“What’s in your lunch then ?”
His voice is just this side of bullying, but his outstretched hand is insistent,cannot be ignored. It’s lunchtime at St Williams Way primary school, circa 1970 and we, the packed Lunch kids are embarking on our frenzied food trading session. We’re a mixed bunch, not so poor that we qualify for free school meals, but slight misfits all the same, kept separate from those enjoying cornflake tart, chocolate splodge and Irish stew.
My brother, sister and I, another new school in the middle of a term, have managed, by engaging in deep stealth eating, to hide the true enormity of our misfitness, but all that is about to end.
Neville Smedley upends my bread bag onto the table and out falls my mothers latest attempt at wholemeal bread, it makes a definite thud as it hits the Formica, two fresh dates and small pot of natural yogurt bought from the only whole food shop in town.
There is a pause whilst the other Upper Juniors regard this alien fare.
“Nah” say Neville and returns to his own lunch.
I stare with complete envy at his neat white triangular ham sandwich, his crisps and most of all his bright red penguin biscuit.
We move again 6 months later.