I only won one prize at school, in 1967; I was ten and got the RE prize because the new vicar of our local church was from Australia and I knew who Don Bradman was. The prize would have been more deserved if I’d have known that St Michael (no relation) was the head of all the angels rather than a brand of clothing.
The prizes were given out at a ceremony in Brierly Hall, attached to Balham Congregational Church. My father, proud of this achievement and secretly hoping I might join a monastery, therefore reducing the family food-bill, decided we would celebrate.
An 88 bus was hailed and we ventured towards the Windmill on Clapham Common.
This was the first time I got to sit outside a pub with a Coke and a packet of crisps whilst my father remained inside, no doubt regaling the regulars inside that his son was to be the next Billy Graham (dad harboured thoughts I’d be the next George Graham).
I would go on to sit outside many other south-west London pubs as dad played cricket locally; I’ve had Cokes and whole potato fields’ worth of crisps outside the Hope; Surrey Tavern and County Arms – and I wonder why I have high cholesterol?
Still, at least I know there are nine commandments. More lager, Vicar?