The sun is shining. The cat is stretched out asleep on the warm stones of the balcony. I am wondering if I haven't been a little too negative in the things I have written about school. I get up, walk through the sunshine and say to the cat: "No, I am not against school. There were some happy times." And the memory of one of them floods back.
When I was six and seven I was at a little school in Manchester: the St John's Church of England Infants School. It was quite a long time ago, in the days when children were given free milk in glass bottles with paper straws in the morning break and the toilets were outside in the playground. At the end of the school day all the other kids would noisily jostle out and head off home. I would walk down the corridor to another classroom where my mother was the teacher. There I would wait for a quarter of an hour or so while she tidied up after the day that had just ended or prepared for the day that was to follow. I would sit on one of the pupil's chairs or wander around the room and walk over to the large windows and stand and look out at the empty playground. Stillness and quiet lay everywhere like some huge warm blanket that one could hide under to escape the cold. Those were happy times.