We've Gone Right off the Boil Here; Food

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL OLDFIELD

SITTING in my history class in school, probably around the age of 13, I wondered what on earth the kings and queens of England had to do with my plans for extraordinary business success, extreme amounts of money, an end to war and world poverty and (probably top of the list) a successful career as a rock star.

Geography and religious studies fell into the same "obviously useless" category as history, supported by English - the fact that I could already read obviously meant that I was a genius - and maths which was also unnecessary because I was already a whizz at deducting darts scores.

It took some years for me to be brought down to earth and begin to realise that, actually, most of this stuff was quite useful and that without it I couldn't have had such a good day out, showing off to my children at the Tower of London, or planning a narrowboat holiday through the seldom-seen parts of our industrial cities on the canals of England.

And actually, eons of common sense meant that my education was pretty well-rounded and set me up for most eventualities in life. It wasn't perfect and had its shortcomings, including that I was never taught English in the way one was taught foreign languages. In fact, it wasn't until I began French that I knew the difference between a verb, noun and adjective but, all-in-all, it was along the right lines.

It seemed to give me a bit of everything and recognised that nothing really happens in isolation. So for instance, if I were to plan a trip to London with the family, I'd need to get there (geography and a few social skills), budget for it (maths), choose locations and brush up on their relevance (reading), give out a few cheques (writing) and impress the kids (history and, of course, a little drama). …