Friday 6 February 1987

…It was Ronald Reagan’s birthday today.
And it was Jimmy Tarbuck’s birthday today.
And it was also MY BIRTHDAY today.
I got:
Some money
Two films for my camera
Two toy frogs
A James Bond songbook
A max/min thermometer
A conversion chart
Some drawing pins
and a little plastic container to put the drawings pins in…

I have to say this seems like a bit of a step down from last year’s haul, particularly the last two items. Utilities are not and never ought to be considered presents. Well, not presents with a capital P.

Later on I had to undergo the same ritual as last year (and for that matter every year at primary school): being summoned to the front during assembly, have to talk about a notable gift, then have a copyright-breaching version of Happy Birthday to You sung at me.

In my diary I mention how I “caught out” the teacher in charge of this farrago with some pre-prepared spiel. I’m hoping I served up a few doleful wisecracks about the drawing pins. Seeing as this was the very last time I’d have to undergo this ordeal, I’m sure I would’ve wanted to sign off in style.

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I’ve now been writing this blog for exactly a year. I’ve still no idea how long I’m going to carry on. For the time being, I’m sticking with the prediction I made at the outset: that it will probably, like me, one day just suddenly stop.

However regular readers will have noticed the entries are beginning to get a bit more long-winded, gloomy and, dare I say it, confessional. These traits, not to most people’s tastes I’m sure, are about to become more pronounced with the onset of a bout of illness. As such I might give the blog a rest for a while. Nobody wants to read about someone’s self-pity, least of all a whiny 11-year-old. I’ll press on for now, but be warned: things are about to get a bit grim.

Thursday 5 February 1987

…I will be 11 in three hours’ time.
At the moment I have got a terrible earache which is probably an early present.
All the teachers were away on courses today so we had temporary teachers
to put up with.
We got stuck with a French teacher called Mrs Procter.
We spent the whole day doing things connected with French.
Bonjours here, je m’apelles there, and WHAT?s were everywhere.
No-one understood anything except fermez la bouche [sic] which meant
SHUT UP YOUR FACE.
We had to make our own passports in French, say our names in French,
learn the French names for rooms of a house, parts of the body and
the numbers from one to 50.
We were also given different names – French names – to call each other
during the day, but nobody did.
Mine sounded like “guville” or something, but it made everyone go around
calling me Gormy for the rest of the day.
At the end of the day we got certificates for completing all the tasks, but
because I had forgotten my name I didn’t get one and everyone laughed…

Hmm.┬áIt seems that every time my diary makes a generalised reference to the rest of my class, it’s always to paint them as some kind of spiteful mob. They weren’t, but I had no reason to write about them when they acted any other way. Most of the time they were just unexceptional people. Only when they behaved exceptionally badly, and with particular malice towards me, did they get a mention.

I’d like to think they didn’t really know what they were doing. But I’d also like to think they did know what they were doing, and just how much it could hurt.

Monday 2 February 1987

…4 DAYS TILL MY BIRTHDAY.
Mum wants me to hurry up with today’s entry because she
wants to watch Rumpole of the Bailey at 9.00pm.
Today our class spent the whole day at Beaumanor Hall looking at boring wildlife.
We were taken there in parents’ cars and had to wait in a Field Centre room
for everybody to arrive.
The group I was in were last, of course.
We put our wellies on and got in a dinner van to go to Maplewell Wood.
Once we got there I knew it would be a disaster.
It had rained last night and everywhere was terribly muddy.
We didn’t see anything special or feel anything or touch anything special.
In fact it was dead boring.
I got bored, cold, hungry and tired and I thought of ending it all…

SPOILER: I didn’t.