Nowadays, there would be no point in sitting on the edge of the pavement outside Appledore railway station weeping, having just bleated into a phone box phone ‘I need you to come and fetch me. I’ve got a migraine’. Nowadays it would be a case of finding a convenient patch of damp nettles to lie down in with tightly closed eyes for the next eight hours. When you’ve got a migraine, nettle-sting-pain doesn’t even register.
My Knight in Greasy Overalls, predictably, demurred. He was in the middle of some particularly interesting bit of model engineering which he just needed to finish. Normally, that would have been it. It would have been the nettles for me. This time, however – a measure of how utterly ill and stressed out I felt – I remember blaring – I’ve just had a dreadful, dreadful, dreadful day. I feel like Death-Warmed-Up. COME AND GET ME RIGHT NOW!!! And to be fair, he did. Triple volume was about the only thing that worked, and then only on rare occasions.
This was 1986 and the migraine was a result of a whole day spent in somewhere utterly hideous in the Midlands called Telford being forcibly shown round the printing works/HQ of a publication called Power News. I had gone there on the train. It was my prize, for being the joint winner of a CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board – now called something else) essay contest. The other winner was someone called Martin Ecclestone. His essay was dreadfully dull and was called There’s no better time to rethink. I made myself read it, out of politeness. My essay was called View from the bottom, and how I expected to keep my job having written it, I don’t know. I must have been even dafter then than I am now.
So there I am, in a crispy, brown-edged copy of Power News looking… could that be me? I notice her fringe is too long and has started to part company in the middle. Also that although she has nice eyes, even then she couldn’t produce an un-freakish smile for the camera. No, there it is – mouth up one side and down the other. What a strange-shaped face she has! She still has the mole, I notice. The one almost, but not quite, in the middle of the forehead. The mole she once claimed, in the infant school playground, to be a mark of her status as an Indian Princess – and was believed by Peter Wheeler. Poor little Peter Wheeler, she liked him.
And now, of course, being the arch-planner and strategist that I am, I have left myself no room in this post – nor time, since I am due to set forth and drive to a distant meeting re house-purchase in three-quarters of an hour, to type out the actual essay. However, I will type it out when I come back.
You shall then compare my jolly, chirpy, weird 1980s writing with my current seasoned output. And then, being a technological whizz, I will attempt to link that post to this post. That is unless I’m curled up in a patch of nettles miles away from home, being rained on or sniffed at by badgers, with yet another migraine.