From the age of 15 up to 19, I used to undertake voluntary work down the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway (LBNGR). This was a society my dad volunteered for, and I started by assisting in the kitchen makings teas, coffees and meals for all the volunteers during the autumn/winter months when the railway was closed to the visiting public. The initial reason for volunteering was because I was working towards my Queens Guide (which I did achieve). Once the requisite voluntary hours had been completed, however, I enjoyed working there so much that I continued and moved onto working on the trains and doing such activities as cleaning the engines, flagging at roads, etc.
The LBNGR also gave me an outlet for socialising, and many a sunday evening was spent chatting and having a laugh down the local pub following a good day’s work on the railway. Sometimes my dad would come, other times he would come and pick me up…..I had quite a nice circle of friends who would look after me, especially considering that I wasn’t old enough to drink for the first few years. The LBNGR became like a 2nd family to me.
As is fairly normal of teenagers, I had a bit of a crush on one or two of the male volunteers. The males concerned were older than me but were very pleasant and kind, and we all generally had a great laugh. Nothing improper ever occurred, predominantly because of my young age (I was quite innocent!), and also because on reflection, they did not reciprocate my crush…… I knew this at heart, but we can all dream!
The LBNGR also has a number of social functions for its members and family/friends which included an annual disco. This became a bit of a family event and we all went a few years running.
Unfortunately Janine (my character from previous blogs) would also attend these events. Janine had a very high opinion of herself and would flirt mercilessly with any male who afforded her the slightest bit of attention. As I have already commented, I felt substantially inferior anyway, especially in the looks department, due to the constant little digs I would receive from Janine and another character I will introduce called Veruca Salt. Suffice to say, I would follow such interactions and look on helplessly.
Some time after I stopped working down the LBNGR, Janine took the opportunity to advise me – with a fair amount of spite and malice, I might add – that one of the male objects of my affection at the LBNGR had never been remotely interested in me, and that while I had been wasting my time pining after him, he was having sexual relations (or ‘having it off/away” I think is the terminology she used!), with one of the other females down there!! This was a female who I was good friends with at the time.
I’m not too sure why Janine chose to tell me such facts…….it wasn’t pertinent to my life at the time bearing in mind I no longer worked down the LBNGR and would have been leading my own life in a totally unconnected relationship. Based on my extremely protracted and relatively unfavourable experience of Janine, I can only assume I had dared to utter a word or opinion which had piqued her scorn; scorn which I had been subjected to on numerous occasions previous to this event, and for many years after………
……….a scorn which many other persons have been on the receiving end of (I have seen and heard this), and which many people still continue to take, whether due to fear or complete cowardice.
Fortunately, I have seen the light; both my fear and cowardice have at long last flown the nest!!