Friday 22 September 2023





In 1939, Grimsdyke Primary School opened on Sylvia Avenue in Hatch End. My attendance began in September 1947, shortly before my fifth birthday. In the wake of the 1944 Education Act came other acts which ushered in HMS Welfare State In Britain. I was lucky enough to ride on that wave until 1968, when I left Britain for good.

Grimsdyke was originally built as a ditch to defend against the Roman invasion. Such a ditch against invasion Is as relevant now as then.

Around 1950, at morning assembly of all the 5-11-year-olds, the hymn chosen for one particular day was ‘Morning has broken’. The melody is as unforgettable as the song sung to it. It has the name Bunessan, and is an ancient Scottish Gaelic melody. The name is that of a village, as is often the case.

The text of the hymn to which the melody is sung is by Eleanor Farjeon, and was written in 1931. It is in praise of dawn and of God’s creation. We sang it lustily and often in this pre-Cat Stevens era.


To me it symbolises the wonder and innocence of childhood. The immediacy of the outside world that few humans retain. For this world was nameless and shameless. Why, then, did God assign Adam the task of naming it? 

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