Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Meme: My first kiss, and other scarring first moments...

Me, sporting some fabulous beads, and my mum, Lyndy, who passed away when I was 25
I was recently tagged by gorgeous mummy blogger and fellow tweeter, poshbird to complete my first ever meme.  Funnily enough, the questions are all about some of the other firsts I have experienced in my life.    

So, like Johnny Ball, I will reveal all...

First Boyfriend

My first boyfriend – if you can call the boy who I exchanged Snoopy Valentine’s Day cards and hung out with at the monkey bars during break time, ‘a boyfriend’ – was called James Hunt.  

James was in my class at primary school, a teeny, weeny school in the teeny weeny village of Frieth.  

The son of a farmer, I recall going to James’ house for a birthday party, where the only entertainment laid on was to ‘pet his ferret’.  

That’s not a euphemism.

First person I kissed?

James and I were little more than friends who swapped novelty rubbers now and again, so the hot stuff only started when I started at secondary school. 

I remember being invited to a girl’s party where we played spin the bottle.  I had to kiss a boy from the neighbouring boy’s grammar school, called Mark.  He had a receding chin (quite a difficult thing to achieve at 13) and wore a cricket jumper.  

I was horrified as he tried to make the kiss more exotic by putting his tongue in my mouth.  I squealed. 

First job?

After graduating from Leeds university with my degree in English Literature and Theatre Studies (I quickly ditched the theatre studies part after my first successful audition was to win a part on a topless stone age darts programme) I returned to my lovely home town of High Wycombe.

The first job I took was at one of those hideous telephone research centres for minimum slave, no sorry, minimum wage, where you call people at home to take part in market research interviews.

I was shown to my booth (also known as ‘a trap’) which contained a telephone, a script, a knackered old computer system and some pornography.  I don't think the pornography was meant to be there but clearly the last trap occupant had had some time to kill between calls.  

Naturally the job was hell (‘Piss off will you love, Countdown’s started’) but my fellow trap occupants were wonderful.  

An enclave for post graduates (not to mention some of the human race's finest broken biscuits who also needed to buy cigarettes and provide their mum’s some rent), it is to date, one of the funniest places I have ever worked.

What did you buy with your first pay packet?

Gosh, something sophisticated like 600 Marlboro lights and a bottle of Pol Remy. 

First album you remember buying?

It was an album by eighties dazzling pop duo, Dollar.  My 11-year old self was utterly smitten with David Van Day.  The toad.

First holiday abroad?

My parents were quite young and rock and roll so we used to pile into a jeep and go camping in the South of France.  I loved it, as being an only child, we used to go with another couple (‘Bryan and Sylvie’) and their three daughters.   

Our parents drank like fish for two weeks whilst we lived like feral children, playing in the dirt and eating sunflower seeds. Holidays like this would end up in the Daily Mail now.

How old were you when you left home?

I never left.  Sadly, my mum passed away when I was 25, so I inherited home.  I also inherited mum’s 170 year old shih tzu, Mr Toad. 

Both Mr Toad and the house were a weight around my neck in my mid twenties but I came to love them both dearly. 

Mr Toad died a few years ago (he’s fertilising a white standard rose in the back garden) but the house is now home to me, my partner Matt, a filmmaker, and our two-year old daughter.  

So now i get to foist my meme baton on to another two bloggers. 

This can be time consuming, especially the remembering part, so no pressure if you don't have the time or the will to take part. However, if you can find time in your child-addled lives, mother.wife.me and Shouty Dad I am sure you will find this an enriching exercise.  But mostly I'd like you to do it so I can have a squiz at your answers.  


  1. I really loved this post. And I'm glad I've found your blog...Frieth? We over the other side of Henley. Practically neighbours. My husband grew up in Bourne End and went to RGS in High Wycombe and I grew up in Wargrave.

    You mother is so beautiful, Melissa. Even without seeing her face I can tell how exquisite she was. What a gorgeous picture.

    This piece made me laugh and smile. Looking forward to the next one!

  2. Hi Amanda, thank you for your lovely comment. I can't believe you are so near. I was to Lady Verney, a stone's throw from the RGS. Well done for bagging an RGS boy, they were highly desired back in the day. Also thanks for comments about mum. Yes she was very attractive - a bit Flic Kendal - how annoying. Can never live up to! Look forward to reading more of your work and book too. Where do you find the time wonderwoman?I struggle with one small child and a pug :)

  3. You just made my husband's day. He's nodding his head and strutting a bit now...oh dear!

    I am by no means wonderwoman - I use the valuable parenting technique of neglect. I find it helps with the writing. ;-)

  4. Hi Melissa,
    I have no idea what made me Google your name today. You don’t know me, but I knew your mum and dad back around the time you were born. I have baby pictures of you in one of my photo albums. You maybe still know my ex-boyfriend of that time, John, because he’s very much a “keep-in-touch” kind of guy. Sadly I’m not so much, and when I moved away to California in 1976 your mum faded from my life. We shared a few letters and then the new life took over. I’m really sorry I let go.
    I liked your mum a lot; she was my first adult friend. I had only just left school (Burnham Grammar) and had never hung out with married people before, except parents. We met when we were both working as temps at the Citroen factory on the Slough Trading Estate. The two of us worked alone in a little office and we pretty much chatted all day long. We also sang made-up songs. At the time there was a World War II program on the television that was all the rage, “Colditz” (remember we only had two channels!) and the German Major in charge of the Colditz Castle, Major Mohn, was HOT! So we changed the words to a Beatles song and instead of “Girl…” it was “Mohn…( he’s the kind of guy you want so much it makes you sorry, still you don’t regret a single day…)”
    Your mum and I went to Paris for the weekend together, just the two of us. It was a cheap deal that took us on a coach from London on Friday night to some remote airstrip on the coast where we boarded a tiny plane that flew us to Paris. When we got to Paris another coach picked us up and dropped everyone at various little fleabag hotels around the city for two nights. We had no money and had to eat bread and cheese in our hotel room on Saturday night, but we walked all over the city and had a fantastic time.
    I had a boyfriend, the aforementioned John, and it turned out that he and your dad got on well so the four of us spent a lot of time together including many, many drunken hours in your living room, though when we first met your parents were living in a small flat in Burnham that I don’t remember particularly well. I do remember your house in High Wycombe though. After I broke up with John I took another boyfriend there to meet your parents, and then later when I was married and living in the States I brought my new husband around on our first trip home. How on earth did I lose touch? I’m really, really sorry about this.
    Some other random memories :
    • I think I was one of the first people who knew your mum was pregnant, but I was so young (eighteen) I found it all vaguely embarrassing
    • We took driving lessons and passed our tests around the same time and would have long phone conversations about our driving experiences, the hill leading up to your house being a major one
    • I always felt really huge around Lynda…she was so petite and perfect, and I was really tall and gangly and not perfect.
    Anyway I saw your blog, and pictures of you and your mum, and it made me sad that I let someone special like Lynda Blamey, go from my life like that. I’m glad you have a good partner and a lovely baby.
    Best regards, Vanda