Yesterday I was on the tube, chugging along to a day's work in the big smoke. I looked around me and the carriage was full of young school children. They were chatting animatedly, all very well behaved, and obviously enjoying the novelty of being out of the classroom. Some of them were clutching pieces of paper and from what I could rubberneck it seemed to be a geography field trip to the east of the city.
And then I really looked at them and wondered what was so very familiar. It was the tie. And the school badges on the blazers. They might have been on the opposite side of London, but they were all from my old school. I looked around for a teacher, but couldn't tell which adult was with them or was just another passenger. I only had a minute or so before my stop. I so wanted to say "I used to go to your school", but I was unusually dumbstruck, it being such a very public place.
The fashions for wearing school ties hadn't changed - looped huge and very short for those desperate to look nonchalant, long and thin for the bookish. Even so, it all seemed so very, very long ago.