Thursday, 30 October 2008

Seven random York things

The Welsh Girl tagged me for a 'seven random things' meme, so I thought I would give it a York twist. Seven random York/me things, then.

1. I went to a Quaker school in York. This included a requirement to attend a one hour silent Quaker meeting on Wednesday mornings, which was precisely the torture it sounds - a room full of hormonal adolescents forced to sit still and in silence for a whole hour. On one memorable occasion, a peacock's head appeared at a high window and tapped insistently on it throughout, reducing me and Violet to silent convulsing hysteria. Occasionally we would mix things up a bit by singing the rousing tune "Old leather breeches, shaggy shaggy locks, you are pulling down the pillars of the world, George Fox". I got shit hot marks on my papers on religious non-conformism in the eighteenth century in my history degree, despite spending my second year basically insane, speaking to noone and driving about in my much loved Renault Clio in a ginger wig. I consider I have Quaker school to thank for this.

2. Wednesday afternoon classes at Quaker school following the silent meeting included yoga, poetry writing, managing your finances (filling in cheque book stubs), recreating famous works of art (the bar at the Folies Bergere comes to mind) by dressing up as them and the notorious 'condom on a cucumber' class. There were no academic or sporting prizes given at school, however there was an annual prize for the best decorated egg cup.

3. I failed my cycling proficiency test by falling off my bike into a rose bed at the part of the test where you are supposed to look over your shoulder and read out a letter someone is holding up. I still can't be trusted on a bike. Or in a car. Or walking for that matter. I am fatally attracted to skips (the big metal ones you dump old mattresses in in the dead of night - no? Just me then) and have lost several wing mirrors being drawn unwittingly too close by their siren song.

4. I finally lost my virginity aged NINETEEN (yes) after a Christmas party in a corrugated iron Bavarian themed inn in Poppleton. There was a Yorkshire oompah band and large, stabby serving wenches in lederhosen. He was called Nick and we worked together processing data on families with severely disabled children who were applying for hardship grants. It was depressing and boring, and he and I were the only employees aged under 50. It was totally inevitable and entirely lacking in sentiment. In a good way.

5. After my first love (a trainee teacher at the Quaker school - bad man!) chucked me unceremoniously in "Britain's most flooded pub", I stalked him around the pubs of York, appearing wraithlike and accusing in the window of, variously, the Spread Eagle, the Lowther, the Punchbowl, the Cross Keys, the Black Swan, the Judges Lodgings, the Star Inn, the Blue Bell, etc etc. York has more pubs per head of population than anywhere in the world (I made that up but it could totally be true), so it was a true act of crazy dedication on my part. Bastard. I am still a little bit in love with him.

6. I used to look like this, at my most physically unfortunate.

Getting glasses was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I cried for a week when they told me I had to. Getting my hair cut short was definitely one of my better decisions. Pity it all fell out when I was twenty. Now I look like this (don't judge me, all the clothes I am wearing were borrowed from family members):

I also know a great deal about degenerative bone diseases in the Viking era, and the prevalence of various intestinal parasites, thanks to the Jorvik Viking Centre, where I got to try on, though not run away with, this helmet.

7. I don't have a York accent but the Space Cadette does. When she tells people from outside North Yorkshire where she is from, they ask her politely where "Yark" is as they have never heard of it. Is it, perhaps, one of the lesser known Channel Islands? I don't think I have any kind of accent, really. I have hard northern 'a's, mixed Scottish/Gloucestershire parentage and speak French most of the time. When I hear my voice I think I sound like I have some horrible sinus condition. Lashes sounds London and Fingers like Inspector Clouseau.



Ok. I tag la Belette, Lulu, Nappy Valley Girl, Katyboo and anyone else who wants to join in. It doesn't have to be about York, sadly.


katyboo1 said...

I have a friend who went to a Quaker boarding school up north. He is now very aggressive due to all the forced pacifism but after he hits you he cries and apologise a lot.

I too cried for a week when I had to have glasses. I was so mortified when the optician announced it, I burst into floods of tears and refused to speak. Hence my mother forcing me to have free blue national health glasses which made things worse.

Thanks for the tag. will do it soon.

Daisy said...

Oh wow, nice work making it all around one theme. I just did this and ended up admitting terrible things about myself. I'm sorry but I find it weird that we seem to have so much in common despite our obvious differences (you=Quaker, me=not etc.) I kind of want to ask you about your hair and what happened exactly because I've got severe hair trouble myself... and I also lost my V plates at 19, love tortoises, have a spouse that wants to bury our money and we live in the same square in Spitals etc. etc. Hmmm. love the internet!

Persephone said...

I don't wish to scare you, but that school snap bears a strong resemblance to my junior high school portraits. (Of course, you don't know enough of what I look like to be alarmed, but trust me: Be afraid. Be very afraid.)
I got my first glasses at age eight and was not upset, being too young to realize I was doomed to character roles for the rest of my short-lived dramatic career.
And I love worshiping with the Friends. Of course, I was never forced to do it while an adolescent, so I guess that's why.
The less said about my de-flowering, the better...

La Belette Rouge said...

What I know of York: pudding, prince, princess, Peppermint Patties, and there is a new "York" here in the states.

And, OMG, you were so cute and I am sure you still are. Poor you. Glasses are not good for a young girls self-esteem.

Thanks for the tag. I am glad you think I play well with others. I will do the meme soon.

Jaywalker said...

Katyboo - Interestingly, Quaker school had a high proportion of psychos noone else would take. There was even one child who had been expelled from previous schools for attempting to crucify (literally) classmates.

Daisy - I am not an actual quaker! I am a big fat atheist. I just had to clear that up. But yes, weird amounts in common. Unglazed china, sand, etc etc...

Persephone - Surely it couldn't get any worse than that photo? Please?

Belette - see? Now you know lots more! I am a veritable fount of information. Yes indeed.

Welsh Girl said...

I hated my glasses so much I eventually went for surgery and am now a glasses free zone. For a long time though I wore the glasses of shame and I'm sure they are why I didn't lose the V plates until I was TWENTY!!!!

justme said...

Best decorated Egg Cup! Clearly this was the start of your love affair with craft work.....
I might do this one is I can think of six interesting things about me.........hmmmm.....maybe not!

fourstar said...

Did your school name begin with a B? You may know my brother.

Or, if it beings with an M, I may have slept with some of your classmates at a 6th form summer ball.

Actually I have no idea how old you are, so that now sounds dreadful. Sorry about that.

(In case you were wondering, I went to the posh boys place by the river that claims to be the oldest school in the northern hemisphere/world/universe. We don't have a bonfire on 5th November either, for obvious reasons.)

peevish said...

On the outside, I'm quietly laughing at fourstar. On the inside I am still horrified by the Viking eye parasites and hoping I don't dream about them tonight.

Pretty Jane said...

Dear God, I love Yorkshire! Is "Yorkshire caviar," of which I have never heard, perhaps mushy peas, of which I am strangely fond (as I despise peas in general but adore the mushy ones)??

Solid post. Solid.

Pretty Jane said...

Based on your post, actually, I wonder now if you know my friend Emma who once mowed her parents living room carpeting in Ossett? And placed a frozen chicken on her bruised face after she drunkenly fell off a moving merry-go-round in the late night? You would get along swimmingly, I have no doubt.

nappy valley girl said...

Thanks for the tag, Jaywalker - it's quite helpful actually as I'm feeling rather uninspired about blogging this week. Your school photo looks unnervingly like the girl I was best friends with aged 13!

Z said...

Time was when Norwich had a church for every Sunday of the year and a pub for every other day. They had their priorities right in those days.

I don't suppose you were allowed to take a book in with you to those interminable meetings?

Completely Alienne said...

I had to have glasses at 11 and hated them; they were useful for seeing things (like the bus home from school) but I kept them in a pocket most of the time. Then I made the fatal mistake of walking past my mother in the High Street ... well, I couldn't see her without the glasses on. Everyone in Chatham heard what she had to say about that! I got contacts at 18 and wore them till my youngest came along. 8 months without any sleep and I had to go back to glasses. Her big sister found and destroyed the contacts a few months after that and I found being able to fall asleep while wearing glasses so useful that I have never bothered to go back.

Fat Controller said...

I'd do one on my adopted home town, but nothing interesting has happened here since the last ice-age.

It's Macclesfield that has the largest number of pubs per head of population, by the way. Probably.

(The word-verification I've just got is 'poutgui'. That's got to mean something in some language or other.

Jaywalker said...

It's the B one Fourstar! I am 33. Will I know him? Oh, how we hated your lot. Ya posh git. We should take this offline as the twats at my work say and talk York.

PJ - I guessed mushy peas too. But did not check it out. We did, however, force Prog Rock Step Dad to ring up another chip shop to ask what a "kermit" was. It's deep fried mushy peas. Your friend sounds GREAT.

FC - York also, but this did not stop me. You see the Evening Press headline in the post? That's BIG NEWS.

Jaywalker said...

Also, Peevish, the eye parasites have already stolen two nights of sleep from me, don't let them come and get you...


Rigid with glee yet again! To be chucked in the King's Arms is a pleasure I cannot imagine. I have ladycrush. On you. Not Like That.

Jaywalker said...

Singe, If I am absolutely honest it was a lengthy tortured chucking lasting through several riverbank pubs, but I mainly remember the Kings Arms. Bastard.

Not Like That? Are you sure? It's all the rage you know.

bonnie-ann black said...

jaywalker, my friend and i were planning a trip to York next year when we return to the Cotswolds for our dose of Shakespeare... now you are scaring me! will i be kidnapped off the street and forced to spend time with Quakers (who knew pacifists could be so terrifying?)? will i have to go in each and every pub looking for some long lost love who will no doubt be in Quaker clothes but with a horned helmet? i mean, i can do the pub thing, but my first love was 9 when i was six and he moved away a long time ago. (kenny baker, from 178th street and park avenue -- are you out there?)

on the other hand, i have never understood the emotional trauma claimed by some for having to wear glasses. when i got my first pair of glasses, i was so entranced by the clock tower 10 blocks away i never thought about it again, except to say i think there is a very special place in whatever afterlife there may be (hopefully not in York) for the inventor of glasses. i hope you are all over your trauma now.

when the time comes closer for going to York, i shall come to you for serious advice.

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