Town mouse on the end of an era

Charlie has left his primary school. As he’s the youngest of three boys to have gone there, this marks a watershed moment not only in his life, but also in that of the family. I had been in the Alto Adige in northern Italy when his school play took place.

Although I came hurrying home from the First World War battlefields I’d been visiting, I only caught the end of the concert: samba drumming con fuoco, which certainly woke me up after the flight. Alas, Charlie had already performed. I did, however, help put up the balloons for the disco and was present for the leavers’ service in the church. Tears all round.

We’re now in Spain, in Trujillo, Extremadura, which is about as far from central London and (please, don’t think us unpatriotic) the Olympics as you could imagine. In the town of the Conquistadores, the temperature in the square, at 8.30pm last night, measured 41˚C.

Over dinner, we watched storks returning to nests seemingly modelled on Boris Johnson’s haircut, above palaces built with silver brought back from Peru. Distractions are necessary. It won’t just be Charlie who finds next term a departure. The school run-literally a run sometimes, if undertaken on foot-may have seemed something of a chore at the time, but we’ll miss it now it’s gone.

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