My religious mania was encouraged at school - a Church of England primary - if not at home. The Rector came every Friday, taught RE and then played football with us in his long black dress. The whole school - all ninety of us - went to church for all the major festivals. I loved harvest festival, all the food piled up before the altar - this being a farming community there was not a packet of pasta or tin of baked beans to be seen, but great baskets of colourful fruit and vegetables and who could not like bellowing 'We Plough the Fields and Scatter' - bliss. But Ash Wednesday was probably my favourite because I liked having the cross marked on my forehead - don't ask me why - I suspect it was just another chance to show off. By the time we got back to school most of the cross would have worn away so we'd spend all afternoon rubbing pencils on hard surfaces - the desks were ancient and had metal ink wells with brass covers so we could re-anoint ourselves. If the pencils had been lead I expect we'd have all been poisoned - not sure if there is such a thing as graphite poisoning.