Primary school was kind of OK. I wasn't bullied by any of the boys and even made friends with a few of them. The one Asian kid's school life was probably hell as I don't remember anybody making friends with him.
I was, however, once bullied by one of the girls. Lesley gave me a Chinese burn. So I told my mum and one afternoon by the school gates my mum got hold of her by the arms and shook her. She wouldn't touch me again.
Apart from that one incident I didn't have any dealings with the girls. I didn't play kiss chase.
In the year of the clackers we crowded into the shelter out of the rain at playtime and made a cacophonous noise. Knuckles were hurt and eyes were dislodged. I was very nervous of clackers but didn't want to show it. I closed my eyes and clacked for England.
More hand pain came with the conker season. Clackers were banned by the government but conkers remained as part of the playtime syllabus. I went to the park with the twins and we'd throw branches up at the massive horse chestnut trees, bringing fresh conkers down in their dozens. We got pretty accurate at throwing. Conkers were either put in the freezer section of the fridge along with the ice pops or pickled in large jars, along with the onions. You had to do something to your conker to prepare it for battle.
My literary life was gathering pace, too. I soon grew out of Peter and Jane and moved onto comics. None of those namby pamby children's books for me. I read Whizzer & Chips from cover to cover but never considered myself a Whizz-Kid or a Chip-ite. I was my own man.
I read other comics, too. But never the super-hero type or that prat Roy of the Rovers. Mine were more down-to-earth, prototype Viz comics. My favourite character was a boy who could only play football in his unwashed bare feet. You'd see him in the bath, his feet on the rim, nice and dirty.
Some book reviews
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