We’re late. As usual. Bloke is tapping his feet and rolling his eyes into his head.
We dash out of house. We get in car. And I find ruddy great hole in my black opaque tights.
If I want to stay married, I know the only course of action is not to head back indoors to search for a new pair, but to whip out a needle and cotton and do a quick repair job as he drives us to work.
It having taken a good ten minutes to thread the needle (even with reading glasses), I’m bent double in the passenger seat, deftly drawing black nylon together again over the circle of white flesh on my calf when I realise I’ve been transported back to the school bus.
Memories. The rattly old double-decker ride from Whiston Worrygoose to Brinny Comp was the perfect opportunity to sew up your tights.
If you got the last bus, that is. The earlier ones were a crush of nervous navy.
Rammed full of earnest first and second years sporting perfect replicas of the school uniform policy, shiny satchels and proper PE bags, there was no room for us older girls to dump tattered Chelsea Girl carriers and slump.
So we would always aim for the empty bus that got you there seconds before the bell. You could spread out; finish your homework; eat your breakfast (smoky bacon crisps); doodle a new arrow-crossed love heart on your jotter; sew up the latest gash in your ladder-resist American Tan tights.
For some reason, we always did the repair jobs with black cotton. Our legs looked like they were covered in swatted flies. I know not why we deemed the Garibaldi biscuit look preferable to holes.
If only we’d had opaque tights in those days. We wouldn’t have had as many holes and think how much warmer we’d have been.
On a foggy November morning (it was always foggy; was it to do with the steelworks and the coal fires?) no matter how orange your legs looked in cheapie Cindy hosiery, they were usually blue underneath. This wasn’t helped by the fact that, come rain, hail, sleet or snow, most of us went to school in either Jesus sandals or peep-toe nubuck wedges.
My mother only found this out the other day. “But I always bought you new winter shoes,” she said. “AND you had furry-lined boots; I thought you wore them.”
Nope; I didn’t. And you never knew because when I was 15 and old enough to know what constituted frumpy footwear, you were still in bed when I left the house wishing that advert where mums packed their kids off to school glowing with love and inner ReadyBrek was true.
Plus those furry-lined boots? The ugly, zip-fronted ones? They were yours. I remember the harsh winter’s day you fished them out of the box-room and made a gift of them because you’d realised they looked exactly like the ones my gran in Lichfield had.
Mindst’you, schoolgirls these days would probably kill for a pair - to wear with their deliberately laddered, more holey than whole tights.