16mmprojectorMr Morgan, the headmaster of our boarding school, was a bit of a film enthusiast, he owned a 16mm sound projector and once a fortnight he would treat us to a film evening. The films that he acquired, rented I suppose, were always a bit dull, well they were to me. With the ages of the boys ranging from eight to thirteen they always seemed to be pitched for his enjoyment rather than ours. I remember being bored mindless with The Three Cavaliers, a film which even as an adult I found tedious. There were others equally uninteresting but occasionally there’d be a good one, cartoons were always welcome. Christmas was approaching and we had been promised a surprise for the last film evening of the term, but were not told what it was to be.

On the evening of the show the school desks were moved around the edge of the room and some desks put on top of others. The oldest boys sat up on top, the mid range ones, my age, sat cross-legged on the desktops and the youngest ones in chairs at floor level. It was mighty uncomfortable sitting on the desktop cross-legged for anything up to three hours, your bum became numb in no time, especially if you had little padding like me.

In my excitement at the prospect of a special film I forgot to go to the toilet to relieve myself before we assembled for the show. We settled down in preparation and one boy piped up “Can I go the toilet sir?” then another, and yet another until Mr Morgan said “You boys should have gone to the toilet before you came in here, if anyone else asks now, they can go out and stay out”. Well, that did it, I needed to go but also didn’t want the embarrassment of being forced to miss the film so thought I’d be able to hold on until it finished. The evening meal’s drink hadn’t yet started to work its way through though and before long I was becoming extremely uncomfortable.

BambiI have no real recollection of what film we watched, although Bambi comes into my mind, all my thoughts were concentrated on keeping the liquid that needed to be expelled from an untimely release. Even when the reel was changed I still couldn’t pluck up enough courage to ask to leave the room as I was terrified of Mr Morgan. I guess I was constantly wriggling as one of the older boys above whispered to keep still but the situation was now becoming extremely urgent, hanging on to myself did no good whatsoever and I began to wonder what would happen when eventually I’d have to let go; hopefully there’d be enough thickness in my short trousers and underpants to soak it all up and I despairingly waited for the inevitable.

The relief when I could contain it no longer was unbelievable, it was hot as it gushed from my body in a forceful stream, I could feel it soaking upwards as far as my vest and also my bottom was becoming warm; a horrible thought suddenly flashed through my mind, what if it started dripping off the edge of the desk and formed a puddle on the floor, then I’d be in for it. Thankfully though it didn’t, as it seemed to be absorbed and contained within my clothing, now all I had to do was devise a tactic to get into my dormitory before anyone noticed I’d wet myself or saw the damp patch on the surface of the desk. After what seemed an age as I was beginning to shiver in my cold and clinging clothes, the unremembered film finally came to a conclusion.

teabreaktitleUsually after a film we’d go to the dining room for a drink and biscuits before bed but on this occasion I dashed into the dormitory to change and take off my wet clothing before anyone could see. “You’ve wet yourself haven’t you?” the boy who had been sitting next to me accused as I bolted past him, I had of course, but didn’t answer, I just hoped no-one else had heard that remark. Thankfully clean pants and vest were always available in my bedside locker and also the spare grey shorts were there that we used for outside play activities, but how was I going to dry my soaking clothes? Perhaps if I put them under my mattress they might dry, it would also keep them hidden as I wouldn’t have wanted them to be discovered.

In the morning I pulled on my clean vest and pants and put on my shorts, perhaps it would not be noticed they were my old ones. I checked my clothes were drying under the mattress and left them, surely no one would discover them there. I guess I must have smelled awful as I hadn’t washed my body, but not one person said anything and the day passed without incident. Later, at bedtime, I checked under my mattress to see if my clothes were dry and was horrified to discover they’d gone, but I found them soon after clean and dry in my locker; I’d been found out, now there’d be trouble.

It never came though, I guess matron thought I’d suffered enough already and the incident was never mentioned; I was eleven years old and deeply ashamed that I’d wet myself.