I went on a quick nostalgia trip during breakfast today. Dynamo and Sausage love flavoured milk and they’d been pestering me for banana flavouring. Mean mother that I am, I insisted that they finish the strawberry first. But today was the day of the great Banana-Flavouring Opening. As I lifted the lid I was suddenly six-years-old again.
As I’ve mentioned before, I went to a small village school in the north of England until I was nine. Each year the whole school, all except the ‘Infants’, went on a trip. It was a huge affair; coach trip, new clothes, spending money, seaside fairs and ruined castles. At 3 am on the morning of my first trip I stood by my parents’ bed whispering a plaintive ‘I don’t feel well.’
Mum sent me back to bed, telling me I was ‘just excited’. By 6am ‘excited’ had become a jittery mess. I couldn’t eat breakfast, I felt awful and just the thought of going on the coach made me want to be sick. Nothing Mum did would calm me down, so I watched as my two older sisters headed off. Of course, two minutes after they’d gone I felt perfectly well again, but it was too late. I was home for the day, regretting what might have been. I spent the day looking for fairies in the ‘fairy rings’ in the garden.
When my sisters returned, they brought with them a present from my teacher – a banana. Or, at least, a banana-flavoured sweet (candy) the size of a banana. It smelled exactly like the milk-mix I opened this morning, hence the nostalgia trip.
I should add here, that this may also be the earliest I remember being asked to write something. One of the activities after a school trip was to write an account of the day. The pages were then laid out end to end in the school hall and the person with the longest report won a prize. Despite the fact I hadn’t even been on the trip, I managed sixteen pages! Sixteen pages about my day at home. It must have been absolutely riveting! What a shame I don’t still have it for posterity.