I went to a church school - The Blessed Sacrament. It was about a mile away and my mother walked be there, walked me back home for lunch and then back again for the afternoon session. It was a boring walk but I don’t remember complaining. Sometimes it rained, but the walk always remained the same: grey streets and grey skies, and neat but grubby red-bricked houses.
My earliest memory of school was an art class. Our first. I was about six and itching with excitement. On our desks was a great sheet of white paper and small box of paints. The teacher turned to the blackboard and began drawing a series of neat, pointy things. They looked like triangles, but without a base. I saw what she intended immediately and within moments the brush was in my hand and I was painting fir trees furiously. I intended upon a large blue lake in the foreground, but it was not to be.
A silence enveloped the room and, looking up, I saw the teacher staring down at me. I didn’t like the look on her face and she didn’t like mine, or my fir trees. She grabbed me by the ear and walked me to the back of the class where I was forced to sit and watch everyone else copy her drawing on the board: a grey street of red bricked houses.