Between the ages of 2 and 4 and a half, I attended a very fancy West London pre-prep school. Before this, I was at another pre-prep, but my Mother visited us one day, noticed ‘all we were doing was playing’ and quickly removed me. (There are many things I would like to say about this, the first being that in order to visit us, my Mother herself necessarily must have been playing hooky).
I have abiding memories of this obviously critical learning period:
1. Being smacked by my nanny, on the grass outside the school, in front of everybody, and cleverly styling it out by walking up to my friend immediately after and asking ‘Who got smacked? How naughty.’
2. A former pop star attending our Nativity Play in sunglasses, and my Mother asking him ‘If he were blind?’ (For years, misunderstanding her biting wit, I assumed all grown-ups wearing sunglasses were, in fact, blind,and took care to give them ample space on pavements.)
3. Having my photo taken whilst playing in a paddling pool with my BFF (a girl I am no longer in contact with, or can remember anything about, except that she owes me a shiny sticker, and taught me how funny it is to stick your finger into someone else’s nostril, so I really must look her up) by her famous photographer father, and loudly pointing out that my friend had done a wee-wee in the pool.
(I recently saw a photo of her father at a party with Kate Moss, and had an urgent need to do a wee. It is things like this which really hinder my entry into the world of the rich and famous).
4. Becoming overwhelmingly attached to my art smock, and wearing it at all times, staunchly explaining to anyone who asked that I was ‘just about to start some painting’, like a tiny Frida Kahlo, completely flummoxed as to why my artistic endeavours were being thwarted by this endless teeth brushing.
5. Being suspended for a day for biting a teacher’s bottom.