Tuesday night was the one my brother and I dreaded. It was our little sister’s ballet night. She went to Miss Audrey’s class upstairs at what used to be The Ship, at the junction of Market Street and Chapel Street. Our task on Tuesdays was to walk sis down to ballet and walk her back again afterwards.
It’s funny how some sounds, smells and sensations linger in the memory … the echoed thud of ballet shoes on The Ship’s dry wooden floorboards, the sound of Mr Pugh playing Gershwin tunes on the upright piano for the dancers, and the hot faces of two pre-teen brothers waiting for their sister’s class to end in a room full of leotarded ballet students.
There was only one thing my brother and I dreaded more than the weekly lessons. And it fell on the same Saturday every year. We hated having to go with the whole family to Miss Audrey’s ballet class’s annual concert. Not because we had to dress up in our best clothes. Not even because we had to sit through two hours of sub-standard tap and modern before our sister’s six minutes of fame. No, we hated it because, while our sister and her tu-tued classmates were prancing about on the stage of the Prince of Wales Theatre of a Saturday afternoon, we were missing the FA Cup Final on television.