I will always remember the day they took away the history books. My small boarding school, on a rain-lashed Devon hilltop, had until that day taught us about the glory and grandeur of English history. It was a story of courage, freedom and the defeat of foreign threats.
But these volumes, their pages soft from use, their illustrations in wistful black and white, were no longer acceptable. They were gathered up and carted off. Instead, we were given glossy, brightly-coloured replacements with larger print and supposedly exciting photographs of a brave new world.
Luckily for me, the change came just too late. I had already absorbed all the old stuff and I would never be able to regard the 1945 Labour Government as being as exciting or interesting as the Battle of Trafalgar. I thought then, as I think now, that this country had indeed had a Glorious Revolution in 1688. Significantly, it was about the same time that they began to inflict the ‘New Maths’ on us – but once again I had been lucky enough to learn my times tables by heart long before then.