Ned is taking to junior school (well year three) with aplomb. The focus on learning vs play lead learning in infants hasn’t fazed him and he’s still very chipper.
We get regular updates on how things have gone at school, and I have to say mostly they’re believable. The thing with Ned is you can always tell the cut off point where his retelling of events starts to veer into the realm of fantasy; it will be the football story where he goes from having a good game to scoring 87 goals and being carried on the shoulders of his team mates, or the maths lesson where he gets a prize for doing well, followed by a prize for the number of prizes he won.
So it’s in this context of tall tales, that we listened raptly to Ned’s tale of the school WAR. A child in year three who disliked someone in year four decided to declare WAR on year 4. An army was marshalled and there was much punching and kicking, with lots of blood spilt, as WAR was enacted upon year 4. Ned and his buddy were determined to not get involved (this was perhaps the beginning of the tall tale, who knows, Ned does follow some rules at school) but saw the carnage wrought during the WAR. The large foam play bricks were used to batter other children, there was shoving, and shouting, and it took all the playground supervisors to separate the factions.
In the aftermath of the WAR, the headmistress spoke to both years, threatening a ban on the play bricks forever, and various other dire consequences if they broke the terms of the peace treaty and the white caps patrolling the playground had to intervene.
The next morning the boy who instigated the WAR smuggled in a large supply of sweeties to dish out to his disaffected troops in an attempt to keep them onside and loyal through the phoney war period until proper WAR could be re-instigated. We didn’t get to the bottom of how this morale boosting manoeuvre worked out because there hasn’t been any additional WAR so far, and I had to get Ned off to Beavers, thus ending our discussion of WAR. I’ve reached out to Kate Adie, former BBC war correspondent, to see if she wants to join me on the front line but have yet to hear back.