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Headmaster’s Summer Blog 2011

Posted: 31st August 2011 | Category: Headmaster's Blog

Throughout the Summer, two highly skilled building teams have been racing against a tight schedule to complete a new classroom block with state-of-the-art facilities and to refurbish the old dorms to provide fabulous accommodation for Years 6, 7 and 8.  Fiona and I felt it best to beat a hasty retreat and spend time in Spain relaxing after what had been a most successful and rewarding Summer Term at Skippers.

How did we spend our time?  Swimming in the cool, clear, jelly-fish free Mediterranean Sea; reading George RR Martin; annihilating the Spanish language in our attempts to improve Anglo-Hispanic relations; running into ex-pupils at restaurants – generally “chilling”!  Family, food and friends….just what the doctor ordered!

A fortnight shot by and I abandoned the family by flying back to Sussex to see how matters were faring at Skippers.  I met up with Mark Malley and the builders to ensure the renovations were going according to plan.  We were all delighted with the progress and I believe everyone will be thrilled with the transformation the school is undergoing!  Onwards and upwards!  So many developments in such a short time – a school with a purpose and a bright future!

At the weekend, disaster struck!

On Saturday 6th August I donned my whites to represent Mayfield Cricket Club in a crunch match.  The sky was overcast and our side took the field.  The opposition was under pressure from our bowlers and the fielding was keen.  I was placed at wide mid-on and felt a tad redundant as the bowling was pitched up and on line.  Our seamer uncharacteristically bowled one on the leg and the batsman executed a stunning on drive that fairly whizzed across the sward to my right hand side.   I leapt like a balletic salmon into the air, inscribed a perfect arching dive, missed the ball and ended up in A and E being injected with morphine and sucking desperately on the Gas and Air!  Ouch!  A dislocated shoulder which I must say was excruciating!  My thanks to Year 7 student, Thomas Stilwell, who gave up his scoring to be a substitute fielder whilst his Headmaster was lying on his back in Resus 1!  And congratulations to his Dad, Brian, who scored 48 and let me know that we did win the match…without my help!

That evening I had the next painful thing to do: telephone Fiona!

“Buenos Noches!”

“Hi, Fi!  My blood pressure is fine and how was the beach?”

“What have you broken this time?”

I flew back out to Spain to rejoin the family and our guest, Angela Alsop, my stalwart Deputy.  I expected and got no sympathy

“You really should grow up!  Cricket is a game for Spring Chickens not Bald Eagles!” stated my youngest daughter.

An image of feathered young upstarts wielding the willow against an experienced team of follicly-challenged Christmas Dinners on the hallowed pitch at Lords leapt into my mind causing me to hoot with laughter.

“It’s his medication!” whispered to Fiona to Angela knowingly.

The holidays were soon over and we touched base with the builders.  On schedule?  Raj was ahead and Gary behind!  Still, onwards and upwards!

On the 27th August, Skippers became the venue for a beautiful Wedding Reception.  The lower field boasted a vast marquee and former pupil, Nathalie Assayag, and Barnaby Eales, whom she married earlier that afternoon at Crowborough Registry Office, confirmed their wedding vows on the steps to the cricket pavilion.  Another alumni, Cassie Gould, officiated as the Registrar.

There were nearly 300 guests, with many former pupils of the school as well as members of our founders’ family, the Wards.  It was also good to see so many friends from our locality, as well as receiving visitors from all over the world.

It was a happy occasion which pleased Maxine and her family immensely.

The bucolic tranquillity of East Sussex is, as I scribe, being interrupted by the cacophony of hammers, drills, circular saws and the bleating of the intruder alarm.  It is all “Go” here at Skippers.  Peter Jepson and a crew of former pupils are beginning the clear-up tomorrow and some of the teachers are already sorting out their rooms.  Four working days to sort out the whole caboodle before the children arrive?

No hay problema!

I wonder if there are any cheap Easy Jet flights to Malaga tonight!

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