Steve over at Wittering Heights has just written a very funny post about the kind of things he got up to as a kid. He sounds like he was a right little demon, but hilarious.
He asked what pranks other people got up to and for a while I drew a blank in my own past - I mean the 'jolliest jape' I played with phone boxes was ringing up directory enquiries and asking how far it was to Timbuktu. Incessantly.
For a moment I felt both smug and genuinely disappointed at my 'good' childhood, but slowly things are coming back to me. My upper arms are beginning to feel heavy with the remembrance. I may have been on a tight leash at home, even a late starter, but when I got going I was evil. Okay, some of it was stolen straight from the pages of my second-hand collection of School Friend Annual, but some, some just spewed forth from my own little head – far too easily.
- I filled a biscuit tin with water, propped it up to my middle brother’s bedroom ceiling, using the broom, and asked him to hold the broom for me ‘for a second’. I ran downstairs and left him up there for nearly an hour until his arms weakened and we heard the crash from downstairs. He was wet, tired, and disillusioned, but a complete gentleman. Me, I was too busy cracking up with laughter.
- My younger brother was acutely embarrassed at the sight of my boobs, when they began to grow. I would beat him downstairs in the morning, wait for him to come through the living room door and, sitting on the sofa in direct view, I would cross my arms across my bare chest, poke an index finger into each nipple (I had some modesty) and use them to jiggle my melons up and down whilst pulling a face like one of the All Blacks doing the Haka. He had to make a run for it to the kitchen every morning, with a face like a beetroot.
- At the age when youth group was like a big happy round of pass-the-boyfriend, I found out my latest had dumped me by turning up to a weekend church youth retreat to find him already there, staring me out, with his arm round my best friend. Everyone else was just gawping to see whether I was going to thump him. I pretended I wasn’t fussed at all, got her on side (she was feeling guilty), crept into the boys dorm and apple-pied his bed and sewed up the feet of his pyjamas while she kept him busy. Apparently he pushed a leg in, full thrust, and fell over backwards.
- At ballet in the old church hall we weren’t allowed any of the orange squash in the kitchen upstairs. It was the biggest catering size bottle I had ever seen, but it belonged to another group that used the hall and they had left strict instructions that we couldn’t touch, so I crept into the kitchen and topped it up with all of their vinegar. Three weeks in a row. Week four they had padlocks. The ballet teacher got into awful trouble with the landlords because it must have been us that did it, but she was so confident of our good nature that we were never properly questioned. 'No Miss, of course not Miss.' That was that.
- On holiday age 11, I found a joke shop in Bognor that agreed to do me mail order. I used to save up itching powder for church youth retreats (them again) and then if any of the boys were overdoing the aftershave (remember that age when boys buy the talc, deodorant, the works, all in one smell and use it ALL?) – I would creep in and empty a sachet of itching powder into their talc. It also went in the beds.
- When we had a sit down strike at school, it was me that brought in the luminous card and me that wrote the insulting poems about the Head and Deputy Head all over every sheet. They went up everywhere but I never got caught because I ‘wasn’t that sort’.
Meanwhile I’m off to find a rock to crawl under until I’ve wrapped my head round this buried aspect of myself. A rather large penny has dropped.