Saturday, 7 November 2009

Back in the day

An LJ thread on one of my previous posts (of which there are many I am sad to say) made me start thinking about my university days back in 1790 or there abouts.

I went to one of those "really posh" universities.
Back in the day, if you wanted to be classed as a true academic, you went to one of the Oxbridge colleges or, as a second best, one of the London ones. I qualified for Oxbridge of course, (3 straight As at A level plus an S level in English lit) but felt that I would be rather out of place there, given my back ground...and actually, I had the pick of the unis for my chosen subject. The two best ones were both London colleges. One was actually slap bang in the middle of London and the other was based to the far west of it, near Windsor Great park.
The wild frontiers of Middle England.
I am a suburbanite gal and certainly not a lover of the bright lights and bustle of London, so I plumped for the campus in the trees and fields.

Isn't it beautiful?
Someone who lives in the world of fairy tales and imagination like me would easily be seduced by it.
And I was.
Unfortunately, it attracted every single kind of upper class twat that you could ever imagine.
Champagne and Pimms on the lawns every Saturday for them... 3 weekend and evening jobs to pay the fees for me.
The first Summer ball was quite a juxtaposition.
I was part of the "ents team" (read that as a regular concubine of the ents officer who was a goth) and we got in some amazing bands.
For the Summer ball, we got in Fields of the Nephilim who played to a bunch of beered up hoorays in ball gowns and black ties.
My ball dress?
Funnily enough I still have it. It still fits even though I am no longer eighteen.
It was the poshest thing I ever owned.
My friend Kate and I went to Laura Ashley in Windsor to be fitted and kitted.
She had hundreds of pounds to spend and was slim and blonde and beautiful.
I was dark, dusky, short and curvy (but never the less slim... just not willowy and princess-like)
I had saved £70 after much hard graft in the shoe shop, the garden centre and the double glazing company. The latter paid me well because the millionaire boss aged 70 paid me to accompany him to dinner because I looked good on his arm. I earned a lot of money from being an escort.

I digress...back to the dress.
Even back then, you could not get a ball gown for under £100 at Laura Ashley...but I wanted to have one. Just the once.
Kate tried on various satin beauties that clung to her as if they were made to be worn by her.
I tried on many myself, but the price tags made them slip from my flesh as if I were covered in oil.

I eventually made a desperate plea to the snooty shop assistant:
"Have you got anything in the back that is broken or not quite right? Something that you would not sell out front but can be repaired?"

As it happened, they did.
It was a tad floral, but fitted me like a dream and I looked like a little princess in it.
The zip was broken and some of the seams were a bit frayed, but they sold it to me for £60.
I saved my remaining tenner towards buying some make up to make me look pretty on the night.

Once back at Uni, I lovingly repaired that dress and I went to the ball.
And I danced to Fields of the Nephilim in the courtyard of the castle under the moonlight.

And for that night, I was a princess.

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