One thing used to intrigue me about Rushmoor when I first went there: why was there chicken wire over almost all the windows? I imagine it was to prevent them being broken by flying cricket balls or pupils flinging stones in a rage (I jest, of course, about the raging pupils, but who knows?) Then there was the weird green tin shed which could have been some sort of chicken house. It also had it's fair share of chicken wire over it's windows. I think it was the chicken wire that made me think it must be a chicken house. But thinking about it now, why on earth would a school have a chicken house, let alone a green corrugated tin one? It really didn't make sense. It turned out to be the gymnasium, and doubled up as assembly hall for hymn singing first-thing in the morning. The piano was played by the lady who owned the school, Mrs Richardson. She was a relatively old lady and lived in a house next door to the school. The words of the hymns were put up on a huge sort of song sheet, an enormous book with pages around four foot wide and five or six foot high which had the words of the hymns printed on in really large lettering which could be turned over to the relevant hymn for the morning's singing. One day something went disastrously wrong. This song-sheet book, or whatever you want to call it, had to be hauled up on a length of sash cord and then tied off on a cleat at the bottom, but this day, whoever had done this job, hadn't fastened it off securely, or else the sash cord got very frayed, because part-way through this particular day's hymn the whole hymn book/song book/song sheet collapsed, causing Mrs Richardson to abruptly stop playing the piano and the whole assembled school burst out laughing! Not something you forget in a hurry and no doubt was the talk of the whole school for the rest of the day. The weight of that song sheet must have been quite a lot, and when it crashed down when it did it was just as well it didn't land on somebody as they would have received quite a nasty injury.
We had our weekly session of gym in that weird green box. The building smelt of stale sweat and the horrible rubbery smell you get from ancient gym shoes. I leant to climb a rope and vault over horses (not real ones. Those odd wooden boxes, reminiscent of the one used in the film "The Wooden Horse" which is about an escape from a concentration camp somewhere in Germany during World War 2.) Also, swinging on parallel bars and other odd things. These lessons were lead by a man whose name I forget, but who was very short and had a bull neck and had an almost sado-masochistic streak. Don't all gym and games teachers have a tendency towards sado machochism? I'm put in mind of the Roald Dahl story, called I believe 'Galloping Foxley' which is about a young man who meets his former gym teacher on a train, and what befalls him as revenge for what he did to him when he was at school, as I bumped into this man on a train in a similar fashion. He obviously didn't recognise me, but I remember how we were treated quite badly by this man so I can see how Dahl could write a story about that former schoolboy getting his revenge. I think the retired teacher got thrown off the moving train, but I'm not sure. I remember it being adapted as part of the "Tales of the Unexpected" but have not read it. I will have to get the collected Dahl stories and give it a read.