I was the butt of a number of cruel and unpleasant jokes. I gave Penny one last try, in my bedroom while my mum and dad were at the town hall watching a local dramatic society interpretation of Toad Hall: I used a degree of force that would have outraged and terrified an adult female but got nowhere, and when I walked her home we hardly spoke. I was offhand with her the Weekend Forecast Ballet With No Chance Of House Cleaning Or Cooking Shirt next time we went out, and when she went to kiss me at the end of the evening, I shrugged her off. What’s the point? I asked her. It never goes anywhere.