A slim, attractive woman about five feet six inches
tall with long, honey-blond hair and a face that shone
with health walked confidently into the office. She
glanced down at the boiler suit and smiled.
‘Good morning,’ I said nervously, ‘welcome
‘Hello again, Mr Sheffield,’ she said.
The first time we had met was two minutes earlier on
the school driveway and my change of costume had not
gone unnoticed. She raised her eyebrows as we shook
hands. Her handshake was firm.
‘I’m Beth Henderson,’ she said. ‘I’ve
been seconded for a year from my deputy headship in
Thirkby to support English and Physical Education in
She looked very young to be in such a post.
I walked back to my classroom, certain in the knowledge
that a woman like Beth would have a boyfriend or partner
who showered her with expensive gifts. It was also very
doubtful Beth would be interested in a man with Buddy
Holly spectacles and leather patches on the elbows of
To my surprise, Beth Henderson walked in looking stunning
in a light grey overcoat over a white polo neck jumper
and a black A-line maxi-length skirt.
It was the first time Beth had driven me in her car
and I became aware of the scent of Rive Gauche perfume
and her fast, competent driving as we sped along the
Ripon road. The stress of school and the irritating
sore throat were soon forgotten as we chatted about
music, a shared interest in historical buildings and
what was going to happen to her when her one-year secondment
ended and she returned to her deputy headship.