Friday, 1 May 2009

An evening in Easington

Hetty had to go to the vets today, the maudlin mutt has been struggling with kennel cough for a couple of weeks. I still use a vets near my home town of Easington.

After the vets' appointment I took Hetty for a walk around the village. My dad loved Easington, when I was little we would walk to St Mary's church every night. We would stroll through the churchyard and sit and look out over the village green. There is a lovely coastal view to Hartlepool.

I hated Easington growing up. It seemed so stifling, bleak (it was the era of the miners' strike) and provincial. In fact, provincial is a term that implies a certain glamour and sophistication that Easington never had. I couldn't wait to escape from the place. I applied to universities miles away: London, Glasgow, Bristol and Brighton. I never felt I fitted in Easington, although looking back, I think that was probably just healthy teenage alienation. I went to London University in the end, and felt just as displaced and disaffected there.

However, walking round Easington tonight I felt strangely at one with the place. I even succumbed to the temptation of supper from the fish shop: cheese patty, chips and curry sauce. It was my favourite as a child. I have to say, the cheese patty was vomitroicious, it resembled some kind of battered sanitary towel , but the curry sauce & chips were wonderful stuffed in a butter-slathered roll.

The church in Easington is beautiful. I used to go regularly as a child, my parents had their funerals there, I appeared as Mary in the 1978 Nativity there (sympathy casting, my mum had died that year). The higgledy-piggledy gravestones in the churchyard are worn and eaten by the sea air and resemble melting cinder toffee. If you are lucky you can see bats flittering round the church tower at dusk.

There is a lovely, traditional village green in Easington. Tonight a huge shire horse was tethered there, quietly cropping the grass. It all made me think that I quite miss village life: being part of a place that is your blood and history.

On another note, I think I possibly went too far with my scaring of Year 3 with Hansel and Gretal. I started to read the story after morning break. I told the class that our teaching assistant had been called away to go and work in the nursery (something she is often asked to do). They didn't realise she was actually hiding in the cupboard, in full witchy old crone regalia. I also told the mesmerised children that when reading some fairy stories there is an old legend that says that the evil goblins, ghouls and witches from the books come back to life. I got my class to promise to keep a look out while I was reading.

When I got to the line 'the children didn't hear the gingerbread door creak open, or notice a woman as old as the hills creep towards them' my bonkers TA slowly opened the cupboard door and started shuffling across the classroom. For extra impact she began to moan and wail. She was bedecked in a vast black velvet cloak, the only part of her face visible was a false, green, warty nose. She was carrying a wooden walking stick in one hand and a large roasting tin in the other.

Well, the children were horrified, there was screaming loud enough to summon the disapproving Year 2 teacher from the next classroom. Most of the children immediately slid under the desks and cowered. One boy rushed to the classroom toilet and locked himself in. There were tears, and a little bit of knicker-wetting. I have to say, it was a moment I shall never forget. It was hysterically funny. I don't think I have ever laughed so much in years. I am probably painting a rather unprofessional (and possibly illegal) portrait of the event. In truth, most of the kids were thoroughly enjoying acting terrified. When my TA disrobed and revealed herself the children were delighted. They have talked about it non-stop ever since!

No comments:

Post a Comment