I remember being accepted for a place at King’s School, Pontefract, following my success at the 11+ exams (like many 10 year olds I never knew what exams were until then).
My birthday is September 5 – which made me one of the oldest in the class. Smartest too – I’d had a year on planet Earth longer than some classmates.
And if you think that’s just a reminder of my birthday – no, it’s just a coincidence that my birthday is on Monday.
I forget which King the school was named after – probably Edward, though which one I don’t know there were so many – but whoever he was his heart was in the right place, providing for the education of the working classes.
This posh grammar school was reputed to be the plum secondary school destination in the area for those passing the 11+.
It was the watershed of the 1960’s, and though I didn’t know it at the time it was my first passport to a successful lifestyle (which I flunked).
Pontefract is in the heart of rugby league country, but being a grammar school we played rugby union.
Though I lived 10 miles from school, we played neither rugby code at home.
Importantly, my first memory of this grammar school was the abundance of newly mown grass in those early September days.
The smell of September will be with me evermore.
Fresh and clean, a combination of soil and newly cut grass.
For me, the annual season always begins in September. Not only for winter sports but also for academia, and job hunting.
It must be the smell of the newly mown grass.