I was just developing my thoughts and impressions of British Headmasters when, through the cottage window, I heard a band. It isn't the sort of thing anyone would necessarily hear on the main streets of my home city, so it surprised me. I quit what I was doing, scooped up a jacket, and ran.
It was a St John's Ambulance band. I knew it was because the lady walking in front of me wore a sign on her back saying so. I had heard of St John's Ambulance, but had not known they had a marching band. So to learn more, I followed. It was difficult, because everyone else had my same idea, and crowded themselves in. We squeezed up Fore Street, crossed over the High Street in a pack, meandered down St Andrew's Street, turning right onto Street-an-Pol, finishing up at the St Ives Guildhall. There the band stopped. The little girls holding the parade sign stopped. I waited. They waited. Then the party broke up and everybody went away. There wasn't an explanation, but the parade had to have something to do with children, because there were such a lot of them in it, cute as buttons.
"Oooh, yes, mummy, I had a lovely time!" said the sprite.
"And what did you do, my darling?"
"I was second on the left, following the band, and held up the sign with Jenny, and Jill, and..."
The little girls were wearing pink school spring uniforms, very different from winter uniforms, which consist more of pleated skirts, white blouses, navy blue blazers, white socks and black shoes. Very smart looking and formal. More restrictive. I know this, because my daughter had worn the uniforms too, and was very happy when spring came with its kid-friendly, lightweight pinks.
I went back to my Headmaster ideas, and sat down to tackle just what makes them so different from our American principals. There's an attitude behind it, I think, and have almost concluded that the difference is a little bit like that of the student's uniforms. British Headmasters are more like the winter ones - very smart looking, and formal. Possibly more restrictive. The American principals might be more like spring uniforms, less restrictive; more kid-friendly.
It isn't a perfect comparison, of course. But I could be on to something.
See you along the way!