I’ve had a fear of cheese for exactly 58-years now (I’m writing this on 5th April 2022, the day I turned 65).
My parents had thrown a party in our Balham flat when I was seven. Twenty kids all in one small lounge, together with two heavy smokers and an assortment of matches and lighters scattered like cushions in a Habitat furniture display. What could possibly go wrong?
One lad at my school at the party was very susceptible to nose-bleeds – they were so regular, if we’d been allowed watches, you could have set your time by him. Of course, during a very competitive Postman’s knock, my mate’s nose began to bleed. The flat turned into the set of Emergency! Ward 10 as my mother’s Bracklesham Bay tea towel quickly became a tourniquet. Several of the guests (can you call seven-year-olds guests?) thought this was real life “doctors and nurses” and had replaced the much-promised Pass the parcel round.
Not content with the salmon and chicken paste sandwiches, I asked my mother for a cheese sandwich. When it arrived, I decided I didn’t want it; my mother made me eat it and my relationship with Camembert; Edam or even a Dairylea triangle ended on that fateful April 1964 afternoon.
Still, everyone got cake and an item of stationery (as one did in those days), although my mum got the rubber order wrong, thus avoiding many young pregnancies.