Ah! Back to school.
Who can forget the heady days of youth when the long summer holidays finally came to an end and the echoing halls of school beckoned?
First there was the long cycle to school. Inevitably the bicycle wheels get stuck in the tram-lines, resulting in a bloody tumble. Or else the chain would come off the sprockets, resulting not only in a bloody tumble but a liberal coating of grease as well.
The school gates would be jammed with all the mammies and daddies come to see their precious little sprogs safely into the first year of Big School.
There would always be the one wimp, tears streaming down his red little face, clinging to his mammy's skirts and pleading with her to take him home again. Pathetic! How can you respect a teacher like that?
Then there are all the old, feared and dreaded staff.
There's Cobbles, the French teacher eyeing up the new First Years, wondering which ones he would fondle in the coming months.
There's Drax and Chunky, Maverick and Stuffer all lurking around the corridors in their chalky teachers' gowns looking like vultures waiting to pounce on their prey.
At the end of the long, echoing main hall is the lair of the Headmaster, through which all must pass. There he is – the living image of the yet to be invented Mister Burns of the Simpsons – glowering with those evil little eyes searching for the slightest transgression of the rules so he can lash out with his cane. He is never happier than when he is swishing that cane and reducing some poor wretch to a bloody pulp.
The school smells of chalk dust and dried blood. There is the familiar whiff of cigarette smoke as one passes the bicycle shed. There is a palpable air of fear and hopelessness.
The bell rings and the pupils drag their way to their allocated rooms, like prisoners to their cells.
A distant scream echoes through the now empty corridors as Cobbles buggers his first victim.
The new school year has begun.