So Thursday evening and it was time to take the eldest sprog to see Calderstones school as D-Day for choosing her senior school fast approaches. To be honest I think it was me who was more excited as it was a return to my old school I went to from 1984 to 1992. I have been playing footy in the Phil Hammond gym for the last few years and every time I play in there I think of Phil who sadly died at the Hillsborough disaster and I will never forget the school the Monday after that fateful day, the whole school was just numb in shock and all normality was suspended for that day. So first up it was time to report to Quarry wing to pick up some stuff that was being handed out for people attending the open evening. I remember as a child being in awe of the building and a quick look on the school website shows that the house at the centre of Quarry Bank High School was completed in 1867 although other dwellings had stood on this ground. The house was built for John Bland, a prosperous timber merchant, and the woodwork and mirrors of the entrance hall are most impressive even to present day visitors. This house was also purchased by Liverpool Corporation in 1920 with the intention to convert it into a school. I remember sneaking onto the roof as a child and there was indeed a cracking view. Would love to get up there these days and take some pictures of Liverpool with my nifty zoom lens. A quick walk down a corridor and a peek into an old classroom. Gone are the all in one wooden seats and desks with ink holes in. This is the new millennium and the classroom even had carpet. Onto the next room which was closed but one that was very close to my heart. Back in the day when you had to make your own fun up we had robbed a plastic orange from French class and this was now a ball in a game we called “Juice de orange” well it had been nicked from French !! One end of the class had a blackboard for a goal the other a pin board. The number of playtimes we spent in the class playing this game was numerous until one day a teacher confiscated our orange. Not put off by this we had a plastic onion off from French and created “Tear de onion” but sadly the physics of that ball wasn’t the same and the halcyon days of “juice de orange” were over. It was that great a game we still talk about it today and I was sad to have to text the lads after the open evening that arena juice de orange was now an IT room.
Below the old “Glass corridor” and part of Calder wing now all gone.
A quick look at the swimming pool, though the old changies had gone and a story that once a tall teacher who couldn’t swim went for lessons on lunch hour and kidded everyone he could swim come back into my memory. Great plan until he was on holiday and kidding everyone he could swim but the found out it was a pool that just drops off instantly into a deep end and time for the about six foot six teacher to be rescued. I am sure that a teacher told us this story so it could be true rather than an urban myth ? Large parts of the school I went to have been demolished and rebuilt. Rightly so as when I went in the mid 80’s it was very dated then. Indeed the “new block” as we knew it or Morrison wing as it is now must now be about 25 years old and might get called the old block. When we first moved up to Calder wing in 1986 on the staff car park were a row of pear trees. It was tradition for the year above to attack the new year to the school and with me being one of the tallest I had the whole year above gunning for me. After many a play hiding, often just in bushes !! I escaped getting hit as the pears ran out. Oh what fun I would have next September when I was in 4th year. Well September come and we were all ready to get some ammo and to out great shock the staff car park had been extended and the pear trees had gone !!
Anyway back to the open evening and I was very impressed with the school and it is my number one choice for Elizabeth but the gaffer wants her to get into St Hilda’s. I personally can’t see anything wrong with a mixed school and I think that you will do well at Calderstones as well as coming out a more rounded person with a wide spectrum of kids attending Caldies. Outside the new canteen I spotted an old teacher Mr Mcdermott who taught me PE back in the day and ran our footy team with Mr Dyson. Our famous 6th form footy team got beat in the city final which we played at Liverpool training ground Mellwood, the closest I ever got to be a Liverpool player. Our team was Wimbledon in style having the two faster 100m runners in the school up front and a solid centre half pairing of me and a lad called Eddie Borrini. Another old teacher still there was Mr Cain who was my form teacher in 6th form and I swear it was the same room I met him in last night that was my old form room. Sadly no other teachers are still there. A shame as I was looking forward to see if Mr Neilson was there but he had left a few years earlier. I have many a fond memory of trips organised by Mr Neilson taking me to Berlin, Prague and Dublin on numerous occasions. The days when you could take a 6th form pupils for a pint and use the school mini bus for a jolly away.
So a few fond memories of my time in Calderstones. It really was like this is your life and the added bonus of seeing some old teachers. All I needed was a female voice to say “new balls please” and out walked Lisa Carter who when representing the school at tennis had what can only be described as a mobile Spion Kop behind her baseline full of 15 year old boys (including me) not there to admire her serve. The school has had a lasting effect on me as my love of weather stems from my 6th form geography project. Here we are 24 years later with a weather station, 8000 plus followers on Twitter and the odd radio appearance as Liverpool weather expert ha ha. So time will only tell if I return next year for a parents evening and if Elizabeth doesn’t get Mrs Fay’s first choice there can be no better second choice that is Calderstones. It has done me an my mates no wrong. I am sure there are many more Caldies tales to tell but thats yer lot for now but a last mention to two teachers who’s nicknames I remember “Mr Bacon Sarnie” real name Mr Mason-Barney and “Big Bill” Mr Robinson a tall teacher who’s first name we found out was Bill. Never forget him walking past the gym one day and he got hit full on with a snowball knocking his glasses off. He picked them up and in his distinctive deep voice said “who was that” he then realises there were about 100 kids armed with snowballs and quickly dashed for cover. I recall his love of golf as he chatted to us after register and I hope he is happily retired sitting off watching The Ryder Cup. For the record sir it deffo wasn’t me that hit you with that snowball.
Fay x x x x x x