What have the Romans ever done for us?

An aqueduct. Definitely something that the Romans did for us.

We’re a few weeks back into the new school year and all three kids seem to be doing well. Youngest has settled into nursery without so much as a drop-off tantrum and the six-year-old is doing brilliantly at everything.

I always worry about oldest, simply because he’s been there that much longer than his siblings and the novelty has worn off.

He was truly fed up by the end of last year, so we really weren’t sure how he would adapt to the new one.

Happily, the answer is very well indeed. He’s particularly enthusiastic about his new topic – the Romans. I share this excitement. Thanks in part to when I first learned about them at primary school and also because of Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

We’ve had lots of happy conversations about what the Romans did for us and I’m desperate to show him the film. Obviously, I won’t just yet. He’s only eight and that’s too young to be going around calling people Biggus Dickus.

However, certain events have led me to suspect that elements of it have found their way into the National Curriculum.

While he is neither the Messiah nor a very naughty boy, there have been plenty of Pythonesque moments lately. He always looks on the bright side of life too.

Grammatical homework has been reminiscent of the famous graffiti scene. I’ve stopped short of making him paint ‘Romani ite domum’ all over the house – well, it’s on the market – but I was sorely tempted.

Meanwhile, whenever he and his siblings hear either of us approach, they hide. Badly. As kids do, but also as the People’s Front of Judea do when the Romans come knocking.

Speaking of people at the door, we get regular unwanted visits from those of a certain religious persuasion.

We’ve politely asked them not to keep coming back several times, but they keep losing their list of no-go addresses. Silly chumps!

I’ve long since lost patience with them, of course. After my latest unambiguous yet impressively non-sweary exchange with them – which included the words “harassment”, “police” and “get in the bin” – the kids asked who was at the door.

I explained to them who these people were and what they wanted without once using a certain word, lest someone throw a stone at me.

Then only last week we received an email from the school asking oldest to bring in something quite specific. A packet of gravel. I kid you not.

So is Monty Python’s Life of Brian on the National Curriculum? Well, probably not, but why let that get in the way of daft whimsy, eh?

I’d feel like a right lucky bastard watching it with him as part of his Romans homework.

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