Sunday, 29 March 2009

Did you ever receive a detention or other punishment at school, and if so, what for?

Although I wasn't the best behaved child at school, I rarely received formal punishments.

When I was at prep school I fell out with the music teacher, I can't remember why, and he threw me out of the choir and the orchestra! I was a bit pissed off, because I really enjoyed them, but the worst thing was still to come. We were doing a school production of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat. I had been cast as one of the brothers (due to a shortage of boys in our year who could sing), and my role was taken away from me! I ended up being an adoring girl, which is sooo not me! That annoyed me!

The following year though, we had a new music teacher so I was reinstated in the choir and the orchestra!

When I went to senior school in Edinburgh, I was a bit more badly behaved, as you may know! I got detention a few times, but I can't remember what for. The bad kids had to go to the library and sit there for an hour doing whatever they liked, but quietly! I think I read books mainly! It didn't have any lasting impact on me!

At school in Dumfries I only got one actual punishment. I was in a french class, which was taught by a bloke so young he must have been a college leaver, and didn't really have a clue how to control a class. I was talking too much, so he gave me a punishment exercise to do. He picked out the longest passage in our text book and told me to translate it, and give it to him when it was done. He didn't realise at this point that French was my best subject, and by the end of the class I not only handed him my class work, but also the punishment exercise completed and correct! I did feel smug about that one - I must have been a real pain in the arse for him!

Another time, some friends and I were caught smoking byt the headmaster, and we ran away. We were called to his office, and given a strict talking to, and all the while another friend was outside his window making funny faces at us! We were trying to look contrite, whilst simultaneously trying to hold in our laughter!

I never really worked very hard at school - languages came naturally to me, so I coasted through those exams. I did study for Biology and Chemistry, but I got bored with them and ended up re-reading all my Famous Five Books! I worked damned hard for Geography - we had a project to do which counted towards our final marks. I quite enjoyed doing it, but the teacher, who was disgusting (he once picked his ear and flicked the wax at a pupil in my class) went through my project, made corrections and suggestions and told me to edit it on the computer. He was most put out when I told him we didn't have a computer - he obviously thought that everyone did, and thought we weren't normal. This was 1993 - it wasn't that common then. My dad had typed it out for me, so we had to re-type the whole thing. That teacher's attitude stank.

I didn't get many punishments at school on a whole, apart from my one major low point which is in an earlier post either in this blog or the other one.

I was either pretty well behaved, or too smart to get caught!

You decide!

Monday, 23 March 2009

What was your school food like?

My school food varied a lot. When I was at school in Malawi, I didn’t eat school meaks because we finished for the day at lunch time. At primary school in Scotland it was so-so as far as I remember – most of the time I took a packed lunch, which has left me with a life long hatred of sandwiches containing either tomato or cucumber, as they make the bread soggy!

When I started to be a weekly boarder at prep school I was introduced to some truly horrible school food! The yolks of boiled eggs could be used as bouncy balls! We had semolina and rice pudding which just looked like a dish of vomit with a bit of jam in the middle! Delicious!

Sometimes I could wake up in the morning and know what was for breakfast just by the smell that permeated the entire building. Kippers were particularly bad, as was eggy bread. I’m not a big fish eater, and if you read my other blog you’ll know
how I feel about eggs! The smell was indescribably bad!

We did get some good meals, although these were few and far between. So few, that I actually can’t remember any of them! On our birthdays though, we were allowed to choose the pudding for that day. I always chose trifle, because the cooks were really good at that! There was very little custard used (which was great because I’m not a big fan), and tons of dream topping! We had to drop a little note outside the Headmaster’s flat the night before, so that he could inform the kitchen staff of our choice. It was the one nice thing about that school – a touch of home.

At senior boarding school in Edinburgh, the food was marginally better, although I tended to eat salads a lot because they were nicer than the normal main courses! We used to get these sticky buns, which are particular to Scotland I think. They were like bread rolls, with sticky pink icing on top! Sounds weird, but they were actually really nice.

Once I went to school in Dumfries, the quality of school meals dropped slightly. I’m sure there were other things on the menu, but I always had baked potato and cheese, or occasionally chips and cheese! Very healthy! Sometimes I wouldn’t eat anything because I’d spent my lunch money on cigarettes, but that’s another story!

All in all, I would say that my school meals were generally crap, and it didn’t matter whether it was a state or private school – it was still crap! Obviously, the massive fees that are paid by parents for their kids to get a good education, don’t make their way to the dining tables.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Were you often into mischief as a child? How strict were your parents?

I didn’t get into much mischief when I was small. Incidentally, doesn’t it drive you mad when people say michievious instead of mischievous? It really irritates me!

Anyway, as I was saying, I was a pretty good kid.  My parents weren't too strict – we lived in a small village, so until I could drive, having a curfew wasn't exactly an issue.  And after that I was old enough to do what I wanted.  It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started getting into a bit of trouble.

The first time I was in serious trouble was at the private school in Edinburgh. Four of us were caught for smoking on the roof at night time. Some parent had driven past the school and seen four girls on the roof all smoking. Our dormitory was called down to the housemistress’s (complete and utter bitch) flat and we were made to confess our sins! She did that old psychology trick – “I know who it was so you may as well own up”. We did as well…what a bunch of mugs! Anyway, we were marched off to the sanatorium because we had to be quarantined for our badness! It might be catching! Our parents were called, and they came to get us the next day. We all had to go an see the headmaster, which was a bit of a waste of time – I can’t even remember what he said now. We had to pay a fine of £30 each (well, our parents did) which allegedly went to Cancer Research. I bet it didn’t though – it probably went to line the school coffers – grasping bunch of bastards. More on that in a sec. Anyway, it was the week before half term, so the four of us got two weeks instead of just one! Our names were read out in Chapel the following morning because we were so bad, and our names were up on the message board.

What drives me mad about that school, is that they keep sending me begging letters. Please donate to a scholarship fund, please donate to this, that and the other bloody fund. I wrote back to them last week telling them not to send me any letters as I wouldn’t donate to any fund in order to put someone else through the misery I suffered there.

That was my one major transgression. My mum told me that I should tell the housemistress when I got back to school that I had been to confession and that I had done my penance and that the priest had absolved me from my sins!

I was pretty good after that – the rest was general teenage stuff. I remember one weekend I stayed with my best mate in Dumfries. We went out for the evening, and because we were skint we went into the local off licence and bought cheap wine and sat by the river drinking it and getting pissed. We had told her dad we were at the pictures! Apparently we were late home, so he had gone out looking for us, and ended up following us back up the road. We were staggering and falling over and being generally pissed and extremely silly! We crept into the house, supposing that he was in the sitting room. My mate went off to the bathroom, and her dad knocked on the bedroom door. I opened it, holding myself up by the door handle on one side and the radiator on the other. He started to ask me about the film we had seen so I spouted some shite about a film I had read about, knowing full well that he knew I was lying but couldn’t seem to stop myself. He asked me if I expected him to believe me – that he’d been a justice of the peace for years and he could tell when someone was lying. So I admitted it and my mate came back into the room then – her dad said it would be a long time until we spent another weekend together. I was back the next weekend – but we were a little better behaved – or maybe we just hid it better!!

I think that’s the worst trouble I ever got into when I was younger – like I said, I was generally very well behaved, but even the best behaved kids can be a bit bad sometimes!!

Friday, 13 March 2009

A few questions for you.

1. How old do you look? I think I probably look my age – 31.
2. Where do you live? SW France
3. Are you waiting for something? Yes, a job! Oh, and Mr Right would be nice too!
4. What’s one pet peeve of yours that is not common? The sound of other people eating.
5. Do you want/have kids? I have one amazing nine yer old daughter, and I would dearly love another child, but we’ll just have to wait and see!
6. Have you ever thought about converting your religion? No, I'm not too keen on the one I was baptised into – would never consider another one.
7. Last shocking news you heard? I couldn’t possibly tell you that – I know someone who would kill me – yes, you know who you are!!
8. What was the last thing you drank? Diet Coke – well, Diet Pepsi really because at the moment it’s so much cheaper – credit crunch and all!
9. Who do you most look like in your family? My mum
10. If you could have something right now, anything, what would it be? Some money so I could book my flight back from UK in April.
11. Where does most of your family live? All over the place – we are in France, some are in England, some in Jersey and some in the middle east.
12. Where did you grow up? Portsmouth, Malawi and SW Scotland
13. Where do you want to go on vacation? Anywhere that isn’t here really! I would love to go back to Japan and spend longer there, hire a car and get to see more than what we managed (admirably!) to squeeze into two weeks!
14. Have you ever had a panic attack or asthma attack? Panic attack no, asthma attack yes.
15. What can’t you wait for? At the moment I can’t wait for my little working holiday – a change of scenery will be fab!
16. When’s the last time you told someone you loved him or her and meant it? I tell Isla I love her all the time, and mean it obviously!
17. Have your parents ever smoked pot? My parents?? I don’t think so! My dad ate some by mistake in some brownies once – didn’t realise until someone told him afterwards!
18. Want someone back in your life? I would love someone in my life, but someone back in my life?? Nah, I don’t think so.
19. What do you order at the bar? Diet Coke, or occasionally Smirnoff Ice
20. When was the last time you cried really, really hard? Watching The Tudors, when Sir Thomas More was executed. I haven’t cried hard about anything personal for a long time.
21. Where were you on July 4th, 2008? I was dogsitting at the house of the shagging lovebirds.
22. What are your nicknames? Mummy, KTB, KatduGers
23. If you could go back in time, how far back would you go? Well, I’ve already been back to the 18th century this year – well, the way of living anyway when we had the storms ! I don’t think I’d have been much good before at least the sixties, as women were meant to be much more subservient then, and that just isn’t me! Never liked authority! Yeah, I think the sixties would have suited me – long hair, hippy tops, folk music – groovy!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Did you ever attend, or act in a play?

When I was younger, my dad was in an Amateur Dramatics society in Malawi. The play I most remember him being in was Fiddler On The Roof, in which he was the Rabbi’s son – a not exactly major part, but one for which he had to grow his beard really long! All I can remember about it was that it was good, and that I spent most of the times being shushed by my mumbecause I kept singing along!


We used to go to pantomimes staged by the same AmDram Society, and they would always make cracks about having the world’s most unpopular man (my dad – the tax inspector!!) in the audience! It was all in good fun though!

I didn’t go to plays when I was at primary school in Scotland, but when I moved to the prep school we did school plays. I narrowly missed out on The Pirates Of Penzance, as I arrived a term after they had done that! The first play I had anything to do with was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – I was the understudy for the housekeeper and in charge of props! Not the most fulfilling role, but I made the fairy cakes that were used as props, so I got to eat them too! That fulfilled me enough! It might be sour grapes, but it seems to me now, that it was always the favourite kids who got the roles. It probably was too.

The year after that, we did Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat. This time I actually did get a decent role – I was meant to be one of the brothers, but I fell out with the music teacher so he demoted me to one of the Adoring Girls, and I had little more to sing than la la la! Bastard!

We didn’t get to go and see other plays at that school very often. I remember going to see a school production of My Fair Lady at a senior school in Edinburgh – I can’t for the life of me remember which one – and it was brilliant. The only downside to that was that we were put to sleep in their San (sick bay), and the mattresses in there were made or horse hair! I’m allergic to horses, so I had a great night’s sleep!! We did go to Edinburgh occasionally to see concerts in the Usher Hall – classical music mostly, and not hugely thrilling, but a good excuse to escape the confines of the school for a while!

300_Usher Hall

At senior school I was sort of involved with a nativity play – I played my flute in the little orchestra that was accompanying some girl playing Mary singing some psalm or something. My memory on this is a little hazy – my best friend at the time and I had snuck off during the break, nicked a bottle of wine, necked it and staggered back to our places! So you’ll forgive me if my memory of that night isn’t quite as clear as it could be. At least I could sit down and pretend to play my flute – my mate had to stand on stage, and very wobbly she was too!!

As for what I went to see, the only one I remember is Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw. It was quite good, but I don’t remember the story. I think we also went to see Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard – but couldn’t swear to it!

At some point during this time – I can’t remember what year exactly – we went to a local village to see our local pantomime. It was dire – in fact, if you didn’t know better, you would have thought they were taking the piss. The highlight of the evening was winning a box of Black Magic in the raffle! I have never before seen anything so embarrassingly bad!

Once I was at school in Dumfries, that was it…no more plays! I was at a proper school – i.e. one that didn’t have its head up its own arse!

The only time I have been to the theatre since, was to the opera with my friend Moses – we went to Toulouse and saw The Marriage Of Figaro.


It was brilliant – I was amazed! I’ve never been a fan of opera, but I think what impressed me was that we got our own box for about €20 each, there was a small screen above the stage with subtitles so that we could understand, and I actually knew some of the music from it! I was pleasantly surprised!


I would love to see a West End show – Mamma Mia, Joseph or My Fair Lady would be brilliant.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Did you participate in any type of recreation or athletics?

Surprisingly enough, the answer is yes! I was quite slim when I was younger, particularly when I was at school. My thyroid didn’t go up the creek until after my pregnancy!

When I was at primary school in Malawi I learnt to swim. Ever since, I’ve loved the water, and I’m an extremely strong swimmer. We used to have inter-school swimming galas, and they were great fun.

When I went to primary school in Scotland I played football, for a very short while! They always used to put me in goal, and I wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t enjoy it much! I played for the under tens Threave Rovers! I’ve got a medal somewhere, but I don’t know where. I mentioned this to my mum the other day, and she has no recollection of it at all! I thinked I only played once or twice!

When I went to prep school, I did lots of sports. I was brilliant at netball – again, I was always put in as goal keeper, but I was a pretty good goal shooter too. Occasionally I managed to play as Goal Attack, but it was more often goal keeper. I found it boring though, as I rarely got control of the ball. In the summer we used to play rounders, and I was bloody brilliant at that! I could whack the ball like the proverbial off the shovel, and earned the nickname Basher! Not very ladylike perhaps, but then I’ve never been what you’d call ladylike! I loved rounders! We also played tennis a bit, and I could hit the ball, but was never too sure of the rules! We had a swimming pool at that school, but in my years there it was more like a dark green pond! It was nasty, but on hot days, after a particularly sweaty game of rounders, we were all delighted to jump in and cool off. I also did some athletics – not the running around stuff – that’s never really been my thing – but more the field events. I was great at high jump, in particular, and long jump and shot putt. I could also do the 100m sprint, as it wasn’t too far! We did cross country there, and I truly hated it! My friend and I used to treat it as a country stroll! There would be these kids who would run around the course, and complete it in 11 minutes, but we’d be happy if we came in under half an hour!! We were never last though – there was always this other kid lagging behind us! My school report said "She is keen NOT to be known as an athlete"!!!!
At senior school (the private one) we did hockey and lacrosse, and I hated both of them. I couldn’t see the point of playing a stupid game, which made no sense to me, outside in the sun, rain or snow – and I mean that literally. I suppose it was meant to be character building – stern Scottish private school and all that! Well…bugger that for a game of soldiers!I was on the swimming team for that school though, and swam in quite a few matches. I narrowly missed out on a school trip to swim Lake Como in Italy because there wasn’t enough interest.

At my school in Dumfries we didn’t do a lot of sport. We had PE, and it always seemd to be tennis or badminton. My friend Lara and I used to play for a little while, and then sneak out the back to have a sly fag! Not very health conscious!!

Since school I haven’t participated in any team sports, unless you count darts which I don’t! I do a lot of swimming in the summer, and try to swim at least a kilometre a day, but preferably a mile. I walk the dogs around a local lake, and sometimes (but not as often as I should) work out on the cross trainer and exercise bike.

Swimming is best though!

What sports did you do, and which ones did you love or hate?

NB. Pictures Not My Own Work.