For hundreds of years young men had been gaining a higher education just a few yards from where Lew sat. He left school at fourteen, a working class lad, not lacking intelligence, just lacking the encouragement and confidence such places of learning seem to bestow. I don’t think he looked around him and saw a missed opportunity for himself. It was a world in which he felt he could never belong. This, he imagined, was the world of Milton, Tennyson, Hawking, a world beyond his horizons, his class. But not beyond the ambitions of his family.
“Your granddaughter may study here one day, Dad.”
Lew’s face crinkled into the semblance of a smile. He nodded, I prepared myself for a bitter comment, a wistful phrase tinged with regret.
“I’m knackered. I’m truly knackered,” he growled as he got to his feet. “There’s a pub up the road. We’ll go for that, me and your mother. Come on!”