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Colours are the Lego blocks of a remembered childhood, the pure primaries of the glossy plastic, light sliding off smooth bright planes... the reds, the blues and the impossible yellows. A treasured possession was a red plastic 'sunglass'. Perched on the nose, it magically transformed the world, the colour washing over roads, cars and people; the grey grime of the city suddenly full of pink possibilities, a pink skyline blending into a rose-tinted horizon.
The children race each other up the stone stairs to the mouth of the grotto. What kind of parent takes kids to see a charnel house? I push down vague doubts. After all, children are famously resilient. My firstborn is 14 and delights in all things gross, gory and scatological. Consorting with crania is just the kind of thing that would appeal to him. Besides there must be possibilities of wringing out a modicum of education from the display of femur, tibia, humerus and cranium...
You are male, English and went to a public school which you hated intensely. If you happen to be a woman, you are either an impoverished, aristocratic brunette with an unsatisfactory father and a yen for saving the world or an arthritic Oxford don with a photographic memory and a past spent in Her Majesty's Secret Service. You are a spymaster. You are probably a "small, frog-like figure in glasses", "an earnest, worried little man" and by appearance "one of London's meek who do not inherit the earth".