In your twenties when you throw a dinner party you make pasta. I once served garlic bread which I put straight in the oven without removing the cellophane wrapper and nearly poisoned everyone. In your thirties you do something vaguely interesting with chicken, but you get so drunk before you start cooking that everyone ends up with takeout. In your forties, you buy ready meals from Waitrose, and lots of jolly decent wine so people don’t realise you still can’t cook.
At the old Leith Academy in Edinburgh, which is being converted into apartments, students had to walk round the corridors in one direction. God alone could help you if they caught you walking in the wrong direction.
The ladies adviser made girls stand with their hands out palms up, and if she could see the underneath of any nails, she would cut them with a large pair of scissors carried for this purpose, before sending the unfortunate girl to the janitor’s office for a brush and pan to sweep up the clippings. Fifth and sixth year girls were not allowed out of school grounds when Russian ships were in docks so as not to entice the seamen. I don’t know why only the Russian sailors posed such a threat; perhaps the school was worried about the spread of communism? Fourth and third year girls were considered safe to leave the grounds because they were younger and therefore not attractive to a crew of hearty seamen.
In some freak arrangement between the local education system and the master of Leith Docks, girls who were learning Russian at the Academy were taken down to the docks on a Saturday morning by the French and the Russian masters so they could converse with real Russians. Just try and picture that today.
Tidying up on my phone I realised I haven’t used the Note function for about 16 months. I have phone numbers for a Lorraine, a Jason and a Norman. Who the hell is Norman? There are the vital statistics of my godson, including his full name, date of birth and a reading list. 16 months ago he was reading HP and the Chamber of Secrets, and his brother was into the Radio 4 quiz show Just a Minute.
There are numerous licence plate numbers of vehicles who have done me wrong; shopping lists, and a 10 year plan which simply states: Money. Writing.
There are cryptic notes clearly intended to provide the inspiration for a novel and a note made during the launch for James Robertson‘s latest book The Professor of Truth in which, after listening to a stupid man ask a stupid question, I decide that readers should be imagined and never allowed to speak to an author. There is a poetic lament that James Robertson always makes me feel like a shit Scot, and half a recipe for courgette soup.