Tuesday, 22 June 2010


We had a party at the weekend and my sister came to stay.  My sister is quite one off - very practical and no nonsense.  She casually told me that she had been in Waif's room and read her diary, and that Waif was being bullied at her old school just before and during the start of her AN:   I first noticed her losing weight rapidly in early 2009, tooke her to the GP in June 2009 and started at the Maudsley in September 2009.  I am afraid to confess that I now have also read the diary.  I know many of my readers will think that I have invaded Waif's privacy, and I have.  If it is any comfort, I have not read her recent diary, just the one my sister pointed to from Autumn 2008.  Waif had left it out on her bed so perhaps she wanted someone to find it.

My blood is boiling!  How dare a bunch of 12 year olds  - one in particular - pick on my kind, sweet, fragile Waif and make her life miserable to the point where she stopped eating?  It's heartbreaking.  I am SOOOO glad she is out of there.

Funnily enough, I had met the girl in question only once and had had such a strong feeling of disgust at her (I know that is a strong emotion to feel about a 12 year old but is not overstating the point) that I phoned the Headmistress a few days after and explained that Waif would be sitting the entrance exam for boarding school for Year 9.  My husband thought I was over-reacting and shouldn't mention the appalling behaviour at Waif's party.  In fact he wouldn't let me name names even when the HM asked for them.

So, some background.  Waif  is amongst the youngest in her year, having an August birthday.  On her twelfth birthday in 2008 she had a party here at our house.  The idea was some games and tea in the garden with a lot of her class - she didn't want anyone to feel left out through not being invited and, as it was the middle of the Summer holidays, we banked on about half of the class being away leaving a manageable party of about 12 girls.

As expected, about half of the girls, including Beatrice (not her real name) came along.  Many of them I had I had not met before as it was only the end of Waif's first year at the school and they live all over London.  I was firstly shocked by the NOISE that they made, and I am used to large groups of children, having been a teacher for a few years before I went back to law.

Beatrice speaking was more like a foghorn and she spoke rudely across all the others.  Her volume and size alone made her intimidating, as did also her hostile manner.   She commanded the swing seat in the garden as she held forth to her court, paying no attention to organised games or her hostess's wish to have a party.

I handed out food in the garden on paper plates.  There were not many thank-yous.  They then had ice lollies and threw the wrappers, paper plates and leftovers over our lawn without, seemingly, any concern whatsoever.  I am not really getting across the full atmosphere here of general hostility and presence.  Anyway, they were being so loud and so lively, and being all 12 and living next to the park, I decided to send them off out for half an hour to blow off some steam.  As they were so unruly, I asked my husband to go keep an eye on them whilst I cleared up.

He followed them at a distance with the dog but was forced to intervene when Beatrice, and some lackeys, started shouting "You're a chav, you're a chav" to strangers in the park, quite possibly putting themselves in danger as well as being appallingly rude.  These are all wealthy, supposedly well brought up girls.

He went up to them and told them to stop at which point Beatrice started loudly shouting "Rape! Rape!" at the top of her voice in the middle of the crowded Royal Park in London.  This was her host!!!  My husband is a man not many would mess with.  At 6ft 4 he has real presence.  I could truly not imagine what it must be like to be in class with this girl with less imposing teachers.  I reasoned that you would have to decide to be with her or against her, and either would be a difficult choice.  Waif's class was forever being put into detention at school for the setting off of fire alarms, leaving a turd (FFS) on the teacher's chair etc etc.  The problem with Beatrice is that she was also very smart and able to slide out of the firing line for blame.

Anyway, after this party in August 2008, I decided that Waif should sit for boarding school for Autumn 2009 as her name had been down anyway for years.

This is the entry from Waif's diary on 30.09.08.  Remember she is just 12.

Today wasn't really anything special...I have decided that I really want to go to boarding school.  By mistake my PE shirt in basketball was undone 3 buttons (I was wearing a vest!) and Beatrice goes "Waif, take you and your boobies elsewhere."

I am not the type of person to get offended by remarks or anything like that.  It's just that it's SOOOOO embarrassing because everyone burst out laughing.

But then again, I think of the two closest friends I have ever had: Lucy and Emma and I wonder if it's worth it, missing two of the main people in my life, not even mentioning my family I will miss when I board.......but I guess sometimes evil rules over good and bullies win.  When I start at boarding school I plan to make a fresh start with new friends and NO enemies."

I find this heartbreaking!   My lovely, kind girl contemplating wrenching herself away from friends and family just to escape the likes of Beatrice making her life a misery.  I am half inclined to send Waif's diary to the Headmistress.

Anyway, in case the time line is not clear, Waif took the entrance exam in February 2009.  I had no doubts she would get in as she is exceptionally bright.  But it was not to be - there turned out to be only one boarding place available in Year 9 for a girl and it went to another child who did better than her in French.  She was French.

This is when Waif began rapidly to lose weight.  She also expressed a desire to go to ANY school apart from the one she was at.  The school she was at is fantastic academically (top ten in the country in some tables) and although I questioned her repeatedly, she refused to tell me that she was unhappy there so my husband and I kept her there, wanting stability.  I can kick myself now!!!  I can't believe we didn't listen to her more carefully, or that she didn't feel she could talk to me about her unhappiness  :-(    Of course, I was working back then so my eye was also not properly on the ball.  I started my sabbatical in late September 2009 and, if you have been following my blog, you will know that almost the first thing I did was find Waif a new school.  By then her weight had slipped to 35kg and I was desperate to do/ try anything, and thought that she probably wouldn't be at any school for much longer, but in hospital.  Why did I let it get to that stage????

But mainly my anger is directed at that poisonous girl Beatrice.  I am certain she has many redeeming features (who doesn't?) and does not realise the havoc that she causes to a lot of children at that school, but even so....grrrrrrrr...

Oh, at the end of the party, I decided to say something to Beatrice's mother when she picked her up.  An hour after the end of the party, still her lift had not arrived.  I was watering outside the front of the house - half keeping an eye out for parents, when an idiot drove far too fast down our road, music blaring, skidded to a halt, reversed rapidly and mounted the pavement.  I was appalled, and then shocked as the man who stepped out of the car said he was there to pick up Beatrice.  I saw that there was no point mentioning her behaviour to him of all people.


  1. This is my first comment, although I have been a follower for some months. What I find most revealing about your post is that Waif 'failed' the exam that would have provided her escape route from the bullying. Some of your previous followers have mentioned triggers for their own illnesses and I wonder if this event might have been the trigger for Waif, especially given her focus her academic performance? By the way, I have huge admiration for your courage and determination in helping Waif to recover and I keep hoping for good news for you.

  2. Don't blame yourself about the schools - I went through much misery and exclusion by other girls before, after my anorexia had begun, I was eventually moved - you have done an amazing job to take time off work to be there for her now and you could not have known fully what was going on. Children have no idea of the misery they can cause.