I will start with a story that I have told many times over the years–so often that I sometimes wonder if I’ve accidentally embellished it and turned it into more of a personal myth than a true account of a random day at primary school. I sometimes think we all have a tendency to invent stories for ourselves to explain significant events in our lives: why we met the partners we did, why we chose certain subjects at university, why we decided to move to a certain city, or how we landed our jobs. Often we base these stories on real memories but with the details left out, keys parts emphasised, and sometimes outright exaggerations (lies?) introduced. I dare say this is only human.
Still, I digress. Back to an afternoon at Primary 4 in a small Scottish town near Falkirk (in between Glasgow and Edinburgh). Our class was going to be doing a project on different European countries and the teacher had decided to divide us into four groups–one each for France, Spain, Italy and Germany. She gathered us all around one of the big tables in the classroom and explained to us what we would be doing, before proceeding to put us into groups.
“So, who would like to do France?”