The boys learned Euclidian geometry.
We all learned elementary science – taking regular rainfall measurements, for example.
We learned manners and the rules of etiquette: how to address priests – they might be carrying the Blessed Sacrament, you know – and all adults. I took everything I learned seriously to heart.
We had a well fifty yards below our house by the roadside and it had the sweetest water. People would come by foot or by pony and trap from miles around to sample that water. I remember one time looking into its depths and seeing some coppers there. I kept quiet about it.
But I rose next morning at 6.30 am and took a long ladle from the kitchen with me. Eventually I fetched the few pence from the depths. Then I went back to bed. A few pennies were a fortune to me!
But anyway, that day old Felie Quinn was approaching the well with his can in his hand.
‘Good evening, Mr Quinn and how are you?’ I blurted out as politely as possible.
The poor, startled old man had never been so addressed in all his life. He looked mightily puzzled and pulled at the beard on his chin.
‘What in the name of Jaysis is wrong wi’ you today, chile?’ he asked.