'Through the dead hours of the morning, through the long afternoons, we chanted away at our tables. Passers-by could hear our rising voices in our bottled-up room on the bank: "Twelve-inches-one-foot. Three feet-make-a-yard. Fourteen-pounds-make-a-stone. Eight-a-hundred-weight."
We absorbed these figures as primal truths declared by some ultimate power. Unhearing, unquestioning, we rocked to our chanting, hammering the gold nails home.
"Twice-two-are-four. One-God-is-Love. One-Lord-is-King. One-King-is-George. One-George-is-Fifth..." So it was always, had been, would be for ever. We asked no questions; we didn't hear what we said; yet neither did we forget it.
An extract from Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee