September 4th 1972

In morn went to get school stuff / In afternoon Gord and Neil came up

I do believe this refers to the annual necessity to get me kitted out with my school uniform. I am sure just as much as I hated having to go through the ritual of trying on new trousers, shirts and the suchlike, my Dad also went into brief panic mode trying to work out how he was going to pay for everything.

There were, I vaguely recall, two places in Eastleigh who sold the Barton Peveril uniform. One was Burton’s, the chain store, and the other was a tiny gent’s outfitters opposite (what is now) the Swan Centre.

I wonder if my Dad handed over all his cash worrying how long my uniform would last? I certainly never used to (consciously) take any care of it, usually throwing the bottle green blazer on any bit of floor I could find, wiping my hands all over the grey (itchy/wool-based) trousers and folding my school cap into quarters before unceremoniously stuffing it into the dark corners of my brown leather satchel.

With no concession to a teenage boy’s health or comfort, the crisp white shirts were made of 100% nylon and I can still remember the occasional ‘crackle’ one would hear – and feel – when taking them off at the end of a hot, sweaty day.

I still have one of the ugly green & white striped ties, autographed by some of my school pals on what was our last day at the place. I do think the design benefits from the ink pen scribblings?!

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