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I am in the dark Victorian hall of the Anglican pop-in. Old ladies are serving; with me at my table is a shy accountant from Guyana; at the other is a mothers’ and toddlers’ group. A boy is also present, waiting for his father; he comes to sit next to me.

It is okay to talk to children in these circumstances, so I ask him what he is studying at school. He says that he is concentrating on maths, because his best subject is history.

“That was my best subject too,” I say. “When I was your age, I knew…

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