As a child of eight years old I had understood that my life would not lead the normal road as I stood at the arrivals gate waiting to be collected by a guardian who had been empowered to take me to my first school up in the most northern part of north Norfolk.
The son of a soldier can be schooled in one of two ways, he can either have the school changing every two to three years or he can be placed in a government subsidized establishment, where he will find the stability among children of his own age in the same boat. My parents went for the second option where school was to be my home and family life was to be the holidays.
My early school life passed with out too many miss happenings or major tangents off the required line of growing up, even though the memories of crying myself to sleep after a “Wellington boot beating” will stay with me, forced to the back of my mind after the pain had subsided.
Sadly the head master needed to wear glasses and when I was called down to his office one night for going to the piss in my next-door neighbours sick bowl I knew that my time had come, as the matrons deafening voice ploughed its way through the corridors with my name being pushed before it. The pain when the patterned boot hits your backside is bearable, but when the head master has to get out of bed to administer the judgement and punishment, while forgetting to wear his glasses the pain levels will rise! Impact with my lower back was the end of the story, his aim a bit off, leaving the marks of passage from my bottom to my lower spine. Six of the best, that classic number from the devil him self, four correct and two high shots were the dealt punishment for so small a crime.
Leaving prep school as head boy where the highlight of the final summer was coming last in the British school boys (under 13 years) 200m at Crystal Palace, I thought that I had made it, only to be thrown into the bottom of the pit, as the system “nipping” came into action as I started my adventure through the teenage years at one of England’s finest public schools.
The system of punishment was at last changing; all I had to do now was to run around the school grounds carrying a bench above my head, how the world changes with a little imagination! But life went on for the n.i.p’s (none important person), working your way up to the top is part of life, so it was time to do it again.