hey : )
Hang on, hang on…don’t ever presume to know what’s coming next in my narrative, my life has more twists and turns than a bildsungsroman (and yes, I am on a quest). I was going to stay on at school and do some ‘A’ levels, but fate had other plans and decidedly stuck it’s oar in (and not for the last time) and divert me away from my studies.
During the summer break before I was due to start sixth form I got a job working at the biscuit factory in the next town. They used to take on students on a temporary basis, and the pay was quite good. At the time I owned a 125cc motorbike, which I intended to get to work on. Incidentally, the motorbike was a talking point with many fellas who came into the petrol station where I worked. I ended up going on a few dates with one lad who had a BSA Bantam, a flat-top, and was into rockabilly music. He took me to a several rockabilly nights at local pubs and clubs. He and his mate would get up and dance, I was a bit reluctant but after a few drinks I gave it a whirl. He was nice enough but I decided that I wasn’t all that into rockabilly, or dancing for that matter.
Anyway, on my first day, on the way to my new job at the biscuit factory, I was about five hundred yards from the factory gates and in the process of negotiating a mini-roundabout on my motorbike when a car suddenly pulled-out and hit me side-on. It was a woman driver. It was her fault. She said she didn’t see me. She was more distressed than I was even though she’d broken my leg and I was in agony. The ambulance came and once the paramedics had dealt with her they took me to hospital. It turned out that my tibia was broken. They put my leg in plaster from tip of toe to top of thigh, gave me a pair of crutches and sent me on my way. I was virtually immobile and house-bound for three months. When the plaster was finally removed I had one thin, pale and very hairy left leg. I had to go for hydrotherapy at the hospital to help me to walk properly again. By the way, all credit to the NHS, my leg has worked perfectly ever since, and it looks pretty good as well!
It came to pass that when I was eventually walking normally again I had missed the first term of sixth form. Nevertheless, I thought I might as well give it a go and try and catch up, so I returned after the Christmas break. It was too late though, I had missed a lot of work and people had already formed their own little cliques, so I wasn’t enjoying it at all. It was around this time that I saw an advert in the local newspaper for a live-in working pupil at a riding school. The son of the proprieter was quite a well-known showjumper, and the advert said the pupil would receive riding tuition and training towards instructor exams (obviously downplaying all the hard work that would have to be done in return for the privilege). I wasn’t an experienced rider by any means, having only ever had a few riding lessons, so I thought it was a good opportunity. I applied for the position and got an interview. Next thing, I’m buying a grooming kit, hunter wellies and hacking jacket from Barretts of Feckenham, and packing my bags for the Vale of Belvoir.
To cut a long story short: