed it, thank you for reading 🙂