Saturday, 18 October 2014


. . . the headteacher of Wimborne Grammar School (or Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School I think they called it . . . founded in the time of the first Liz so you can imagine the historic pride we were supposed to feel) was "Neddy" Neil, an effete Cambridge chap, who taught me philosophy in the lower 6th . . . the school was actually run by a sergeant major type called Joe Kerswell, with whom you did not mess . . . as for the philosophy, I remember two quotes: to thine own self be true and follow the argument wherever it leads you . . . I thought they were ancient Greek, but the first appears to be Shakespeare and not presented as a rule for living, since the words were given to Lucretius, who seems not to have been intended as an heroic role model . . . whatever, they resonated with me and confirmed my growing suspicion that my school days were over, so I spent a week or so having an existential crisis at home . . . Dad, who had always of necessity worked hard and elevated that need to a principle called Protestant Work Ethic, gave me the option of returning to my studies or getting a job and paying my way . . . within a week I found myself holding a pole for surveyors on the new road Wimpeys were building from Ringwood to Bournemouth . . . last time I looked, the road was still there, so I must have held the pole pretty straight . . . a month or two later I went off to Scotland to work at the Breadalbane Arms in Aberfeldy and some time after that set off on my first adventure, to Spain and Morrocco . . . of which more later . . .

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