Sunday, July 12, 2009

Milestones In Kilometreland


It’s been something of an emotional fortnight.


Love has trickled down every window like Golden Syrup, anger has raged at the sight of shrunken underpants in the tumble dryer like an incendiary, and mild to middling petulance has greeted the news that although my favourite watering hole is hosting a Happy Week of half-price continental lager, said week will coincide with me being on the continent itself, shelling out Big Euros.

Ah, but I’m being facetious (and, that being said, this word always makes me think of a week-old baby’s shitty backside...).

The truth is, Son of Whirl finished school on Friday. Normally, this heralds a six week festival of endless Swingball and arguments over who plays Phantom Mansion on the laptop. This year, it opens up the void between one school and another. Officially, he’s no longer junior.

So we’ve had school plays, leavers’ balls, engraved cups and rollerball pens, bibles, presents for teachers and the truly moving sight of the entire Year Six stood on the stage of the town church hugging each other and crying into the cuffs of their uniforms.

It’s milestones like these that give me pause to reflect on the many hoops I’ve leapt through myself on the way to lying in a heap on the floor in a tangle of hulae. Moving up to high school was one of them, and though it turned out to be fantastic, it didn’t look that way to me during the long summer of 1974 — proof positive that being pessimistic about stuff is a total waste of time. Those days aren’t coming back.

So here I am in my final moments as a junior school kid...




If I remember correctly, this was Take Two. The photographer made some comment about the Pluto transfer on my hand and I got a fit of the giggles. It’s weird to think that all I had to worry about in those days was whether the newsagent had ordered my comics and if Mum had remembered to stock up on jumbo peanuts from Asda. Oh — and avoiding Grandma’s lipstickdrool kisses. Yuck.

So I’m going to make sure I find something to laugh at today — even if it’s me. In fact, especially if it’s me...

36 comments:

Robin S. said...

OHHHHH! What a darling!

And in other news, I just noticed the WIP readings to the left. Cool!

fairyhedgehog said...

When my younger son finished Junior School I was really sad as I'd been helping in the school hearing readers and his leaving ended my links with them.

I'm not sure how he felt about it.

Robin S. said...

Anf by the way, forgot to say - congrats to Son of Whirl! Remind him to stomp on pessimism, please.

ril said...

Redhead?

ril said...

I enjoyed primary and middle-school, mostly, but for me, high school was the best, though I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate it at the time. But then, all experience is memory, and we seldom appreciate what we have, only what we had.

ril said...

Oh, and I believe "anf" deserves to be a word.

Whirlochre said...

Robin
Sadly, I was.

Fairy
I shall certainly miss dropping him off and picking him up. Sniff.

Ril
I think my hair is soaking up the raw glow of the 70s here. Plus it stood for years in a frame on the mantlepiece at my grandma's house. So, no, I'm not a redhead.

As for our ridiculous appreciation abilities, this is so, so true.

ril said...

I think my hair is soaking up the raw glow of the 70s here. Plus it stood for years in a frame on the mantlepiece at my grandma's house.

The photograph, right - not the hair?

Whirlochre said...

Yes — although my grandma did display my belly button fluff and toenail clippings in a wall-mounted frame.

ril said...

Ah, we got one of those "Baby's First Lint" cases for our daughter. Unfortunately, she has an outie and so the pickings were somewhat slim. Amazon wouldn't let us return the case, so I guess we just have to hold out until she discovers the joys of nose mining.

Whirlochre said...

Japan's a long way off, I know, but I still have the frame and could mail it if you like.

ril said...

I'm touched, but I think you need to keep those toe-clippings and lint as an heirloom for your own offspring. I suspect before very long, anything associated with you will attract a healthy premium on e-Bay.

Whirlochre said...

It's a nice thought, Ril.

Oddly enough, somewhere, in a box of old nick-nacks, I do have a thumbnail I grew when I was 15. It's about three quarters of an inch long and horribly yellowed and I believe it resides in a Compo-style England's Glory matchbox. Maybe I'll dig it out sometime...

Whirlochre said...

Thanks for keeping me entertained, btw. I'm sat here toying with three chapters that are each a couple of bastard lines away from completion as Son of Whirl rampages round the house with his Hot Wheels.

Joy.

ril said...

You haven't told him that as a big school boy, all thoughts of hot wheels should be left behind. In future, he must rampage around the house with his hot girlfriends. It's a rite of passage.

By the way, I just remembered... '70's glow. So while the photographer was teasing your pluto tattoo, the school was being firebombed by first year skinheads. Am I right?

ril said...

Oh, and was that a 15 year old guitar player's thumb nail?

Whirlochre said...

Mainly, it was the teachers, flapping about in their flares waving Slade, Sweet and Glitter albums.

As for the guitar, it's another skill I never learned, along with belly dancing and sucking up spaghetti through my nose.

ril said...

Funnily enough, I just turned on cable TV, flicked through a few channels, and there were Sweet, dressed in an excess of tin foil, singing Teenage Rampage...

Whirlochre said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

Scarlet-Blue said...

I was scared stiff going up to 'big school'... plenty to worry about!
Sx

Robin S. said...

Yep, ril, ANF should be a word, baby.

Any yet another whirl/ril riff, and I screwed myself and missed it.
Dammit.

Whirlochre said...

Scarlett
For me, it was the thought of having to do PE with all the rough boys. Luckily that particular boil was lanced during our first all-pubester shower. Some kid called Dave stripped off his footie kit, revealing a a scrap of white loo roll hanging from between his buttocks — and we never looked back.

Robin
ANF sounds like an acronym for a far-right political party or herpes-like rash. Can't decide which.

ril said...

Ha, our big school changing room block had girls on one side, boys on the other and a locked door in the middle (the concept being that they could make it one big unisex room if there was an event on).

However, they couldn't, because they had to jam the keyhole with Blu-Tac to stop the twazzocks from peeping.

Whirlochre said...

I shudder to think what unisex events your school hosted, Ril.

ril said...

Did I mean unisex? I think I meant single sex. It isn't the same thing, is it? No wonder they closed the school.

My secondary school PE life started rather poorly. The games teacher (are games teachers cloned in some factory, by the way?) neglected to explain the rules of the game, or even that a game had started, prior to propelling a rugby ball at my face.

Nothing was broken, but the rugby ball had become round, so we had to play soccer instead.

I was excused.

Whirlochre said...

In my experience, games teachers emerge fully formed from some hideous Swamp of Cruelty.

ril said...

So you went to one of those posh schools with the fully-formed games teachers, then? Lucky you.

Whirlochre said...

Nope — I went to the sink school that housed the actual swamp.

Robin S. said...

Ha! Morning grins for Robin. Life is good.

Maybe you two should do sketch comedy together (not that you already don't, of course).

Whirlochre said...

Or a dance troupe — what about a dance troupe? With poodles, and everything?

Robin S. said...

I'm game. Show me them legs, Dynamic Babycakes Duo.

Kiersten said...

Aw...so cute. My little one is starting kindergarten in the fall and I'm already a wobbly mess.

Also, your hair stood for years in a frame on your grandma's mantlepiece? AMAZING. Were you still attached to it at that point?

Oh, crap, Ril already beat me to that gem of a comment. I knew I shouldn't have been slacking off, vacation or no.

I happily await the dance videos.

ril said...

With poodles, and everything?

I saw that film. My best pal's dad had it hidden at the back of his sock draw. Best pal sneaked it out and we threaded it into my 8mm projector.

What a traumatic day that was.

Whirlochre said...

Kiersten
A wobbly mess? In San Diego? Sounds like the plot sketch for Ghostbusters III.

Ril
I, too, had a "best friend" (of a "best friend") whose grubby fingers loaded up something filthy and Swedish one summer holiday against a backdrop of 70s flock wallpaper. Not at all entertaining.

ril said...

Just to be clear, by the way: "my 8mm projector" is not a euphemism.

Whirlochre said...

And neither is poodles...