The Aquadrome

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The Aquadrome – Rickmansworth

I remember, when I was at Junior’s School I was a good footballer (soccer that is of course), and I had aspirations of one day becoming a professional player (that was in years 3-6, we start at school at 4 or 5 in the UK, so that would have made me about 9 or 10 years old). Anyway it was a sort of dream; a boyish one I know.
So, when I went to Seniors, or Secondary School (at the age of 11) I played for the school, and my year, and my form, and I also played cricket to boot! But, we used to have ‘games’ or sports Wednesday afternoons, and as I said things were not always as one might have hoped.
For example, there were the two ‘Alies’, Alister S. and his mate Alan the drummer, and there were other hard-nuts as well, who always seemed to be bigger than the rest of us (perhaps they had repeated a couple of years I don’t know, it never occurred to me at the time), and whilst we waited for our teachers to arrive in the changing rooms those Wednesday afternoons, the big boys would seem to take immense pleasure in whacking the rest of us, lesser mortals, with their bags or towels or anything else which came to hand.
So in my third year, when I was 13, a small group of us friends decided it was too much hassle to bear, and so we would go to afternoon registration and then bunk off to play hooky. We used to go to the Highland Water Gardens to see the fish, or go down to the canal, (the Grand Union), or the Aquadrome or whatever. And whatever we did, we had a whale of a time, and anything was better than having to be walloped by the local half-wit hoodlums. And so, I and my friends missed sports for the next three years, and no one noticed.
I was, however, once caught playing truant from Art on one occasion, and when the dreaded letter arrived from the headmaster, my dad took me to one side and asked if it was true, and why I’d done it. I explained why, and to my surprise, that was okay with him, and that was that. But sports, no one found out!

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