Was sent this photo today by Sam Hunt, who lives in Somerset, showing the denizens of Glencot preparatory school, near Wookey Hole, sometime early in the 1960s. He is third from right, third row; my brother Gray, who would eventually become Head Boy, eightth from the left, front row; and I am seventh from right in the back row.
The school teetered between periods of intense learning (which I badly needed after weak schooling in Ireland and Cyprus) and, alternately, Harry Potter, Gormenghast and Lord of the Flies.
The headmaster, shown here with the adults, the Anthony Eden face and pocket handkerchief, was eventually committed to an asylum – which would have come as no great surprise to those of us who he routinely subjected to canings that wouldn’t have been out of place in a prisoner of war camp. But he also taught me a huge amount in key subjects, so I feel a considerable debt of gratitude to him, too. Complex.