For some children, boarding school is a wonderful, exciting, character-building adventure. For others, it can be a living hell, punctuated with homesickness, bullying, bedwetting and the odd randy junior house master.
For those who struggle with the separation from mummy and daddy, and the arrival at a cold, dark and forboding boarding school, the following is intended as a guide to beating the boarding school blues.
1. Forget about rushing to phone mummy every afternoon after school. She won't be there. For that matter, neither will daddy. They have packed up and moved house. Why else do you think they sent you away? Didn't you notice the train ticket was 'one way'?
2. Don't worry about the bedwetting. It's the warmest, cosiest sensation you will ever experience again.
3. Chill out. That third year boy who rubs himself against you in the breakfast queue is only trying to be friendly. Rub him back.
4. Don't be afraid. It is necessary to bare your arse for corporal punishment. Think of the wear and tear your trousers would otherwise suffer. Besides, Mr Tickler always offers to rub some baby lotion into the welts.
5. Trust in Matron. She really does know what she is doing. If you didn't already know, Witch Hazel does cure all ailments known to man. For those that are not known, there is Cod Liver Oil.
6. Don't let the bullying and physical abuse from older boys bother you. You'll soon realise it is just mini rugby and a preparation for the real game.
7. Don't worry about old Mr Ponce. He likes nothing better than to have you sit on his knee and read to him, whilst he strokes your inner thighs. That you are anything up to 18 years old is of little concern.
8. Learn to love your table monitor. He only makes you eat all eight servings of the liver casserole and tapioca pudding because he is concerned for your dietary welbeing.
9. Learn to smoke as soon as you can. Every sixth former will be your friend for an occasional B&H.
10. Don't ever worry about getting a bad school report. Your parents will never read it. The school doesn't know where to send it to, do they?