is now 1986 and Jack is starting his tenth year at Ragley-on-the-Forest
school, now the amalgamated Ragley and Morton school. Everything
looks set to be idyllic, but there are always clouds on the
horizon. For example, what exactly is a National Curriculum
and why is Jack’s arch enemy Stan Coe being so pleasant?
In common with the Precious Ramotswe series and too little
else, this wonderfully life-affirming set of books ought to
be available on prescription. Both series show how people
can change their small corner of the world by being helpful
and welcoming towards each other and highlights the inestimable
value of true friendship. There is plenty of humor as the
various characters get to grips with the trends and inventions
of the mid 80s. They encounter their first “yuppie”
complete with brick-sized “mobile” phone, vote
in a general election, discover Australian soaps and try some
shoulder padded power dressing. The school has a new teacher
and a new classroom, Vera ponders retirement, Ruby wonders
whether to get married again and Jack has a decision to make.
Count in more than one disaster for the folk of Ragley to
recover from and you have another highly readable book with
a lot in it. This is a perfect mix of humor, drama, social
history and autobiography that would make an excellent TV
series. I do hope there are many more.