Trevor was still at boarding school in England, Toni at Kenya High School for Girls and in my case, it was Lavington Green Primary School.
Our assembly was held in an area between two wings of classrooms, of which the front and rear sides were open to the elements. Sometimes we used to roller skate there during our lunch break.
There was an upright piano in one corner where we had our music lessons. On one eventful day, my class had gathered around the teacher for a singing class, being tone deaf I had little interest and hid behind the piano. Unfortunately, the headmaster’s office overlooked us and I was duly summoned.
Slipper, plimsoll, gym shoe and tacky, well, what’s in a name? While awaiting judgement, Mr Harry Sentence had a word with me. He opened a draw and withdrew several slippers ranging in different sizes. He chose the largest and carried out the ‘sentence’ of six of the best. From that day on, I was more attentive, but sadly it did not cure me of being tone deaf.
Meanwhile, during a lunch break at my sister’s school, she and her friend were chatting. Because of flies, you would stamp your feet from time to time to stop them landing on your legs.
Toni’s friend was not having much success in detaching the annoying pests, so she looked down only to find a tarantula crawling up her leg. A loud scream, followed by a swish of her hand saw the unfortunate arachnid on its way to the dissection class.
Big sisters are useful for writing notes to your teacher, in this case I was useful as her chaperone. Toni had arranged an outing with an admirer with a car. With her little brother in the back seat, the three of us went for a drive in the park.
The Park in question was Nairobi National Park. The ‘boyfriend’ had a record player in the dashboard of the car. He placed 45s in a slot like modern CDs and serenaded my sister.
In the middle of the park is a watering hole; we parked, got out of the car and walked down a slope to watch the hippos, ignoring warnings about staying inside your vehicle. I must point out that hippopotami kill more people in Africa than lions, up to 3,000 deaths a year.
Avoiding unwanted attention from wild animals, including from my sister’s admirer, (I like to believe the latter had something to do with me), we returned home before our parents.
The next day, I had a note in grown-up handwriting to give to my teacher explaining my absence.