I woke up on Wednesday 5th October to the jingling of my radio alarm and the groans of my roommate at the prospect of rising from the Land of Nod. Nevertheless, after a boiling hot shower, my frown was turned upside-down and we trudged off to breakfast.
The day kick started with one of Mrs. Kirk’s entertaining Chemistry lessons discussing everything from who the best looking member of the class was to Ross’s purple jumper. After break I had a cello lesson with my teacher Ms. Bingham with no small amount of urgency - next week I have my audition for BBC Young Musician of the Year, a nationwide and hard-fought contest for budding soloists across the country. Then a big plate of scampi for lunch.
That afternoon we all boarded the coach at 3:20 to take us to Wolverhampton for a pulsating U16D football team encounter with the Royal Wolverhampton Grammar School 2nd XI. Say what you want about the school name, but much to the dismay/horror/(insert emotion here) of Mr Cowper, we truly suffered a Royal drubbing. To avoid humiliation I don’t think I can mention the final score, let’s keep it that they scored ten times as many as us. And we netted a grand total of one. Naturally the competitive Mr Cowper wasn’t a happy bunny afterwards, but in true Salopian spirit we marched on back to the bus determined to put it right. Mr Cowper has a winning personality and even the mighty Ds can appreciate how much it means to him to grind out victories, or “die trying.” They aren’t his words (yet) but it’s only a matter of time..
Thursday is somewhat a unique day in that lessons finish at 1, and afterwards a variety of activities take place around the school site. Mine is Music, and so I spent a good chunk of two hours in the Music School working on my GCSE composition piece, a plucky Irish dance inspired by our teacher Mrs Nightingale (from Belfast). I would love to be able to add linked-in lyrics such as “Yeh eejit!” but courtesy comes first in boarding school I guess. That evening I was plugging away at a monstrous English essay set by Mr. Hudson while my peers were watching Journey’s End (a play they had studied in different English sets to me) on a trip in Wolverhampton. I think it’s fair to say that their visit went more smoothly than mine. After ‘Topschools’ had finished (the evening time set aside for doing work) I slumped on my bed absent-mindedly reading my FourFourTwo magazine, then slept like a log.
Friday’s main event was a concert especially for the Old Salopians, and I was very proud to play in a special young-and-old string quartet (only joking!) organised by the Head of Strings, Mr Joyce. Something similar took place on Saturday as well, when I also played in the Beethoven Trio, for piano, cello and clarinet. But of course, these are merely side-stories to the weekend’s real thriller - Shrewsbury Town vs Barnet. After a last minute panic realising I had no-one to go with, I rang up my dad who heroically dashed in from home to see a gripping encounter which we edged 3-2 in dramatic circumstances. There’s something about Barnet: despite perennially battling relegation and at the time of writing being 11 points behind Shrewsbury in the League 2 table, the 50 or so fans that turned up to support them saw Shrewsbury stroll into a 2-0 half time lead, squander it in farcical circumstances for 2-all, and snatch it back right at the death with the last kick of the game. A corner missed everyone in Barnet’s box, but the Shrewsbury winger Ainsworth was there to tap home, and send 5594 spectators wild. After that, and a cracking Hot Dog from the stumpy little man outside the ground, the rest of my weekend paled into insignificance.
Tuesday 11th October
I’ve done it - minus the expected heart attack or fainting. I have just successfully completed my Young Musician of the Year audition at Media City UK studios, Manchester. The head of Music, Mr. Moore, drove me in his car oop’ North and it was wonderful to see to place where the newly-relocated BBC do the brunt of their filming. I had a 35-minute warm up session, which I’m convinced was a test of one’s nerves as much as anything else, then played Boccherini’s Rondo and Requiebros by Cassadó, a little known Spanish romantic composer. Although I’ll be lucky to get through (it goes up to 18 after all) it was a brilliant experience to see such an important place for the British Media.
Then, despite being physicaly and mentally exhausted, on returning back to school, we all trained doubly hard to keep our place in the Mighty D team. Inevitably we had a pride talk before getting started, telling us to show pride when representing our School, and when I returned to my boarding house afterwards I fell asleep almost instantly. If this teaches you one thing, it’s that life is never boring at Shrewsbury! (especially for D team regulars).