It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
The years I spent living in the Western Isles were wonderful years, but they were also the worst years of my life. Life on the island, and helping on the neighbour's crofts were the fun parts. School was sheer torture.
I am talking about the late 1960's, when discipline in school was very different from that of today. The tawse - a thick leather strap - ruled. Not all teachers used that implement of torture, but enough of them delighted in both the threat, and the use of it, to make each day a nightmare.
The tawse could be put into action for such misdemeanors as forgetting your homework, or for not being able to quote reams of poetry, the Catechism, or for upsetting the French, French teacher.
At any time one could be called out to the front of the class and told to hold out your hands, ready for punishment, which the whole class had to witness. It was vile and it was barbaric.
I did my lessons well enough to escape that kind of punishment, but I wore a 'helmet' of fear all the time. My school days there were not happy times.
My earlier school had been Stamford High School for Girls - a very different environment, where "Write 100 lines ..." was the usual punishment.
Thank goodness such fear was balanced by the delightful old couple next door and the healing presence of animals on the croft. Without them my time on the islands would have left a very different impression.