At school we used to play a bizarre game.
St Mary’s C of E in Welton, Lincolnshire, was an ordinary, medium-sized, rural primary school. For the most part, the playground games were equally ordinary and universal: classics like tag (though we called it tiggy) and British Bulldogs, plus of course football. These could all be played on the concrete play area that we had access to for most of the year. The school had a much larger grass playing field, but this was usually out of bounds due to the soggy ground that was the inevitable result of the British weather.
However, during the few weeks of early summer, when it was sunny and dry, but we hadn’t yet broken up for the holidays, other possibilities were opened up.
First, we had to seek permission to “go on the grass”. A child would be nominated by their peers to go and ask the supervising teacher, who would then walk to the edge of the concrete play area adjacent to the grass. Meanwhile, the children would all line up along that sacred boundary and poise themselves in anticipation. The teacher would reach down and touch the ground, feeling for moisture and assessing the situation. Then they would loudly announce their decision: yes or no. If it was a no, we would all trudge dejectedly back to our humdrum, concrete-based games. But if it was a yes… the whole school would sprint out onto the grass, screaming with delight. Some would race to see who could reach the far side of the field first. Others would run immediately to secure a preferred area to play. Once the field had thus been ritually claimed, we would decide which game we were going to play. And more often than not, it was Eggs, Bacon, Chips or Cheese.Continue reading