Wednesday 2 July 1986

…The people who were involved with the scrap in the boy’s changing room got told off by Mr Colton [the headmaster].
Instead of doing the spelling test we did a quiz today. Yippeee…

The end was in sight. Just three more days and school would be closed for eight weeks.

Yes, eight whole weeks.

We had long summer holidays in Leicestershire, thanks to a local tradition for factory workers to take the first two weeks of July as leave.

The “July fortnight”, as it was informally known, meant schools shut their gates earlier than much of the rest of the country. But they remained closed all the way through to the end of August, in order to reopen at the same time that the academic year began across the whole of the UK.

In turn, we had shorter half-term breaks than everyone else.

All of this meant, for me and me classmates, two massive months of holiday. At the time, this felt impossible to quantify. With my cliche hat firmly planted on my head, I can state that back then summers did indeed feel never-ending.

Today’s extract suggests some of my fellow pupils were already a touch demob-happy.

A dose of punishment from the headmaster was the most serious form of reprimand at my primary school, short of being sent home. In this instance the telling off was particularly potent, coming as it did from a man who was actually about to leave for another post in another town. He clearly wished to maintain his authority all the way until hometime on the very last day.

As for the scrap in the changing room, I have a memory of it being to do with something appallingly juvenile and tasteless. I don’t think anyone actually got seriously hurt, but I’m glad, as I was then, I had nothing to do with it.

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