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.
Pic.No. 1 Look! Real-life teachers. Jo (left) and Sharon. I haven't seen one of them up close since I left school
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.
Pic.No. 2 Rob of the 'Three Shags' and 'Six Toes' fame
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.
Pic.No.3 Rob's six toes
"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.].
Pic.No.4 All the teachers in one big gang
After a while the conversation turned to dogs.
"You've got a dog called Naughty George haven't you?" asked Jo.
"Yep, he's a complete git," I replied; "and he never shows any signs of dying."
"I want a dog but my husband won't let me," she said, before adding; "Well that's not strictly true. He said I could have a dog if one of four criteria are fulfilled."
"What are they?" I asked.
"Number one is if I get ill and won't ever get better. Number two is if one of the children gets autism or Aspergers, number three is if he dies, and number four is if we get a very old dog that will die within two years of receipt."
"Harsh," I said, and we both nodded in tempo.You just can't get the husbands these days.
Pic.No.5 Sarah and me. I've got men scrumming on top of my head. It's great
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:
Pic.No.6. Suzie (left) loves Sarah.... "you're my best friend you are. I love you."
We met Suzie, who works with Sarah at the school. She was extremely friendly and soon we were all best friends.
Pic.No.7. Unknown teacher poses for photographWe 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."
Pic.No.7. Told you.... here's another one. There were millions of them
Vid.No.1. Sarah inside the Revolution Bar in Leeds
Vid. No.2. Sarah loves Gary in an animated arm-waving kind of way. "You're my best friend you are. I love you."
After a great night out, during which everyone had ascertained that everyone else was their most-loved best friend, Sarah and I finally left the bar and starting walking to the taxi rank. For some reason, we ended up discussing installation art.
"Installation art is rubbish. I could do that," I said to Sarah, waving my arms around in an animated way.
"Go on then," she replied, also waving her arms in an animated way. So I came up with this ......... sheer artistic genius.
Vid.No.3. Me demonstrating how installation art should be done. It seemed sane at the time.
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.
Pic.No. 8. More installation art, for definite. Damien Hurst, you and your frozen cows should be afraid, very afraid
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!