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Monday, 28 January 2019

Headmaster's Blog #37

The snow drops are out, and there is a very nice smelling, yellow flowering shrub just outside the Pre-prep, but that is just about the only colour nature is offering us right now other than brown (mud), green (grass), grey (skies). The smattering of snow on Wednesday was a very pale imitation of last year’s effort and although it hasn’t been all that cold, it hasn’t been all that inviting to spend a long time outside. At least the days are getting longer and when the sun does break through, it has been a golden shaft of light, low in the west.

Did you see the moon last Sunday and Monday? It was a treat to see such detail of its surface. As someone once said of the stars, if the moon could only be seen once a century, we would give it its due recognition. At least other cultures in the past have given her the proper respect she deserves – Selene the Greeks’ moon goddess had a poem written in her praise by Homer. Lochy, Jimmy and I went out to turn on the Clock Tower lights to welcome back the boarders on Sunday evening and it was a wonderfully eerie walk there and back.

I have had too many meetings this week and for the second Friday in a row not done the school cross-country run – the 100s Parents Meeting and our exeat bumped it off the agenda - including one in Broadway with the Oxford Group; it is always good to hear what other prep schools are doing, and to compare notes on current issues in the sector. At least this week has not been death by emails, but I have not had enough of the buzz, noise and fun of seeing the pupils around school, whatever they are up to.

We have had lots of visitors this week – Yinhai Academy from China, who have impressed with their ability to embrace our culture and contribute to lessons, despite English being a second language for them; they departed this morning; Mr Leo Winkley, the ‘new’ headmaster of Shrewsbury School, who came for lunch and a tour on Wednesday – and the registrars of Oundle and Marlborough on Tuesday. I must say, without wanting to sound sycophantic, that Mr Winkely is an extremely friendly and engaging personality – he did not blink when joined at lunch in the PDR by several of our 100s, some of whom are pretty good talkers themselves (Frances!), having only just finished a tour led by Ed and Jimmy. Shrewsbury are extremely lucky to have him as their head, which I have no doubt will go from strength to strength under his leadership.

Our 100s survived their week of exams, though I suspect it has been a bit of a shock to their system. This is the point when it dawns on most that they are now growing up and that the end of their time here, including Common Entrance, is not all that far away. As John wrote to the Corinthians: it is time now ‘to put away childish things…’ – perhaps I am laying it on rather thick, but you get my drift?

Well, the exeat has begun, so I really ought to sign off for now.

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