Friday, 8th March 2019
As I am sure you all knew by the time you had taken part in the creation of various costumes, yesterday was World Book Day! My guise this year was Fantastic Mr Fox – I was not alone in choosing this character but I much enjoyed greeting all the pupils as they arrived on Brewer Street, clad in my Fox gear! As ever these days, I also had to nip across to Oriel Square to pick up boys at the bollard and as I passed through College where World Book Day seemed, ironically given the centrality of books to the institution, to have had less of an impact, I received a large number of quizzical stares, some rather more amused than others. I loved the enthusiasm the day engendered on the part of the pupils who seemed utterly engaged. I would say that Harry Potter was the most popular choice. Wands were being waved in all parts of the School, so I will be interested to see what changes have occurred since! I still marvel, as I wrote earlier this term, at the impact of Harry Potter on the minds of whole generations of pupils.
I heard yesterday on the radio that most people spend more on their World Book Day costume than on books! I do not detect that that is the case at CCCS. Boys read anywhere, at any time, and it is not just when children are learning to read that they have reading diaries here. In the Prep School they fill in their reading logs assiduously and enjoy trying to achieve (or indeed beat) their target. In doing so, they educate themselves and allow themselves to make journeys of the imagination which are so important for the growth of their minds and the appreciation of the glorious world in which they live. Thank you so much for helping to make yesterday such a success.
There have been a number of sporting successes recently about which you may read elsewhere in this publication. I want to pay tribute to Peter Dickinson who has continued to run the sport in the School despite the recent trouble he has had with his ankles which has made getting about extremely hard for him. Despite being in a great deal of pain, he has remained cheerful and has not given up a single commitment. Thankfully he will have a date for his operation very soon and I am sure it will not be long before he more closely resembles another literary character beloved of children, Tigger. Recently, our boys have made a real impact on the football pitch, playing some excellent games against much bigger schools. I do admire their determination and loyalty – I am reminded of the motto of England’s smallest county, Rutland, “Multum in Parvo” – much in little. Well done to all our boys.
It was also lovely to witness Forms 3 & 4 performing in their concert this week. Almost every single pupil in the two year groups played an individual piece on all manner of instruments and at the end they sang with such polish and gusto. I particularly enjoyed their song about a pirate crew and decided that if I ever got bored of my present job, a highly unlikely scenario, I would like to go off and join a pirate crew on the Seven Seas! Upon more mature reflection, I do not think I am particularly suited to the role of a pirate, particularly now that the job seems to be far less romantic than in the days of cutlasses, but I also cannot foresee my job being anything other than highly engaging!
Mind you, in lunch yesterday I was sitting next to one of the boys who asked me when I was going to retire. I said I hoped no time soon. Wondering whether I looked particularly haggard as I sat there, eating my roast beef in my Fox costume, I asked him what prompted his question. “Oh,” he responded, “I’d like to be the Headmaster of Christ Church and so wondered when I could start!” I do admire ambition.