Last Friday I drove from Oxford to Leeds to spend the weekend with my friend Sarah. It was an arduous four hour journey in my old jalopy; the thing didn't like being driven above 65mph and protested by vigorously rattling and shaking whenever I attempted the feat. To make matters worse, the only form of in-car entertainment was my Sat Nav, and to be honest that got a bit samey a couple of hours into the journey. How I rue the day I dropped my iPhone down the toilet.
When I arrived, Sarah opened the front door and announced, "you're late."
"Am I?" I asked, "I thought you said 4pm? It's now 5pm, so I'm only an hour later than planned."
"Nope, I told you to get here at 3pm you drongo," replied Sarah.
Ooops, I must have put it in my diary incorrectly. So unlike me.
"Anyway," said Sarah, "we're going out, so hurry up and get ready."
Sarah is a teacher and Friday was the last day of school before breaking up for the summer holidays. It meant that scores of Teachers were now free from the shackles of school life and wanted to celebrate the fact .... and I was going to be joining in.
I had never been out with teachers en masse before, and I wondered what to expect from these bastions of society, guardians of our future generation, and cerebral educators. We took a taxi into Leeds city centre and met about fifteen of them in a pub. They had been there some time (yes, it was because I was late), so we ordered ourselves a chilled glass of Rose wine each and took a seat.
I was sitting next to a teacher called Jo, who introduced herself and then said, "we were just talking about interesting facts".
"Ooh, carry on," I said, "don't mind me". In my minds eye, I imagined them discussing something clever like the Socratic Method-Problem Method Dichotomy teaching debate, and so leaned forward to listen.
Jo continued, "Rob who is sitting opposite you, has just worked out that he is three shags away from Robbie Williams."
I laughed, nearly spluttering my drink over her. Blimey, I didn't see that coming. "How so?" I asked.
"Well," Jo said, "Rob's wife used to be engaged to a guy (shag 1), who had a friend (casual shag 2), who was propositioned by Robbie Williams (shag 3)."
How amazing is that? Bloody amazing, that's what.
Rob himself then entered the conversation; "Not only am I three shags away from Robbie Williams, but another interesting fact is that I have got six toes."
"No way. That's freaky." I said. "Can I take a picture?"
"Of course you can," he said obligingly, removing his sock.
"How come you've got six toes?" I asked, after taking the pictures.
"I come from Burnley," he shrugged. [Note to Burnley readers: I did not say that, Rob did. So please can you aim all your rotten tomatoes at him. I thought his comment was bad and evil and I didn't laugh..... at all.... not even a little bit........ that would've been wrong.].
After a couple of hours, we decided to move to a more lively place called the Revolution Bar, by which stage things were starting to get a bit hazy.
There was me thinking that teachers were upstanding members of the community. Not a bit of it, they are all animaux de partie. Also, if I am totally honest, most of the night from then on was pieced together using a pictures and videos that I didn't realise I had taken, but found on my camera the next day. How bad is that? And how bad is it that I actually admitted to it? Thank god that Moral Police don't exist otherwise I would be stoned to death in the village stocks.
So, from a patchy memory and random videos and photographs, here is what happened last Friday night:
We met Suzie, who works with Sarah at the school. She was extremely friendly and soon we were all best friends.
We met an unknown teacher who insisted that I take at least twenty pictures of him in various poses. "Take another one," he kept saying. "I already have," I replied, and he would get into another pose and then say "quickly, just one more. Do you think I should be a model?" and I said, "yes of course you should, you are my new best friend and I love you."
The best bit about the video was the chap walking past. He stopped and asked, "is she ok?" To which Sarah replied; "she's just having a photograph taken for her blog, thank you." Bizarrely, he seemed quite happy with that explanation.
You will be pleased to know that we did make it home safely, and more importantly, we managed to order a huge pizza each to top off the evening. And just in case you were wondering.... yes, my head did hurt the next day, and as a penance, I had to drink a hundred cups of Earl Grey tea because Sarah didn't have any coffee. Bloody teachers!
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