September 11th has, in recent years, been associated with only one thing. For about 30 years, though, it was known simply as ‘The day Richard started school with a broken arm’.
I have to be honest and say that, out of everyone I know and have ever known, I can only think of one person who would be more likely to start school with a broken arm than I would (and Paul absolutely trumped it by getting mugged by a nun at the Reading Festival) so it should come as no surprise to anyone that my education began this way.
Roe Green School in Kingsbury, London, was the place chosen to provide my early years of schooling and I have nothing bad to say about the place. In fact, my memories of the place are limited to a dim memory of my classroom, slightly better ones of the school hall and the dining room, and a very vivid one of the medical room. Of which more later, inevitably.
All I can remember of my first day is being in the school hall and meeting a teacher, possibly the head teacher. My left arm was encased in plaster of paris and supported by a sling, and apparently I told the teacher that I was only going to write in capital letters because that is how my Grandad wrote – which was true, the only time I ever knew him to write in any other way was on a cheque that he once gave me to buy some trousers for scouts (scouts being another spectacularly wasted opportunity among many in my life).
My first day at school. I probably should remember it better than I do. On the other hand, I already had a reason to remember it, I probably didn’t need to worry about the details.