When me and Em (your mum) were teenagers, we used to sit in on Friday nights and watch Mary Poppins, drinking sugary tea and coming up with carefully planned strategies of how to succeed in our AS-levels.
Okay, that’s a lie. (Except the bit about Mary Poppins.)
For a while, our favourite hangout was the skate ramp in St Nicks park. We’d take a bottle blue fizzy stuff, and a bag of Wild and Whippys (sort of like Milky ways, but Tesco’s cheap version), and we’d never been happier. I can’t actually really remember what we used to talk about. Important stuff. I imagine. And we’d say there until it got unbearably cold, or someone undesirable came walking past.
Once, a dog ran at us through the darkness. I yelled: ”Go away Poncho!” I think I’d meant to call it a Pooch, but the word Poncho slipped out instead. (Too much blue fizz, too many e-numbers sending me scatty.) We laughed and we laughed, and somehow, as we came to the end of our laughing, your mum was landed with the nickname Poncho. Before you berate me for imposing her with such a nickname, I can assure you that once you understand the roots of Spudge, it’s not much better. On the very same evening, I was complaining that I’d eaten WAY too many Wild and Whippys, I in fact felt sick. “Uh,” I groaned, “I feel all… Spudgey.” I’m not really sure what I meant by Spudgey, probably kind of greedy and sick all rolled in to one. I felt Spudgey. Ha. The Spudge was born. And so there we were, Spudge and Poncho, feeling sick from too much chocolate, scatty from too many e-numbers, freezing cold and recovering from a dog chase. (AS strategising sounds appealing now, yes?)
Now, one day, you may want to do similar things (though if you don’t, and do want to stay in to strategise succeeding in your AS levels then I wholly-heartedly support this, and will happily help you make revision timetables! (Can we cover them in glitter?)). If you do, just send your ma a text every now and again to let her know where you are, and that you’re okay. I never did, and now as an adult, wish I had, it would have taken a second, and caused a lot less worry. If you’re busy being chased by dogs or being shouted at by an angry lady with a baseball bat after attempting a game of midnight rounders, just send your mum a blank text, so she knows you’re safe. Stay away from stray dogs. And suspicious strangers. Make sure you have good friends that will look out for you. And you must look out for them. Have fun, be happy, but most importantly be safe. If you ever travel (and I so hope you do!), send texts along the way, so your ma knows you’ve reached places safely.
And may I recommend a foam bat for midnight rounders, so as not to disturb the townsfolk, and limit your batting within the boundaries of a streetlight, otherwise the fielders can literally NEVER find it, and then it’s no fun at all. And try not to shuffle your feet on the grass. We once played a silent game of Midnight rounders, no talking, foam bat, no noise at all. But an angry lady from nearby could hear our feet shuffling on the grass, so she screeched at us from her window, half a mile away to tell us. I’ll leave you to decide who made more noise.