I’ve had a lovely weekend, spending Saturday afternoon with Heather, my friend Lyndsey, and her two little’uns at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. You will see I’ve written a review of the Centre for What’s Good To Do, and in it I mention the glass roof. It’s made of glass 6cm thick and strong enough to hold 460 people in one go. You know you’re safe on it, and yet it’s a very hard thing to begin walking over it, and it took us several attempts and a lot of squealing to get going. Once you’ve got used to it you can look 40’ below into the brasserie reception area and shop. I advise that the wearing of trousers is a strict necessity, steer clear of skirts and kilts – or if you do have to wear them make sure that everything is safely gathered in.
Saturday evening was interesting because I got wind of the fact that Ryton Comprehensive school were holding a festival between 5pm and 11pm so Heather and I went to have a look. I last set foot in that school 38 years ago more or less to the day and enjoyed showing Heather where I used to sit, and what the classrooms were used for. I even had my own peg you know, and I can recall exactly where it was, but sadly it’s no longer there.
The gym now seems to be a refectory, but the assembly hall is just as it was. A lady there helping kindly allowed us to look upstairs at the rooms where I was taught domestic science. I use the term “taught” loosely. The dislike I had for my domestic science teacher was thoroughly reciprocated by her, and every lesson spent with her in charge ended in tears. I recall getting into trouble because I’d sneaked “Just Roll” pastry into the classroom when obviously pastry was supposed to be made from scratch. This was because as per usual I’d delayed telling my mother I was required to take ingredients into school until 9pm the night before. There was no time to get any stuff because in those days the shops weren’t open in the evenings, so she dug out a packet of Just Roll from the freezer. Well the teacher found the empty packet didn’t she, and a huge row ensued which I managed to get myself out of by telling her that my mother was in hospital. This was kind of true. My sister in law was pregnant with my niece and Mum was accompanying her into hospital for a routine check-up, but I missed this last bit off and stuck to the “Mum is in hospital,” part of the story. Unfortunately for me my father taught at Ryton Comp and during the afternoon break my teacher approached him full of concern and said, “I’m awfully sorry to hear your wife is ill.” The second she returned to the classroom after the break I could tell that all manner of horrors were looming as she padded purposefully in my direction. She regularly complained about me to Dad, who always said the same thing, “You will have to speak to her mother,” thus divesting himself of any responsibility in relation to his troublesome offspring.