Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who'd like a ginger biscuit?

Isn't it strange how you forget things . . . vital episodes of your life. Well, perhaps not vital exactly, but certainly formative.
There was a sense of familiarity last week, when I was writing to you about the Kentish cob nuts of my youth. I'd done this before. Telling stories had a sense of deja vue. And, suddenly, I remembered. It was a memory from way back in childhood.

Could you do with some more reminiscences? If you've a moment to spare, this should make you smile . . .

I went to boarding school at the age of ten. For reasons that I can't remember, I started in the summer term and, accordingly, was the only new girl in the dormitory. Having been brought up on a misleading diet of Enid Blyton, I had come fully prepared with the compulsory 'midnight feast' - ginger biscuits, kindly donated by a neighbour from home.

The lights had been switched off. Everyone had subsided under the bedclothes.
"Er . . . would anyone like a ginger biscuit . . .?" I enquired nervously.
After the initial surprise, nine small figures sat up in bed and looked at me expectantly. I reached under the bed for my suitcase, took out a tin, and proceeded to pass ginger biscuits round the room.
There was some exploratory chewing, followed by grunts of appreciation.

But I was not to be let off so lightly. Somehow (a ten-year-old girl can be very gullible) I was persuaded into believing that tradition dictated each newcomer told a story to the dormitory before everyone went to sleep. Anxious to be accepted by these critical new companions, for whom biscuits were clearly not enough, I embarked on something I'd never done before . . . I started telling stories.

Believe it or not, I continued telling sleep-inducing stories for the next six years!

So, as you can see, you are the successor to a dormitory-full of dozy adolescents - before you drop off, would you like a ginger biscuit?!