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10th May 2011

Posted: 10th May 2011 | Category: Headmasters's Blog

What a weekend! Fiona had abandoned Rowan and me to visit our daughter, SamSam, in London.  Home Alone!

Saturday whizzed by in a mass of mundane matters – nice bit of alliteration, I think to myself (which makes me a ‘saddo’ English teacher who can’t switch off!).

The Swimming Pool was my first job: remove the frog from the basket; backwash the filter; test the water quality; contemplate a swim and think better of it.  The water sparkled and I had to admire the quality of Peter Jepson’s handiwork as he made a fantastic job of repainting the pool.

Talking of paint, the resurfacing and painting of the Tennis Court went well – next on the agenda is refencing.  Stop thinking about school!

Walking back from the pool, I stopped to admire six fallow deer, including one albino, who were grazing on the newly-cut sward.

I always feel privileged when I take time out to savour the bucolic beauty of our panoramic vista and can picture C. B. Fry as a youngster cavorting in the fields when he spent some of his childhood at Skippers. The deer edge slowly off into the woods. Time to move on.

Job Number 2: a quick visit to the shops to stock up on breakfast supplies for our revamped Breakfast Club: Baked Beans, bread, marmite, fruit and a few items for home consumption.

Saturday afternoon was taken up with a practice at the Parish Church with the Concert Choir.  Matters did not pan out smoothly! The children were too spread out – neither the Mayfield Festival Choir nor us were “on song” and the normally calm conductor joined Dorothy and me in a communal hair-tugging session.  He ended the rehearsal with: “Don’t worry, everyone . . . it will be alright on the night!”  Only I could see his fingers firmly crossed behind his back!

At home that evening, Rowan had the choice of either going through a GCSE Language paper or watching Dr Who – Science Fiction won!

Home tutoring has its fans and I am one of them when it comes to Home Economics, Roro’s evening task was to cook a Spanish Omelette.

10oz of cooked and diced potatoes (left-over Jersey Royals)

6 large eggs

1 finely chopped red onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive Oil

She lightly fried the onions in the olive oil and added the potatoes for a couple of minutes; she whisked the eggs in a bowl and added salt and pepper.  This mixture she added to the small but deep pan containing the potatoes and onions.  4 minutes on a gentle heat on the hob and 2 minutes under the grill to finish and voilá! Tortilla de Patata or tortilla Espanola in my local chirunguito! A perfect vegetarian snack and delicious to boot!

Sunday was an exciting day!  A huge full English Breakfast was followed by that darned GCSE Language Paper which was very straightforward and could have been handled by all my students in Year 8!

A full practice was scheduled for the Concert Choir in the afternoon.  This would be the first time that our choristers would encounter the professionals – the soloists and the orchestra. Graham Caldbeck was very encouraging and the performance was demonstrably better than the one on Saturday; but my fingers were now firmly crossed for the evening performance.

Last night St Dunstan’s was packed with locals of all generations.

The highlights of the first half were: a magnificent counter tenor, Leo Tomita, who had the most extraordinary voice; the harpist and percussionists; the ensemble playing Shanties; and, of course, stealing the show was Dorothy Bridger’s Concert Choir with their rendition of “Simple Gifts”.

The second half of the performance, Rutter’s Mass of the Children, is a challenging piece at the best of times.

I was so proud of our pupils who stepped up to the mark and gave a gutsy and tuneful contribution to the work.  The three choirs gelled with the orchestra, soloists, organist and conductor to provide the spellbound audience with a musical and spiritual experience that will stay in the memory for a long time indeed.

I was so proud of all our 24 choristers and their fantastic Director, Dorothy Bridger.

Home before ten with just one thing left to do . . . open the fridge and finish off the tortilla!

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