I got mine in the broom cupboard of the Fraters’ residence in Waterlooville, back in ’72. I was a shy boy of eighteen, not well-versed in the ways of the flesh, having been educated at a boys’ only private school in Bournemouth.
Mr Frater was a friend of my father’s, and had made a pile on the back of some shrewd investments in coal and steel. The occasion was a dinner party organised by Mrs Frater, a nervous woman with a laugh like a jackal's.
My mother expressed the view that it would ‘do me good’ to mix with friends of the Fraters, and packed me off with an overnight case to their house. This was a large, rambling affair which backed on to the golf course, where Mr Frater conducted much of his business.
That gentleman gave my green herringbone jacket and brown strides a disapproving look, ‘I hope you’re going to dress for dinner,’ he said.
I did have one of my father’s boiled shirts, striped trousers and bow tie in my case, so I nodded my acquiescence.
The large lounge had been emptied of furniture and served as a dance floor. The table in the dining room seated a dozen people and was laid for dinner. The Fraters had hired a cook and a waiter to prepare and serve the meal.
‘I want you to meet our daughter Daphne,’ said Mrs Frater, ‘I know you’ll have a lot in common.’
Daphne was no spring chicken – rising thirty, I should say, but she was bouncy as a kangaroo with her long nose, keen eyes, strong legs and sunburned face.
‘How do you do?’ I said, politely.
Daphne screamed with laughter.
‘He wants to know how I do, mother. Isn’t he quaint?’
She pinched my cheek which left a mark that lasted for days.
I was seated next to Daphne at dinner. She drank a bottle of Medoc during the meal whilst I sipped a glass of Perrier water.
‘Let’s dance, Tommy,’ she said, afterwards, odd, because my name is Julian.
We swayed round the dance floor with a slightly intoxicated Daphne trying to get inside my shirt.
‘Come with me,’ she whispered after the dancing finished.
I followed her meekly, not knowing what she had in mind. It soon became clear. We ascended a long staircase with Daphne holding my hand in a vice-like grip. We walked along a dark passage until we reached a room into which Daphne threw me and then she jumped on top of me.
It was David against Goliath. I tried to fight her off, but it was hopeless. She was strong as a bison. I flung out my arm to fend her off and knocked a bucket off the shelf onto my head, which made me too dizzy to fight on.
After twenty minutes wrestling, I disentagled myself, went into my room, packed my case, left a note for Mr Frater, walked to the station and caught the last train home.
© R.T. Hardwick