Out Now!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

A knife in his chest





Unlike Sheila Pound, I can’t quite remember how we met, or how we became friends. It just happened. Because of your middle name (St. John) you were frequently called ‘The Saint’ after the series on TV at the time, and I seem to remember the Simon Templar motif on your bag. I also remember the theme tune - DA -DARA - DA - DOM - DOM - DA. (Bloody hell, I’d forgotten that. The early books were a little darker and more gritty than the sanitised TV version. I re read one of them recently - They evoke post war Britain perfectly)

In my first year I was unfortunate enough to be persuaded by my parents to wear the College Uniform, a green jacket with braiding around the collar and cuffs a pocket badge depicting bees and a hive - and the word ‘Industrial’ springs to mind. (This uniform must have hurt deeply for you to remember it so well) I felt a right pillock and would have fitted in well at St. Trinians. You on the other hand wore a polo neck shirt with a brown corduroy jacket and brown suede shoes. I’m not to sure about the trousers but feel sure you wore some.

Some of the people I remember:

A blonde girl with Olympic calves and child bearing hips, spoke with a lisp, and believe it or not had no eyelids - like a fish.

Jennifer Gee. Dark hair, pretty, a bit posh with a turned up nose. She was the first girl to kiss me one Christmas at College. My legs went to jelly unlike another part of my anatomy.

Justina Atoyabe African, traditionally dressed and wore open toed sandals, even in winter. The mean-minded subjected her to vile abuse and she would retaliate by throwing kitchen knives at them.

Sheila Connolly - sat next to Justina and was a trainee nun (must be another word for that)

John Passey - Although not in our group and in his final year, deserves a mention. He was the person everyone liked and wanted to be seen with. Although John had a crowd of followers he still found time to acknowledge me and frequently gave me a lift home when a seat was available in his yellow Reliant three-wheeler. John sadly died of bowel cancer a good number of years ago, and although I felt he was destined for great things, he lived and died in Widnes. Even so I still envy his charisma and remember him with great affection.

The Fletcher Maffia. The Tonge brothers and their followers were the hard boys of the college, George in particular. I was in the changing rooms with Tony Alexander, or Alex as we called him, and one or two others from our year, when George came in and took out a 10 inch Sabatiere knife. He was larking about and then lunged with it into Alex’s chest. George’s expression didn’t change as he removed the knife from Alex, just watched the blood pouring down from his chest. Alex was taken to hospital for treatment and was told that the knife had just missed a main artery, that he was lucky to be alive. Ronny Tonge was as crazy as his brother. When his girlfriend, Tina, finished with him, he took a knife and slashed both of his wrist.

Well Mike, I could rime on for hours about our memories - the Chinese business lunches for 2/-6d with Sheila and Jennifer - the trip to New Brighton instead of attending lectures and getting caught and scrubbing copper pans for three days afterwards. Mike, it seems like yesterday. Thank you, Mike for giving me the opportunity to re-live and value those very happy years.

Which is what this blog is all about. Thanks Mike, I really enjoyed reading this We’ll share a drink soon.

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