The Radioactive Brick

I placed a house brick upon the mantelpiece of my form room and solemnly advised anyone who would listen that it was radioactive. Of course, any brick, or indeed almost anything else, is radioactive to some usually minuscule degree. After a while, consternation had percolated upwards and a couple of science Brushers were eventually summoned to assess the hazard and indeed earnestly took it away, to much hilarity among those who understood the issues.

Television arrives at Ridgemount

In 1962, television was officially continuingly pronounced as beyond the pale. There was at that time a wooden shed beside the House, which seemed to go under the radar as being just a junk repository for unwanted furniture, etc. I brought in my rescued and fixed-up 9-inch Bush television set and we used to crowd around it in there to watch the "forbidden pictures", surrounded by others' mouse cages, Bintzy reconstruction projects and so forth. The power supply through the rather ropey cable out to the shed was not very good and so we often had to peer at a diminished and barely visible picture.

A bit later on, with a more advanced Bush 17-inch set, we could enjoy such excitements as Top of the Pops etc with proper full visibility. At this point the shed was summarily torn down.

It pained me that, as a supposedly great privilege, we were allowed (or rather obliged) to watch Winston Churchill's 1965 funeral procession at almost intolerably great length at some Brusher's place (i forget which), which was more as to what was considered the very limited proper ambit of the milieu at the time.

Finally, we brazenly put my recently-rescued albeit rather fuzzy Ekco 17-inch set in the "games room" and the Grey Forces no longer challenged that in 1966. Such was progress...

The Pianoforte's Finest Ride

There was a rather broken-down upright pianoforte loitering sadly and very protractedly in the hall of the Alleybin. One bright Sunday, with nothing better to do, we trundled it all over the School site, pausing to play some rousing stuff outside each House we passed, until it ended up at Ridgemount, where it was dismantled. I was fortunate enough to acquire the keyboard, which was pressed into service in a home-made electronic organ full of discarded TV pentodes running as phase-shift oscillators and, perhaps fortunately, my father disposed of the whole horrific thing some time afterwards in my absence.

Pianoforte Coda

The grim evening service, which used to be de rigeur shortly before bed time at the House, was brightened up a bit on two occasions. Firstly, drawing pins were attached to the hammers, rendering a very interesting change to the tone; some Izal lavatory paper augmented it a bit further. On the second occasion, the entire array of keys was laid out carefully on Top Table, so when the House Brusher arrived all that he could say was "This is not just wet... it is saturated."

Personnfred Personn

In another House, whose Brusher was named Mann (actually a brilliant contralto singer in the Chapel Choir), somebody left a tape recorder outside his room playing Manfred Mann's "5-4-3-2-1" very loudly, which inevitably led to the usual beatings of course.

Generational Embarrassment

A few times a year, the Aged Parents rocked in for "whatever" gaudy functions. Afterwards, somebody's father was once seriously criticised for using his tie as a belt to hold up his trousers during a cricket match, for instance, and meanwhile the old fogies' races were tragic to behold as they thundered ponderously and erratically across the grass. Thank goodness that mine always eschewed such banalities.

More interestingly, on these occasions the House was permeated by the heady combination of tobacco smoke, ladies' scent, gin fumes and, probably, various pheromones too.

More to follow, inshallah 8-)

[End of document of 27-APR-2018]