I misbehaved throughout my boarding school years and I’m not proud of it. I must have been the teachers’ nightmare, constantly provoking and defiantly naughty.
What was going on in my teenage brain is unfathomable to me now. I was driven by the overwhelming desire to be expelled so I could spend more time with my dog and my horse.
The only teacher that had any control over me was my English teacher, but only from the day, he asked us to write a poem. I wrote hundreds, then moved on to short stories which he helped me get published and I became more focused and less defiant.
An amusing twist came in my O level year when against all odds, I was made a Prefect. Our headmistress was not my biggest fan, so I will never know whatever possessed her to include me in this small hallowed group of schoolgirl law enforcers, with our own study, kettle, and toaster. Maybe, because my mother had been paying the fees for longer than other parents, but my badass days were not quite over as, predictably, I blew that one as well.
The Sixth Form House was situated just down the road and once a year they were allowed to hold a disco to which the school Prefects were invited, along with their boyfriends. After the disco and having drunk enough of the watered down Punch, three of us were stupid enough to ask our boyfriends back to our study in the main school for a coffee and the hope of a bit of canoodling.
We might well have got away with it if we hadn’t started playing music. I turned the volume up for one of my then current favourites, Something’s in the Air. The rambling old building with its high ceilings and long, wide corridors on the ground floor, acted as an amplifier, as Thunderclap Newman boomed their way to the opposite end of the building and up to the inner sanctum of the headmistress’s flat.
Before the end of the track, the door burst open and our headmistress stormed in. Wrapped in a Chinese-style dressing gown and her hair rolled up in perm-sized curlers, which she was still struggling to cover with a headscarf.
She was so fuelled by anger, her eyes were bulging as, horrified, she surveyed the scene. Three sixteen-year-old prefects draped around their boyfriends at 1.30a.m. in an all-girls boarding school. A definite no-no. Regaining her composure, the headmistress scowled at as all.
‘Would these young men mind leaving the way they came in?’
So, they all traipsed out the window.
It was no great surprise when after prayers the following morning, the headmistress announced that she wanted to see the three of us and we were duly sacked as prefects. Our headmistress, never one to mince her words, announced that the school no longer respected us anymore.
I’m sure she would have preferred to deliver the words you are all expelled, but at the back of her mind would have been the recent scandal of the school’s Bursar, who had recently absconded with the entire school kitty.