THERE's an old adage that says schooldays are the happiest of your life.

I wonder which swot first came up with that conclusion.

If only that had been the case for so many of us who didn't share such halcyon experiences.

Happily, Prince George will, from tomorrow, have a care-free time at the 17K a year Thomas Battersea day school in London.

Four-year-old George won't be bullied.

This forward-looking educational establishment has an anti-bullying committee which trains older pupils to help younger ones in need of support.

A wise choice from HRH dad Prince William, who has set up an industry-wide taskforce to tackle bullying.

Sadly, I still remember passing the 11-plus and being handed the dreaded baton in the stress-filled relay race of life where bullying was rife.

While our hard-working parents saved to buy us uniforms, we were not warned in primary school that waiting for us at the next set of educational gates were bullies preparing to stick our heads down the toilet and flush them ... literally.

It was a 'school tradition' these 'Flashman'-styled morons said.

We couldn't beat the system either when they threw our school caps onto passing traffic.

You didn't want to tell your parents that you had been picked on.

And just when we expected teachers to protect us, some actually turned out to be masters of bullying themselves.

Being taught by Christian Brothers, I knew that getting 'six of the best' was ironic.

I am not saying it was tough, but our school magazine had an obituary column. I learned how to bite the bullet.

School bullies, it seemed, just graduate into bullying bosses.

There is a lesson to be learned from hearing that our future king will enjoy his formative years in a 'bully free' environment.

Schools up and down the country must eradicate bullying in all its cowardly shapes and forms.

There should never be one rule for one ...


ONE of life's inspirational teachers is Ken Martin.

Next year the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton celebrates its tenth birthday - since Ken Dodd officially closed it and re-opened it.

This other Ken was also proud that day.

He designed the wonderful venue with its panoramic views of Wirral.

Mr Martin told me in his Lancashire accent that it was the 'biggest and best job' of his illustrious architectural career.

Ken's a visionary. He also designed the iconic Liverpool Playhouse exterior.

Now he has sold his inspirational View 2 Gallery in Mathew Street, which helped so many aspiring artists and musicians.

In fact Ken - also an art lecturer - once spotted me sketching in a pub and encouraged me to do more.

A year later I had my first art exhibition.

We haven't heard the last of Ken - his gallery is going on-line.

And with more spare time on his hands genial, white-bearded Ken would make a great Father Christmas.


TALKING of people who are one-in-a-million, I sigh when I see any statistics - 48 per cent of me likes them, 42 per cent doesn't and ten per cent doesn't know.

Now I hear from the 'University of nothing better to do' that the number 48 is, in fact, a significant figure.

Researchers have found that we spend 3.2 hours a day on the sofa - involved in activities such as watching telly, chatting, knitting, reading and courting.

Or, in my case, looking for loose change down the back of the cushions.

Added up, all this sofa–surfing makes up a 48 days a year.

Sofa ... so good.

Also, UK teenagers spend 40 days on their smart phones while Liverpudulians spend 48 days.

And here's some something to chew on.

One in three of us, according a survey by Deliveroo, eat the same sandwiches every day.

More than 40 per cent envy what other people have in their lunch boxes.

This has alerted the marketing people to come up with a campaign to rid the world of the "groundhog day sarnie" now better known as the "blandwich."


BLAND – now that's an apt word to describe some reality shows that have installed fly-on-the wall cameras to capture people doing mundane jobs.

I have sat and watched the life of country shepherds counting sheep (no wonder I nodded off) and interior decorators doing house make-overs to try and entice me to watch paint dry.

I'll never forget watching a knitting competition where contestants had to make balaclavas – again entertainment bosses were tying to pull the wool over my eyes.

Sometimes you get a series that stands out such as BBC1's current six-parter Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?

That is different and should pull in the ratings, after all, it's not rocket science. On second thoughts.

The highlight so far has been cameras capturing an excruciating party where prospective spacemen and women and their partners met at a get-together to test how cosmic candidates could interact with each other socially.

The party was a wash out ... no atmosphere.


AND finally ...

According to another poll this time about day dreaming, one of the most sought-after careers after astronaut is archaeologist.

Beats me why anyone would want a life in ruins.

Peter Grant