Friday, 30 April 2010

Spare the rod.... 2

My heart goes out to the teacher cleared yesterday of the attempted murder of a pupil in his science class. From what's been reported (which may or may not be the full extent of the story) he just snapped under the pressure of taunting and disobedience from an apparently persistent troublemaker, goaded on by classmate(s) trying to video the whole thing.

Although in my day there were some Masters whom we simply daren't play up for fear of the consequences, there were others who were regarded as a soft touch and who were noted for being unable to keep a firm grip on classroom discipline - and I guess that's still just as much a facet of teaching now as it was then and probably always had been. However, what's different is that in my day there were repercussions. Being sent to see the Headmaster was known to have unpleasant results - and refusing to go wasn't an option. I don't know what the standard of discipline generally is like in the school at which this incident took place, but I can't help feeling that the abolition of caning has contributed an awful lot to the deterioration in standards of pupil behaviour of which this sad incident is a perhaps rather extreme example.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Star player!

I was out with the dog last night, and our walk took us down towards Allesley Park: a large grassy field slopes down towards the small brook that runs along the bottom, and being a nice warm evening, lots of kids were out on the field playing football. Now, I don't know why, but for some reason, the sight and sound of this always winds Raggs up: she whines loudly and pulls and tugs like mad as if wanting to go and join in. I suspect she must as a puppy have spent some time with a family with kids who played with a ball with her: one of the snags of getting a dog from a Rescue/Rehoming Centre is that you never know what's in their past.

As we got down to near where the brook is, a football appeared in front of her, closely followed by a young lad. Too late: she darted forward and grabbed his ball in her mouth. "Oh, shit!" he exclaimed, but I persuaded her to relinquish the ball and apologized to him. She didn't want to keep it, just to play with it, and although I got her a ball of her own at one time, she doesn't find that nearly as much as playing with other peoples'.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Curiouser and curiouser

When I was going through all my old school and family photos and scanning them in, I uploaded all the images onto my Flickr photostream. I hadn't used it up until that point, and to be honest I wasn't sure how interesting they'd be to anyone else: apart from the Leamington College ones which any fellow ex-pupils would probably like to see, the remainder weren't much more than holiday snaps. Nevertheless, it looks from the statistics as if maybe other people have liked looking at my snapshots of Hong Kong in the late 1950s, which some people will undoubtedly remember.

I've taken some assorted photos of this and that when I've been writing entries on this blog, just to add a bit of colour and illustrate what I've been doing - so I thought I might as well upload those as well. I wasn't expecting them to arouse a great deal of interest: they're hardly unique and in one or two cases the technical quality isn't very good either. So it was to my great surprise that I found when looking at the stats for my photos that the new set of 18 images have clocked up over 220 views in the space of twenty-four hours to make it the second-highest number of views in a single day for my stuff, and by far the most popular are three of me in my muddy wellies on Easter Day. Huh? Go figure. Not that I'm complaining: it just seems an odd choice and not the one I'd have predicted. Anyway, here's the pic everyone seems to have latched onto as their favourite....

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Summer lace-up time

I write from time to time about how I love to wear a corset. I'm - sadly - not as conscientious as I'd like to be in this respect (and I admire tremendously those who are), so I must confess to being somewhat sporadic in that I make determined efforts for maybe a few days and then start lapsing. Wearing PVC a lot in hot weather isn't my idea of the ideal: it may, and in my opinion does, look "hot" but it feels hot as well and the sticky/sweaty sensation which is the accompanying downside I find a bit much after a while.

But then yesterday I came across the 30" blue denim corset that I bought a while back off eBay (where else!) and which I'd tended to abandon in favour of the PVC one and pretty much forgotten about. So how many guys do you know who own so many corsets they've lost track of some of them?! Anyway, I'm all laced up in it - it's a nice snug fit, but a slightly cooler feeling and the very thing for a pleasant summer late spring evening.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Although I wouldn't describe myself as a keen fanatic about recycling (aka saving the planet), where it's easy and reasonably convenient I don't have any hesitation in doing my bit. We've had a special blue-lidded wheelie bin for some eighteen months or so now, and even with just waste paper, newspapers, cardboard, tins and bottles, it fills more quickly than the "ordinary" green bin does. We also get a scrap metal guy with a lorry (and a frightfully off-key musical horn sound!) round on a fairly regular basis.

A growing innovation in recent months is an absolute deluge of charity clothing collection bags left in the letterbox: the idea being to fill the bag with old clothing (and sometimes but not always books and bric-a-brac as well) which will, allegedly, be collected on a specified day later in the week. Except that I've never yet seen anyone actually doing the collections, resulting in any full bags left littered about the street. I'm skeptical too about how much of the money actually goes to the charity concerned, and how much of what's supposed to be resold actually gets siphoned off as the collector's profit, because judging by the number of bags we get left - sometimes two or three a week - it seems like big business. I've so many of these wretched bags accumulated at the moment in fact that to fill them all would take every single item of clothing that I own! So I'm just going to use them as bin liners, which will save me buying any, and the clothes I don't need I'm going to sell on eBay. After all, charity begins at home, as the old saying goes.

Friday, 23 April 2010


Not really, but with afternoon temperatures climbing to the mid-sxties, it certainly feels very warm and pleasant in the unbroken sunshine this week, so I've been making the most of it. The tomato seeds I'd sown earlier germinated quickly, and I've been hardening them off outdoors every day, though they're still quite small seedlings as yet. I just hope I can get them planted early enough to mature and produce some fruit this year. I've almost finished digging a bed over ready for them: it was somewhat choked with nettles and assorted other weeds which made it a bit of a back-breaking task, but it hasn't rained now since Easter so the ground was dry enough at least. I'll probably try and finish that off tomorrow.

And I found a place to get my shears sharpened after all! I took them in on Tuesday (and they were supposed to have rung me when they were ready, but didn't) but I was able to collect them this morning - £5 + VAT. The guy said he'd had to bend the blades back a bit to make them align properly which must be why I'd been ripping everything out with them instead of cutting it. Yay... life is good!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

And not before time, either

Interesting news item tonight, from which I see that a fraudster has been hauled up before the Courts for shill bidding on eBay. The article contains a nice little quote to illustrate how much they claim to be spending to conteract fraud on the site, but it's still very much a case of "caveat emptor" and always has been - or at least for as long as I've been a member. The plain fact is that the buyer shoulders virtually all the risk over what is essentially a pig-and-a-poke, and the practice of partially blanking other buyers' names so you can't tell who they are makes dodgy dealing very difficult to spot however suspicious you may be. I suspect the guy who got caught was either greedy or careless or possibly both.

It does of course give a bad name to the majority of sellers who are honest and conscientious: certainly I've had some real bargains, as well as fair treatment as a regular customer - all of which counterbalances a proportion of duds from idiots out to make a quick buck for little or no effort. It hasn't put me off buying anyway, and I will say that on the couple of occasions I've had to claim refunds recently, I got my money back both quickly and easily.

Monday, 19 April 2010

The throwaway society

During my efforts at gardening over the past few days, I've become increasingly aware that the pair of hand shears I've been using to clip the shrubs and overgrowing foliage are pretty blunt. They only cut properly at the extreme tip and at the very least need sharpening and adjusting. I can't remember how long I've had them nor how much I paid for them, but they weren't "el cheapo" ones and up until now they've given pretty good service. Quite some years ago I had the lawn mower serviced and some shears done as well, but the guy I used then seems to no longer be in business and I couldn't track anyone down locally who advertises that they do this sort of thing. Maybe like the village blacksmith/knife sharpener, it's a dying trade.

Hardly surprising in a way: I did find online a professional tool sharpening service which would cost £6 - reasonable enough - but plus £4 for the return carriage plus whatever it cost me to pack them securely and send them (probably another £4). Against that, the cost of some new ones with a 5-year guarantee is £13. So on the face of it, it looks like it's pretty uneconomic to get them serviced. Which is true of an increasing number of consumer goods of all shapes and sizes these days: the high labour cost of fixing something like a toaster or a coffee machine for example means I wouldn't even try, and with something like a washing machine the call-out charge alone tots up to almost £100. It all amounts to a considerable disincentive to even try and prolong the life of anything by repairing it. I daresay the scrap metal guy who comes round in his lorry touting for business does rather well out of it all, though.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Prickly characters

I spent this afternoon re-potting and tending my cactus collection (or what's left of it). I'd kept most of them on the kichen windowsill, which is one of the warmest places in the house, and most seem to do well enough there. In the pic there are a couple of tall spiny ones which I think I may have known the proper name for at one time, as well as two more bushy-looking ones, one of which is labelled a Haworthia. And I've taken some cuttings from a three of the Opuntias: two had almost shrivelled to a dry shell and the third (sadly the biggest) had sagged badly in the middle and collapsed under its own weight. Whether they'll take root properly or not I don't know: I think it's usually better to try and wait until root hairs start to form before trying to pot cactus cuttings, but I suspect the tiny pads might shrivel completely before that happens.

My other big Opuntia is still alive and kicking on the other hand, although it, too has got very top heavy and unstable propped up in the corner of the kitchen windowsill. I've repotted it into a clay pot instead of a plastic one to try and give it a bit more stability. It's about 28" (71cm) high not counting the pot, and has grown four new pads in the four or five years that I've had it. I think it's tending to "bolt" a bit in the constant artificial light: if the weather's halfway decent this summer I'll pop it out on the balcony and give it some fresh air. The other two small cacti next to it seem to be doing OK, despite those awful Simpsons pots that they live in!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Rocks in my head?

With the return of some really nice warm weather today, I went and cleared out the rockery this afternoon. Like most of the rest of the garden it had become very overgrown, but underneath it all were the daffodils and hyacinths I'd planted I think three years ago from bulbs I'd bought from the supermarket as the indoor house variety. They've nearly all flowered, unlike the tulips of which only about three have sprouted foliage and mainly in the form of a solitary sad-looking leaf at that.

The real triumph is the succulent, which was a single small clump originally a few years back, and seems to just get bigger each year. I had some other bulbs and alpines in there as well at one time but none have survived and I don't honestly think it's very worthwhile trying to put something in to replace them but I may do if I come across something that takes my fancy.

Definitely shorts weather though - and it's funny but since I first wrote last week about how I never tend to wear them in public, I've taken to wearing them all the time now whenever I can! I feel a good deal less self-conscious about it, too, which I reckon is a good thing. So here I am: blue striped Adidas popper shorts, the black Converse boots I bought off eBay last week, and the spindly legs I've had forever!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Plant pots and potting plants

It's about time today, I thought, to get the succulents potted up and ready to go out on the balcony for the summer again. I'd bought them as house plants a few years ago, and while they're hardy enough to sit outdoors in the summer, I always bring them in to spend winter on the windowsill. I've got four left of the original eight or ten that I first accumulated - and one of those is an offshoot of its 'parent' which I got to take root on its own. They look a bit dry at the moment, as I have a nasty habit of killing off succulents through over-watering (which is quite probably why I've only got these few left). Nevertheless, I noticed as I tidied them up and cleaned out their pots that they seem to be thriving, especially the aloe which tried to bite me with its sharp spiny leaves as I was handling it. Its pot has a rather superfluous "harmful if eaten" label: I can't see how anyone would be tempted to even try, but I suppose with the all-pervasive obsession with Health & Safety somebody somewhere decided it was needed. Sheesh!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Wash your mouth out with soap

I was out walking the dog tonight: across the street from us was a group of boys playing outside the houses opposite. They'd have been about eight I'd guess. I heard snatches of their conversation - one of them in particular. It was "fucking" this, "fucking" that... and the odd thing was it wasn't an argument or a foul-mouthed tirade of abuse - the word was just a normal part of his vocabulary. His mates didn't use it and I idly wondered where he'd picked it up from. School perhaps, or home, maybe?

I remember the first time I said it at school. It was at secondary school (I don't recollect ever hearing it at junior school) and I was twelve going on thirteen. We were playing a game in the playground and I got a bit tongue-tied and it slipped out by accident. I blushed furiously. The game stopped. My classmates were gobsmacked and fell silent until Robin King exclaimed incredulously "Brooksbank just said 'Fuck'"!! *shock, horror* I tried to explain, but to no avail. It was almost like some weird coming-of-age ritual: I'd said the f-word and so I was now grown-up - no longer an innocent little child. This was in the days before it was allowed to be used on TV or the radio, and certainly none of us dared use it within earshot of the Masters.

I never dared use it at home. My parents never swore in front of us as kids, still less at us - not until I was a teenager and my mother if roused to a fury would let rip with a "bloody" or two. I knew better than to do it back! It's odd, because even as an adult after I'd left home I still never swore in their house. I've never gone in for using it in public at all in fact. It wasn't considered good etiquette at work: we couldn't do it it front of the customers of course, but even out of earshot of those who were the cause of our displeasure there was an unwritten rule that the f-word was a bit much.

So I tend to save it for those occasions when something or someone really drives me to it. Which is using it to its best advantage, in a way: I mean if you use it as an everyday element of ordinary speech like that eight-year old was doing this evening, it ceases to mean anything.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Following on from my efforts in the strawberry bed last week, today I tackled the raspberries. I'd left them pretty much to their own devices last year and to my great surprise they produced masses of fruit, but the weight of the canes bending over did mean that some of it got spoiled. So I cleared out their bed, got rid of the brambles that were encroaching over the back fence from the small strip of waste ground beyond, and made some little staked enclosures for them.

The fruit canes themselves I'd bought several years ago, and planted there in a patch where I'd scattered the ashes of our two cats when they'd been cremated: I thought it would make a nice little tribute for them. I found out afterwards that far from acting as a fertlizer, ashes have the reverse effect and tend to act as more of a poison for anything that's planted there. I suppose that over the couse of the years, nature has taken its course and restored the fertility or something: either way, it's turned into something of a nice memorial after all.

Monday, 12 April 2010

In the land of the Zombies

For some reason I didn't sleep very well last night: I kept waking up intermittently and just before five I heard the dawn chorus start up so I knew I might as well abandon any attempt to get back to sleep. Unlike my father, I've never been an early riser, and have always tended to have late bedtimes as an adult although last night was only just after midnight. I didn't wake up cold, nor uncomfortable. I usually sleep in my corset now, and while it took a couple of nights to get used to at first, I love the feeling of waking up all snug and tightly wrapped in it.

Anyway, I got up, loaded the washing machine with some towels, stacked the dishwasher and got them both going, and made myself a pot of coffee. Did a bit of early morning surfing till around eight when the dog barked at the postman's arrival, signalling that everyone else was now awke, too. Perhaps predictably, by lunchtime I was feeling pretty weary, and had a siesta!

And it's great, of course, to be able to do it - to set my own hours according to what my body tells me it's got the energy to do, instead of being condemned forever to the 9 to 5 mentality with a boss glowering at me like a schoolteacher for being five minutes late in the morning. I'm much more productive doing things when I want to, rather than getting paid to do them according to a nominal timetable, and I suspect an awful lot of other people are as well. There again, someone poor soul's got to mind the shop!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Pond life

It hasn't rained at all to the best of my recollection this week, so I abandoned my wellies in favour of my old blue Converse boots when I took Raggs for our morning walk in the woods this week. All went well until we cut through from the wooded path into an open grassy stretch - which was still waterlogged! Admittedly nowhere near as deep as last week, but enough to seep through the vent holes at the base of my boots and I ended up with damp socks. Yuk!

The other side of the path which bisects the area, we go past a small pond. She used to like to dive in, and during the summer when the water was low and the sun was hot, she'd wallow in the shallows looking just like a little hippo. To our surprise today, there were a couple of ducks swimming there. I don't know where they've come from: two or three years ago a volunteer conservation group cleaned out the pond, removing the shopping trolleys and other items of junk and debris that mindless vandals always seem to delight in leaving behind them wherever they go. Maybe it was they who sponsored the ducks? However I decided they wouldn't appreciate their morning swim being interrupted by a hairy hippo wannabe, and we moved on.

We made our way over and sat on the little bench for a rest as usual, just as this picture shows - it was taken about six years ago, I guess, when we were both a little younger and a little more hairy. The bench looks much the same, though!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Fruit farm

The weather kept its promise, with warm sunshine and unbroken cloud, giving me the chance to finish off the strawberry bed. It's seemed like a long cold winter this year and although it's only April and the nights still have a distinct chill in the air, the days almost seem like summer. Armed with a new stainless steel fork and trowel set that I'd bought a couple of years ago but never used, I hacked away at the undergrowth to reveal the plants buried beneath. I'd originally brought some plants with me from when I moved out of my parents' home some 35 years ago, and apart from one year when I had to buy a few more to "top them up" they're the same ones which produce runners freely every year. The bed is a bit bigger now: our neighbours had the fence replaced recently and the honeysuckle which covered the old one used to encroach substantially despite efforts on my part to hack it back every so often.

Oh, and I wore my shorts to the supermarket this morning, despite what I wrote yesterday! I did feel a bit self-conscious to be honest, but it was really pleasant and sunny out, and I noticed I wasn't the only one - although I must admit I don't normally take in what the other customers are wearing unless it's something really outlandish.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Short shorts!

Another nice warm spring day today, so I felt inspired to go out in the garden and do some weeding in the strawberry bed. I think I've already written about how I used to grow strawberries when I was little, and they've always been my favourite fruit. They're easy to grow and some years I've had some really good crops, though last year the wet weather got to them a bit and - to my surprise - the raspberries did much better.

I put my shorts on anyway, and got stuck in. I'm not entirely a huge fan of shorts - at least not in public - though I do wear them for knocking around the house in. I don't really have the legs for widespread public exposure, having what I believe is commonly termed "chicken legs"! On the other hand, I've always found that of the few benefits of having a greasy complexion is that I tan very easily and years ago before I became fully aware of the risk of skin cancer, I'd spend hours during a hot summer building up a really deep golden brown under the largely mistaken impression it was a sign of a very healthy body.

The fresh air did me good anyway, and the weather looks set for a settled fine spell, which is probably just as well as there's lots more to do out there to get it into some sort of decent shape.

Thursday, 8 April 2010


I got back from walking the dog tonight, to find a very nice email in my inbox from a fellow ex-pupil who'd been looking at my schooldays website and who, although he was a pupil some thirteen years before me, found much of what I'd written very familiar. From other comments I've received, it certainly seems that the basic character of the school didn't change much over a period of some thirty years, something which I think was probably mirrored in grammar schools over the country. It's always very gratifying to get emails: I had an awful lot of pleasure in writing my story and putting the site together, and I'm always glad when other people take the trouble to write in and share their memories with me - although I suppose those who have unpleasant ones would prefer not to. To the best of my knowledge, my site is still pretty much the only one which has any real information on my old school - perhaps rather surprisingly in view of the many hundreds of boys who passed through its doors over the years. Maybe I shall inspire someone else to add their story some day?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The things boys do

It was another fine spring-like day today, and since it's still in the Easter school holidays I could hear some of the kids playing in the street outside. The next door neighbours must have had their grandson round, because I could hear the clippity-clop sound he always makes, walking up and down their garden path wearing his mother's high-heeled shoes, which as he's only about five are miles too big for him. I've seen videos of other kids doing just the same: it's obviously something small boys like to do, and I daresay I may have done the same at his age, although if I did I honestly don't remember it.

On the other hand, I do remember one boiling hot summer's day when I was eight going on nine, putting on my father's big hobnailed army boots and sitting around in my bedroom in them: I must have been absolutely roasted! My mother came in, took a horrified look and told me to take them off, thinking I'd gone mad. I escaped getting punished for it, and I never did find out whether she told my father what I'd done.

When I was eleven I went one better! On the top floor of the rambling old house we lived in there was a boxroom in which I discovered one day two pairs of my father's old army motorcycle boots. I put on the black ones which were a size 7, so they weren't that much too big for me, and I loved the way the thick leather came all the way up my legs to my knees. I had a playroom in the room just next door, and I used to wear these boots undisturbed for many a happy hour up there - undiscovered but with the thrill of doing something naughty. I don't know what happened to them, but one day when I went to look, they weren't there anymore. I guess my father must've had a clear-out or something.

That put paid to my boot wearing activities for a while. We weren't allowed to wear boots to school, so I knew my mother wouldn't buy me any of my own, and I could hardly ask her given the reason I wanted them! So I had to wait until I'd grown up, had my own money and could buy what I wanted with it. In fact, by one of odd those quirks of fate, I got a motorbike in 1979 and thus got a pair of motorcycle boots of my very own after all. Not only that, for most of my adult life, I've worn boots of one sort or another: even now I tend to wear them in preference to shoes most of the time.

I can certainly trace it all back to that hot day as a boy when I tried my father's on, but I can't help feeling there may be something even further back, earlier in my childhood, buried deep in my subconscious, for boots to have held such an attraction and fascination for me all these years.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Plus ça change

So... it's official. The date of the next General Election is to be May 6th. And while the Prime Minister may have termed it the least best-kept secret, the plain fact is that he's so close to the end of his five-year term in office he was fast running out of dates to choose from.

I shall cast my vote: I've done so ever since I got a vote in 1969 (when the voting age was still 21) because I happen to think unless you do you have very little moral right to complain afterwards if you don't like the outcome. I can't work up a great deal of enthusiasm, all the same. I remember some elections in the past with some character to them (and real characters in them) - and I stayed up half the night watching the results come in. All the present politicians come across to me as rather bland and colourless: there's no-one who's charismatic enough to inspire me with a vision of a future that I really, really want to be a part of.

Which puts me in mind of the old 'acid test' saying: "Would you buy a used car off this salesman?" I wouldn't buy so much as a bike off any of 'em!

Monday, 5 April 2010

What price privacy?

I had my attention drawn over the weekend to this news article concerning an allegedly illegal surgical procedure carried out in what appeared to be a piercing/tattoo studio. One of the questions it raised in my mind straightaway was who the anonymous 'mole' was, and the same question has since stirred up something of a hornets' nest, as only a small handful of people would have had access to the original videotape.

Over the course of the last eleven years I've had somewhere in the region of a couple of dozen genital piercings performed, a few of which of which I still have, and because I had many of them done in the company of like-minded friends, I had pictures taken of them, and submitted them to BME. All except one I think are disembodied shots of male anatomy which could belong to anyone, but on one memorable occasion after I had a guiche done, the piercer grabbed the camera and took a shot of me with a huge grin on my face displaying his handiwork! I'm not going to re-post it here. Not because I'm ashamed of it, I'm not. Nor because it depicts anything illegal, it doesn't. It's simply that, taken out of context, at best it's just going to titillate and at worst possibly shock the unsuspecting viewer.

This brings me to my main concern. Whenever I've been photographed doing something incriminating - be it just potentially embarrassing (say if my employer had discovered it), or actually illegal (and I don't think there is anything that falls into that category) - I've taken a risk. In my case the risks were fairly minimal, but they're there all the same. My privacy, in terms of who can see what I get up to, is important to me and while whatever is posted on the Internet is always liable to be illicitly downloaded, copied and circulated for a purpose other than that for which it was intended, the principle of safeguarding hidden identity should be both paramount and sacrosanct.

Sunday, 4 April 2010


It had rained most of yesterday evening, and I could hear it beating against the window-pane well into the night, so I guessed that walking in the woods this morning, it was going to be extremely wet underfoot. I was right! I'd put my wellies on - smooth black shiny ones just like those I'd had as a kid when we lived in the village and I'd gone out to play wearing them, risking the wrath of my mother (who was fastidiously clean and neat), when I came back all mucky.

But today she wasn't around to complain, so I sploshed happily through the mud just as I loved doing when I about seven. In places it was quite deep and I could feel the suction gripping my boots as I pulled to extricate myself, and I heard the satisfying sluuurp sound. A bit further on there was surface water deep enough to wash it off, but only temporarily as I walked on a bit further still and started all over again. I guess I'll forever be a bit of a kid at heart, but it was a lovely fun way to spend Easter morning. I always find there's something innately satisfying about re-creating treasured childhood memories and experiences - especially those of things I wasn't really allowed to do at the time!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The stuff that dreams are made of

I dream most nights. Sometimes quite vividly, and very occasionally I have one that's nightmarish enough to make me wake up with a start in the middle of it and I worry for a few minutes that if I go back to sleep, it'll carry on from where it left off (fortunately, it never does). But generally I don't remember anything of what happened in my dreams the following morning apart from possibly the barest outline for a few fleeting moments. Maybe it was because this particular dream occurred right at the end of my night's sleep cycle - I don't know - but I do remember at least the finale of last night's.

I was back at school - or rather I'd just left. Because instead of staying on into the sixth-form and doing A levels, which is what I did at the time, I'd left at the age of 15. It wasn't altogther clear why but for some reason the impression I have (or had) is that I couldn't stop on. I think I may in fact have been expelled! At the time it wouldn't have mattered, but in my dream it did because the school-leaving age was the present-day one of 16 and not 15, so I'd left illegally - but without anybody realizing it. I was pretty sure my parents were going to get into heaps of trouble with the authorities as a result, although I seemed to be more worried about it than they were. Having been the youngest in the class I'd effectively completed my education and finished my exams a year early, so what the hell was I going to do or study for another whole year (the year in which I turned 16) - when I didn't want to go back and/or the school didn't want me back? I'd done all I needed to, so what an utterly futile waste of time it was going to be. At which point I neatly solved the dilemma by waking up!

I've no idea what brought that one on. Sometimes I can relate a dream to something I've seen or done recently which has a vague connection, but at the time when I was writing about my schooldays and putting up my website and I thought I probably would dream about it, I didn't. I daresay it's probably just as well that we don't have any real control over what we dream about. Or at least, I never have, even when I've tried to concentrate intently on something as I dropped off to sleep, in the deliberate hope of dreaming about it.

Friday, 2 April 2010

No Easter eggs for me!

Weighing myself this morning, I discovered I've lost around three pounds since Monday! I've learned from previous experience that while if I put my mind to it I can shed significant amounts of weight fairly quicky at first, the rate inevitably soon tails off and I get a bit dispirited, with the result that I tend to lose heart and it soon goes back on again. I'd love to get back to the 125 pounds and 28" waist that I had as a teenager, but realistically I can't see that ever happening! However the admonition I got a couple of years ago from the nurse when I went for my healthcheck to the effect that I was a bit overweight was a wake-up call, and I realized that I couldn't carry on stuffing sweets and chips in the way I'd become accustomed to without it showing. So cutting those out, and eliminating other obvious sources of trouble (after all, it is termed a "beer belly" for a reason!) got me off to a flying start. I don't like salad and never have, but things like swapping toast for crispbread were easy enough to do - and simply reducing the amounts of what I ate worked a lot of the time too.

Getting back into the swing of doing all that again this week has been plain sailing. I've been tempted by the odd piece of cake or two, but I've been strong willed and kept my resolve. And I'd forgotten how good it felt to wear a corset! I can see the effect slowly producing results when even after I've taken it off, my stomach is noticeably flatter now. I look better and I feel better. And since today is Good Friday and it's a holiday, perhaps I should improve on the shining hour by taking the dog for a walk in the woods: I'm sure she'd enjoy that!