As I was lying in bed this morning in that dozy state of half consciousness, I was thinking about my fuss free cheesecake recipe and how easy it is to make, when out of nowhere it seems, an image of Miss Mizen popped into my head. This middle-aged spinster was my domestic science teacher at grammar school. She was very prim and proper, always dressed in twin-set and pearls and a just below the knee tweed skirt, Her strawberry blonde hair was always set in the same style, with not a hair out-of-place. In fact this phenomenon was the subject of much conjecture amongst my school friends and I, and the general consensus was that it had to be a wig. Children can be so cruel, can’t they?
I had chosen Domestic Science as a subject because I thought it would be easier than learning all those dates which are required for History, or mastering those dreaded contour maps and capital cities in order to pass in Geography. Our weekly lessons were held in a fair-sized lab furnished with long wooden tables, the tops of which were bleached almost white by countless years of ardent scrubbing by past students, trying to earn the approval of generations of Miss Mizens. The cooking part of the class always finished well ahead of time, as we had to wash pots and pans and then make those tables absolutely spotless before we were allowed to leave. It was the last class of the day on a Friday, so it was imperative that all this was achieved in double-quick time. Five minutes before the ‘get out of jail’ bell rang, we would all be seated in our allotted places, holding our breath whilst she swept down to inspect the sink and cooking area, and then very slowly, with cat-like tread in her brown leather brogues, she would walk around to each table making sure that not a speck of flour or grease was visible to her hawk-like gaze.
At breakfast on the day in question, our mom had opened a new box of Kelloggs Cornflakes and in those days, all cereal packets contained a little plastic toy or novelty. My sister and I used to take it in turns to lay claim to these prize items and as soon as the packet was opened, would dig around to find what was in there. It was usually right near the bottom of course. Anyway, my find on this particular day, was a navy blue plastic ink blot, such an innocuous and unexciting bit of rubbish, but I slipped it into my blazer pocket before leaving for school.
Maybe some of you can guess what is coming next, and yes you’re right. As soon as Miss Mizen had passed my table on her way to the kitchen area, a little devil got into me and I surreptitiously slipped the plastic ink blot which was very realistic, onto the table in front of me. To this day, I can’t believe that timid little me, who looked like butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth, was brave enough to do such a dastardly deed.
As she slowly walked along doing her inspection, my heart was pounding with anticipation and dread, but I just couldn’t bring myself to remove it before she got to me. I just had to see her reaction, whatever the consequences may be. Well, she exploded in a frenzy of shock and disbelief that someone should be so mean as to desecrate her beloved white-wood table with a big ink stain. Her face went as red as a tomato, and I was afraid she was going to have an apoplectic fit, so to calm her down, I nonchalantly picked up the offending piece of plastic and popped it back into my pocket. The room was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. None of my fellow pupils dared to laugh, but I just couldn’t wipe the smirk off my face. She didn’t punish me, as I hadn’t really done anything wrong, but needless to say, I wasn’t her favourite pupil and didn’t pass with flying colours at the end of the year. She didn’t see the funny side at all and I’m sure she never forgave me. It’s odd the things that stick in your mind for decades. I can’t remember one thing I ever made in her class, except for baked apples with raisins and lots of syrup, and I only remember this, because on the bus going home, the syrup leaked out of the dish, all over the seat next to me. I felt really sorry for the next passenger who would come and sit in that seat after I got off.
This post is in reply to my friend Sidey’s weekend theme, ‘Amusing Consequences’.