Chapter 12

Christ Church School was run by Christ Church Church which Mom said was “High C. of E.”.   So almost every week we were trooped up the road in twos to the sombre sandstone edifice wherein were rows and rows of dark brown chairs, hefty pillars and some statues.

It was the custom to file in, bow towards the altar, go to one’s place, kneel and say a prayer before sitting down.   I never knew what to say when I knelt down, so evolved a system which involved counting to twelve – the average time Miss Evans knelt – and intensifying my look of concentration from about seven upwards.

By the count of twelve, my face showed – if my acting was good – deep religious communication.

The Rev. Salter used to come to the School and give us a lesson sometimes.   He asked all sorts of religious questions.   The answer to these was almost always “Sexagesima!” piped up by Alan Merrick who appeared to have some conviction.

Once, Father Salter offered a small prize – a prayer-book, I think – to the one who answered the most questions.   It went to Alan Merrick because most of us were more interested in reading about Biffo the Bear and Korky the Cat in the Beano and Dandy.

The School’s religious ideals were not wholly wasted on me.   I looked forward to one Christian celebration, anyway, that of Ascension Day.   On each Ascension Day morning, we attended Church and then were given the rest of the day off.

Religion, I reasoned, couldn’t be all that bad if it gave us time off school.

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