Wednesday, 8 May 2019
Headmaster's Blog #43
Well, if I am not very careful indeed, as regards my blog writing, this term will continue as the last ended, which is not what was promised. Even with the luxury of a bank holiday exeat, it has seemed very difficult to find a moment in which to write a blog for this term, but here we go, just before the boarders return on Monday evening.
Although we all returned buoyed up by the July conditions of the Easter weekend, since then it has been a rather cold term. To be fair it hasn’t been all that wet, but nonetheless, it hasn’t been lolling around on the grass weather; outside, yes, but moving and covered up. That said, it doesn’t seem to have held the kids back noticeably: yard cricket, quite correctly, has begun in earnest and the noise of ball on bat starts shortly after breakfast and is certainly a feature of any free time, be that before Chapel or in Bun Break; nor have the much anticipated Nerf Wars been restrained on a Friday evening; several hardy souls have been wearing their shorts (of course that includes Mr Richardson; but he wears them all year round, so that doesn’t really count). So, in true rather British fashion, we have started off the Summer Term as we always do, even if the weather has not been as supportive as it was last year.
One of the advantages of the cooler spell has been the endurance of the bluebells and even the cowslips, although the latter are being to fade now. Coming up the front drive, both above and below on the banks, the bluebells have been a wonderful sight, catching the light and giving off an almost luminous glow at certain times of the day. A few, though not staggering amounts, of tadpoles are wriggling about in one of the Pulham pond pools, but a pair of Mallards were spotted on the South Terrace last week, so I fear for their survival into full froghood. Looking out onto the South Terrace from my exercise bicycle, I took particular pleasure in a thrush, or pair of thrushes, who seemed mightily interested in the lawns (post mowing). They are much larger and more beautiful birds than I had remembered. I hope they return after the bank holiday.
Exams have started for some, Lysander, the brave soul, sat his Eton scholarship papers last week (he looked a lot happier and more relaxed after the last one was sent off for marking), Ed and Ed are off to Shrewsbury to do the same tomorrow – good luck to them – and Jimmy has his Winchester College entrance papers this week too. If that isn’t enough of a prompt to the rest of the Top Year to get their heads down and work hard for their Common Entrance, which is bearing down fast now, I don’t know what is?
Cricket matches started last week, but in quite quiet way – our block fixture vs Packwood was cancelled the previous Saturday due to the weather. A mixed 3/4th XI had success vs the Elms on the Swimming Pool pitch, and the girls played Lucton to get off the mark last Wednesday. Our 1st XI Girls team competed in the Lady Taverner’s tournament last week too, in the regional finals; they did very well, winning two and losing two close games, but not quite enough to go through to the Finals at Lords this year. Nonetheless, it was most encouraging and bodes well for next year, with several of the players still in the school then.
We have had a busy start to term with both guest speakers and trips off site. Mr Scott has been very busy indeed putting together Abberley’s RHS exhibit at the Three Counties Show Ground. Those pupils who have been helping him design and build Abberley’s garden have been disappearing off to the Showground to build it; different teams each day. I can’t wait to see it finished, and do have a look on Instagram to see the work in progress. Lou Rudd came on Thursday to tell pupils about his single-handed journey to the South Pole – an extraordinary feat of endurance, endeavour and bravery – ask your child about “11 steps more”; a mantra for us all. I suspect that those of you who came and took part in the Fun Run and Stretcher Challenge last weekend could relate in part to this attitude of mind. Thank you for supporting this event so early in the term. I am sorry not to have been there myself. The pictures told a tale of bundles of positivity – a typical Abberley event organized by the unmatched and unsurpassed Mr Richardson. The Form 2s went into Birmingham on Thursday to the Gurdwara Sikh Temple. It was a fascinating and highly educational visit, which pupils and staff alike derived a great deal from. They enjoyed their vegetarian lunch too.
On Friday evening Ant Peers gave an excellent talk on Empire. As an OA he was particularly welcome. There were lots of questions and lots of good answers; the patrols competed in a short quiz, won finally by the Cuckoos; we learnt masses not just about the history of the British Empire, but also wrestled with the difficult questions around all empires and their legacies. This was a great lead into the exeat weekend, which starting on Saturday lunchtime for a change caused a few problems. In fact I think we will all be out of sync this week, though not those doing their scholarship or entrance exams, I hope.