me and Rikki

Secret Diary | If this was a book


Awfull day again today. Swimming + school were OK. Went riding. Terrible lesson. I was riding Rikki. I dont like him because hes really slow and an awfull jumper. Anne and Amanda were in the lesson. I hate them in the lesson because they always ride really excitable horses who upset the other horses. Anne was on Feroushia (pronounced Ferroosha)* and Amanda was riding a youngster called Robin who galloped all over the place, bucking and rearing. We crossed our stirrups and my legs got really sore. Rikki kept on cantering and then stopping suddenly. Then they got the jumps out. Oh no! By this time I was a bit scared by the behaviour of Ferrousha and Robin so my mum told Nikki that I wasnt jumping. Thank goodness! I put Rikki away at the end of the lesson and we went home, where I told mum how awful the lesson was. I must be a terrible coward not to jump. My legs felt really funny. It was as if all the blood had run down from my legs into my feet. Dad came in and I had a row with him because I hadn’t cleaned my riding boots.

me and Rikki

Me putting Rikki away after a lesson, although probably not the one mentioned here: my terrible perm suggests this photo was taken a couple of years later. Still, it’s good to know I apparently forgave Rikki for being such an “awfull” jumper and all-round ass…

*I can’t for the life of me imagine where I’d have seen “Ferroosha’s” name written down – I mean, it’s not like the horses had to present us with letters of introduction or anything – so I’m assuming I just guessed how it might be spelt, working on the obvious assumption that such a fancy name would probably be written slightly differently to how it was pronounced. I do recall briefly thinking that if I ever had a daughter, I would definitely name her Ferouskia, but pronounce it “Feroosha”, though…)


Yet another awful day, would you believe it. Teachers written ‘see me’ in my maths jotter [exercise book] so I’m really worried about tomorrow. We got gym. I’m awful at it because I’m a bit nervouse on the appuratus. We were on the horse and springboard and I had an awfull time. At netball Mrs M told me that Hermione (the brainbox of the class) was playing better than me so she put me in the stupid B team and Hermoine in the A. I’ve nothing against Hermione, and it isn’t her fault. But I’m feeling really sorry for myself. [Ya don’t say!] If this were a book I’d feel really happy and pleased for Hemione, but unfortunately life isn’t like that and I feel really awfull. Still, I suppose things will get worse before they get better so I’ll see what tomorrow is like.

* * *

Present-day me:

I had to laugh at this one, although it was laughter through tears. I was just SO SCARED of everything, wasn’t I? (Er, I still am, actually: almost everything terrifies me, even now…) Jumping, gym class, the teacher writing ‘see me’ in my maths book… although, to be fair, that last one WOULD have been quite scary, given what I’ve told you about the personality of this particular teacher. Maths was always my Achilles heel: I was near the top of my class for every other subject (and always top for English, despite my terrible spelling here…), but I couldn’t do maths to save my life, and Miss R’s technique of basically trying to scare the information into me didn’t really help much, either. In fact, you could say it was AWFULL.

I laughed, though, at the “if this were a book” bit: this was during my ‘Malory Towers’/ Twins at St Clare’s phase, and I found it really hard to understand why my school steadfastly refused to live up to the standards set by those fictional boarding schools: or, indeed, why I couldn’t live up to that example myself. The plucky schoolgirls who attended those schools, you see, were all jolly good sports, who always reacted in exactly the right way – or, if they didn’t at first, they soon learned to. I knew, for instance, that if Darrell Rivers, the main character in the ‘Malory Towers’ series, were to find herself demoted to the stupid B team in favour of the class brainbox (I mean, it would be one thing to be pushed out by a super-sporty girl, but a brainbox? Please.), she would have taken it on the chin, and proudly stood by the sidelines, cheering her rival on. I, meanwhile, just felt AWFULL, and like all the blood had run out from my legs to my feet – because, unlike Darrell, I was BAD person, and I knew it. It really disappointed me that I didn’t seem to be able to learn the lessons so carefully presented to me by Enid Blyton, because I knew it meant I wouldn’t grow up to be a “good egg”, like the children in those stories. On the plus side, though, I didn’t grow up to be a xenophobic racist, either, so at least that’s something.

As for the “life isn’t like that” and “things will get worse before they get better” bits – LOL! Such wise words for someone whose major life experiences up until then had revolved around getting her mum to excuse her from jumping, and being “nervouse” on the “appuratus”, huh? These are obviously the kind of meaningless platitudes people come out with all the time, so I’m guessing I was just repeating them to myself, because I thought they were the “right” things to say. Don’t worry, I DID learn that lesson… eventually.

Oh, and I promise I did try to find some more interesting photos to illustrate this series, but it seems that almost all of the photos from my 11th year have at least one pony in them: which says it all, really…

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  • Sharon


    Loving these posts. Can I ask, do you still go horseriding?

    May 18, 2016
  • I really like these secret diary posts!
    I loved and still love riding, too. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to go horseriding as often as I want…


    May 18, 2016
  • My mom was super into horses when she was growing up and gave me her childhood books on them, fiction, but I found them so sad (usually the horse went through so much abuse before finding love). I also just find horses terrifying, they are so huge! But weirdly, not elephants. My only experiences with either have been at County fairs (and I always chose to ride the elephants but I will not go near a horse. What is that logic.)

    May 18, 2016
  • Maddie


    These are such delightful posts and always make me giggle, as well as make me feel a little better about being such a serious pretentious child (and teenager, and adult). It’s also made me text my mum to see if she still has my Twins of St Clair books – I ran a very serious campaign to be sent to boarding school, only to burst into horrified tears when I discovered my parents had received a brochure for a boarding school that was literally up the road! x

    May 18, 2016
  • Moni


    So you went to school with Luna and Hermione? Are you absolutely sure you weren’t at Hogwarts? 🙂

    These posts feel a lot like what I went through during Grammar/Elementary School. I wanted the teachers to like me (which worked mostly), I wanted to be good at school (which I actually was until 5th grade – even in math), and I wanted to have friends – which did not work, because they saw me as too much of a teacher’s pet and a crybaby (which I was…). I also was terrible at sports, as I was slow, clumsy, and terrified of gymnastic apparatus in general. (or more precisely of falling off). So I took to reading, imagining my own fantasy world and waiting for the transition to Secondary School, hoping I’d get to know new and un-biased people there. Thankfully that part actually worked.

    May 21, 2016