End in Sight
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Richard Biggs
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is no country on earth more beautiful than England in June when the sun is shining. What an extraordinary passage of glorious weather we have had. And how lucky we are to live and work in such gorgeous surroundings here at King’s. I have never seen the school looking better. Our garden is a paradise, the grounds are pristine and green and immaculate.
We’ve made good use of the amphitheatre. Three services in the past two weeks and an assembly this morning. The latter went well, and emphasised for me what a special facility that is: what remains of the school (ie three year groups) fits in easily and it is no effort to speak to all of them from the middle. And much more intimate and relaxed than the rather stuffy assemblies we have in Chapel each week.
Two weeks ago we held our first Eucharist in the amphitheatre. Guest preacher was Father Richard Peers, Headmaster of Trinity, Lewisham, a Woodard-affiliated school. He admitted to a severe case of amphitheatre-envy! His sermon was brilliant; at one point he pedalled around the altar on a bicycle – making the point that the air in the tyres was important for smoothing out the bumps in the road. He spoke about mindfulness and we spent a few minutes in silence thinking about our breathing while we basked in the sunshine.
Much has happened and time is flying by. We break up at the end of next week, which is a scary thought. But not unpleasant – the break will be very welcome for pupils and staff alike. Between now and then, as ever, lies a programme of events and activities to test even the most energetic.
Highlights: the 1st XI play Millfield at the County Ground on Friday, as the curtain-raiser to the (less important) T20 match between Somerset and Essex. Our first team are playing well. Neil Brand looks set to become the first player in King’s history to make 1000 runs in a season…and we wish him well in that little enterprise.
On Sunday evening we have our termly sung evensong. This will be the last time that Chris Holmes conducts the choir of staff, parents and friends as a member of the school Music Department: he retires at the end of this term. The music he has chosen is superb, and includes the last two numbers from the Messiah. We will make a valiant effort to do it, and him, justice. Please think about coming along to what is always a lovely service…6:30pm in the Chapel. Drinks afterwards.
Today is Induction Day for next year’s third form intake. I welcomed them to King’s this morning and said to them that they were the future of the school – what it became depended on them, so this was as important a day for us as it was for the new pupils…our first chance to see them together as a group. They look as cheerful and as eager as ever. It must be daunting, though: a large campus, lots of large, confident pupils around the place, a non-stop stream of advice and information. I hope they soon realise that this is actually an enormously welcoming and friendly place and that it isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the group back again as fully-fledged King’s men and women in September.
The biltong box has been an unmitigated success, and this has surprised me as much as it has my family. It really works. I’m onto my third batch already – and the box has not stopped whirring away for three weeks now. Delicious. Unfortunately the biltong seems to disappear about as fast as we can produce it. Next project – to make bacon from scratch. How difficult can it be?