My first day at senior school was, like for anyone, a daunting experience. Suddenly there I was, resplendent in my brand new school uniform, and one of the smallest kids in the playground.
My experience was made easier by the fact that I had a few friends with me from my old primary school. They too were a trifle nervous and we clung together, metaphorically speaking, for support.
It wasn't long before we attracted the attention of the second year bully. For the purposes of this article I shall call him Jack. He was even smaller than we were. Nonetheless he strode over to us, bold as brass, and announced that he was going to "tootle" us.
We soon discovered that "tootling" was not the painful or traumatic experience we had immediately feared. It involved tearing the tag from the back of our new school ties which, it seems, were made by Tootle. It was a simple exercise in humiliation. Jack wanted to let us know who was boss.
Notwithstanding the fact that we were new kids we didn't see why this unimposing little squirt should be permitted to get away with this. Not, that was, until we saw the other kid. I shall call him Steve.
Steve was about six feet tall, despite only being twelve years old. He was blond, broad-shouldered, chunky and had a fearsome look about him. He smiled continually as he dared you with his eyes to resist the attentions of his diminutive friend Jack, lending him a slightly psychopathic aura. The four of us returned to our new formroom tootled.
From that day onwards Jack would often make our playtimes difficult. Not every day, but whenever the fancy took him. We avoided him, because we knew that wherever Jack was Steve would not be too far behind.
Then one day a curious thing happened. We walked out into the playground and espied Jack. But rather than giving us a hard time, Jack had a sheepish and slightly worried expression. He avoided us.
Out of curiosity we followed him. He avoided us some more. Then, almost as one, we cottoned on. Steve wasn't at school that day.
Jack was never unpleasant to us again.
Borough Council begins at 7.30 this evening.