The slipper at mealtime

Mealtimes were the cause for most of the friction between my mother and I as a boy. I was a fussy eater, you see, and whined incessantly about being forced to eat the hated vegetables on my plate. Cabbage, brussel sprouts, spinach, suede, turnip, parsnip, beetroot, cauliflower; I loathed them all with a passion (and still do today as a 28-year-old man). Mum was goaded by my brattish complaining and felt justified, I think, in spanking me into compliance.

The memory that is most deeply imprinted on my psyche was when I was about 10 years old. We were sharing our dinner table at home one evening with another family, who were friends. In addition to my parents and my younger sister, there were two girls with their parents. One girl was a year older than me and the other was a year younger.

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