And then I would think to myself; "How the hell did I get away with just that!"
Now as I said, I was a bit upset about this when I first heard this nugget of information and thought it was a tad unfair on my mother to have taken all the flack. However, I guess my father must have had his reasons, especially as he was a headmaster himself with an enviable reputation. It would have been excruciating to get an earful about his own daughter, especially after my very well behaved elder brother and sister had already passed through the school with a fistful of merit badges. And then of course, then along came me...somewhat nosier, not quite so diligent and um..um..a bit of a nuisance at times.
Now my father never said it to my knowledge - but if he had said my existence was a sound reason for not following the rhythm method I wouldn't haven't blamed him.
Hmm..maybe I shouldn't talk about the rhythm method - as a woman who accidentally succeeded in getting pregnant on her wedding night I can't really speak with any authority on contraception. Other than to say - it was a mistake! I didn't mean for it to happen! I was actually envisaging at least three or four years of decadent holidays, sunbathing nude in the back garden and generally annoying people at work. But no, lo and behold, shortly after those marriage vows I end up wiping bottoms and scrubbing baby bottles. And those were just Mr T's. Master Sam was a doddle in comparison...
Anyhow, what brought these reflections on was that I was tidying my study again (anything to avoid housework) and I found my old school reports. Oh, I thought, maybe I wasn't all that naughty at school. And then I read them...
No, I'm not got post the really bad reports because if I ever get short-listed for the Nobel/Man Booker/Orange/ Most stupidest Person Prize they may come back to haunt me. However, here's a few that made me laugh....
Needlework 1978 (aged 13)
Jane has taken a slower approach to this subject during this term's course,when more aspects could have been attempted. A pleasing standard of work was finally achieved.
This is what I call a bland report which actually is a polite way of saying I did very little. I seem to recall we made a Hessian bag that year - the "slower approach" refers to the fact that I sewed the Hessian bag to my skirt by accident.
Home Economics 1978 ( aged 13)
Has worked well and shown a good deal of interest in her work.
Note that the teacher doesn't refer to me by name - which means she couldn't recall who I was - this stacks up because the only interest I had in Home Economics was eating the ingredients.
German 1979 (aged 14)
Jane is a very pleasant girl to teach. She works well, and if she continues to apply herself she should meet with success.
Ho, ho, ho,- what a creep I was in German! But the truth was it was German - I was shit scared of the consequences of not doing my homework. Oh, and I actually ended up failing my O level with an ungraded. I know, it's hard to believe - but three choruses of Stille Nacht and O Tannenbaum won't get you through an exam however hard you try.
Religious Education 1979 (aged 14)
Jane gained 81% in the summer examinations. Well done!
81%? And I only got a "Well done" ? By modern standards 81% equivalent to an A++++++++ . I therefore pronounce myself a genius and await numerous scholarships, awards etc etc.
German 1980 (aged 15)
Jane has not an analytical mind and takes time to absorb German grammar.
Hmm. Maybe Dr Hammer was smarter than I thought? "Dr Hammer" was the teacher's real name by the way. He was a German teacher's equivalent to Simon Cowell. To which I reiterate - three choruses of Stille Nacht and O Tannebaum won't get you through German O Level.
Chemistry 1980 ( aged 15)
Test result 14%
It was a fix I swear. I loved Chemistry. Really I did.
English 1981 (aged 16)
I do not know if Jane can make sufficient improvement in her writing style to succeed in her examinations in June.
Written by the indomitable Mrs Ticehurst. Okay, so I didn't actually laugh at this one but I smiled with affection. Mrs Ticehurst (I wrote about her here) was the best teacher I ever had. She knew how to get the best out of me, even if that meant taking me down a peg or two and humiliating me in class. I proved her wrong - which was her intention. You don't get many teachers like her today because most of them are too afraid to operate outside of the box. She died about 4 years ago. I read her obituary and shed a tear or two.
So there you have it - more insight into my life. Cripes, it's pretty bad isn't it? And I didn't even mention Metalwork and Mathematics....
Anyway, I can sort of see why my father took the easy option. It was tough on my mother for sure - but hey at least they had some booze in the house!