Getting on

Heather is very disillusioned with Newcastle United at the moment, so we have transferred our affections to Newcastle Thunder, the rugby league outfit who share their home at Kingston Park with Newcastle Falcons.  I say ‘we,’ I didn’t have any affections to transfer because I have no allegiance with NUFC whatsoever  I take an interest and accompany Heather to games, but that’s about it.

 I know, or knew, nothing about the game of rugby, but having been to one game, obviously I’m now an expert, especially since I took delivery of my second hand “Rugby for Dummies” tome. Whenever I take up anything new, Photoshop, Office, Excel, Nikon and so on, I always buy a book.  This website is created with “WordPress for Dummies”, always at my elbow.  Our (you note I refer to Thunder as our) next game is a week on Sunday.  I wonder if I should apply for my coaching badges. 

During the quiet times (and there were a lot of those) of invigilating at Thorp Academy I passed the time trying, in my imagination, to superimpose the new school on to the old.  Obviously, I know where Dad’s classroom was as it overlooked the Main Road, but it can be hard to pinpoint the exact spot.  I’ve managed with the help of a tree featuring on a photograph I took about five years ago and which remains standing.  Seeing me meandering on the front lawn studying said photo, a teacher came across asking if she could help me at all and was I lost?  I explained that I was trying to get my bearings in accordance with the old school and that although I thought I was doing quite well I still couldn’t work out where the old quadrangle was.  “What quadrangle?” was the response.  As I approach sixty it is dawning upon me that I really am getting old, and the days whereby I can refer to myself as middle aged will be a past thing. The teacher can’t be blamed for not knowing, she must be about thirty-five and born well after I left Ryton Comp (Thorp) in 1976.  There are photographs taken on Ryton Village Green circa 1900.  They have been published and re-published extensively in books and on websites and depict demure little girls in black pinafore dresses. I could never imagine that these were ever living breathing children, I still can’t. Yet when I first saw the pictures many of the youngsters would still be alive, their images  captured in a period that is now only twice my lifetime.  

Speaking of getting on a bit, I’ve dug out memorabilia preserved by Mum, which includes the bill for her and Dad’s honeymoon in Edinburgh, May 1944.  Four nights dinner bed and breakfast £5.3/-  or £5.15p in today’s money.  Also, in the box of treasures, are the letters they wrote to each other before they were married.  Mum knew I would find them of course, but I don’t want to read them and have passed them on to one of her great grandchildren.  I have however, read a lengthy letter written to my Aunty Marny in 1976. It covers an entire school exercise book and begins on 31stDecember through to 4thJanuary 1977. Presumably Mum rescued it from Marny’s things after she died.  In case I haven’t mentioned it already, Marny was as different to her eight siblings as Brian Blessed is to Darcy Bussell.  She drank copious amounts of whisky, chain smoked, and swore constantly. Needless to say I adored her unreservedly. Reading through the letter I remember that life was tough for me in 1976. The telly in my bedroom was black and white and there were only three channels. On the plus side I was looking forward to accompanying Mum to the Theatre Royal pantomime to see Jack Douglas and Julie Rogers, but on the downside,  we were four rows back in the stalls and I was accustomed to sitting at the front, ungrateful little sod that I was.  I very much doubt I gave Mum the money for the tickets, even though I was in paid employment (£17.50 per week given to me in cash in a little brown envelope every Thursday lunch time).  I was also cross because I wanted to wanted to watch an ITV programme on the colour television in the lounge but Mum wouldn’t budge fromThe Generation Game.  I also imparted following riveting information to what must surely have been my enthralled aunt.  “I’m reading a dead good book, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ which I got from the library because Merrill Osmond recommended it.  I had to pay 10p to order it but it’s dead worth it, dead dead worth it.”  I’d like to hope that my vocabulary has improved.