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Monday, 5 March 2018

Headmaster's Blog Spring Term 2018 - Week 7

We will have to rename this term the ‘Winter’ Term rather than the ‘Spring’ Term. It has been a fairly bizarre exeat and certainly not what we were expecting two weeks ago. The weather forecasters had it right. Easterly winds all the way from Siberia arrived on cue and even before much snow arrived it was perishing cold. We do not usually have winds from the East; the West is much, much more common. As a result different rooms to the usual ones felt the cold draughts, and one of those was my study. I have had cold hands and, even worse, cold feet all week.

It was difficult to know whether the terrible storm, Emma, was going to reach us before the planned exeat started on Friday lunchtime, and whether or not parents coming to collect their children could do so and get back home safely. The media reports were awful, but on the ground, although the winds were strong and gusty, there wasn’t much snow to be seen; what to do…?

Anyway, it became clear that the risk of the school being snowed in over Thursday night and on Friday was very high and we made the decision to start the exeat early, at 3pm on Thursday afternoon. There was a lot of looking out of the windows to see if and when the snow would start in earnest, but it held off until most had been collected and Pre-prep had gone home. Eight pupils were left behind at school, whose plans could not be altered. I bet they felt rather sorry for themselves, with everyone else cut and run, but with a team of the on site staff looking after them it turned into a fun evening.

The Kitchen staff were fantastic and did not leave the sinking ship, but stayed on and made sure there was a good supper and plenty for breakfast too. A swim, football in the sports hall, supper, and then hide and seek in the Main Building, followed by hot chocolate and a film, made for a good afternoon and evening. The three girls moved up from Yates House into the Main Building and everything  felt rather fun.

We did not start especially early on Friday morning and the snow and wind had done their work overnight. Fairly deep drifts lay across the front drive in about three or four places, but Min, Ian and Pete were not to be put off and were in getting breakfast ready first thing. Mr BT and Mr Scott couldn’t wait to move Min’s car that was stuck half way up the drive and threw themselves into clearing the drifts and gritting; Mr Lockett joined the working party and before long Netty and Terry and Lynne were seen walking up from the Front Gate. Not many would have tried to come into work given the conditions and media coverage, but it just went to show the loyalty to the school. Mr Richardson, utterly dependable was there and Miss Dobson had her luminous waterproof trousers on to show she meant business. Mrs Payne turned up in her 4x4 to check all was well and Mrs Cook and Webb manned the emails from home. It wasn’t long before Mr Scott with the help of Mr Richardson had the snow plough on the Kubota and was clearing the drive efficiently, with Oscar and Will showing us that even Australians know how to lay grit. A run to Warwick Parkway for two pupils trying to meet their parents in London went surprisingly smoothly and by 1.30pm all the pupils had left – Elliott on foot to Camp Lane and his hosts there!

All very exciting and a great change from the routine. The Top Year finished all their mock CE exams, an extra play rehearsal was squeezed in and the only real casualty of the weekend was my Greek class with 100B, which I only have on a Friday morning – I expect they will survive.

Rather sadly Mrs Lockett’s ukele gig, for which she has been practising with an intensity and focus I have rarely seen, which was due to take place in The White Pheasant on Friday evening, was cancelled. Very disappointing and a bottle of fizz was required to distract us from the flat feeling this looked like bringing on. But not to worry, a new date has been made for the band to play, 27th April, this time at The Sociable Beer Company, in Worcester; so all the rehearsing will not have been in vain.

A enforced day of rest today has been no bad thing; not even a hair cut was possible. I am sure we will reap the benefits in the last three weeks of term.

Will Lockett, Headmaster

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