We went to visit our 6th Yorkshire school in 6 Yorkshire years. Here's the tally....3 Nurseries, 1 Infant, 3 Junior, 1 Secondary and 1 Independent. I said to SC that, at this rate, we had another 15 Yorkshire schools to visit in the next 11 years. Would that possibly have been the case if we had stayed put in groovy South London.
At just 24 hours notice we were invited to visit a local Primary school with good word-of-mouth reports. The Head gave us a warm welcome and a thorough tour of the facilities, the teachers and the children. It seemed like a cut-down version of the first school we inhabited in Great Bickering - except that this Head resembled a younger, amusing, personable, Welsher version of Gunter Grass rather than our experience of the Bickering Head who was a cross between Stalin and Thatcher with the moustache and an overly posh Yorkshire accent.
In today's visit, the top class looked good, the lower class seemed rather beset by photocopies and colouring. IS and ES made all the right murmurs and gave all the correct looks. Lunch that day was toad-in-the-hole and sponge pudding - my kind of school. We left for home as uncertain as before as to which educational path to venture down.
SC was still agonising as I fell asleep. Until the next educational hiatus........
.....Departure - 4 April 2001
SC had lived in her Balham house for 19 years and I had been there 8 of those years. During that time we had delivered 3 girls back to the house and shared memories too numerous to recall. My family had often moved me and my sisters but I had never moved my family.
Now, this house was empty of EVERYTHING - except us. The five of us took our last voyage through the house stopping and saying goodbye to each room in turn. We ended up in the kitchen. HS produced a piece of card cut out in the shape of a heart on a piece of thread. SC placed the heart on the wall above the cooker - with HS's 6 year-old writing the card, 'We love you house'.
Standing outside the locked house we wished John and Stuart, our wonderful Removals men, a safe journey in their pantechnicon.
We all stood for a final look at our old house - SC was teary, we all hugged each other and gave a long, deep sigh and got into our loaded and trusty old Sierra. And we headed northwards. Forever!