Dear Theodore,

Your mention in Ben Goldacre's Guardian column bought me to your very enjoyable Sodium Party page and made me feel the need to confess some similar sodium-based antics of my own many years ago.

This was when I was about 14 or 15 and a friend at the time was working in the school chemistry storeroom and managed to procure a whole jar of sodium, amongst other things he was commissioned to acquire for another friend who was making their own fireworks. (As an adult and now father of my own children, it's re-assuring to note that the jar's absence was finally noticed and all those connected were severely reprimanded - although I'm not sure anyone quite realised the true severity of what we got up to). I'm not sure why the sodium - it must have been mentioned in the same sentence as the word 'explosive' in a Chemistry lesson.

It's going back a bit now, but I remember that one very cold morning on the way to school three large chunks of sodium where thrown 20 feet or so over the hedge into the closed-up and frozen-over swimming pool in the local park. Two or three minutes later we were on the the other side of the park entirely, when the noise of one almighty great explosion shook the neighborhood, followed shortly later by two others during which we kept moving very quickly in the opposite direction, stifling nervous giggles.

Not quite believing that we'd caused the mother of all big bangs in our local outdoor pool, and too cautious to go back and look until after school that night, we waited the whole day half-expecting to hear news reports of an explosion. Peering in through the gates of the pool later that day though, we could see where whole chunks of 2 inch thick ice had been blown across the whole pool complex from three huge holes in the ice. The lumps of sodium had obviously melted through the ice and exploded once fully immersed in the water, lifting the ice up into the air.

Having read your descriptions of what sodium can do under such circumstances, all I can say is that at least for once I had the good sense not to stand and watch as the stuff went up, and to apologize to anyone who might have been walking their dog around there at that time in the morning!

You can use any of this you like on your website, but please leave out my name. And apologies for lack of any scientific details of any kind, but delinquent teenagers are very bad at recording the results of their experiments.

Kind Regards,