It was English double period. Mrs Bateman was droning away about Shakespeare. “Who is ever going to need to know this tripe?” whispered Vicky, whom I sat next to. “Too true,” I confirmed as quiet as a mouse, because Mrs B had the hearing and stealth of a barn owl. And the looks too, actually. I am sure her head could swivel the whole way around. Mrs B finished the lesson. Vicky dashed out of the room. “What did the old bat say at the end? I missed it,” I asked Chelsea, who was sitting in front of me. “She said to

I walked home glumly on a cold, windy January Friday afternoon. I had an envelope for my mother in my school bag. It had the ‘official’ results from the mock exams I had taken two weeks ago. My mother, who happened to be a teacher at another school, had been warning me through the Christmas holidays that I needed to get my head down and study, but that, as usual with a teenager, fell very much on deaf ears. Even the threat of being punished at home if my grades were poor did little to galvanise my attitude and work ethic. Needless to say, I had struggled on

When I was in my mid-teens I suppose, like most that age, I went through my rebellious phase. My mother was a school teacher and was very keen on discipline, both in terms of self-discipline and also it’s administration where necessary. On this particular day, I had been in town with a couple of girl friends from school and we had experimented with smoking a cigarette. I think we all went green around the gills, to say the least. My friend, Daisy, was physically sick and we swore never to touch them again. However, on the way home, as I had the packet in my

It was the first day back to school after Christmas and the New Year in 1969. The first men ever had just orbited the moon in Apollo 8. The world was full of love. Yet here we were, stuck in an English O level class with it blowing a gale and rain beating against the windows of the classroom. The mood was very blue. After all the festivities, we were studying ‘The Canterbury Tales’ and being taught by Miss Yates. Miss Yates was usually a bubbly young teacher whom we had had since the third year. There was great excitement when we noticed a rather nice diamond on her ring

The doorbell rang and gran opened the door to see me and a police woman standing there, and a police car at the end of the driveway. Mum was away for a couple of days with aunty Sheila and so I was to spend the weekend at gran’s. It was the summer holidays and the weather had been warm and dry for some time. I had been in the Old Priory, an old house which was attached to a long since ruined priory. I thought no one was in and so had been swimming in their large pond, almost a lake, fed by a fresh

My friend, Vivien, and I were at the local shopping street getting a few things for a sleepover I was having at her house. My mum was going to a work conference and she had asked Myra, Vivien’s mum, if I could stay over. We stayed over at each other’s house probably once every month or so, and we both looked forward to it. The last time but one we got into a fight and Myra had asked mum’s permission to spank me as she needed to do the same to Vivien. My mum gave her permission and told her if she ever needed to again,

Mum was going away with a friend to a wedding one weekend when I was about 9 or 10 and I was deposited at my gran’s for her to look after me for the weekend. Normally, I would have loved it. We made buns and such like, and went for walks in the countryside. She lived outside a small village about 15 minutes from home. However, this particular weekend, my friend Jamie Pollard was having her 10th birthday party on Saturday and as gran was currently without a motor car it meant I would have to miss it. I was already sulking when

Tara was an 18-year-old studying in a private girls-only school in London in the 1970s. Whilst not a boarding school, the establishment had a strict code of conduct and a strong disciplinary policy. Girls who broke the rules knew justice would be both fair and quickly applied, whether it be lines, detention or corporal punishment. The girls knew what to expect and took their medicine without complaint. This is an extract covering a few days from Tara’s journal whilst she was in the sixth form. Wednesday 15th November 1978 Dear journal, A very good day today. We had an inter-school hockey match and I scored

It was the end of July, during the school holidays, and I was staying with my aunt Sheila on her smallholding about 20 miles from home. It was officially to give her some company. However, I think mum just needed a week off from my 14-year-old comments and tomboy-like fooling about. It was quite warm and pleasant, lots of sunshine and all was well with the world. Aunty had asked me to put the hens in their runs for the night to keep the foxes at bay. I closed up the enclosure, double-checked it was secure, and headed back to the cottage

When I was around 15-years-old, mum and I had a long weekend away in the Cotswolds. She had been ill following a cycle accident and wanted some fresh air and a slower pace of life for a few days. We stayed in a Bed & Breakfast which was also a working mixed dairy and arable farm. The owner’s wife, a portly lady in her mid to late 40s called Bella, met us on the first evening and gave us a lecture about safety on the farm. Yawn! Don’t go near any machinery. If any machinery comes close, wave to make yourself obvious and step out of the