He used to swirl in, black gown billowing authority and a ‘damn your eyes!’ contempt for any boy daring to presume. He would shout a ‘Latin Homework!’ and exercise books would be opened and raised for merciless inspection. An evil eye here, an indulgent twitch of the lips there.
A ‘Waster!’ and a ‘Get down to Woolworths, you spineless spiv! They’re selling plastic spines, 20% off!’, implied deliverence but an ‘Out!’ meant a wait outside his study for a bit of ‘touch your toes’ PE.
Those were the days, boys knew where they were and were able to spell and count when they left.
I went to my old Headmaster’s funeral, the boy had now become a man, but I couldn’t help smiling with a certain affectionate respect as his coffin passed me by.
There are no plastic spines these days and Woolworths is no longer with us.
But ‘My Old Headmaster’ still teaches, still reminds.