Time Bandit

Geoffrey Regan explains how the experience of boredom in the classroom set him off into a career as inspirational teacher, writer and broadcaster

In June 1962, Windischgrätz bombarded Prague. He did so the following year, both in the autumn and the summer, and for all I know he has been doing it ever since. I was never told if he was successful in his efforts or whether he became bored, or his gun barrels melted and his men helped with the harvest instead.

That summer of 1848, which was when the Austrian field marshal began his bombardment, was a particularly fine one in the Czech capital. Ladies in long dresses crossed the magnificent fourteenth-century Charles bridge, protecting their complexions with their parasols and glancing at the waters of the river Moldau below, where young men in caps and straw boaters were rowing. The composer Smetana was on the barricades, dashing off revolutionary marches as well as a rousing ‘Song to Freedom’ between incoming cannon balls. Beyond the walls, in the world of fact-based, rote-learned history, however, Windischgrätz fired his guns for the textbooks of history, inflicting casualties on generations yet unborn.

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