As any member of the National Association of Schoolmasters knows, air terminals and Channel ports in late July are thick with women teachers hurrying abroad to spend their equal pay. There are few headteachers among them. Abroad is not for us. We prefer an unadventurous fortnight at a genteel hotel, the school forgetting, by the school forgot, the only aim to look as unheadmasterly as possible.
Not that we are ashamed of our profession. We are sober, upright men, strong in our pastoral mission, but for a couple of weeks each year we like to be thought of as something more dashing. "What will they take me for this year," we eagerly wonder, slipping on our Alpaca jacket and shrewd-operator look, heavily suggestive of expense accounts and export problems. My finest hour was in Harlech in that wet summer of 1960, when I was taken for something in machine tools. Bournemouth the following summer was ruined for me when the hotel busybody spread the rumour that I was a parson. My sense of vocation was showing, I was glad to get away.
Home again, I paint the greenhouse. This at least keeps me out of the way until the high spot of every headmaster's year, the day when GCE results arrive. Headmasters' wives dread the day, when the whole family has to go about on tiptoe while the great man does a lot of nasty little sums to prove that his school's results are 0.63 (recurring) above the national average.