Wednesday, 30 November 2016

1979: I am curious, orange

I was woken up by my mother. "There is a big envelope from Oxford!" she cried.  

"Don't get excited!" I said, pulling on my dressing gown and walking downstairs.  I had been having a lovely dream about A.  We were doing it on the beach.  It!  It! It!  "My entrance exam was rubbish and so was my interview.  I have no chance of getting into Oxford!" I said, confidently.  I was wrong. 

Two weeks later, I went into school for the last time, to pick up some stuff from my locker.  "How did it go?" asked my English teacher, anxiously, intercepting me in the school entrance hall.  "We haven't heard from you.  You are the last one!" I liked him a lot and he had been a good part of the reason that I chose Oxford over Cambridge, as he had studied there, where one of his tutors was JRR Tolkien, impressively.  I told him about my strange interview and he thought that I hadn't got in.

"Don't you know?"  I asked.  I had assumed that Oxford would tell the school but they didn't.  The news only came to the candidate.  I told him the good news and he actually gave me a hug. I was then shoved into the staff room, for the first time, to tell my teachers.  Mrs S, the art assistant, gave me a hug and kiss.  On the lips, much to my embarrassment.  The school had got more than two dozen people into Oxford or Cambridge.  My History, English and Art teachers took me down to the pub for lunch.  I suddenly realised that I wasn't a schoolboy any more.

"Have you been doing any more life drawing?" asked my Art teacher.

"Not really," I said.  "Not had any suitable models!"

"What about your hairdresser?" asked my History teacher.  I couldn't believe the teachers knew about that. Mrs S hadn't heard the story but the History teacher wouldn't give any further detail other than hat I had had a "famous" experience.  How had they found this out?

"I'm not surprised, you are such a nice looking young man," said Mrs S.  "I bet you'll cut a swathe through the girls at Oxford!"  I certainly hoped so.  My total interaction with girls in the last eighteen months had been my moment of passion with Mandy the hairdresser, on the floor of J's bathroom, five months before and I felt a fraud about that as everyone, now including my teachers, thought that I had done It.  And I hadn't.

Christmas was relaxing for the first time in ages as I had no tests to do in the first week of term.  My Uncle, the one with the boat, had arranged a job for me with a friend of his who owned an import-export business at Heathrow airport.  My mother dropped me off at the bus station on the way to work and I took the bus to the cargo terminal.  The place where I was working was in a large warehouse building, which isn't there any more.  Lots of freight firms had offices there with warehouses on the ground floor and a small office overlooking the warehouse on the top floor.  There was a team of three or four drivers who worked out of the warehouse and the office upstairs, where I was going to work, was run by a short balding man and his two female assistants.  One was an older lady (as I thought of her) in her late twenties with short, dyed blonde hair which looked like high tensile straw.  The other was a girl a couple of years older than me who had the most unprepossessing face, with a complexion like a saucepan full of cold porridge and a nose like an elephant seal that was far too big for her small face.  Unfortunately, she was also unpleasant in character (unlike the older lady, who was nice).  What was remarkable about this unremarkable girl was, that at the age of twenty, she had never seen the sea,   Nowhere in Britain is more than seventy miles from the sea and we were rather closer than that.  They were very different people from those I had met before.  There would be no hoped for passion in the office.  

The drivers were funny and nice and had an interesting collection of naked women centrefolds on the walls of the warehouse.  They also used to exchange men's magazines between them but these were the less sophisticated type of magazine like Whitehouse and Park Lane of largely skanky looking women spreading everything as much as they could.  Funnily, one lunchtime I went down to take them a piece of paperwork and they hastily covered up the magazine they were all clustered around, guiltily.  "I prefer Club International myself," I said. They looked shocked as they thought of me as a boy and a posh boy at that. 

There was nothing to do at lunchtime except go for a walk. There were no shops, cafes or anything else in the building or nearby. It was an urban desert.  Outside, the stink of aviation fuel in the air was so strong you could taste it. I used to walk up to one of the reservoirs near the airport and do a circular walk just to get out, even in the rain. I soon got the hang of the job, which involved pricing cargo, finding a carrier and filling out air waybills.  It was really boring and I hated being in a small windowless office being seethingly resented by the younger girl.

One day I was down in the warehouse and a French driver arrived in a lorry. The drivers were completely failing to communicate with him and he had no English whatsoever.  My French was rubbish (I only got my O-level because the lady French Assistant fancied me and was very generous in my assessed oral exam) but it was better than the drivers'.  They were amazed that I could ask him to follow us to the office, ask for his papers and offer him a cup of coffee in French. The following week I discovered that the boss had upped my pay by 25%.  I was asked to do more and more and C, the younger girl, was getting more and more resentful.  

I nearly quit but then I got my first month's pay.  It was a lot of money for me. Hundreds of pounds.  Just for filling out a few forms.  I went to Kingston and bought a huge black Panasonic radio cassette player.  It cost a staggering £149.99 in 1979!  I could connect it to my stereo amplifier and transfer my records onto cassetes for university.  The following month I bought a load of records.  With Classics for Pleasure records at 99p each, I started to build my classical record collection,  Not just that but I added some non-classical stuff too, including Gordon Giltrap's Fear of the Dark which I had heard on the radio the previous summer, some ELO and the first album by The Police.  

I discovered that about half a mile's walk from the warehouse was a corner shop which had a huge selection of men's magazines.  I started to buy one a week.  Mainly Penthouse, Men Only and Club International, although I thought that the brightly lit studio photography on the later two wasn't as good as it had been two years ago and the girls weren't showing as much as they had a couple of years before when O and I went through a stack in his house.  I enjoyed the anticipation of taking the magazine home, then locking myself in the bathroom and breathlessly discovering each pictorial.  It was the only sexual activity I was getting.

The office had a girly calendar in it, above the older woman's desk, which would be very surprising now but wasn't even commented on then and, indeed it was the older woman's job to turn the page every month.  It wasn't just a topless one either.  I think it might have originated from Mayfair.  One of the pictures was one of Linda Lusardi which I was particularly taken with (they were all discussed as each new one appeared) to the extent that the older lady gave it to me on my last day, in August.

When the picture first appeared, earlier in the year, we were talking, for some reason, about pin-up calendars from the past, from the time when the pictures were all paintings.  I mentioned that I did a lot of drawing and she immediately asked if I did nudes.  I said I had done some, yes.  All artists did, I continued, pretentiously.  The office boss asked me to bring some in, surprisingly.  The next day they all asked to see my pictures but I hadn't brought them as I thought that they were joking.  They persisted, however.  I went home that day and selected a few of A but didn't include the Klimt like one of her with her legs apart.  They did include breasts and pubic hair, though.

At lunchtime the next day I had to lay them out on my desk.  Any artist gets nervous when presenting his work to others for the first time and, given the nature of the pictures and who I was presenting them too, I was really nervous. They stood around the desk in silence, worryingly.

"These are good!  Really, really good!  Are they your girlfriend?" asked the older lady, at last.

I told her that they were an ex-girlfriend who had moved to Scotland several years ago.  One of the drivers came up the spiral staircase from the warehouse and soon I had the whole office in there.  There were questions about why I hadn't gone on to do  Art and who my girlfriend had been, which I really didn't want to drag up again.  I was getting quite emotional talking about A and had to keep myself under control.  I had written to her and told her I had got into Oxford and she had sent me a nice postcard from Edinburgh, where she had gone for the day, telling me to keep writing.  This had cheered me up as we hadn't really communicated for over a year, apart from Christmas cards.

A few days later I ran into the older woman in the corridor that ran the length of the building, where the loos were, and she said that she would pose for me if I needed a model.  She had a nice figure but a rather hard face and I knew she had just broken up with her boyfriend who also worked at the airport  She was ten years older than me so I didn't take this frankly terrifying but gratifying, suggestion any further.  I had been warned about rebound women, based on bitter experience, by one of the drivers.  Anyway, in a small office it would have been a disaster.  I lied and told her that I had so much work to do before starting at university I had no spare time,   I did tell her that I thought that she would be a lovely model, though, which cheered her up.   She had a splendid bottom. 

On my last day, my boss suggested that I didn't go on to university but stay on and he would teach me the air freight business.  The owner of the firm said that I had got into Oxford and it was inconceivable that I do anything else.  I hadn't really thought of it as that special as so many people from my school did it but no one else in the office even knew anybody who had done A-levels, let alone got into university.

I had a few weeks at home to get all my stuff ready and do things like buy mugs and a kettle.  These don't seem to be allowed in student rooms anymore.  Despite my expenditure I had managed to save over £1000 but I got a full living expenses grant on top as my mother was a single parent and not earning that much.  I would not be hard up at college if I was careful.  One thing I discovered when I got there was that my college was very rich (apparently it owned a lot of land up north) and so our termly bills were low.  Mine were just over £200 a term for food and lodging.  J, from my school, was at Magdalen and his equivalent bills were more than twice mine; largely because Magdalen (pronounced 'maudlin') had had to pay £6 million to ensure their famous tower (built in 1492) didn't fall down. Magdalen's nickname was Crumbagadalen; pronounced 'crumblin', because of the continuing restoration work.

My mother and sister took me to Oxford to start autumn term or Michaelmas, as they called it, at the beginning of October.  Oxford only has eight week terms so you are actually on vacation longer than you are studying in any year. Arriving in Radcliffe Square, where they actually let us park on the first day, as it is usually closed to traffic, was like arriving on a film set. We went to the porter's lodge, a little kiosk inside the entrance, and I was given the key to my room in my Staircase.  In College, you were accommodated in 'staircases', a series of rooms all off, er, a staircase.  I followed the instructions and we went through a number of quadrangles, under an arch, to the far corner of the college.

"Hullo!" came a voice. "I'm so glad you got in!"  It was the little redhead, C, I had met at interview.  We exchanged room numbers.  It turned out she was in the adjoining staircase.

"What a pretty girl!" said my mother, ever hopeful as always.

"She's very short," observed my sister,  "and her hair looks dyed!"

I explained that  C was the nice girl I had met at interview and my mother was puzzled because I had described her as plain.  My sister shook her head as if to say she is plain.  I mused on this myself as we climbed up the three flights of stairs to my room.  She did seem to look a lot more attractive than I remembered, I thought, puzzled.  Also, shorter.

We got to my staircase and there, just inside the entrance, on a black metal plate, was my name painted in white paint.  All the names of the people living on the staircase (about ten) had a black plate with Mr (or Miss or Dr, depending on your status), then your initials. your last name and room number.   I was suddenly impressed with myself.  I was at Oxford.  I still couldn't believe it.

Mine was an all male staircase, disappointingly.  Although my college had been mixed for six years those colleges who were taking students of the opposite sex for the first time dealt with it in different ways.  In the first year most of the fresher girls in my college were put in two adjoining staircases together, quite a common practice ('apartheid'. one of the girls called it).  In New College, however, we discovered that they had installed one girl per staircase of men.  This was not a success and led to comments like (as I overheard once): 'Our girl's not very good, what's your like?' and, even worse, 'our girl is very ugly but at least she is doing all our ironing'.

I had two rooms: a living room and a bedroom, both of which were long and narrow and overlooked the High (street). The living room had a gas fire but the bedroom was unheated which was not much fun given it was early October. The bedroom had a nasty maroon with black swirls lino (linoleum was invented in my home town!) floor, a bed, a chest of drawers, and a wardrobe (which rocked alarmingly on its uneven legs when you opened the door - I had to wedge it with folded card). There was a mysterious wooden box at the foot of the bed which, we discovered, contained a knotted rope. Yes, this high tech device was the fire escape, in the event that the eighteenth century building caught fire. The bed itself was quite large, at three foot six across, like my one at home.  It was like (it probably was) an old hospital bed, with an iron bedstead at the head and foot.  

It didn't take long to unpack, as I didn't have much stuff; pride of place going to my Panasonic radio cassette player (I still have it!) which I put on top of my bookshelf.  My mother took me to lunch at the Turl Tavern (no longer there) and then bought me some tea bags, some biscuits (I was soon to discover that Oxford runs on tea, biscuits, Sherry and Port) and long life milk in the Co-op, as there didn't seem to be any fridges anywhere that we could find. Typically, you kept your milk outside on the window ledge, which sometimes made it perilous for those below if you muffed trying to get it back into your room. We were absolutely forbidden to have glass milk bottles on the window ledges! 

After my mother and sister left, I sat in my rather stark room, feeling rather anxious about the whole thing. I put the Bach Brandenburg concerti on the cassette player and worried about how loud I could play music.  There was a knock on the door and it was the little (she claimed to be five foot two but I had my doubts) redhead, C.  I was really pleased to see her and she was really pleased to have a mug of tea and a jammy dodger (or five, she had a prodigious capacity for biscuits, as I was to discover).   We went down to dinner together to meet the other freshers.  The rest of college hadn't started yet, apart from a few volunteer second years.  Hall, where breakfast, lunch and dinner were served, was rather strange as you all sat on long benches (I really found it odd not to have a back to my seat) at long wooden tables while the dons sat at high table (Hogwarts, basically).  There were a lot of strange names for things to learn. At dinner there were two sittings: normal hall and formal hall.  At formal hall you had to wear your academic gown.  I had a normal, short commoners gown but C had a long gown as she had won a scholarship for being particularly swotty.  Still, I was just glad to be there.

The next few days we got to meet other people and were shown around the college, including an accommodation annex just off the main shopping street. Cornmarket, next to the famous Oxford Union.  I already knew about this as this was where I had stayed at interview.  The rooms there were modern and had washbasins and so I was surprised that my older room lacked basic washing facilities. Many of the first year girls, including my new friend, C, were in a couple of modern, early sixties blocks, next door to my staircase. These had narrower, two foot six wide beds, presumably to discourage hanky panky, but did have a wash basin.  This was useful not just for washing but, more importantly, filling the kettle.  I had to go down a floor to the scout's pantry which had a sink, to do this. although it was here that I discovered a fridge.  Scouts were the elderly gentlemen who made your beds every day, cleaned your rooms, washed your bedding once a week and emptied your bins..  It was another world!

Washing yourself was a trial. My rooms were on the third floor (fourth floor for Americans) but the only bathroom was in the basement, four flights of stairs below. This also housed the only WCs in the staircase. Needless to say, this basement was also unheated. To describe it as grim is an understatement. There were three WCs, then, next to those, two cubicles with baths. Beyond that were a couple of showers with wash basins opposite. The defining feature of this area of the college was that it was absolutely freezing. Damp and freezing.  And smelly.  Taking a shower in the morning was done as fast as humanly possible before you froze to death.  Even in the summer it was cold.  On top of that the hot water was never really that hot, either, especially in the morning.  

On the third evening, C came back to my room after dinner. Her modern room was full of trendy exposed concrete and had no carpet.  Cozy it was not. I had brought my orange shaded bedside lamp from home which I had put on my desk next to my Anglepoise lamp (as I didn't have the expected bedside table). I had a nice thick rug and my gas fire (which was really efficient) and could make my room very cozy indeed. We had more tea and I opened the bourbon biscuits I had bought that afternoon as my jammy dodgers had lasted less than 36 hours. We sat on the rug in front of the fire and she leaned against my shoulder while we had our tea. This is nice, I thought.  What a nice girl. I was racking my brains trying to think what was different about her. Stupidly, it had taken me three days to work it out but now I knew what the answer was. 

"What happened to your glasses?" I asked.  She told me that she now wore contact lenses.  I'd never met anyone who wore contact lenses.  Frankly, I found the idea of having to put things in your eyes deeply creepy.   Also, I reckoned she had lost weight and it had all gone from what I remember as a rather puffy face. Now she had nice cheekbones and the lack of glasses revealed her face in all its delicate beauty. She had pale, almost white, eyelashes and pale eyebrows too, which tended to give her a permanently surprised look.   Actually, I thought, she was a rather lovely girl with her almost waist length red hair.  "You're, a lovely girl!" I said, suddenly.  She gave me an unexpected kiss on the cheek and snuggled up closer, so I put my arm around her waist and kissed the top of her head and she burst into tears, which is not what I was expecting.

C, it turned out, was really homesick after only three days.  Her mother (her father had been killed in a car crash a couple of years earlier) had sold their house once she knew C had got into Oxford and was planning to move south.  In the meantime she was staying with her other daughter on Birmingham, who was more than ten years older than C.  C had, literally lost her home, all of her things were in storage and she felt alone and adrift.  She had been at grammar school and so, like all state school pupils, had done her entrance exam in the upper sixth rather than staying on into the third year, like I had.  She had not had a year off like me and had only had her eighteenth birthday at the end of August, as she was one of the youngest girls in the year, like A had been..  She was twenty months younger than me and was finding the whole experience a bit much.

The next day we had to go to Blackwells book shop and order some of our law books which, we had just discovered from one of the other freshers, were out of stock.  See was worried about doing this on her own but, of course, I had been working in an office for eight months and thought it was no big deal.  I said that I would come with her and we could do it together,  She looked up at me with her red eyes and gave me a wan smile.  I kissed her forehead.  Then I kissed her eyelids, tasting her salty tears. I stroked her back.  She parted her lips hesitantly and I gave her the softest, gentlest kiss I could. She kissed me back and told me I was lovely.  And so are you, you gorgeous redhead, I thought, as I stroked her cheek. I had been at college less than three days and already I had kissed a lovely girl.  I saw her back to her room and she gave me another shy kiss outside her door before disappearing inside.  She told me to pick her up on the way to breakfast. 

Next day we found the people in Blackwells not coping with what, presumably, was an annual rush. One book we needed straight away was not on the shelves but I could see an open box of them inside the cash desk.  Used to dealing with the cargo departments of recalcitrant airlines I insisted on having two copies from their box but were told that they were reserved.  "Reserved for who?" I asked. Eventually the man admitted that they were available but not inventoried yet and they needed to do the paperwork before they could put them on the shelves.  I gave the man a very even look,  The look I used on difficult staff at the Heathrow quarantine station (the airfreight firm I worked for imported a lot of animals).  He gave in and let us have the books.  C was impressed and took my arm as we walked back to college. As we approached college I said that I would take her to lunch rather than having lunch in college. She thought this was brilliant and was hugely impressed that I had a credit card.

That night she came up to my room again after dinner.  I lit my gas fire and soon had the temperature of the room up again. She thanked me for helping at the bookshop and gave me another kiss.  This time I was a bit more assertive with her but she matched me kiss for kiss until her tongue started to probe inside my mouth.  She pushed me down onto the rug and lay on top of me  We lay in front of the fire kissing and tentatively exploring each other's clothed bodies with our hands.  She sat up, astride my hips and pulled her chunky knit cream jumper off.  She had knitted it herself.  She made a lot of her own clothes and was very skilled at it.  The fire, when it got going, kicked out a lot of heat so I took my jumper off too.  She was wearing a silk blouse underneath her jumper and I enjoyed stroking it..  She undid my shirt buttons and caressed my chest.  I pulled her blouse out of her jeans and stroked the skin around her middle for the first time.  We chatted and kissed and kissed and chatted for about two hours.  By the end of the evening her blouse was undone too and I could see her silk and lace bra.  I had kissed her collarbones and her belly.  Eventually she said that she had to go back to her room and take her contact lenses out.  I offered to walk her back to her room.. She pointed out that it was only about forty feet from the bottom of my staircase and I needn't bother. I asked her if she liked wine and she said yes.  I said I would get some for when she next came round.

"Tomorrow," she said.  "Definitely, tomorrow."  We had a passionate kiss just before she left my room. 

Fortunately, just across the road from my room was a branch of Oddbins, the wine shop, so before dinner the next day I nipped out and wondered what to get.  I hoped she didn't like Mateus Rose or the equally diabolical Blue Nun Liebfraumilch.   Given we didn't have access to a fridge and putting a bottle out on my window sill would have been a very bad idea I settled on a Côtes du Rhône and hoped she liked red wine. I decided to get some cheese and crackers from the Co-Op, too.

This proved to be a wise move because at dinner we sat down only to find Mr C, a graduate student from China, sat opposite us.  Mr C was from actual China, unusually, not Hong Kong and appeared not to speak any English, so we wondered what he could be possibly studying.  That day we were served curry which was one of the more disgusting things college did.  It had a thick brown sauce and, shockingly, hard-boiled egg in it. That wasn't what shocked us the most, though,  Vegetables were served by the scouts putting a metal dish of potatoes, green beans (yuck!) etc. between eight people.  This was the first time we had had rice and they put the dish down in front of Mr C. Mr C, lifted the lid and scooped three quarters of the contents of the bowl onto his plate and started shovelling it into his face as if he hadn't eaten for a week. C and I looked at each other and then we looked at the other people on the table who should have been having rice. We were British so we didn't say anything.  We just ensured, between us, that the three girls there shared what was left of the rice and we didn't have anything.  C kindly gave me half of hers.

We were all freshers so didn't dare ask the terrifying scouts for another bowl.  There was a thing called sconcing at Oxford (Cambridge don't do it, being boring) that we had been told about on the first day, where people who broke unwritten rules at dinner (it turned out to only be formal dinners) could be called out for their offence (in Latin of course) and 'sconced' which was a seventeenth century term for a fine..  The offender then had to drink the college's sconce volume (always more than two pints and as much as three in some colleges) in beer from a special silver tankard, in one go, at the table (usually standing on it) or pay a fine.  We did not want to risk this for a bit of rice! We had all learned our first lesson from Oxford, however: never sit near Mr C if it was rice for dinner.

We made another discovery immediately afterwards, when we were served 'scotch woodcock' instead of pudding.  This was a savoury rather than a sweet and, it turned out, quite popular at Oxford.  It consisted of scrambled eggs on toast with anchovy paste.  

"What the fucking hell is this?" asked J, a very down to earth girl from Liverpool.  One thing about our college was that, at that time, more than half of the people there came from state schools, meaning they were largely normal people not old Etonians (who all went to Christ Church) and such like. "I hate eggs!"  C didn't like them either.  I didn't mind scotch woodcock but I thought it would have been better at breakfast rather than instead of pudding.

It was cold and wet as C and I trudged back to my staircase at the very edge of the college.  The next building was actually the library of a college next door.  C was moaning that she was hungry.

"I have cheese," I said.  "and crackers!"

"I love you to bits!" said C, squeezing my hand.

C was really hungry, having not had much rice or touched the egg in the curry or the scotch woodcock, which she had given to me,  She complained about them having two lots of egg in one meal.  My sister didn't eat eggs either so I was familiar with this particular dislike.  In fact, I have met quite a few women who don't like eggs, over the years.  C did like cheese, though and I let her scoff most of the cheddar I had bought and half of the Jacobs cream crackers.  She asked if I had had Bath Olivers, as they were a superior biscuit, which I said I didn't (I had never heard of them) so she said we needed to get some.  I noted the use of 'we'. We also drank the wine, although we only managed just over half a bottle between us.  We had to have it from mugs as I didn't have any wine glasses.  I realised that I would have to remedy this.

C had removed her sweater as soon as the room was warm, although I had given it a big boost before dinner.  Fortunately, the gas bill was included in the termly batels (which covered living expenses) so I didn't have to stint. These days of course, there would be no chance of having an (ancient) gas fire in a student room which you had to light with a match and could take your eyebrows off if you weren't careful, as happened to one of our friends that term. 

"Let's get in front of the fire again!" said C, to my delight. We sat on the rug and started kissing again.  That day she was wearing a long wool skirt (nearly all skirts were long in this period).  At some point I boldly put my hand on her ankle and was soon stroking her calf through her white tights.  She didn't object but just undid my shirt buttons again. As my hand crept up to her thigh she pulled away slightly and I recoiled, thinking I might have gone a bit too far.  Instead, she undid the button at her waist and unzipped her skirt which she pulled off.  

"Wow!" I said.  She was wearing stockings, not tights, with a pretty suspender belt.  None of the girls I had known before had worn stockings.  This was really, really unusual at the time.  She took off her blouse too and I removed my shirt.  This time she lay on her back and I lay next to her on my side, running my hand over her pale body as we kissed.  Her skin was so white that you could see the blue veins underneath the surface.  She was like a porcelain doll. My fingers felt the warm slice of skin between her stocking tops and her silky knickers, which had little pink flowers embroidered on them.  She even made her own lingerie, I discovered, after I made appreciative comments about it.  

"I even made my bra!  Look!" she said, removing it.  I pretended to inspect the neat stitching and the, apparently, complex fabric shapes it was made from.

"Lovely!  Like your bust!" I said, deciding that I really couldn't pretend to ignore the perky display any longer..  Her breasts were, indeed, a lovely shape, close to the hemispheres of the girl I had seen on the beach the previous summer.  When I had gone round to O's to look at men's magazines he had a copy of Health & Efficiency, the naturist magazine.  Most of the women were professional models, I later learned but many weren't and it was a salutary lesson on what most real women's breasts looked like.  C's were just perfect though with the palest rose-pink coloured nipples.

"I think my bust is too small," she said, which is what A had thought too, although C's cup size was bigger than A's. Girls, I started to realise, had a thing about this and needed reassurance.  For me, then as now, shape was more important than size.

"I think they are just perfect.  What a lovely shape!" I leant forward and kissed the top of one just above the nipple.

"My sister says that they are like Marie Antoinette's.  Like a Champagne coupe!" said C cupping them, distractingly, 

"They are!" I said.  "You are like a girl from a Boucher painting!"  I was already planning to draw her naked.

"I think my colouring is more like a Renoir!" she said. "or a Degas girl!"

"I'd like to draw you!" I said.  I explained that I was good at art but, unfortunately, I didn't have any art materials with me.

"Would you enjoy seeing the rest of me?" she asked.  What a silly question.  I nodded, my heart racing.  She stood up and pushed her knickers down over her ivory thighs.  I gasped,  She grinned.  I had never seen anything like it, not even in a magazine.  The hair on her head was a dark coppery red, which she tinted with henna but her pubic hair was orange.  Not orangey red.  Not burnt orange.  Bright orange like... an orange.  I thought it was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen.  I reached out and stroked it, fascinated. She took off her stockings and suspender belt and went through a series of poses, standing in front of me.  She had delicate rounded shoulders and a small, narrow ribcage, the bottom ribs of which were quite prominent above her flat stomach. Her hips flared out and she had a lovely round bottom. Her legs were short but slim.  It was almost as if her bottom half was a size bigger than her top half. She was too delicate to be a Renoir girl but not as slim and girlish as the Degas girls.  I thought that my assessment of Boucher girl had been spot on.

"What do you think?" she asked, sitting down cross-legged in front of me and causing her breasts to bounce invitingly, as she did so  I was soon to discover that C needed constant reassurance about almost everything.  "Do you think I would be a good model?"

"I think I need to find an art shop tomorrow!" I said. She grinned.

"Let's have some more wine!  It will be like Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe!" she said.  I smiled at her. Not only was she a lovely girl but she knew about art.  She made no attempt to get dressed again and seemed quite happy sitting naked on my rug and drinking wine.  She thought that she could pose for drawings in my room while we drank wine and ate cheese and it would be like La Bohème, as my room was like a garret. Hopefully without the galloping consumption, I thought.  She asked me if I had any Puccini on my cassettes but I didn't.  She said that tomorrow night I should go to her room and she would play me some.

I still had my denims on, although I had taken my socks off.  If she wanted to strip me off that was fine but I wasn't going to make the first move.  I had no idea what her sexual experience was and I didn't want to frighten her off.  Eventually, she climbed on top of me and I stroked her naked skin from her neck down to her bottom.  I was painfully stiff and wondered if she could tell. Eventually she got dressed and left for the night. "I like being naked with you!" she said as she kissed me good night.  I like it too, I thought as I climbed into my cold bed.  I masturbated happily for a bit, thinking about her orange pussy but I was too cold and tired to climax.

Next morning, I went shopping to get more wine, cheese and Bath Oliver biscuits, which I found in Selfridges.  I also bought a couple of wine glasses.  When I got back to college, before lunch, I looked in my pigeonhole in the porter's lodge, to see if there was any post,  There was a letter from my mother and what felt like a card in an envelope addressed to me just by my name, in a beautiful script. I opened the envelope and it was an Athena (the Oxford branch was just a few dozen yards from College) card of a Renoir girl lying on her back and displaying orange hair under her arms (just as C had).  I still have it (top). 'Thank you for being lovely!" it said on the back in the same elegant script.  I looked around and saw D, a second year law student who had the room next door to mine, looking at me.  He looked at the card and I hoped he hadn't seen the writing.  He smiled.  C and I had run into him on the stairs several times and he always seemed to be in breakfast when we got there.

At lunch I thanked C for the card and remarked on how much it looked like her.  She laughed and agreed and said she couldn't resist it.  I showed her the Bath Olivers and she looked delighted.

Although I had tried to be big and strong for C I was pretty anxious about living away from home for the first time myself and so was glad to have a little friend from the start. One of the things I was most anxious about was Roman Law, which we did in the first term, because a lot of it was in Latin. Law at Oxford didn't require Latin O-level while at Cambridge it did. Still, although you didn't have to be able to write in Latin you did have to be able to read problems in it.  I had done some Latin at school but had given it up before O-level (to make way for Art).  Fortunately, C had done the exam and we started to work together on it in our rooms, she helping with the translations. We went to lectures at the Law library together and by the end of the first week we were going everywhere as a pair, including having all of our meals with each other.

That evening I went to her room after dinner and she played me La Bohème, with Maria Callas, on her small cassette player.  It was an old recording but then her player was a mono one.  It was typical that C liked an old recording because of the life story of Callas rather than a new recording. I was all about the best possible recording quality.

We had had more cheese and Bath Oliver biscuits, which I admitted were superior to Jacob's Cream Crackers,  This time I had bought a Camembert as I thought it would go better with the opera, something C appreciated.  She asked if I had got any drawing things yet but I said that I would have finished my work Friday after my tutorial so could have Saturday afternoon off after our matriculation ceremony.  I also needed to explore the terrifying prospect of the college laundry ,amongst other things.  Although we did academic work every day (because of the short terms things were really intense) I did try to have one day a week off as a consolidation day, although in the first term it was often more like once every ten days.

We were lying next to each other, on her narrow bed, listening to Puccini and kissing.  The bed was so narrow that I had to lie on my side against the wall with C on her back. She was naked but I was still dressed in just my jeans and she had shown no inclination to try and remove them, so I assumed she was happy with the status quo.  I was stroking her body, fondling her breasts and then moving my fingers lower and lower towards her orange fluff.  As my fingers slipped down into her copper curls she parted her thighs and I slid my fingers into her wet folds for the first time.  "Oh! she said.  I wondered if I had been a bit forward but then given she was now pushing her hips against my hand I thought that she probably didn't mind. I decided to push on and climbed over her leg so that I was kneeling between her pale thighs.  I contemplated C's pink parts nestling in her orange bush and leant forward and began to kiss her thighs and hipbones.  C opened her legs even wider and I began to kiss up the inside of her thighs, teasingly avoiding her pussy.  However, after a while, she put her hands behind my head and pulled me towards her juicy oyster, I started to lick her bits and she kept her hands on my head and started to breathe rapidly.  "Oh!" she cried, again, clamping my head with her thighs as she came. I wished girls didn't do that.  "Kiss me!" she said after a while.  I crawled up her and kissed her on the lips, conscious that they were covered in her juices.  "Germaine Greer says that most women don't taste their own pussy juice," She said.  "But I've always liked my own taste!"

"I like it too!" I said.  "You are a delicious girl!" 

"I am rather!" she agreed. "You are very lucky!"  I couldn't disagree with that.

On Friday morning we had both had our tutorials and afterwards decided to sit in the College law library, getting a good start on the reading for the next week, so that we could have Saturday off. Tutorials consisted of two students going through their previous week's work with the tutor.  One would be asked to read out their essay and the other would critique it.  It is the main difference between teaching at Oxford and Cambridge and other universities.  We did have lectures in the Bodleian law library, which was located in a brutalist building half a mile from college, but these tutorials were at the heart of the teaching experience.  You could easily find yourself sat down in the cozy study of the man who had written the text book you had been studying that week, as happened to me in Roman law that first term.  You had to be on the top of your game and after more than two hours you came out mentally drained.  Fortunately, C and I were not drawn together as tutorial partners as that would have been difficult.

After dinner we were back in my room again and C had been complaining about having been served battered cod and limp, soggy chips.  "Why do we have to eat fish on Friday just because Catholics do. There aren't that many Catholics in Britain anyway, as they were all burned at the stake!" C's grasp on history was not as strong as her appreciation of the arts. We both agreed, however, as neither of us liked fish, that we would have to make alternative arrangements on Friday for dinner.

"We do need to find something else to eat!" I agreed.

"Other than my pussy, you mean!" she laughed.

I can remember the scene very clearly.  I was just dressed in my jeans again, leaning on one elbow, lying on my rug with my legs in front of me in front of the gas fire.  C was kneeling naked by my feet.  I had just licked her to climax again and her body had a light sheen of perspiration (the gas fire was doing its usual good job).  She looked at me and said,"I want to dick you". I confess my mind went blank as to what she was suggesting, as it was not a term I had heard. "Can I dick you?" she said again.  She was reaching for my zip and I suddenly realised what she meant.

"That would be lovely!" I said.  By the time she had tugged my jeans and pants off I was completely stiff.  The way she approached it, tentatively and gently, made me realise that she hadn't seen one before, as she admitted later.  She played with it with her fingers, stroking and rubbing, with a frown of concentration on her face.  

"Is that nice?  Is that right?"  I told her it was all lovely.  She held me upright and started to gently rub me. I now wondered if by "dicking" she just meant manual stimulation but after a while she kissed my knob and embarked on some gentle kissing and licking.  I stroked her freckled shoulders.  She looked at me, smiled and enveloped my knob with her mouth.  It felt so nice and she kept looking at me intently, as she started to bob up and down, looking for reassurance.  

"Oh, C, that is really nice!" I said.  Her eyes gleamed in pleasure.  "In fact it's so nice I;m going to..." She pulled off me and I started to spurt all over her lovely, perky breasts.

"Oh!" she said, laughing.  "Golly!"  I was still spraying her front like a fire hose.  "Lots!"  It was a lot. Half a dozen spurts. 

"Lot's of love!" I said. She giggled and kissed me, still holding my cock.  Her chest and belly were completely spattered by my liquefying spunk.  She suggested we have a bath together.  I had never had a bath with a girl before, although A and I had had a shower once.  She put on my green dressing gown and I put on my pyjamas (in what was pretty much the last time I wore them).  We opened my door carefully and looked up and down the short corridor my room was on..  It was nearly midnight but people lived odd hours at college, especially the lawyers, like D from next door, who were often in the library until gone midnight.  The college had its own law library, unusually, so we weren't confined to the times of the main one in the law faculty building. 

We furtively started to descend the wooden staircase (which creaked, alarmingly) armed with some of my slightly dodgy Italian soap (a Christmas present, which was, nevertheless, better than the Crimean War period carbolic recipe provided by the college). Much giggling ensued as we dodged people moving about on other floors; having to dive through one of the fire doors at one point, cut along the corridor to the connected staircase and back along the floor below to avoid some people coming up the stairs.   Eventually, we reached the basement. It seemed to be even colder than ever and C, who had put her contact lenses to bed for the night, had her glasses on, which immediately steamed up as soon as I turned the taps on, rendering her even more visually impaired than usual. The bath took an age to fill and the amount of steam pouring out made the place look like the engine room of the Titanic. Eventually, we both climbed into the bath but whilst the water was nice and hot, for a change, the air was so cold that we had to try to get under the surface of the water as much as possible. It was a big bath but not that big. After soaping her perky bust briefly I gave up and we both disappeared back to my room and the welcome warmth of the gas fire. C curled up and fell asleep in front of the fire like a cat (she had many catlike tendencies - claws included) whilst I watched her and wished I had bought some drawing things. Tomorrow, I thought, I will go to WH Smiths for some paper and charcoal.

Monday, 14 November 2016

1978: Party Animal

Having had an incredibly sexually exciting summer holiday, I returned to school in September for the start of my last full year.  Many other boys seemed to have acquired girlfriends that summer but, unlike me, they still had theirs.  Still, given my recent success I assumed that another girl would be just around the corner.  I caught up with my arty school friend O during the time we spent in the art room at lunchtimes. We had both been appointed school art monitors and spent lunch times painting and drawing and comparing the non officially sanctioned pictures of girls we had started to do at home, usually from pictures in magazines. O now had a girlfriend too and they had got to the kissing in underwear stage.  

Later that term, unusually, given the distance I lived from most of my school friends, I went to his house in Twickenham so we could compare drawings of naked girls.  He had also acquired a large collection of men's magazines from J, at school, whose father worked for the Paul Raymond organisation, which we were going to investigate.  We also played some records, one of which was another new non-classical one I had got which was Rick Wakemen's White Rock (still a favourite).

Sometimes, when sitting around in the sixth form common room we would have discussions about our fellow pupils; who was best at this who was best at that?  Some people were good at sports (P, for example, was the only boy at school who could do the pole vault), or drama or playing the drums (that was Whiff).  Academic achievement was not rated although E was generally regraded as the cleverest person in the school. I was famous for drawing naked girls. One of the popular discussion topics was: "who is the most boring person in the year?" The answer was invariably JP. He really had no interesting features or interests at all. That is,until he got a Saturday job in WH Smiths in Kingston and had access to their 25% discount.  He immediately became very popular, as everyone got him to buy records at a discount.  He had got me White Rock and he had got O the soundtrack to the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, which I also liked.

As we listened to these two very different records (again and again) we looked at O's impressive stack of Men Only and Club International magazines.  These dated from a period when Paul Raymonds's magazines had reached their pinnacle of explicitness.  Glorious colour page after colour page of spread thighs, pink pussies and exposed anuses.  Oddly, at almost exactly that same time, in the Autumn of 1977, they decided to back pedal on this and the magazines became a lot less explicit again.  At this stage the girls were displayed in all their glory, however.

It soon became apparent that what O really wanted to talk about was how to get his girlfriend to strip off so he could draw her naked. He asked me how I had persuaded A and I had to admit that it had been her idea. He looked a bit defeated at this,  Considering myself something of an expert on women now (which I wasn't), I said that he had to separate the nakedness from sex.  This was about art and as he now defined himself as an artist (he was not as academic as I was and was planning to go to art school) then he could ask her to do this as it would be a way for her to help him in his artistic development. 

I had brought my pictures of A with me so he could look at them properly.  Finding a very mild one where A wasn't actually showing anything, I said he could borrow it so he could show his girlfriend what he wanted. 

"Just don't get her to pose like this," I said holding up the centrefold of a Men Only, "as you will just scare her off!"

O later went to art school and tried to make his living as a professional artist. After graduating, he sold two paintings to be used as greetings cards for a grand total of £55. Shortly afterwards someone asked him to design a logo for nothing, which he did on the basis that we wasn't earning anything much anyway.  It is now so famous that, with it in his portfolio, his career was transformed.

The next term saw a new year, 1978, and the headlong plunge towards 'A' levels, critically important exams for getting into university. All my friends had already applied but those like me, who were being lined up for Oxford  or Cambridge didn't have to, as we applied after our exam results came out in the summer and didn't have to worry about hitting university grade targets.

After Christmas, back in the art room in January, my friend O was bouncing up and down with excitement.  "I did it!  I did it!" he exclaimed as soon as the art teacher had gone for lunch.  Oh no, I thought.  He's done It.  It, It, It. Before me!  But, in fact, what he was referring to was that he had got his girlfriend to pose naked for him over the Christmas holidays.  He showed me some sketches and then a painting.  He had done an actual goauche painting of his girlfriend, naked, relining on her back on the sofa.  It was really good and I was appropriately impressed, while simultaneously cursing inside that I had never done a painting of A and no longer had a life model.  Apparently, my 'it's just art' argument had worked perfectly with the girl.  In fact rather too well as she still wouldn't contemplate going further than kissing in their underwear even though O had now seen her naked a number of times.  Girls were strange, we both agreed.

The next five months were heads down on school work.  I was also doing my Art A level work in my spare time but instead of pliant teenage girls my drawings were of things like artichokes (got A+ for that one!), fruit, old oil lamps and such like.  The exams went quite well but not as well as I had hoped and Economics was a bugger.  The end of term was odd because most people were leaving to go to university the following year but those of us doing Oxbridge would be back for one more term starting in September.

We left school early, after doing our exams in May and I had a long, boring, girl-free summer in prospect,  But then I got a call from O who asked if  I wanted to do some unpaid work at Shepperton Studios, which he had been offered through a friend.  I could actually see the tops of the sound stages from my bedroom window in the winter so I readily agreed.  We ended up doing a lot of painting of sets (rocks mainly) for a science fiction film that they were making there.  Everybody seemed to be cashing in on Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and as this film didn't star anyone I had heard of and was directed by someone I had never heard of, either, O and I both thought it would disappear without a trace. It was called Alien.

Coming out of the studios late one night (we always worked late at night as I suspect we weren't on the official books) I ran into J from school, who lived down the road from the studios.  He was having a birthday party the following week and asked if I wanted to come.  I never got invited to parties and if I did they were all too far away to get to.  I could walk to J's house from home, though, so I said yes.  J wasn't one of my close friends at school but I quite liked him as he liked SF as well.

I wasn't sure what to wear to a party or what to take as I hadn't actually been to a party of any of my contemporaries before.  My mother reckoned I should take a bottle of wine which she kindly supplied from our stock.  My sister told me not to get drunk and not to bring "some ugly girl home".   My mother dropped me off at J's house but I told her I would walk home.  Much to my surprise there was no sign of J's parents who had gone away for the weekend.  I asked J if they knew he was having a party and he said yes and his older sister was in charge of the house and was there to keep things under control.  I knew J's sister, D, because she used to get the same train as us as she went to the school next door.  She was now at university but home for the holidays.

In fact there were quite a lot of D's friends there, many of whom were girls but they, like D herself, were not very attractive.  There were some girls from the school next door but rather more boys than girls, disappointingly. The dining room had been cleared of furniture for dancing so I vowed to keep well clear of that area. None of the main lights were on, with rooms illuminated by lamps on the floor or, strangely for July, Christmas fairy lights.  Boringly, I spoke mainly to my friends from school about which universities they were going on to.

I managed to find a corner to settle into with my glass of wine.  It is a joke about British parties in the seventies that they all featured snacks like Twiglets and cheese footballs which tasted disgusting but people ate anyway.  That's what was on offer, however.  There were also cheese puffs, which left an orange residue on your fingers and then got on everything you touched.  There were no tortilla chips or Pringles in Britain in the seventies!

I looked around to see if there were any nice looking girls but there really weren't.  There were one or two blondes with frizzy permed hair who seemed to be attracting the attention of the pushier boys from my school.  These characters used to go down to somewhere called the Walton Hop, billed as 'Britain's first disco', which had been holding dances for teenagers since the fifties.  It took place in the Walton-on-Thames Playhouse three times a week and was very popular with teenagers.  Bus loads of them would be disgorged on dance nights into Walton's far from interesting town centre.  It was also very popular, we found out thirty years later, with gay paedophiles, including, at the time, the notorious Jonathan King.  King was a well known radio disc jockey who later had a host of TV shows on the BBC, usually on American subjects because he really, really wanted to be an American but wasn't.  He was later jailed for seven years for sex offences. I never went to the Walton Hop but many of my friends, including Mutt and Dobs did.  It was, I gather, cramped, noisy and full of sweaty teenagers of both sexes.

During what seemed like an endless evening I suddenly found a girl sitting next to me on the sofa.  I had just picked up a handful of cheese puffs and was desperate to wipe my fingers on something.  I looked at her white dress and could almost feel the orange food dye ready to leap onto her outfit.

"Dja go to the 'op?" she asked.  "Ain't seen you there!"

"No," I replied.

"It's great!  Lots of boys!" she continued.

"I'm not really looking for boys," I said, suddenly wondering if my purple velvet-effect trousers and pink shirt might have created the wrong impression.

"Nah.  Girls too! Girls like me!" she appeared to be drinking some sort of clear spirit from a white plastic cup. I assumed it wasn't water as it had a slice of lemon in it.  J's parents had banned glasses.  I told her that the building that housed the Walton Hop used to be the electricity generating building of Walton Studios, a film studios dating from the very early years of the cinema in the nineteenth century.  It had closed in 1961 but we had both seen a film on TV called the Navy Lark (1959), based on a popular radio comedy series, which had been filmed there.  She was fascinated by this, or pretended to be and I was grateful to the technician at Shepperton Studios who had told me about it.  She was very, very impressed that I had been working at the studios themselves.  I decided to practice upon her.

"That is a lovely dress!" I said, holding my hands out with spread fingers, the orange, slimy residue of cheese puffs clinging to them like engine oil. She smiled and looked pleased.

"What you drinking?" she asked.


"Don't like wine,  Like Bacardi!"  she raised her cup and I touched it with mine, leaving orange stains on my cup.   For some inexplicable reason, this girl, who was called Mandy or Chrissie or Julie or one of those other hairdressers' names, had taken a shine to me, no doubt attracted by my splendid purple, velvet-effect trousers.  She had mousy brown hair, a slim body and while not particularly pretty wasn't actually unattractive either.  She was wearing quite a lot of makeup and had turqouise eyelids. She swigged back her drink in one go and stood up, much to my relief. "Don't go away!" she said.  She asked me if I wanted more wine and I said yes.  Excellent, I thought, as she left the room, I can find something to wipe my fingers with.  I contemplated my purple thighs but thought that would be a very bad idea.  There were no paper napkins or tissues visible on the coffee table in front of me. I was wondering about using the pages of TV Times magazine, which was in one of those upright magazine racks people used to keep next to their sofas.

Unfortunately, Mandy, as we will christen her (my journal from that time just, rather dismissively, refers to her as a 'trainee hairdresser) soon returned with a bottle of something I recognised instantly as Mateus Rose, a Portuguese, sweet, slightly sparkling wine in a distinctive flask shaped bottle.  You can still buy this branded wine and I actually had some in the summer with my friend A when we decided to have a retro seventies evening and watch episodes of Charlie's Angels but they have made it less sweet than it was then and it is almost palatable now.   It was Bob Marley's favourite wine but it was also Saddam Hussein's.  My father would have turned in his grave if he had seen me drinking Mateus, however!  But there was no escape.  She filled up my cup, even though I hadn't finished the red wine I already had in it and then filled hers too. She declared that this was the best wine she had ever had and she must have been drinking the wrong stuff previously.  She sat down next to me again.  Nearly everyone else had disappeared to the dining room to dance to dreadful (as I then thought of it) punk music.

J, unusually, had espoused punk at a time when most of the rest of the boys listened to Yes, Deep Purple, Genesis, Led Zeppelin or other such groups who I had no idea what they sounded like.  He used to go to The Roxy Club in Covent Garden with the official school punk (he came to school once with a bath plug hanging from his ear (briefly)), D, who was actually related to Sigmund Freud.   D was a terrifying character and most of the other boys were scared of him.  Apart from punk and piercing his body in class with a school compass he was into martial arts and was always bringing into school rice-flails, throwing stars and other dangerous weapons, which were immediately confiscated.  At the end of every term he had to go to the staff room to retrieve a box full of confiscated stuff.  He had a terrible temper and would go into uncontrollable rages and attack people.  He did it to me once over some perceived slight but I was standing by the school dustbins so when he went for me I picked up a dustbin lid and hit him with it. He looked so surprised that I hit him again and after that he left me alone and later we used to get on quite well and had a shared interest in post-imprssionism (he was a complex character).

"Dja wanna dance?" asked Mandy.

"No," I replied quickly.

"Music's shit, innit?" she said.  Mandy, it turned out, liked disco music. Donna Summer's music was her favourite, which she found "sexy",  She wriggled her body on the sofa when she used this word.  I told her I needed to wash my hands.  "I need to pee too!" she said.  "Make room for more wine!" she brandished the bottle and waved it about like a banner over her head.  I told her I had cheese puffs on my fingers.  She grabbed my hand and sucked one of my fingers into her mouth, much to my surprise.  "So you do!" she said.

We set off together, looking for the bathroom.  J's family didn't have a loo downstairs, like we did at home, so we went up the darkened stairs where, half way up, we encountered S, from school, sat down with one of the frizzy haired blondes sat on his lap, astride his hips.  They were snogging away and we stepped carefully passed them.  S looked up at me and gave me an approving thumbs up. I thought we might escape the pounding music upstairs but it was almost as loud.  I wondered if the police might make an appearance later on, this being the school approval mark of a good party, apparently. There were four doors off the landing and they were all shut.  "Which one is the bathroom." asked Mandy  "I'm  desperate!" I did a quick assessment based on the layout of the house downstairs and pointed at the door at the end of the corridor

"That one!" I said, confidently.

"It'll be locked.  People inside doing it!" predicted Mandy, obviously knowing what went on at these sorts of parties.  It actually wasn't locked and it actually was the bathroom. "You're very clever!" she said, disappearing inside.  The cheese puff residue had dried on my hand like a crust and I couldn't wait to wash them, Mandy reappeared and I told her I would see her downstairs.  I went in and joyfully washed my hands first before having a pee as well and then washed them again.  I noted that J's parents had a very tidy bathroom compared with ours.  We had bottles of shampoo and bubble bath and stuff everywhere at home whereas they seemed to store everything neatly in the sort of plastic bathroom cabinets, with mirrored doors on them, you could buy in Johnson & Clark in Staines.

As soon as I opened the bathroom door I was surprised to find Mandy still standing outside.  "Back inside!" she ordered, pushing me back into the bathroom.  I suddenly found her pressing up against me and putting her hands around my waist.  She bolted the door behind her, turned to me and looked expectant.  This must be one of those make the first move scenarios, I reasoned, in my slightly wine befuddled state.  I put my hand behind her neck and pulled her in for a kiss. There was no introductory tentativeness.  She slipped her tongue inside my mouth from the start and put her hands on my bottom, pulling me in close.  I happily reciprocated and squeezed her bottom too.  I pushed my thigh between her legs and pressed up against her groin where I could feel a familiar heat, even through my purple, velvet-effect trousers.  "Turn the light off!" she said, disengaging from my lips briefly.  "I'm shy!"  She didn't appear very shy, I thought, but I pulled the light cord so that we were in the dark.  It wasn't that dark as it was a clear night and almost a full moon so the bathroom had some illumination. She was unbuttoning her long white dress.  She looked up at me.  "Take your clothes off!" she said

"You take them off!" I said, thinking that it solved the 'how many clothes to take off' dilemma I had had with J from Finland the previous summer.  She obviously thought that this was an excellent idea and set to on my shirt buttons.  She was now dressed just in her bra and knickers which were both white and rather lacily grown up, I thought.  I realised I had no idea how old she was but assumed that as she was working in a hairdresser's she must be more than sixteen.  As soon as she had my shirt off she started kissing my chest and stroking my back.

"You're nice and tall!" she said.  "Tallest boy here!  I like that!"  I was the second tallest boy in the school at six foot one.  These days I would be average height!

"Shoes!" I said.  We broke apart and I pulled my slip on shoes off (I didn't get on with knots) and pulled my socks off too.  She was kicking off her strappy wedge sandals which, I realised, had added at least two inches to her height.

"Lie down!"  I did so and we resumed snogging.  She stopped briefly to undo her bra and pressed her small conical breasts against me.  She had long nipples, the feel of which I was enjoying as they slid over my chest. I slipped my fingers inside her knickers and felt her soft bottom. She was writhing about on me. pressing her groin against my erection.  She reached between us and fumbled with my belt buckle but made little progress.  "Off! Get them off!" she said. I undid my belt, fly button and zip and she pulled my trousers down.  "These too!" she said, grabbing the waistband of my pants and pulling them off as well.  "Have you got a rubber johnny?" she asked, as she pulled her knickers down to reveal a darker fleece than her hair colour.

"No!"  I admitted.

"Shit! Have you ever done it?" she asked clasping my erection.  It! It! It! I thought.  Was I really going to do It for the first time on J's bathroom floor with Mandy the hairdresser?

"No!" I said.

"Me neither!" she said, climbing astride my hips. I could feel her pubic hair and her heat on my cock.  She started to rub her groin against me.  She took hold of me and pressed my cock head against her wet slit. It! It! It! I thought. At last! Now!

Somebody tried the handle of the bathroom door. We tried to ignore it. They knocked on the door. "Hurry up!" said a girl's voice.

 "Fuck off!" called out Mandy. "Piss in the garden!"

"You shouldn't be having sex in there when people need the bathroom!" said the voice.

"Just fuck off!" said Mandy again.  Whether the girl left immediately or stayed we couldn't tell, as the music from downstairs was so loud. "P'raps we shouldn't do it!" said Mandy letting go of me.  Bugger, I thought. "I know!  I could suck you off!"

"Have you ever done sixty-nine?" I asked her. I could see her face in the moonlight and a big grin appearing on her face.

"No, never!" she said.

"Spin around!" I said.  Mandy positioned herself, and started to suck me enthusiastically.  She was not a first-timer, I guessed. I placed my hands on her skinny arse and licked up the length of her hot wet parts.  She made appreciative noises and then stopped sucking me just at the point I was about to come.  She was grinding her pussy against my face so I just assumed that she wanted to concentrate on enjoying herself. I started to rub her clitoris with my finger and she started to moan and swear quite noisily, gratifyingly. She took hold of my cock with her hand and started to rub it as I lapped away at her.

"Fuckin' 'ell!" she gasped at last, my tongue tired with the effort. She paused in her grinding and then set back to work on my cock with her mouth.

"That's it!"  I said, shortly afterwards.  I felt her pop off my knob and then I came and came.  It wasn't of course, a year's worth of spunk but it felt like it and I spurted and spurted all over her chest. We stayed, frozen in place, for half a minute. Eventually she stood up, crossed the bathroom floor and reeled off some toilet paper which she wiped her chest with.  She used some on me too.

"Bucket loads!" she laughed.  "Never seen so much!" She gave me a rather tender kiss.  "You're the first bloke who made me come!" she said, rather to my surprise. "Christ, look at me lipstick!" she said switching the light on above one of the bathroom cabinets.  She tried to tidy herself up with more toilet paper while I got dressed.

When we came out of the bathroom there were, embarrassingly, about four people waiting outside but fortunately I didn't know any of them.  S and his girl had disappeared from the stairs, luckily.  Mandy and I went into the back garden which was full of snogging couples.  I sat on the dry grass but she was worried about grass stains on her white dress so she sat on my lap and we resumed our own snogging.  I slid my hand up under the hem of her dress and massaged her lacy groin until she got hot again.

I walked her home, as her house was on the way back to my home.  She told me she had had a really nice evening but she didn't offer her phone number and I didn't offer mine.  In fact, I didn't discover which house she lived in as she left me at the end of the street, no doubt deliberately.  It had been an unexpected, passionate episode but we both knew it was a one off. She kissed me goodnight, rather shyly and I set off on the remaining mile of my walk.

The following month the family had a week's holiday down in Sussex, staying in a flat belonging to a friend of my mother's.  It overlooked the sea but we didn't spend much time on the shingle beach, preferring to walk along the downs.  One of our favourite walks was down the Cuckmere River to the sea.  It is the only undeveloped river mouth in Southern England and, because of the river meanders, a favourite place for school geography trips.  One day, we arrived at the curving shingle beach on quite a hot afternoon.  We hadn't brought swimming things but quite few others were swimming, although the beach never got that crowed because it was over a mile's walk from the car park.   I left my mother and sister sitting on the beach and walked along the shingle to the river mouth.  I saw a family who had just emerged from the sea and meant to walk behind them.  As I approached the group I looked sideways just as a teenage girl, with a beach towel around her shoulders took her bikini top off to get changed.  Her breasts were perfect hemispheres, with no droop or sag at all.  She caught me looking at her, or them, to be more accurate.  I blushed.  She smiled, before covering herself with the towel.  Somewhat shocked by this unexpected display, I  hurried off along the shingle and made sure I returned behind the high bank along the beach so she wouldn't see me.  It gave me something of an erotic frisson, as much because of her smile as her magnificent bust.

That was it for my erotic experiences of 1978, though.  In September I went back to school for the senior sixth form and the last few weeks before doing the Oxford entrance exam.  A couple of days in to the more relaxed timetable we had, I found myself on the train home with Dobs, who was also applying to Oxford.

"I hear you shagged a sixteen year old over the summer!" he said, as we climbed into one of the individual compartments. I looked baffled.  "At J's party.  A hairdresser!"  J was actually the only person from school at that party who was staying on into the seventh tern at school, as he was applying to Cambridge. "Everyone's talking about it.  J's sister heard you at it in the bathroom!"  I realised that she must have been the girl who had knocked on the bathroom door.  Oh dear. I was non-committal as it became apparent that this had given me huge kudos among my schoolmates.  I didn't really want to deny it because of this but I felt I couldn't outright lie and we had nearly done it.  I really wanted to talk to O about it but he had left to go to art school.  I had to put up with a lot of ribbing from the others over the next few weeks.

"You really need a haircut.  Know anyone who could do it?  Oh, of course you do!" etc.  Hilarious.

There wasn't much hilarity when I sat down in front of the Oxford University entrance paper in the school library in October. I had applied to do law, or jurisprudence, as they pretentiously called it.  However, you had to nominate a subject that you had done at A-level for the exam and I had chosen English.  The key essay question was extraordinarily vague and I couldn't think of anything in my study of DH Lawrence, Jane Austen or Keats I could use to talk about heroism (I think it was). In despair but knowing I had a guaranteed place at Southampton University, I wrote an essay on the barbarian ethic of Conan, mixed in with stuff about science fiction magazines of the nineteen thirties, Arthur C Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey and gave it up as a bad job,  I wished I had chosen history to do my exam in, instead.

I was, therefore, completely staggered to be invited up for interview at the end of November.  I had chosen my college for two reasons: it had twice as many law places as any other college and it was 50% female.  Until the year I started, all but four colleges were either men or women only.  Having been at an all boys school and discovered girls I couldn't bear the thought of single sex again.  In fact, that year, most of the men's and one women's college went mixed but it certainly wasn't a fifty/fifty intake. Dobs did best, as he applied to the one girls college which went mixed that year and found he was one of twenty boys amidst 350 girls.

Arriving at my chosen college for interview, I discovered. much to my horror, that my college had so many law places because it was the best college for law in the university.  There were dozens and dozens of candidates all chasing around 10 places.  The odds did not look good. I couldn't even look around the town as the weather was horrible.  It poured with rain solidly for the three days the process took.  We were all stuffed into the rooms of existing students all day to await the call for interview.  These students, who seemed to  do nothing but constantly smoke, drink beer and listen to terrible heavy metal. were starting to get on my nerves.  I now knew, given all the other swotty types there, who seemed to have all arranged jobs at courts or law firms in their year off, that I had no chance.  I was given an interview at another college which I duly went to.  The others said that meant my college didn't want me so my interview would be at the end and they would just go through the motions.

There was another candidate there, a girl with long red hair and rather unfortunate blue framed spectacles, who seemed as uncomfortable as I was, among all the tweed jacket wearing super-keen candidates.  We naturally gravitated towards each other. as everyone else had their interviews and went home and we were left, looking at the rain spattering the leaded glass windows, while Mr Beardy third year played albums by someone called Alvin Lee.  Having checked the board for interviews that morning and not found our names again, I suggested we go out for a cup of tea outside college.  This we found in the Covered Market, where we sat and both derided the other ghastly candidates and decided that we didn't want to study with them anyway.

We both had our interviews on the last afternoon.  The others had been right, the three tutors did not grill me on the law but chatted about what makes a balanced society and mentioned my Conan themed essay with much amusement.  The hour was soon up and I left the room to find, the redhead, C standing there looking as sick as I felt.  I squeezed her hand and told her she would be fine. I met her briefly afterwards and she confirmed everything I suspected about my interview, as hers had been entirely about the law.

We did not exchange contact details and, I confess, I did not think about her again after that, as she was remarkably plain, from Birmingham and I had no idea where that was.  Somewhere up north.  So, that was it.  I now had ten months before I would start at Southampton. But now I needed a job to earn some money.