Monday 23rd April
The dream was going swimmingly but as ever it was rudely interrupted by Shrewsbury’s early starts. Nevertheless the day had broken and was to be tackled head on. I was up and off to breakfast. After running through my speech for the Junior School Debating final and prepared myself for the day I was walking on that long voyage that is the distance from Severn Hill to the main school building. First thing of the day was heavy subject of the Hitler Youth in History, with a double dosing of French grammar to follow just to test my stamina! Maths and Chemistry followed, a quick lunch and then I was off to a Junior School play rehearsal in the Ashton Theatre. The day continued but as I got to the final lesson, Chemistry again, the tiredness started to creep in. Luckily, Doc. Samworth saw this coming and so prepared a lovely mixture of hydrogen and oxygen which, when ignited, made sure we’d be awake for a long time yet!
And so the day ended. No, I tell a lie it had only just begun. Now the academic day was over I could focus all my remaining energy on the big debate [Junior House Debating Final]. After tea, our team of three went up to the Ashton Theatre. Within ten minutes the judges and the audience had taken their seats and so it began. The topic to be debated: People who lead unhealthy lifestyles should pay for their healthcare.
Churchill’s began; Sonny Koh’s speech was sharp and full of vigour. Then it was my turn. I stood up, looked out into the great sea of light, and tried to think I was in Prime Minister’s questions! I risked it speaking without notes, just hoping the facts would keep flowing and that what I said got to the heart of the matter being debated. After three minutes fervently putting our side of the argument across, I sat down feeling momentarily content. But there was still 2 avid Churchillians to go.
Churchill’s argument was good, Theo Simmons retaining his flare throughout. Luckily though, James Plaut and my brother Tom were loaded with enough content and fatal rebuttal that by the floor debate it seemed mostly even. The floor debate was interesting; Mr Sheppe dealing what could have been a disastrous question. But we were not deterred, I went into the summary speech sure that a victory could be achieved, if we only highlighted what Churchill’s had crucially missed. My summary speech was packed with rebuttal, and was a rather harsh attack on Churchill’s argument. But that is essence of true debate I suppose!
And so it finished and as we waited for the judge’s result, I was still very uncertain of the outcome. They returned, and the headmaster dealt out his judgement. We’d won! The feeling was fantastic. I slept well that night.
Tuesday 24th April
Tuesday broke, and the success of the night before gave me the very anti-Salopian feeling to jump straight out of bed. After a filling breakfast the day began with Mr Bell’s all you need to know guide to the ethics of Euthanasia in RS. After break was curriculum games which was the delightful sport that is golf. After chipping and putting my way into lunch, I now found myself at a junior concert band rehearsal. Following this was German and Maths and then a mad dash back to house to change into cricket gear. The weather being dismal this was in the conveniently nearby location of the indoor cricket centre. After tea I was off to a lecture about the world of media. The talk was very interesting but the idea of being a “runner” for the first five years of my career didn’t really appeal! Anyhow I returned to house to finish off work and try and get a good night.
Wednesday 25th April
The weather was dismal, and would continue to be for the next few days. But the greyness of the sky didn’t reflect into my life. Things were, as ever, busy! After a solid morning of lessons I was a least partially relieved to find I had a half day. Half day however does by no means equate to a rest. After a quick lunch I was having my weekly clarinet lesson with Mrs Landon, which although they are very productive, they also manage to leave me gasping for air as if I’d just been on a run. So after returning through the torrential downpour back to the house, I finished off some work and had a rare moment of rest.
Thursday 26th April
Thursday arrived but it kept raining. At first I wasn’t too bothered, but when in my first lesson I asked someone what we were doing in CCF that afternoon and I got the haunting reply of “the river run” I was not the least bit comforted.
Lessons drove smoothly into lunch and following this I got changed for the last CCF of the year. After a lecture from Colonel David, the marines began with drill. After marching our fair share it was time for a marine’s favourite activity (although it certainly isn’t mine), Physical Training. For this we were to embark on a river run. This 2 mile walk and swim was to test my stamina to the limit. Our team set off and as we approached the boat house everything seemed to be going well… too well. We then arrived at the “stream” which because of the rain had become a river. I jumped in and immediately felt an ice rod pierce itself up my back. Nevertheless I trudged through and eventually arrived at the other side. Now was the long run back up the school bank and the eventual crossing of the finish line. By now we were so wet, that sitting in a very large puddle was not a hindrance, but a cooling and refreshing experience.
After returning to house, getting dry and having tea I made my way up to the Maidment Building for the Junior Wind Prize. Having slipped up in style in the previous year’s competition I was determined to go out there and do well! Eventually my turn came to play and it seemed to go as well as I could have hoped, but with so many other great woodwind players around me the chance of getting an award looked hit and miss. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was awarded 3rd prize by the judge. A very positive end to a non-stop day.
Friday 27th April
Last day of the week for most people, but not at Shrewsbury! Friday was very unusually, a very normal day consisting of a long line of lessons. By the final lesson, French, the heat and sweat of a hard working classroom was seeping into my veins, and so I was relieved to have an hour in the cricket centre bowling in the nets! After returning to house that evening, end of the week syndrome had sunk in deeply. But there was Saturday yet.
Saturday 28th April
It was the weekend but still there was a morning of lessons to get through. This morning however, Period 1 was non- existent as the Rev Dobbie had called the confirmation candidates for a run through before the next day’s service. After knowing what I was in for the following day, I returned to a portion of The Great Gatsby in English, and before I knew it I had found myself in the final lesson of the day, and what a surprise, it was French!
Saturday afternoon arrived and the sun came out. After a swim and a routine visit to the grot shop I had a rare portion of time to myself. I was planning on using this time somewhat wisely but eventually found myself waking up six that evening having collapsed onto my bed and slept for 3 lovely hours.
And so I settled down that evening with my Domino’s Pizza and one of those action packed, explosion filled, lack of a story films feeling shattered, but in a very good mood.
Sunday 29th April
Severn Hill is usually dead to the world until around 10 on a Sunday. But this was no ordinary Sunday, today was to Confirmation Sunday. After a term of lessons every Tuesday evening, now was what it had all come down to.
So I woke at around 8:30, got ready and went down to meet my family in the Severn Hill private side. After drinks and a catch up with the family I made my way to the Library. Once here the Chaplain gave us a name card so the Bishop knew what to call us. From here we dashed to the Chapel through the hammering rain and took our seats in the first two rows. The service started and the choir, the Headmaster and the Chaplain processed up the aisle. Behind them was the person who was to conduct the service, the former Bishop of Stockport who happened to be the Headmaster’s father, and whose hat Dobbie described affectionately as “a large tea cosy.”
The service began and after the opening hymns and blessings the Bishop gave a sermon about what actually being a true Christian means and also how confirmation is a great strengthening of faith in which we choose to follow God for the rest of our lives.
Now it was our turn. All the candidates stood and answered questions about our faith and if we wish to follow Jesus Christ. We then went in pairs to the altar where the Bishop was sitting in a chair. We then knelt in front of him and he confirmed us individually placing his hands on our heads with a particularly firm grip I must say!
Following this there was a final hymn and silent prayers, a part of service I particularly like, giving me time to reflect over things. The congregation departed and all the candidates stayed behind for a photo. I then joined my parents in the Alington Hall and returned home with the family for the afternoon exhausted, but in no way said no to the buffet lunch that was on offer!
And so I returned to school late that evening after a successful week. Life at Shrewsbury continuing as always. As you can probably see life as a Salopian is busy, but that is what I think makes it so appealing. You never stop but you absorb all the wonderful things it has to offer on the way.