Was out earlier with this guy to iron out a few things. Nothing special, carvery, tax deductible.
Arrived back home and the boy (9), who has just decided to get into football, was watching the England match. After a few minutes the crowd started singing the national anthem so I hummed along. A mad thought entered my head ...
Did he know the words? No.
Did he know what the tune was? No.
Did he know it was the anthem of our country? Well, he had heard it before matches during the World Cup but ... err, that's it.
Asking downstairs, the same responses from the girl (10).
How fucking shit is that?
These kids can pick up a Titchy Snider lyric in just one play; They are capable of memorising the Rime of the Ancient Mariner in a couple of days; These are the most receptive years of their lives, yet the National Anthem is relegated to somewhere behind Nelson Mandela, the hassles of 1940s Muslims, nail therapy, and the manifesto of the fucking Green Party.
They ARE learning it tomorrow, every word and nuance - even maybe the bit about bashing the Jocks. Silly me for trusting that they would have been taught the anthem at school. Because I foolishly believed it was a given.
A tip for new or prospective parents. Don't expect state education to teach your kids anything. Instead, assume the worst and do it yourself.