Primary school

My deliriously happy primary school days

I remember my first day at South Benfleet County Primary School with rare clarity. My mother left me at the school gate and I hadn’t been in the playground five minutes when a supervising woman trotted up to me, suspended me in the air by my arm, and slapped my leg, hard. Apparently I ought to have stood still at the first blast of her whistle and lined up at the second. But no one had told me the drill. While everyone else stood stock-still, I had remained in motion. Her anger and unhesitating violence surprised, then shocked me. You might argue that I learned everything I needed to know