When I was little earwigging on my mum’s talk with her neighbours she would say her “friend had come”.  And I used to think, what friend? Later seeing washing lines of dusters(?) on those neighbour’s lines I was told they were for your friend.

Later again I was given a little book to read, in private, about our “friend” along with a suspender belt and access to the secret store of Dr Whites pads.

On the day it was a shock to see the blood but I had friends who had started earlier so we had talked. Wearing that enormous dragging pad felt like freedom lost  but having to burn them on our fire, in secret from my dad and wrapped in newspaper made me feel I was in a world he didn’t know. I knew I had moved on somehow but it was private.