Did You Go to an All Girls School? PART 2

28 Mar

I have already explained a number of the quirks of going to my all girls secondary school, including the likes of Gym Knickers and 3cm high heels. (That is not to say I would class a 3cm  heel as a high heel… but how else do you express that??) For more of my insights into such wonderful completely nonsensical school phenomenons, see my previous blog https://splattermap.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/did-you-go-to-an-all-girls-school-part-one/ 

I am going to start with one of my favourite things about going to an all girls school …..

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School Discos- Now please don’t confuse this with discos that happen at normal schools with both boys and girls attending. OH NO. A school disco is NOT an opportunity for girls and boys who already know each other and are aware of the opposite sex and their quirks already to have a dance and a chat and maybe ask each other out. Hell no. School discos in a girls school are talked about for literally months on end. As soon as that “YEAR 8 DISCO” poster makes its way into the covered hall (the inventive name for a corridor that had a strange greenhouse type effect, in that is was a hall… that was covered. Right, good… glad we sorted that out!) girls went nutty when this poster went up. All you can hear as you wander through the school is “what are you going to wear” and more importantly “Which boys school do you think it will be with!?”. Yes you got it. School discos in a same sex school consists of merging a boys school and a girls school. The events that occur in such situations I am pretty sure David Attenborough hasn’t even seen in the wild.

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Unfortunately of the two boys schools there was a “Good one” and a “Bad one” everyone waited with baited breath to find out if it was going to the the school with half attractive boys in it or instead the school that prides itself on its nerds. It was a tense moment but you could feel the collective sigh of disappointment if it was the latter of the two schools. Even so the girls get fully on board with planning their atrocious outfit. Yes it will be atrocious, I don’t care if you think ra-ra skirts are back, they are not. I unfortunately decided one year to think outside the box, got myself a lovely little red, blue and white top from none other than George- Asda, I thought there is NO way anyone will turn up in the same outfit as me as everyone will be wearing Jane Norman. (The girls in my school were OBSESSED with this shop, if you didn’t carry your P.E Kit round in a Jane Norman bag then clearly they got all of your belongings from Netto.)  I digress, anyhow pleased with my patriotic purchase (complete with arm tassles I kid you not!)  I was convinced I would be unique in  my outfit choice. As you can imagine I was devastated to find upon arriving at the Disco, someone was wearing my blooming top! Not just anyone,  but one of the Populars (The name given to the group of girls, too cool to be in top set and always finding a way to make their uniform more sexy, you weren’t a popular without a Jane Norman bag!) I was devastated My Flag-alike tassle top had been copied, yet smug in the knowledge that she was wearing one of George’s finest. Haha I knew! Mentioning no names (*cough* Louise *cough*)

Upon entering a school disco you would often find that Moses had got there first. There was a great big parting in the middle of the room. Boys one side, girls the other. It usually took about 45 minutes for osmosis to occur. (Yes I actually heard one of the nerd boys describe it as such! No wonder we didn’t want them there!) We all knew the kind of girls that would make their way over there, the Jane Norman wearing hussies! After a wee while it would become more of a normal social occasion, from the outside looking in. However if you looked closely there were boys travelling in twos around the room, telling any girl they possibly could  “my mate fancies you” This then led to a whole host of girls running to a boys group and back and vice versa, before either it was decided that a) nobody is interested please move on b) I will dance with you but in the most awkward fashion possible or c) Yeah I kissed that other boy so Ill see what you’re like next! This leads me nicely onto the

Pulling patrol!! These were parent volunteers who would encircle the proceedings keeping an eye out for any possible “neckers” yes… yes kissing was called necking, and to think we cringed when our parents said “cop off”!  The pulling patrol were there and ready to drag any potential neckers away from each other. HILARIOUS, who’s parents volunteered for this role?? Not acceptable parental behaviour as far as I am concerned.

Another joyous little occasion in my school (as it was a church school) was called

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Eucharist- Now this, in essence is just a church service, but it is almost definitely the longest and most boring of church services to have existed. Beaten only by the bore factor 10 rating of Prize night. (which I will get onto in my next blog.) Eucharist I think we will all agree has one and only one perk. There’s a hymn, and as hymns go it was pretty much the greatest hymn ever to grace your ears. If you haven’t heard it you haven’t lived. By the point this hymn comes around we have already had 2 fainters due to the sheer amount of standing up, 3 snorers and 3 cough chains have been started (when one person coughs and everyone around thinks “Ahh what a great idea, I think I need to cough as well!”) The people who are getting a nice little video stream in the dining room are almost certainly all in a religious coma by now. But something about this song rouses the audience, solely for two lines in the whole piece. There is one line that requires you to shout with vigour “HOT and godless days!!!!!” Then you can temporarily fall back asleep until the phenomenal climax singing the the words in crescendo “non nobis, non nobis, non nobis DOOOOMMINEEE” that last word is screeched in an impossibly high note. So having a whole school of girls stood in front of a visiting chaplin screeching at the top of their voice never failed to put me into a fit of giggles. Especially as it would happen again 5 seconds later when the video stream in the dining room caught up. Priceless.

Right that’s all for now folks. You can look forward to some more insights on the dreaded loop! (exercise nightmare)  Prize night, corridor crushes and Sets!

Rachael NAME

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Did You Go to an All Girls School? PART ONE

27 Mar

It has only been since talking to other people that I have realised that my secondary school education may not have quite been the norm…All girls church schools seem to do it differently. Here are just a few little things I have realised did not happen across the board!

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1) Pack Lunch Circles- If you had decided to bring a packed lunch in my school, you were not entitled to a table and chairs. Oh no, you must go and sit OUTSIDE. As a result groups of friends would sit in packed lunch circles, a very odd sight for a passer by. Hundreds of purple uniformed girls sat in circles of various size eating their dinner, often discussing topics such as the last time they shaved their legs, and if they were going to go and have a skip to burn off their lunch calories.

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2) Skipping- Skipping no matter what your age in an all girls school is completely acceptable. You would find that even the girls who hated P.E and bunked off were even partial to a little lunchtime skip. I have only recently realised that it is odd for a 15 year old girl to still be skipping. WRONG. completely acceptable. The more people skipping in one rope the better, but god forbid if someone from another packed lunch circle joined in!

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3) The Sweat Box- Yes this is as disgusting as it sounds. If heaven forbid you forgot an item of your freshly washed perfectly embroidered kit, you were ordered to “find something from the sweat box” Now this was not just what the pupils called it! That was its official teacher verified name. This box contained years and years worth of crusty old yellowing P.E kit. The dread and fear that hits as you desperately scramble in your bag realising you have forgotten your gym knickers, is possibly, nay definitely the worst feeling in the world. You frantically ask if anyone has any spares, but who in their right mind would carry round an abundance of gym knickers. One pair is awful enough. The walk to the sweat box seems to last weeks, as everyone is looking at you. Some with sympathy, some with a smug look on their face, and some just sat creating the best name to call you. Sweaty betty? Knicker nicker? usually the name of the previous owner was a good one, you just knew it was going to be Needa Mann. This brings be nicely onto the travesty that was..

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Gym Knickers- Who is holy hell invented these travesties? They were HUGE purple knickers, with two white stripes down the side. They caused havoc. In the summer gym skirts weren’t allowed. This as a rule I find to be very very odd! What happens in the summer months that means a gym skirt is just not acceptable? I played netball all winter with one on and it caused me no trouble. I smothered noone with my skirt, I did not attract any bulls by waving my skirt around like a matador, and I certainly did not develop the skill of magic whilst wearing it as a cape! SO WHY was I forced to take it off, especially at the local track next to a neighboring boys school. Devastating. Gym knickers however did provide endless entertainment in that being a girls school in Liverpool looks were of utmost importance. Everyone knew which girls had got GHDs and which had been bought the wet to straights (the latter had singed scarecrow-esque hair) So gym knickers often posed an issue which became blatant when the skirts were taken off. Many a girl would fake tan, but only up to the point at which their skirt covered. So gym knickers exposed these charlatans for what they were. PALE. I saw some tantrums of epic proportions when girls were posed with the idea of running round a track with half orange legs and half whiter than white legs. No wonder the boys came to watch.. not sure there is a sight much funnier than that.

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Uniform– My school had a very strict outlook on unform. Shoes must not have a heel higher than 3cm, WHO in their right mind measures? “yes shoe shop lady I am sure they are very supportive for my ankle but can you just give me a minute MUM!! get me a ruler I think these could be the ones!! ……4CM! get them anyway I am sure I can just shuffle until they are 3”  Only navy, white or purple bobbles could be worn, this resulted in teachers getting far too close to your head in order to inspect bobble colour, if it was a non uniform colour this would result in confiscation and an army of girls with kinky hair for the rest of the day. I hasten to add at no point were scrunchies banned!! Hairwear of the devil, yet perfectly acceptable, nay ENCOURAGED in our school. Skirts had to be below knee length, often groups of girls wandering the corridor would be told “KNEEL DOWN” and if your skirt didn’t touch the floor, thats it, you were doomed. I personally was a big fan of the stupidly long skirt look so I was fine, but most of my friends went for the short skirt rolled over 7/8 times so your legs look fabulous but one ends up with a hugs bulk of material round your waist.

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Pulling up your tights etiquette- I only found out after leaving secondary school, that is is not completely acceptable to hike up your tights in company! I know!! Ridiculous. No matter what technique you use. My personal favourite was the frogmarch where you grab a handful of tights as low down as you can reach whilst mid stride then take an extra long stride whilst still holding the handful of tight. Effectively hoisting them up! and you only look a tiny bit like john cleese marching, and you don’t have to stop what you are doing. One can continue on ones way to the lunch queue!

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The Hot Lunch Queue- Basically, you cut in, you’ll get beaten up. (and by beaten up I mean you will have your hair pulled and a chorus of girls shouting EEEEHHH) But this prospect is scary enough not to make you cut in. However there are ways around this! My personal favourite was pocketing a load of “choir passes” which get you into lunch early so you can make it to choir practice. I think this worked for almost a whole year. Yep we got to walk past the whole queue, waltz in, pick our table of choice and get the food while it was hot. Win Win Win. It was a good feeling as many of the girls who you would be scared to look at never  mind cut in front of were perplexed that every day this group of girls were just above queuing. I am sure they thought we bribed the dinner ladies.

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Right that’s just a few of the things I have thought about secondary school, I shall definitely be adding more about the likes of Form Prayers,Eucharist (definitely a made up word)  Social groups (The populars… yes there were a group of girls actually called that!) Pranks on teachers and completely over the top present buying which resulted in girls on their birthdays having to wear weights so as not to fly away with their abundance of helium balloons!

 

Rachael NAME

Psychosomatic Manifestations of Emotion. (My Emotions) Part 1

14 Mar

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I am an extremely emotional person. There is a reason that it has been said “I can be read like a book”. If I were a book my words would be  in size 22 font, I would have braille, audio description and an array of detailed illustrations.  My emotion could not be bottled up if it were arrested and detained, it would break free within seconds exclaiming to the closest thing its current state.

I hope that this description resonates with others, my feelings control me more so than anything else. I would love to tell you that my logic and my ambition control me, but no, my emotions have to be consulted first. Logic may be present but if my current emotional state does not comply, then logic can hover wherever it may please waiting for the optimum emotional state in order to suggest its ideas once again. My feelings manifest in a psychosomatic form no matter what, my body is under the spell of the current emotion, it complies with its every whim and takes me with it.

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  • Happiness- I feel in my every muscle, it provides me with energy. Each step I take is provided with extra bounce, there is “UMPH” in everything I do, people around me are looked upon with fondness, a child crying in their pram clearly just wants to get out and explore, an old lady sat on the bus must surely be admired by everyone for her impeccable poise and attention to detail down to the symmetrical tying of her lace up heels.  I am in awe of the world, I feel happiness mostly in my eyes, they open wider, they see more, they are open to enjoying. I feel an overall surge of electricity through my body, I am in a constant state of buzzing. ( Not quite in the Manchester colloquialism kind of way) 

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  • Sadness– I feel in my throat, It starts in the middle of my chest, like a shot and travels slowly and agonizingly up to my throat. No amount of swallowing can moisten the sadness away, it restricts my breathing I can feel a jolt in my chest as I attempt to stifle these feelings. I find it difficult to use logic to control them. I can feel the jolts  progressively getting more pronounced as I spiral down, my thoughts coming with me. It is comparable to someone restraining me with black tape, I am fighting it but no matter how much my body fights my thoughts are resigned to the idea that only from the bottom can things look up. As a result I end up in a ball, squashing all of my limbs as close to me as possible as if you are waiting for the energy to either strike out and get angry or rest your head in your knees ready for when you are just too exhausted to do anything else. The last thing I can imagine doing when sad is lying stretched out like a star fish, though I am interested to know if it would have a different effect, something fun to try next time I am feeling low!

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  • Envy (1)- This is an emotion that is dependent on where I am currently placed on the happy/sad continuum. (for want of a better name for said continuum) If I am sad I reduce whomever I am jealous of down to often untrue or unfair descriptions. Lucky is one of my fail safes, or naturally gifted. These descriptions make whatever quality the jealousee(them) possess unattainable by the jealousor(me). Which in turn makes me feel “alright” about it and provides my face with a smug smile of “I can do better as I have ambition and hard work on my side” another little lie I tell myself. This type of envy I feel in my eyebrows, they automatically furrow I am sure it is an expression of my body asking why the logic in my brain is currently so warped.

 

  • Envy (2)- This is the kind I feel when I am heading toward the happier end of my continuum, I feel in awe of peoples talents, and more often than not inspired, I appreciate the hard work that person has dedicated to whatever cause. The inspiration I get overrides everything at this point, I either want to help further their cause in some way, help if possible. Or mimic their success using my own talents using them as a helpful guideline  This is the most freeing feeling, any obstacles are hastily removed, cast aside and provide my thoughts a free run at whatever takes my fancy at the time. Failure is not an option at this point. If there was a feeling comparable to flying I would say it is when one is inspired. Ambition is a great feeling but it is logical. Inspiration is free of constraints it is creative and yet allows for logic at a later date. Inspiration I feel in my chest, where one as a child imagines their heart to be, slap bang in the middle, and the feeling radiates out from there, its like a beacon. It sets everything in motion. I move more, I talk more, if you could spiral upwards this is  the emotion that does it.

I will be writing some more about my personal psychosomatic phenomenons at a later date.

Do you feel your emotions vividly through your body? Is it a scary thing or a good thing?

Rachael NAME

That bit before you fall asleep.

28 Feb

I love the world you enter just before you fall asleep. I have no idea how long it actually lasts, probably a short couple of minutes, but in those  precious couple of minutes you are completely relaxed (well, you are until you feel like you are about to fall to your death and therefore immediately grab all sides of the bed to  halt your fall, then after wiping the bead of sweat from your forehead  promptly feel like an idiot  as you realise that you are not falling ever faster down a well to your doom, you are instead safe and cosy under your 12 tog duvet.) Aside from the impending doom side of it, that moment before falling asleep is great.

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I personally enter a world of very strange imaginary situations, a world of balcony hopping, trampoline floors, places where the only mode of transportation is those sucky-up things that specsavers use to transport spectacles up a floor.

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In these worlds I am happy in the knowledge that I am indeed safe, in bed. All of my fears are diminished I am a brave person in pre-sleep world, I can do anything! (alongside twitching like a fly with its wing caught in the door)

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Your body in this period of time is almost fighting sleep, twitching and trying to bring you back to the world of boundaries. Feigning life threatening events solely to get your attention. I presume it is an evolutionarily useful function yet I so far have found no use for it. I have been known to respond to questions in this strange state of sleep/awakeness. Part of my brain was clearly aware that it would be rude not to respond to my friend asking me a question, whereas the other part of my brain was off in a land of cartwheeling marmots. SO naturally one responds confidently with “RUBIX CUBE”. Never has that ever been the answer anyone wants to any question they have ever asked.

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The period of time after this response, is possibly the worst time you can ever experience, possibly in your whole life, when you come around to realise that a) you are awake and b) that loud voice shouting Rubix cube was your own. You now have two options. You can either admit to your friend that their story had got to the point of sending you off into a lovely slumber and maybe they should consider teaming up with a similar sleepy toned voice like David Attenborough, and tell bedtime stories. This would clearly be a great choice of career path for them. Or you can use this opportunity to convince your very good friend that they are the raving loonatic and you are not even sure why they were asking about Rubix cubes in the first place. Is that really appropriate when just seconds before you were talking about some very important plans for the following day. Maybe they should go and see a professional.

Which option do you think I chose?

Rachael NAME

You Festering Pustule of Malignant Ooze!

27 Feb

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Matilda- I loved this film for so many reasons.

1) I had the horrid dilemma of “It can’t possibly be as good as the book.” As an avid reader as a child and with Roald Dahl as my literary hero at the time, the idea of making Matilda into a film seemed preposterous. No-one could possibly compete with the powerful, vivid storyboard that played out in my head every time I leafed through my worn out copy of Matilda. Yet! Somehow Matilda became my favourite film of all time. The characters were perfect! Somehow better than I imagined, seeing it brought to life was fantastic and I was immersed fully in the movie from start to finish, I still to this day remember leaving the cinema reeling with the possibilities, inspired by a small girl like me who could take on the world.

matilda reading

2) Making me believe that anything was possible. Now don’t get me wrong no matter how long I sat in Macdonalds after seeing Matilda for the first time, no amount of concentration or muttering was enabling mine or my cousin Dominic’s cup to tip over using solely our “powers” however I do believe our dedication to the cause was commendable. On a serious note however I felt that I could learn anything, be anyone I wanted to be, defeat any obstacle. I personally felt that with my own love of books I was already half way there. I still to this day get that feeling after watching Matilda, as soon as I have finished dancing to Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris for the third time in a row of course.

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3) This brings me nicely onto the music of the film. I love it. SO uplifting, well matched with the goings on of the film and very powerful in portraying each of the themes; independence  “Send me on my way- Rusted root” makes me want to get out. Do things. Live life. Make pancakes. David Newmans “walking to the library music” (not its official title) makes me feel safe, curious and optimistic. Of course Little bitty Pretty One, as previously mentioned makes me dance and extremely happy. I was even happier to find out in the filming of that scene, not only did Mara Wilson (Matilda) dance, but the whole film crew danced, bar the camera man, and apparently even he shuffled his feet. Brilliant!

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3) My obsession with all things Matilda, lead my family to buy me thee (2 “e”s are necessary) most fabulous present for my 21st birthday… 2 tickets to see Matilda performed in the west end. Again I had that feeling of dread, I thought there is NO way it can live up to both the film and the book. Yet again I was completely and utterly wrong. I was immersed AGAIN from start to finish. I was bowled over by the amazing talent on show, there were so many layers of hard work and skill for me to be thoroughly impressed by it was almost too much for my senses to take in!!  The set was simple, yet extremely complex in the way it was used throughout the performance. The casting was phenomenal. Miss Trunchbull was perfect, funny, yet got you so involved with the performance you were scared to laugh just in case she did decide to grab you and swing you round by your pigtails. The children in it were so amazing, I was so impressed with the attention to detail and particularly impressed with their ability to fit 7 or 8 words into 4 beats. Which brings me onto the music, written and composed by the famous comedian Tim Michin. Who didn’t make the job easy for the children. The songs were hilarious and everyone sang them beautifully and clearly so as not to miss even the smallest of quips. The ability to compose and write a song like those in the play impresses me so much. The idea of composing for a whole west end play my mind can’t even fathom. Especially to such a high standard.

Matilda the Musical

4) The book itself, I think that the scope of ideas and freedom for imagination allowed by Roald Dahl, are the sole reason that the adaptation of this classic through different mediums has been successful. I believe that the likes of Tim Minchin and Danny Devito have treated it with utmost* respect and have stayed true to the important themes throughout Matilda, and yet enhanced it in different ways via their own creative avenues.

ARTS Books/Matilda

5) A plethora of brilliant insults to use on a daily basis “You festering pustule of malignant ooze”   “Stand up you festering pestworm. You did this”  “Your mommy, IS A TWIT” Just a selection of my favourites.

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6) The display of a skill I have only seen on Matilda, and have never been able to replicate. No not the manoeuvring of objects using my mind powers (had that down in a couple of weeks). I am talking about the mind boggling ability of Amanda Thrip when she stands up after being launched over the fence and scooping up a bunch of flowers, she manages to shake off in a way that travels from her feet right up to her head. This is a skill I have not yet mastered. (not for lack of trying!)

Amanda Thrip

I have watched the film literally hundreds of times, I know every line “SIT DOWN BOG!” I have read the book until the covers fell off, and if I could watch the play over and over I would. But next time I would remember to take a packet of tissues as it made tears stream down my face at times. (the binoculars come in handy at this point for hiding your outburst of emotion whilst watching a fictional story about magic) I recommend that everyone in the world should experience Matilda in some form. Possibly when I become prime minister I shall pass this law second, after banishing the usage of sachets ( A silly concept that a) should be spelt sashays, b) often result in ketchup explosions due to poor engineering and c) provide enough ketchup for an ant to take a dip in. Not a human to dip a chip in.) Applications for a running partner welcome.

I hope you have enjoyed my 6 reasons to love Matilda. Not that you need them.

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*I thought this word was upmost, it has baffled me to find out it is utmost, I have now repeated it that many times I am not even sure it was the word I wanted in the first place. I hope this word has enlightened some of you who thought the same as me. If you unlike me were already aware of this, and are now thinking, what an idiot. Why waste my time with your silly little anecdotal astrix? Then please. Continue reading from where you were up to. My apologies.