When I was still at school the worst day of the year was when someone from the medical profession visited the school. Either they would be there to do a general examination of all students or they were there to administer inoculations.

The second worst day of the school year was the day allocated for the taking of photographs. I remember in one particular year when I was in high school. It was August (which is of course the windiest month of the whole year). The staff summoned two classes at a time. Every class had to line up from the shortest student to the tallest. I remember this particular year because it felt like we waited an hour for the class preceding us to have their photo taken. When we were finally allowed into the hall being used for the taking of the photos my cheeks and lips were red and aching from the blast of the wind and my hair was in a mess.

The photographer was making all these stupid jokes to get the students in a pleasant relaxed mood but it did not work for me – it just irritated me because I wanted it over and done with. Now for the reason why I hated the photo taking so much (apart from the fact that I am not photogenic). The shortest students sat on chairs, then the next row’s students would stand behind those sitting on the chairs, the next row of students would have to stand on a wooden bench, then because I was always the tallest in my class I would have to climb onto a bench place on top of another bench and then I must walk to the centre of the bench so that I would be in the middle back row of the photo. I dreaded this because as students climbed onto the stacked benches and walked along it the benches would rock and feel very unstable.

Then we had to look relaxed and comfortable and smile. The photographer said “say whiskey” and we said “whiskey” then he snapped the photo. Well the terror on my face was clearly visible and printed at the end of the year in our school year book.