DEAR reader, I am afraid I have a confession:

I went off on holiday and got lost in the 19th Century.

You know that time when the height of sophistication was speaking French and playing a little piano? Well, I'm there.

It started when I got stuck into the 1847 novel Jane Eyre.

My dad was ready to ship a tonne of books to the charity shop when I spotted the tatty cover of Charlotte Bronte's classic and couldn't resist unpacking the box to see what other gems I could find.

Such is the problem with a family of mild hoarders that nothing ever gets thrown out.

Anyway, since I'd forgotten my current book I started reading the tale of the orphaned wee girl and now I'm enthralled.

Apart from adapting my language to the quirky side - I'll find any excuse, indeed, to use handsomely in a sentence - it's making me seriously compare the time period to ours.

To be honest I've never read any classics, I always thought they'd be a bit stuffy, so this is a revelation to me.

In fact, the only book I remember reading at school is...oh, wait, I've no idea.

It's ridiculous that I can't remember a single paperback I read during my education. What was I doing? Probably best not to delve too much into that.

It does make me think, though, that our Jane got a better education in her charity orphan school than I did. Sure, there was poverty, sickness and death, but the principles of learning seemed solid.

At least Jane is a master of practical chores, like sewing and scrubbing floors. I'm afraid I can't even fix a hem without Wundaweb. And she was encouraged to be creative, with painting, reading and poetry.

Yes, she may have had to put up with an awful aunt, truly terrible cousins, cold baths, teachers that bullied her senseless and running around after posh twits, but the romantic heroine was content.

I am only half way through the book and we're just getting to the Mr Rochester stages, which could release her discontentment.

Still, her self discipline remains intact and that's something we could all learn from.

Jane never had inappropriate flings or ate junk food - she didn't have the chance right enough. She learned to keep her loud mouth under control, although I did enjoy her outbursts of cheek in her childhood.

In those times respect was valued and people really thought about how they spoke to others. We can't say the same today.

As we approach the school prom season I've been hearing about parents shelling out thousands of pounds for outfits and pink limos.

We should make it compulsory for pupils to read 19th Century literature to make us less bratty. It might have worked for me.