An early visit to a Glasgow nursery brought home the message, he told the under-eights conference in Edinburgh (page two). McIlroy arrived to discover great excitement: the mounted police were on hand, not to control the weans but to show off before them in semi-educational mode. All the children were eager to make for the parade ground, despite the coldness of the day, but one lad was clearly reluctant.
McIlroy volunteered to look after him while the others went outside. The rest of the group eventually returned full of excitement, but his charge was not to be outdone. He, too, had had a wonderful time. "Sure, you were my teacher, weren't you?" he asked McIlroy, who duly confirmed it.
One girl seemed to have difficulty taking this in and McIlroy detected some serious analysis of what she had just heard.
"Sir," she asked after she finished her contemplation, "did you use to be a wumman?"