b'BRIDGE OVERTROUBLED WATER?The wonder of it was getting in. The arrivalassembled here; and, until the LordThey also broadened us out. The range of my first official letter offering me a placedismissed us in July, HGS filled life. Thereof sports may principally have been at HGS opened floodgates of relief and awas little room to manoeuvre. Rapid-firefootball, cricket and athletics but the door. Trepidation, though, soon set in. Weeight-period days whisked us through allamount of competition and opportunity all knew the routines of Blue Goldfish andthe subjects we could possibly need toto be involved was fearsome. House Chucked in the Holly Bushes. Gettingsurvive. An avalanche of homework, threecompetitions allowed so many, often a uniform compensated. There was anthen five then seven for your weekend,under duress, to participate. In the sixth overwhelming sense of joining somethingfilled any gaps. And the joy of a 9/10,form, the Wednesday/Saturday fixture list proper, joining the world of men who didnever 10, compensated for the timefrom September to March would have left not wear shorts. stolen. I put my History degree down toa professional wilting. The Friday athletics This was reaffirmed on the first day.Mr Donnelly giving me that accolade fortripartite meet would not have happened I stood in my form line of strangers,my description of a Roman legionnairewithout those staff turning out en masse.clueless to where I was going but soin the early days of 1.10. Comment wasBut the greatest gift the school gave proud to be there. Your badge, your form.brief. The mark mattered. me was the mountains, all thanks to a But then the start of only being knownAnd staff mattered. The ritual of theteacher, Billy Rushden, who organised by your surname for seven years; thedictated timetable at the start of a yearhis own trips to give city lads a chance to immediacy of your desk carved with thefelt like life and death. We wonderedDrink in the Colours of the Lakes. The initials of previous generations; the paintedwhat went on behind that staffroom doorschool followed with the cottage in wild brick walls; the unforgiving corridors; theon the top corridor. Men who foughtWales that led to the hills for many others.need not to stand out for weakness, thein the war rubbing shoulders with theAll this in the 1970s. A decade when they need for friendship to cope with a day ofgeneration of teachers from the 1960s.tried to close the school, Red Robbo stole Doris, Rolo, Bullet, Winkie, Gibbo, Noddy,The Goog, though, set the tone; theythe headlines and a sense of disruption Sooty and Stan; the endless testing; theknew their stuff and thereby so did we.permeated society. Others will tell a forms rank order after exams; the trenchMethodology would not have earneddifferent story to mine but those savvy warfare of adolescent males. an Ofsted rosette but I learnt and stillbridge builders were onto something in But we were part of something. Sixremember today. I cannot see a glaciated1862. HGS and the 1970s. You could take hundred of us standing shoulder tovalley without thinking of Keith Morris. Fewon life after that.shoulder in forms, in Big School, everyexcuses were valid for not remembering. day. In September, we gathered for LordHomework by candlelight in the minersRichard Hudsonreceive us with thy blessing once againstrike ensued.11'