Crushed Diaries

A blog for Young Adults

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

School Food

Food was the most important thing at boarding school because you didn’t get enough of it. Well, you did if you were passionate about stodge. After every measly portion of congealed meat and veg at mealtimes, there would be a dish of stodge to fill you up. ‘Stodge, glorious stodge,’ we used to sing tunelessly when it was dished up time and time again. Today, I would surely gobble up similar deserts that my school dished out on a regular basis, but in those days I didn’t appreciate the relentless steam puddings that the cook made with her own hands. But, at least stodge was edible compared to the tadpole muck which the school habitually dished out after the slimy fish on Fridays, for your sins!

At the start of each term, Mum used to lovingly pack my trunk with loads of sweets, commonly known as ‘tuck’. But, as soon as I arrived at school, my housemistress would confiscate my goodies, dishing out my sticky sweets to me once a week, usually on Sundays. There wasn’t any opportunity to munch in-between meals.

I used to beg Mum to make me a gooey cake on my birthdays. In those days there was a scrumptious “Fuller’s” walnut cake, which had a thick layer of ski slope white icing. Mum was a very good cake maker when she wasn’t experimenting with her Cordon Bleu yuck, and at my request, always tried to recreate this famous cake for me. It was yummy, but it was not quite as perfect as the real thing. However, when Mum posted me my birthday cake, which usually arrived in crumbs, my friends and I were allowed to devour it on the spot. If there was some of it left over, we used to have a midnight feast in my dormitory and if one of us had managed to steal some cold sausages from the larder, we were laughing.

On rare occasions, we were allowed to go for a supervised walk into town on a Saturday. I used to spend all my rationed pocket money on a slab of Edam cheese and was compelled to devour it before I got back to school, even though my teachers considered it a crime to eat food in the street. It was a shame I was unable to resist guzzling my newly bought cheese on the spot. It would have jazzed up the stale, sliced white bread which was dished up for tea every day. In winter, we played games straight after lunch, and in summer, we played games after tea, but whatever the season, all we could think about was food. But, we all tried to starve ourselves when the fashion suddenly dictated that teenage girls should be ultra thin. Quite a few pupils developed bulimia, especially the stupid girls who would stick their fingers down their throats and vomit up the sticky buns which were doled out at elevenses. One girl, who was so fanatical about not eating anything fattening – she even refused to eat the pastry on her pork pies - lost so much weight, she expired in her sleep. After that, the teachers tried to force-feed us at meal times. At kindergarten, I ingeniously stuffed the detested orange swede up my nostrils in order to avoid eating it, but at boarding school, it was difficult to avoid food at mealtimes. I was permanently starving, but resisted filling up with stodge, as I craved to be skinny. Once, I even threw my bowl of tinned fruit-salad at the girl opposite me, after I discovered the cook had put sugar in it. But, even though I tried to avoid fattening fodder like the plague, I still wasn’t as thin as Twiggy when I left school. That’s probably because I could never resist gobbling up my tuck when it was doled out at weekends.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


If you wanted to be popular at school, you had to be good at games. Luckily, I’ve always been sporty. At my first school, we used to do high jump in the summer and I once jumped so high, the games teacher ran out of holes on the poles for my next jump. I think that was my finest hour in sport. I enjoyed swimming, and even though I was unable to do the crawl and did breaststroke, I was always in the fast lane and God help anyone who got in my way. I might not have been the fastest swimmer in the school, but I was always picked for the school’s diving team. Not because I was a graceful diver, but because I had a secret weapon. I’ve got double-jointed arms, which meant I could never have been a ballet dancer, not that I ever wanted to be one. But, having funny looking arms came in very useful when I dived. I would climb up onto the diving board, slowly lift my arms up high above my head and pause for effect. Everyone would gasp with horror, and the judges were always so disturbed at the sight of my peculiar looking arms, they looked away, not seeing me bellyflop into the pool. I always got top marks.

I hated hockey because I was no good at it, but lacrosse was what I lived for. What a shame I never played it after I left school, but the lacrosse moves now come in very handy when I weave through the crowds on Oxford Street. When I was at school, we didn’t wear head shields when we played team sport. Mum was terrified I would get my teeth knocked out, and insisted I wore a gum shield when I played lacrosse, because she didn’t fancy paying a fortune at the dentist. But, I refused to wear one, as I didn’t want to be considered a sissy, but nobody ever broke my teeth or my nose. However, I broke several noses and cracked opponents’ heads as I charged around the field, like I was a crazed foot soldier on the battlefield. I even dislodged one girl’s row of teeth, poor goblin. She had frizzy hair and was stunted. Needless to say, she was useless at games and was the most unpopular girl at school. There she was, standing open mouthed in front of the goal, and I charged towards her and flung the ball out of my lacrosse stick. What a goal! The ball zoomed straight into her mouth. She wasn't wearing her gum shield, so looked even more grotesque after she had her false teeth fitted.

If I had dreamt about algebra equations instead of lacrosse, I might have done better in the dreaded Maths. But, I used to get such a thrill when I heard the headmistress read my name out aloud after morning prayers, when she was laboriously announcing the teams. But, the main bonus of playing in the school team was when you went to other schools to play, and devoured their fancy teas afterwards. All we got for tea at school was white, stale bread and mouldy jam. I always used to be ravenous after playing games, and once devoured an entire loaf for tea. Yes, my first love was lacrosse and I’ve still got my lacrosse stick to prove it.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Teachers Never Taught Me Anything

The reason why Mum sent me away to boarding school was because her parents sent her away too. I was quite happy to leave the parental home when I was twelve, especially as Mum and Dad bought me a huge trunk to put all my school uniform, mufti, and a home made walnut cake in, which Mum made for me especially. Mum and Dad thought I was going to get the best education that money could buy. And, even though English boarding schools didn’t cost nearly as much as they do now, the fees were still quite a lot. My poor parents. They could have bought a holiday home with all the money they squandered on my private education. If they had foreseen that my sentence at public school was a complete waste of time and money, they would have erupted like Pompei.

My year was full of naughty girls who were away from home without parental supervision for the first time in their lives, and like me they were making the most of it. They were no longer the repressed, well-brought up little twerps like I was at the family residence. Now, we were all rebelling like there was no tomorrow. Our weak housemistress was used to looking after well-behaved ladies, not rabid, uncontrollable hooligans like us lot. After we put glue on the bannisters and raided the larder one night, she promptly had a severe nervous breakdown, and our matron had to stand in for her during her lengthy absence. From then on, there was blissful anarchy in our house, and we played pop music all night long. It was a miracle, we managed to dress ourselves in our dreary grey and maroon uniform each bleary morning, before we lurched like a chain gang through the town, to the school’s main building for our daily lessons.

Little did poor Mum and Dad suspect that being educated at my public boarding school was a complete fiasco. Our moronic teachers were completely useless. I have no idea which black hole the school’s governors dragged them out from, but I do know that none of them could teach for toffee. I specialised in languages at school, but my teachers were so hopeless, they might as well have resorted to communicate in sign language from the very start. Our German teacher was young and very wet. She was such an inadequate drip, she couldn’t teach us a thing, and after half a term, she had turned into a gibbering wreck, and was literally carried out of the classroom on a stretcher. ‘Ich liebe Sie nicht,’ she screamed after we drove her to clinical despair. Naturally, we all looked up what she had just yelled in our German dictionaries, because thanks to her bogus teaching, we didn't have a clue. ‘I don’t love you,’ we translated, which was fine by us, as we certainly didn’t love her one teeny-weeny bit. Although, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt a little guilty that we had forced her into a life of involuntary exile from the classroom.

My Latin teacher was made of sterner stuff. Her nickname was Latin Silly, and was such an antique, she was even old when she taught Mum the dodo dead language at school. Poor crone. She might have terrified my mother into parrot learning "The Iliad" off by heart, but by the time she tried to teach my contemporaries and myself, she was senile. However, I realised she was not that senile when she caught me reading a copy of ‘Teach Yourself Latin’ in class. In fact, she was very hurt and wept noisily on my shoulder, not a pleasant sensation as all her dandruff from her wiry grey hair fell onto my shoulders like a pyramid of dusty salt.

But, the worst teacher of all was our racist scripture teacher who had a wooden leg, wore an eyepatch and warned us that anyone who was a pagan should be burned at the stake. My friends and I kept very quiet, and after her excruciating class was finally over, bolted out into the school grounds and hugged a tree. Yes, I loved school, but not the teachers. They were all a load of charlatans, but I never told my parents, in case they sent me to another institution where I wouldn't get away with letting off stink bombs in Maths.

Copyright: Frances lynn, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My dyslexic cousin

My middle-aged cousin is dyslexic, but when she was a young girl in the Sixties, no one really knew what that meant. All she knew was, she couldn’t read until she was fifteen. Her parents didn’t know what was wrong with her. They even sent her to a female child psychologist who didn’t spot her chronic dyslexia. This stupid woman even said that my cousin’s father was to blame for her inability to read, which was a ridiculous diagnosis as he was a kind old soul who wouldn’t hurt a fly. If my cousin's dyslexia had been diagnosed at the time, her life would have been very different. She could have gone to university and studied geography like she had always dreamed of doing. Her parents tried everything and sent her to lots of different schools, hoping she would learn something, but she couldn’t even read the blackboard. As far as she was concerned, the words were a big jumbled blur. In desperation, her parents even sent her to a private tutorial school, where the pupils were taught on a one to one basis, but even they didn’t spot what was wrong with her. My cousin was only there for a term and hated every moment of it. She just couldn’t grasp what she was being taught. She begged her parents to let her leave school altogether, as she was sick and tired of the whole trying to learn process. By this time, she was fourteen so her parents allowed her to leave. I was incredibly jealous that she didn’t have to do any more homework, or to sit exams. While I was slaving away in the classroom, she got a fun job working in the local market, selling second hand clothes to pop stars.

She was lucky, because she was finally taught to read by Mum's new cleaner, an out of work of actress, who suspected she wasn’t an imbecile, but was dyslexic. (Her daughter was dyslexic too). My cousin could have gone back to school if she had wanted to, but she started to educate herself by reading books on geography, and went on to have a successful career as a lecturer on cruise ships which went all over the world. What did she lecture on? Dyslexia of course. Although, she was now able to read fluently, due to her condition, she had a problem learning her words, so she made sure she taped all her lectures beforehand and learned them all parrot fashion. In the end, she also got married to a teacher whom she met on one of the cruises. He taught at the first dyslexic school in England. And, when she had children, the first thing she wanted to know after counting their toes, was – did they take after her? Were they also dyslexic? Because if they were, she wanted to make sure they wouldn't have to suffer at school like she did.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Other Peoples' Parents

I was wearing my stolen brown velvet trouser suit from Biba when I first met Simon at a party round the corner. He was the first boy I had ever seen with long hair. It was bright orange, but his locks looked gorgeous against his turquoise blue velvet trouser suit. He offered to drive me home in his souped up mini, even though it would only have taken me a minute to walk back to my place. I thought he was cool, but his two best friends, Gavin and Jamie were even cooler. Simon lived with his father in a grotty basement flat in Baker Street, but Gavin and Jamie both lived in big modern houses in Hampstead Village. Gavin’s parents were very hospitable and were always inviting his friends round for tea. Gavin would lie elegantly on his parents’ chaise longue, and delight in being cynical. His father was a modern art dealer, so there were always lots of peculiar looking paintings on the walls, and I shall never forget the wallpaper as long as I live. Enormous pink eyeballs stared down at you wherever you went. However, Jamie’s parents were the most glamorous of the lot. His dad was a famous songwriter and his mum was a jazz singer who bought all her clothes from Fortnum & Mason’s. But, none of Jamie’s friends had ever met them as we had never been invited to his house.

On New Year’s Eve, we decided to crash some parties. Simon packed his friends into his mini, including a girl called Sally Anne who had suddenly ballooned out. She used to be so thin and pretty and always wore Biba smocks right up to her chin. Now she had to wear a kaftan to conceal her blubber. She had been on the pill since she was twelve, and her metabolism had gone wonky. Thank to Sally Anne’s bulk, it was a very tight squeeze in Simon’s mini, but I insisted on sitting in the front so didn’t end up like a squashed concertina like the others did. After we had crashed fifty parties, we were tired and emotional and desperate for sustenance.
‘Come back to my place for breakfast,’ Jamie said.
'I can't wait to meet your mum,' I enthused.
Jamie laughed grimly.
Simon was also dying to meet Jamie's mum and started to drive at one hundred miles per hour. His mini wasn't called 'souped up' for nothing. Once inside Jamie's big house, we all collapsed in a heap on the pristine white rug in the open plan living room, grateful we had survived the journey. Jamie fished out a magnum bottle of vintage champagne from the fridge and opened it with a flourish. ‘Happy New Year’s Eve,’ we all chorused, kissing each other on the cheeks, but I noticed that the boys didn’t kiss Sally Anne. I suppose they couldn’t bear to touch her, now that she had got fat. Anyway, we were in the middle of dancing frenetically around the room when Jamie suddenly grew hysterical, which was surprising, as he was normally so cool.
‘You’ve all got to leave straightaway, my parents have just returned,’ he exclaimed dramatically.
‘I’m not leaving until I meet your mum,’ I said drunkenly.
‘Get out!‘ Jamie shouted, but it was too late. His parents had just lurched into the room. I think Jamie’s dad must have been drunk, as he kept crashing into the furniture and was slurring ‘Old Man River’ on top of his voice, but his mum was the biggest shock. On TV, she was the most beautiful woman you had ever seen. Now, I noticed that her red lipstick was smeared all over her chin and her perfect blonde chignon was sticking out at a precarious right angle, revealing a grey frizz underneath. I never knew she wore a wig. ‘Jamie, get your friggin’ friends out of my house right now,’ she screamed, before falling flat on her face with her legs sticking up in the air. How disappointing, Jamie’s parents weren’t cool at all. In fact, they were almost as bad as mine.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I used to be mad about horses before I discovered boys. I learned how to ride at a riding school just outside London (the Hyde Park stables was too expensive). Mum thought she had gone to heaven when she discovered it. In my school holidays, she used to dump me there every morning and go off and play golf nearby. She also insisted on giving me a packed lunch, consisting of Cordon Bleu grub. I used to beg her to make me sandwiches like the other kids at the riding school had, but oh no! She had just completed her Cordon Bleu cookery class and refused to cook anything else. Naturally, I fed her muck to the horses as soon as she drove off. They seemed to appreciate it, but not my horse. On every riding course I did, I landed up with Nicholas, the slowest beast in the world. But, after I discovered he loved Turkish Delight, he would get lively and gallop along without my having to whip him on his big heavy flanks. Sometimes, I used to think that fat slob Nicholas was a reincarnation of Edmund in “The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe” – the boy who was corrupted by the Wicked Witch with Turkish Delight. Soon, Nicholas grew to love me. Every time he saw me, he threw back his head and whinnied loudly, Wendy, the butch riding instructor who shouted all the time, thought he was ill and never suspected I was feeding him Turkish Delight instead of carrots or sugar lumps.

Soon, I was judged an experienced enough rider to go hunting with The Pony Club. Naturally, Mum was terrified I would fall off and break my neck, but I persuaded her to let me go after I asked her to pack me a lunch of chicken Cordon bleu burgers, which she had just discovered how to make. On the great day, Mum dropped me off at the riding stables and I was glad I had bought along a box of Turkish Delight, as I was dumped with Nicholas again. We all got on our horses and followed Wendy on her Palomino pony – she was so heavy – it was a miracle the elegant beast didn’t collapse underneath her – to the nearest pub. All the braying grownups were dressed in red jackets, and the hounds were barking and yapping round the horses’ ankles. It was all quite exciting, especially when I was given a glass of sherry by one of the waitresses who was running around with little glasses of the stuff on a silver tray. I had never drunk alcohol before and immediately felt very happy, even though I was stuck with Nicholas. However, after I gave him a square of Turkish Delight, he perked up a bit and swished his long tail.

After we followed the Master, a grim looking man into the nearest field and started to hunt the poor little fox, Nicholas actually sailed over some high stone walls without tossing me off. But, I got carried away and fed him the rest of the chocolate all at once. Nicholas went bonkers and started to bolt – and with me clinging onto his neck for dear life, raced past the Master. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the most serious crime a rider can committ in the sport of hunting. ‘Stop!’ I heard Wendy bellow, but there was nothing I could do. Nicholas was bolting and whinnying, but I was unable to enjoy the ride. What would Mum say if I fell off and became paralysed, I kept thinking? Luckily, Nicholas slowed down after the effects of the Turkish Delight wore off, and although I didn’t have a clue where I was by this time, he seemed to follow the sound of the hunt’s bugles and made his way slowly back to the stables with me still on top. I felt exhausted by my ordeal, but at least I didn’t have to see the fox being torn apart into little pieces by the hounds.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My First Snog

I have no idea what I was wearing when I met my first snog. That’s probably because it was a long long time ago. I was thirteen, and had gone to Scotland on holiday with my parents so that they could play golf. Any excuse, and they whipped out their golf clubs faster than you could say ‘hole in one’. That was the year when my parents began to get on my nerves. I wished I was anywhere, but with them.

One evening, there was a stupid fancy dress competition at the hotel. I went as myself, but my younger sister dressed up as Edna Sharples, a character from Coronation Street. She wore a hairnet and an overall and never looked so ugly, but she was the one who went up to collect her prize, not me. And, she was welcome to it. I just kept wishing that I belonged to another family, not the boring one I belonged to. (I knew I wasn’t adopted because I had seen my birth certificate).
‘Why are you so round-shouldered,’ Mum constantly interrogated me.
‘Stand up straight. Don’t walk around with your head on one side,’ my dad kept saying, but I was beyond caring. I just kept wishing they would go away to Timbuktu and leave me all alone. Then, two days after our holiday began, a new family arrived at the hotel, and were seated at the table next to ours in the dining room. I didn’t notice the parents, but I noticed their son all right. He seemed suave and sophisticated and had a floppy fringe, which he flicked out of his eyes from time to time. He kept staring in my direction, and at first I thought he was looking at the girl behind me. But, when he gave me a big wink, I knew it was me he was looking at, so I gave him a big wink back. Mum and Dad kept telling me I was self-conscious and unnatural, but he didn’t seem to think so. In fact, he took quite a shine to me, and after dinner, asked me to go for a walk with him along the beach. I was fed up with Mum and Dad accusing me of thinking about myself all the time, so I said yes. Anything to get away from my boring parents, I thought.

Lover boy was called Laurence and was a year older than me. He seemed really grownup, especially when he lit a cigarette and blew a smoke ring in my face. ‘Do you want a fag?’ he asked seductively, but as I didn’t know how to smoke, I sensibly declined. He kept winking at me and first I thought he had something in his eye, but I soon realised he was a cheeky imp. ‘Let’s lie down,’ he said smoothly, laying his sports jacket on the sand. I had nothing better to do, so did what he suggested. And, then out of the blue, he snogged me, and I snogged him right back. I think all that practising I did, kissing my pillow, pretending it was my favourite pop star helped me know what to do. Laurence snogged me for a long time, but I didn’t mind even though he tasted of scrambled egg which he must have gobbled for supper. I kept excitedly thinking I couldn’t wait to tell all my school friends I had kissed a boy, because I knew they hadn’t. But, horrors! Unknown to me, my parents and sister were looking out of the hotel’s bay window and saw me snogging away. I would never have known, but when I staggered into the hotel with sand in my skewiff hair, my sis told me what my family had witnessed. Luckily, my parents were too embarrassed to say anything. That’s probably because they had discovered I was a grown-up, even though I was still a pubescent. Funnily enough, they never accused me of being self-conscious ever again.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Favourite Outfit

My favourite outfit of all time was a chocolate brown, crushed velvet trouser suit, which I bought from Biba. Mum and Dad gave me the money for my fifteenth birthday. Normally, Mum went clothes shopping with me, but this time I flatly refused. No way was I going to end up with one of those hideous tweed suits she always insisted on buying for me.

In those days, I had a very naughty friend called Trixy, who was a terrible influence on me, but, she was good fun. She always wore the most fashionable clothes, and I sometimes wondered where she got the money from, as her mother wasn't rich. In fact, Trixy once confided that her mother had been on benefits since her father had run off with an eighteen year old girl from our school.

When I asked Trixy to help me pick out a dress for my birthday, she was so excited that she dragged me all the way to Biba, not that I ever needed to be dragged there, as it was my favourite store in the universe. Mind you, at the time I hadn't been further than Belgium.

When we got there, the first thing that Trixi did was to plonk a pink cowboy hat on my head, and wrap a matching pink feather boa round my neck. It fitted me like a python. She then helped herself to an armful of outfits and ignoring the disinterested shop girls, dragged me downstairs to the changing room. It was a big communal room, and the lighting was so dim, you could have been in the black hole of Calcutta for all you knew. Trixi yanked me behind a discreet Japanese screen, and when she took off her big coat, I was surprised to see she was only wearing a bra and pants underneath.
‘Aren’t you freezing?’ I asked, but she ignored me. She was too busy wrapping all the outfits she had taken from upstairs around her waist, before putting her coat back on. She looked about fourteen months pregnant after she had finished. ‘Here, take this,’ she said, passing me a delicious brown, crushed velvet trouser suit with the tiniest arms I’d ever seen. I excitedly tried it on. Trixi said I had never looked so skinny, and that was a huge compliment coming from her, believe me.
‘I’ll go upstairs and pay for it,’ I said, keeping it on.
‘Are you mad? Aren’t you going to steal it?’ she screeched.
For a moment, I was really tempted. Everyone used to shoplift from Biba in those days. It was the trendy thing to do.
‘If you don't pay for it, think of all the black Biba lipstick you can buy with the money you’d save,’ Trixi said. For a moment I imagined she had horns sprouting out of her red haired head, but for once in my life I didn’t do what she wanted me to do. It wasn’t so much the moral dilemma. I was terrified at being caught! So, while Trixi was greedily trying to wrap more outfits around her waist, I went upstairs to pay for my trouser suit. I felt very pleased with myself for not shoplifting it, and went outside the store to wait for my partner in crime. A few minutes later, she came out, trying to look nonchalant which was difficult, as she now looked twenty months pregnant. We walked for about a block, and once she realised she wasn’t going to be arrested, she pulled me all the way down the rest of Kensington Church Street, screaming and shrieking.
‘Don’t you feel guilty about stealing?’ I asked, feeling rather smug that I hadn’t succumbed to temptation.
‘Do you?’ Trixi asked,.
‘Why should I? I didn’t steal anything,’ I said indignantly. Then, I noticed my reflection in a shop window. I was still wearing the pink cowboy hat and matching pink feather boa. I contemplated returning them to Biba, but my contraband accessories looked so good with my new trouser suit that I guiltily decided to keep them. I had shoplifted by accident, but that was the last time I ever did it.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Squashed Blancmange

If I was hoping for a reunion with Julia, I was in for a major disappointment. We went to the same bording school but we might have existed on different planets, as we hardly ever saw each other. We lived in different houses, and we weren't even in the same class. She did domestic science class which was for dummies only.

Everyone at boarding school was always starving. That's because the food was inedible as it consisted mostly of stodge. All we thought about was food. One night, all the girls in my dorm were bored stiff with having midnight feasts, consisting of white sliced bread and lumps of lard, which we had saved up from tea. 'Let's go swimming,' Ursula, the swat with glasses suggested. Like sheep, we all put on our ugly school coats over our pyjamas, furtively sneaked out of our house, and made our way in single file to the main school building, where we broke into the swimming pool. We dived in, careful not to make too much noise and furiously swam up and down in the water in the pitch dark, trying not to giggle.

All that exercise must have given us a gigantic appetite, as we were suddenly hungrier than ever.
'Didn't the girls in domestic science do their cookery exam yesterday?' Ursula asked.
'You're a genius!' I exclaimed.
I wasn't lying. Everyone knew that Ursula was a whiz at geometry. Luckily for us, the domestic science building was next to the pool, so we stealthily made our way there, and unaminously decided to help ourselves to a biscuit or two. ‘No one will ever know we’ve been here,’ we all reasoned, groping our way around in the dark, feeling our fingers sink into mushy stuff, all of which tasted yummy. I swore my finger sunk into what felt like an apple pie, but we were all very careful not to disrupt any of the food. ‘I feel like an ant eater,’ I said as I hoovered up some strawberry tasting blancmange type substance up into my mouth, like there was no tomorrow.

We were all extra careful not to leave any evidence behind, and after we had finished sampling all the delicious food in the dark, made our way back to our house. We sneaked back into our dormitory, and after congratulating ourselves that we hadn't been caught, lay down in our beds and blissfully went to sleep. But, little did we suspect that our crime hadn't gone undetected.

After prayers the next morning, the headmistress solemnly informed the entire school that intruders had broken into the domestic science hall and had destroyed all the pupils’ cookery dishes, which hadn't yet been examined. The teachers didn’t know what to do, so gave all the girls top grades for their ruined cookery dishes. I knew Julia suspected I was partly responsible, although she was unable to prove anything. As far as the school authorities were concerned, thieves from off the street had devoured the food. But, something positive came out of my breaking and entering. Julia actually spoke to me for the first time since losing her eyelashes in the blast. ‘I passed my cookery exams, thanks to you, ‘ she whispered and gave me a bald wink - not a pretty sight without her lashes.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006