Nostalgia

life

My parents visited before Easter, and achieved their long-threatened goal of bringing me a load of boxes of my stuff that had been hitherto cluttering up their loft. "You've got your own loft now, so it can clutter up yours." Fair enough. It's an assortment of random stuff that I didn't really want to throw out, but didn't have room for at the time, including a lot of exercise books from my middle and senior school years.

The school books are hilarious, particularly the ones from middle school. It's funny how you remember doing some pieces of work quite well, and others are a complete mystery. In my middle school creative writing class, I wrote a totally insane, psychedelic story about turning on the taps to run a bath, and seeing a stream of tiny pink crocodiles coming out, which I then had to hide from my mother under my bed. Quite where that came from, I don't know -- perhaps there was a serious LSD habit I've forgotten about along with the experience of writing the tiny pink crocodiles story.

My favourite subjects at senior school were Biology (obviously) and Latin, and I was an unbearably swotty geek in both. I loved translating 'The Aeneid', and can just about still quote little chunks of it from memory. Exercise books from both subjects show that I lavished a lot more care on them than on some other subjects. I had also forgotten that I was a fairly decent illustrator back then. There are some quite good drawings and illustrative figures, including a frighteningly meticulous, pull-out, fully-labelled diagram of the male reproductive system. I'm sure my 15 year old self found that interesting for purely scientific reasons... Unfortunately, while my drawing was reasonably good for a teenager, it never progressed to being good for an adult, so I rarely draw now.

French was one of those subjects I didn't enjoy much at the time, but wish I had paid more attention to now. In one of my French books, I found a folded, handwritten (and illustrated) worksheet. There was a little domestic scene depicted in that lovely, blurry purple Banda ink, and a series of questions about the picture. But wait -- what is that sous la table? Could it possibly be un singe? It is! I'd somehow decided that the prominent featuring of monkeys in French lessons was all a product of Eddie Izzard's comedy genius, but there was the documentary evidence in blurry purple and white. As we all know, the French prize above all else the ability to locate one's primate accurately in their native tongue.

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