August 28th, 2017


The ossuary in the crypt of St Leonard's church in Hythe is one of only two in the UK. It was common in the Middle Ages to dig up old burials to make way for new, with the detritus being housed in charnel houses. This practice was discontinued in the early modern period and most communities eventually disposed of their bone collections one way or another- but Hythe was old fashioned. The ossuary has a long wall of femurs interspersed with skulls running the length of the room and shelves of skulls in alcoves reaching up to the vaulted ceiling. It makes me think of an old-time, family shoe shop.

Gaming An Already Gamed System

As if their pupils didn't already have enough advantages, teachers at top public schools- Eton included- have been gaming the system by giving them advance notice of exam questions. As Ailz says, "it's not cricket."

I went to a public school myself- a comparatively minor one- also a comparatively civilised one- and I won't pretend I hated the experience because I didn't- but I've always thought- ever since I was old enough to have an opinion I hadn't inherited- that it is wicked and wrong for the rich to be able to buy their kids the kind of head start in life a public school education entails- and bad for the country that its power elites get stuffed with people who aren't brighter than average but just went to the right schools. (Think David Cameron). Successive governments- including those of the so-called left- have failed to rectify the situation. I'm not calling for class vengeance- tumbrils and dynamite- just that the fee-paying schools should be taken into the national system, funded from taxes and thrown open to all and sundry.

It would be good if this current scandal were to light the touchpaper to reform, but I'm not counting on it.