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My old prep school marks its 130th anniversary next month with a special Founder’s Day jolly to which alumni have been invited.

My interest in learning this news quickly turned to dismay when I recalled that I was a pupil when it marked its centenary year.  What happened to those thirty years?

Time goes by so fast now, but it passed painfully slowly when I was an inmate at that venerable establishment in the Kentish countryside.  Boarders have a more comfortable existence there these days, as they do across the fee-paying spectrum (which explains why parents still inclined to banish their offspring from the family home are facing steeper bills).  But my memories are of crowded dorms, inadequate food and boring weekends as a prefect on duty (everybody was made a prefect, incidentally, so it wasn’t a privilege to be bored).

I was 13 the last time I gazed at the ornate cornices on the classroom ceilings and wandered the green rolling acres, so curiosity almost tempts me back for Founder’s Day.   There’s a free lunch too.

But it would be hypocritical to book my place out of an unfocused nostalgia for childhood, brushing aside the truth that my happiest minutes were those spent waiting to be collected at the end of term.

Just as awkwardly, I haven’t worked out a respectable answer to the question ‘ So, what are you doing these days?’ when it is put to me, as it surely will be, by an ex-classmate turned trust fund manager or IT entrepreneur.

film poster, Tom Brown's Schooldays

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