Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Groovy Education with Bev and Carol

Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel for direct links to Amazon.  'One Summer in France' and 'Bunny on a Bike'.

Episode Seven

Bed late, up late – only possible on days when Marj (all singing, all banging and crashing cleaner) is not there. 

Opened door of Room to vision of tree in central stairwell.


Almost amazed. Branches, leaves, (no birds).  Much peering and rubbing of eyes by groggy semi-clad students.  From ground floor to third floor.  Interesting conundrum of method of insertion through outer door, round 90-degree corner, into stair cavity.  Additional pixie-work detail – Simon Black’s room turfed.  Neat job. 

Marj bound to be thrilled next day (alternate day visits).

Took picture (instamatic) and went out.

Aimed for sports centre.  Got distracted by colours of leaves.  Late autumn heaps.  Good for kicking/stereotypical romantic images.  Deep breaths, wholesome thoughts. ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…’ (another clever bugger). 

Library. Medieval literature bit of a challenge – conventions, conventions.  Yawn.  Examine self for signs of medieval beauty in library loo mirror – looking for: willowy figure, white skin (rosy cheeks), small feet, blue eyes and (bingo!) blond hair.

Back to books.  Incidental research brightens whole day – Philip I of France said to have kicked wife out of bed because ‘trop grasse’ (too fat), giving rise to expression ‘I wouldn’t chuck her/him out of bed’.  Couldn’t find pic of Philip or wife.

Back to work.  Prefer Miller’s Tale to Knight’s.  Bawdy, bawdy.  Don’t like carpet in library.  Chairs too heavy.  Words on page swimming.  Little caterpillars, swelling, twirling, turning into butterflies and filling the air with Chaucer. 

Nodded off. 

‘Hello’.  Looked up and saw Carol in jeans and homemade jumper, carrying large book. Grinning. ‘Want a cuppa?’  Christ, yes!

Leaped down steps, singing.  La di da!  Carol laughed.  At last!  A friend to play with.

To be continued…

Monday, 20 January 2014

A Groovy Education with Bev and Carol

 Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel for direct links to Amazon.  'One Summer in France' and 'Bunny on a Bike'.



Episode Six

Enrolled in Netball Club.  On a whim.  La di da!  Had form – goal-attack, second team, Bridgnorth Grammar School.  Have photos.  Could lie – no one would know.  Naughty.

Met Janice (captain – dynamic, posh, firm handshake, caterpillar eyebrows).  Other girls - less blonde than me, not wearing make-up.  Bigger calfs/thighs.  Met future lifelong friend and hellraiser – CAROL.  Full-fat Devonshire produce.  Excellent netball player, goal-defence.  No inkling of future significance.

Practice session – familiar gunky rubbery smell of gym, feel of ball, smallness of net.  Began as G.A.  Instantly demoted to G.S.  Scored seven goals (thank you God!). Bruises accumulated – three.  Shoulder barges received – infinite.  Evident lack of fitness impossible to hide.  Carol kind/encouraging (out of character).

Wistful parting, chums/seekers of sporting perfection.  Match arranged for following week.  Shitting pants.

Back to Room.  Bored.  Remembered English assignment deadline. BUGGER. ‘Courtly Love and the Knight’s Tale’.  Hmmm.  Courtly love.  Hmmm.  The Knight’s Tale.  Research/reading needed.  Notes bundled into bag and quick march to library.  Chivalry, courtly love, which is stronger?  Needed Harry Hill (not yet born?).  Re-read Chaucer’s tale of boy meets girl, second boy meets same girl, girl chooses boy, boy gets himself killed, girl takes second choice with blessing of first boy.  Unlikely.  Nice rhyming.

Wrote essay.  Re-wrote essay.  Decided didn’t know how to write essays.  Underlined title, added name and date.  Considered smiley face.

Back to Room.  Examined hair. Roots showing.  Opened box of  Polyblonde (ammonia-based product).  Applied to blackest bits first. Woozy. Opened window.  Timed twenty minutes. 

Helen with boyfriend, Kevin, (up for weekend).  Tall, dark and insecure.  Sylvia arrived with tea (on tray!).  Asked what I had put on my hair.  Mouth stayed open when finished speaking.  Imagined plugging it with giant gobstopper.

Listened to list of damage caused by ammonia. Considered informing VBFH of damage done to eyes by hideous arrangement of facial features.  Compromised - offered advice on keeping nose out of other people’s business.  Kevin inhaled tea.  Sylvia calm in presence of ‘puerile comments’.

Washed hair, trimmed fringe.  Light swearing.  Trimmed fringe some more.  Oh, shit. 

To be continued…

Monday, 13 January 2014

A Groovy Education with Bev and Carol

HALF PRICE today:  'Bunny on a Bike' - 80s London (humorous memoir of a Playboy croupier):  

Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel.

Episode Five

Wake late.  Wall to wall swearing.  No time for tea.  Can’t find hairbrush. Universe too quantum.

Morning lecture (in French!) on Corneille’s ‘Le Cid’.  Another tortured love story in which Chimène (v. fussy heroine) and Rodrigue (another victim of medieval code of honour) almost get together, between duels. 

Prof. jovial, competent.  Notes a mess, need to write up later in EITHER English OR French, (not combination of both).  Proud of self.    

Early lunch in university canteen with Beth (misplaced London socialite).  Ate liver (not hers) and onions, sautéed potatoes, soggy green beans, followed by jam roly poly.  Watched Beth eat lettuce leaf, tomato, part of orange segment.  Macrobiotic. Listened to Beth complain about Mike (postgrad with facial hair, bad breath – penchant for garlic marinade, and owner of recently manufactured car). 

Welcomed unexpected brief interlude - stung by wasp (crawled inside leg of my jeans).  Beth had anaphylactic shock on my behalf. (Like watching goldfish on carpet.Killed wasp, applied handy vinegar to sting – lucky guess.  Beth took inhaler in lieu of adrenalin.

Observed Professor Whitehead (Philosophy) collecting unconsumed cheese portions from trays.  Hobby or necessity?  Or giant pet mouse?  

Beth worn out after eating uncooked carrot.  Went for nap.

Picked up grant cheque. HOORAY!  Paid canteen bill (termly – subsidised – be mad not to). 

Beloved Renault pootled to bank to make deposit.  Bought recommended course books, new dress, soap.  Phoned father. Love and silence.

Home to Room.  Elsa called.  Union disco scheduled, cider (Bulmer’s dry) purchased, cheese on toast melted.  Helen tempted (by disco).  VBFH tempted (by cheese on toast).  Elsa bemused (by non-babe contingent).

Selected black satin stretch trousers, white crepe blouse, black shiny belt.  Platform boots, black.  Elsa, immaculate in silver.  Helen amazed.  Sylvia appalled.  RESULT!

Black hole of Union sucked us in.  Event horizon breached.  All rules of known universe broken.  Music emitting mysterious pulsar beat, stomach vibrating. PREDATORY thoughts.  Smokey layers, dark and darkest.  Beings clustered, talking, smoking, staring out. 

Elsa brilliant dancer/terrible bore (hiding from Andy).  What the…?

Ram Jam.  Black Betty.  OBLIVION…

to be continued…

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A Groovy Education with Bev and Carol

HALF PRICE today for a trip down memory lane.  'Bunny on a Bike' - 80s London (humorous memoir of a Playboy croupier):  

Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel.


Met tutor – pastoral care.  Small, fluffy, harmless.  Would make good child’s toy.  

Lemon tea, a first (and last). 

Joss sticks throughout.  Herbal sandalwood, apparently.

Decided university accommodation marginally better, for staff – larger, purpose-built box with separate kitchen/bathroom/living/sleeping.  View of larger car park with less knackered cars. 

Jasmine happy to help (no badge).  Any time of day or night.  What with? (Not specified.)  Assumptions raced through mind.  Unpleasant/unsubstantiated.  Reprimanded self, and focussed.

Calm and smiling new friend/mentor produced folder containing sample timetable. Hard to suppress yawn. Noticed Rosie and Jim calendar on wall. WEIRD. Song started up in head.  Tried to concentrate. Jasmine preoccupied with timetable, colour coded.  Wondered what she had in mind.  Wondered about the meaning of life.   

Hungry. Biscuits provided.  Munched.  Jasmine proceeded to explain importance of organisation/regular habits/programmed study/soft crayons.  Happy, clappy, crappy evening.  Bless.

Rosie and Jim, Rosie and Jim, chugging along on the old Ragdoll

Room.  Hello, Room (capitalisation intended).  NEED tomato soup, good book (reading list dire – love you Chaucer… love you Milton…).  Soup heated and bowled.  Spoon located.  Turned to La Princesse de Clèves (French reading list).  Psychological novel (one of first EVER.  Published 1678).

Heavy going.  Laudable.  Heavy going.  Downward spiral of long-suffering heroine.  Downward spiral of long-suffering reader.  Downward spiral of latter into pillow and oblivion.


Awake and dancing. VBFH drunk, Helen drunk.  Vast improvement.  Party on!

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A Groovy Education with Bev and Carol

 Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel.


Girl in next room called Helen.  Very classical.  Name, not girl.  Girl upstairs called Sylvia. Vicious Bitch from Hell.  Best friends with Helen.


Helen - thinnish, tallish, with curly brown hair that shines (lack of hair product abuse), fine set of teeth, pale skin, slight Irish accent. Overall assessment:

Sylvia - bulky (moves like a wrestler), square-faced, goggle-eyed, greenish aura (oozing calm and balance).  Overall assessment: she doesn’t like me (and never will).


Difficult to get Helen alone.  VBFH omnipresent.  Also omnivore (specialist subject – Toblerone). 

Invest in Christmas-sized triangular chocolate.  VBFH happy.  Still hates me.

Give up for a while. Lull VBFH into false sense of security?

Academic concerns lend yours truly smug aloofness. Lectures mixed.  Bad to bloody awful.  Lecturers bored to death with bog-eyed zombies viewed from lectern, presumably. 

Today’s literary topic:  ‘Kingship in Shakespeare’ (capitalised at centre top of A4, underlined).  American lecturer, not ancient – nice legs, no-nonsense delivery.  Distracted by ‘Miss Whiplash’ image.  Literary references too thick, fast and spangled for pen (and brain).  Long hour.  If had crown would let slip over eyes.  Would be glad of kingly gowns too big for bearer.  Lecture room door very far away.

Cold outside.  Inadequate fake fur jacket (used to be white).  Running home.  La di da!  Brrrr!

Helen alone – BINGO – in need of normal friend!  Have tea and listen to ‘Wishing on a Star’ Rose Royce.  Difficult for AC/DC fan like myself.  Interminable slush - gift from Helen’s boyfriend.  True love, apparently.    Listen and sympathise (exercising eyebrows) until VBFH arrives to ‘smile and smile and yet be a villain’.  Find am harbouring residual Shakespearean insight. Sylvia would make good hag.  Anaemic.

Frozen out by Sylvia’s stare.  Send out threatening vibes: ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’.  Leave gracefully.  Smug (unjustifiably).

Elsa, new friend from neighbouring block, knocks - we go out.  Elsa has plan to punish Andy (boyfriend) by surreptitiously ignoring him in Union bar.  We sit, aloof.  I am eyes/ears.  Reporting back.  (HOW IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?)  Elsa – baby blonde, squeaky voice, pouty, size 8.  Adored.  By all. Knows everyone.


Realise am invisible in glow of superior beauty.  Quietly outraged.  Sneak back to hall for curative toast and tea. 

More uncalled for Rose Royce. 

Retaliate with ABBA.  No longer 17, but still aspiring Dancing Queen.  Oh, yes.

To be continued…