Friday, 29th April 2016
The funeral of the Bursar's wife, Heather McLean, occurred on Monday afternoon in the Cathedral. It was a desperately moving service and the Form 7 and 8 boys surpassed themselves in the maturity that they showed during the course of the service, adding to its poignancy by their beautiful performance of Howard Goodall's "The Lord is my Shepherd." I wanted to thank Maria Blick, the Chairman of the Parents Association for attending to represent the parent body. Paul Lee not only came but had very kindly framed the lovely picture of Heather, William and their family at their son's wedding which was featured in the Oxford Mail last Saturday.
I am still feeling elated by the wonderful concert which occurred in the Cathedral on Saturday night. All those who attended could not help but agree with me that the quality of the performances were extraordinary. There can be few places in the country where prep school children perform alongside University students and it really brought home to me how lucky we are being part of this unique institution, College, Cathedral and School. A teacher from Abingdon was present. He remarked to me afterwards how splendid it was that such a small school can produce so many brilliant performers. Another person, who has taught in prep schools for years and was present, commented upon the very supportive nature of the pupils for one another. It was also very heartening to see so many people attend and there was a lovely reception afterwards. This concert is in its second year now and really is going from strength to strength. I cannot thank Maki Sekiya and Susanne Mundschenk enough for all their work in organising it.
The day had started with a wonderful Cricket festival on the meadows to which a large number of younger boys came. Cricket skills were practiced and games were played. Mr Dickinson, Mr Cotterill ably assisted by the younger Mr Dickinson (I hope you all note my use of the word younger there) and our new gapper Mr Englebretsen ensured that everyone who was there was full of enthusiasm and that the cause of Cricket was pursued. It was nice to see so many parents too, many of whom stayed to watch the honing of their sons' skills.
There are still a few tickets for next Thursday's tour of the Upper Library. If you did need any further encouragement to come, I would say that having a drink with a group of highly amiable people in one of Oxford's most stunning and undervisited rooms – Hannah has lived in Oxford most of her life and has never been - is enough in itself to make the visit worthwhile. As a bonus, those present will have a personal tour, by the keeper of special collections, of some of the greatest treasures of the library. As one might imagine, this being Christ Church, the collection is of international significance. I am constantly struck by the perception of children about their parents. Our son Henry was asked by his teacher to masquerade as an estate agent and to try to sell a pond to a frog who was attempting to hop onto the property ladder. In the ravishing details provided for potential reptilian purchasers, which my son had written, I was most entertained to read that the pond was particularly recommended for the fact that next to the swimming pool was a large gym. Clearly Henry had in mind his mother's requirements when imagining the perfect house. What perception I thought. I then continued reading. "At the end of the main passage is a very big wine cellar...." There is, I have learnt, not much that is left unobserved!