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The last strains of the carol service have died away, the final report has been written and we are now able to turn our thoughts to family and Christmas.

It was a remarkably enjoyable and festive final few weeks of a long and successful term. The school musical was huge fun and brought to light a number of new and clearly talented young performers. It was a long show, but the cast managed to hold the audience enthralled throughout. I was proud of the fact that of the 13 members of the orchestra six were our own pupils. Both percussionists were third formers.

Other end of term events included the Christmas Concert, where the newly-revived full orchestra gave its first performance, and the wind band blasted its way through some appropriately festive numbers (largely featuring reindeer, snow and bells, if I recall). Also that week we had the usual end-of-season match between staff and the girls' 1st XI hockey team. A glorious victory, Hard luck girls. My knees will take until after New Year to recover. But worth it.

The annual shindig that is the Christmas Dinner followed its usual raucous pattern, with Houses trying to outdo each other in the volume, if not the quality, of their carol singing. It is a medieval scene - long refectory tables in the dining hall, festive decorations, silly hats, loud singing. Perhaps we ought to lay on jugglers and minstrels next year.

Our choir were on good form for the two carol services. The beginning is sublime, with the chamber choir singing Silent Night in German, starting somewhere near the Woodard Room and slowly getting nearer and nearer until they burst into the Chapel, where the congregation is standing, waiting in darkness. There were one or two new carols, which were beautifully sung. That service does signal, for me at least, the real start of the Christmas season.

One of the best gifts we could have received came last week in the form of a letter from the MoD. Their plans to charge schools for running CCF contingents, which drew such universal opprobrium from us and all other schools who had been surveyed, have been abandoned. What a shambolic notion that had been, ill-thought-through and bound to have exactly the opposite effect to that which was intended, but well done to whoever it was who saw sense in the end. And thank you to everybody who supported the school and got in touch with MPs and others. The result is the right one and will allow us to continue to run our excellent CCF for years to come.

I write this from the dining room of our cottage, looking out over the Marsland Valley towards "England" (Cornish border folk being fiercely territorial). The clouds are scudding in off the Atlantic, the table at The Bush is booked and all is well and peaceful.

My family and I wish anybody reading this blog a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.

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