Under normal conditions arriving back from a two week half term should have been a relaxing and reasonably easy task, but my Monday – and the rest of the week – was anything but ordinary. It began with a reasonably early wake up to make it to the Alington Hall for an 8:30am assembly given by the Headmaster. Once this was over I had to try to survive my first five lessons of the day. But all was well, due to the fact that I knew that I had societies’ hour free. This dream was quickly shattered when I realised that I had a meeting to talk about The Shewsy - a youth club in Everton, Liverpool, that the school donates a large amount of money to each year. I would be leaving the next day for a visit to Liverpool and there were many arrangements to be made. After this meeting, a briefing on the trip, I had my first rugby session for two weeks. It is fair to say that I didn't realise that I could become that unfit over just one half term break; but somehow I had! Having just about survived the ordeal, I finished my academic day with my final two lessons. At around 6:15pm I headed down for supper early, so that I could make it to the Ashton theatre for 6:30pm for a play rehearsal. The senior school play this year is 'The Arsonists', directed by Mr Hann. The whole cast has been rehearsing consistently throughout the term, with our first performance only a couple of weeks away. Finally, at 9:30pm, I was released for the final time that day only to arrive back to Ingram’s to hear about the usual chaotic fireworks that I had missed out on.
Tuesday was the day that I left for The Shewsy. After having three lessons in the morning I was relieved to discover I had a double free period. So, after a quick visit to Quod, I managed to get some of my work sorted and then packed, before heading down to KH for lunch. This was ruined as I was stupid enough to accept the challenge of eating a green chilli - that I had been assured wasn't hot. Well.....it was! At 3 o'clock, my mouth still on fire, we departed for Liverpool. Each visit (of which there are a number) is different, and this particular one was given the title of 'The Young Offender'. We arrived after an hour and a half in the bus, driven by Mr Percival, who had volunteered to take us. The fact that he had been the only teacher willing/able to accompany us, combined with the title of the visit, did make me slightly nervous. However, it turned out that all of the other teachers we actually just unavailable! We were ushered into the club by the chaplain, Henry Corbett. He gave us all something to eat and drink and then briefed us on what to expect during the next two days. We then had a chance to unpack in the two rooms that the ten of us were sharing, before enjoying a supper of mashed potatoes, sausages and home made apple pie, cooked by the two ladies who cater for everyone at the club. Following this we were thrown into our first 'senior club' of the visit. This is basically a chance for anyone from the age of ten to nineteen to come in the evenings and make use of the gym, pool, billiards tables and the music rooms. On this occasion, before we were allowed to use the facilities, we had a meeting with a local judge, Sir Mark Hedley, who had been invited to come to answer any questions that we had. This was fascinating as questions such as 'what is the funniest thing in court you have ever heard?' were asked and greeted with some really bizarre and surprising answers! Later, we got the chance to meet some of the people that go to the club regularly and also the staff that supervise them. Personally, I was amazed at the number of people that go to The Shewsy - they reckon on average they have around 60-80 young people visiting each day. Some of these visitors are amazingly talented and The Shewsy is really supportive of each of its members. One club member – a fifteen year old named Joe Madox – stood up with a guitar and sang a variety of Ed Sheeran songs which was loudly supported by everyone listening. So far so good.
This was our only full day at the Shewsy – we would have like to have had more days like this, not just because we were missing a whole day of lessons, but mainly because we really enjoyed our time there! Our day began with breakfast cooked by Harry Tompkinson and James Aitken - bacon and eggs. We did notice Michael Leatherbarrow seemed to have to make a particular effort to eat it all, later explained when he admitted that he was actually allergic to eggs and that he only ate them out of politeness! At 9:20am we left the club to visit the Crown Courts in Derby Square. This was definitely a highlight of the trip as we were able to sit in the court and watch the trials and convictions. The first of the two cases that we saw was a woman who was sentenced to six years in jail for hitting her boyfriend with a hammer. Her defence that she did this because he would not give her a pound for a taxi obviously didn’t hold much weight with the judge! The second case was a murder trial, where we sat for a few hours listening to the defendant give evidence. Though the time flew, we were all surprised at the level of detail the lawyers went into. After a hasty retreat during a gap in proceedings (well, the judge stopped the trial so we could leave!), it was time for lunch and we walked to a restaurant in Liverpool that had a variety of foods from several countries on offer. After spending a decent amount of time eating we were released into Liverpool for an hour. Naturally, we all found ourselves heading straight to the first Starbucks that we could find, though later I found myself in the Liverpool museum. After this we all met up again and returned to The Shewsy. That evening would be our first ever 'junior club' and it is fair to say that it was manic! It begins at 3:30pm every day and is an opportunity for children between six and ten years old to come after school and visit the club. What most surprised us was the fact that not a single kid stopped moving for more than a minute in the two hours we were with them! After the chaos had ended we had a chance to eat and then returned to the main club for our final 'senior club', which included a football tournament in the gym. The Shewsy motto is 'Where people matter more than things', and this was definitely demonstrated by the total devotion from the staff there.
Our last day at The Shewsy started with a rushed breakfast cooked by Jamie Elderton and me. This was so that we could be on time to meet Henry again and have a mini bus tour around Liverpool, visiting sites such as the Hillsborough memorial. Afterwards we visited the community justice centre and spoke to the judge there about his career and were able to watch a number of cases revolving around crimes such as cannabis growth, alcoholism and drink driving. When the court had finished and we got back to The Shewsy, we were given lunch and then talked with some of the staff. We were given a number of tasks to complete and a presentation to prepare. After this we had our last 'junior club' during which we re-enacted a court case. Finally, we had supper and after saying goodbye, left The Shewsy. Unfortunately, as soon as I got back to school I had to go straight into another rehearsal for the play!
At last I was back to normal routines, with four lessons in the morning and lunch at one o'clock. After a flu jab in the San, I got changed and went to play first leagues (a football tournament), in which Ingram’s beat Ridgemount 3-2. Straight after that I had a rugby training session in preparation for the match the next day. Quickly back to the house afterwards to reach period six and seven on time and then supper with a Biology lecture to follow. Another quiet day at Shrewsbury!
Due to playing Denstone away, I had to leave lessons at 11:15am, making myself even more popular with the teachers that I had barely seen all week! But after a long journey we arrived and warmed up. The game went well enough in the first half, putting Shrewsbury ahead by 10-5 with Denstone managing to get a yellow card for slide tackling (feet first) one of our players! During the second half we played a lot better winning the game 54-10. We got back on the bus and I returned to school in time to get changed and go into town to an Indian restaurant to celebrate a friend's birthday.
A lie in at last! Having to wake up at nine o'clock to get ready for the Remembrance Service seemed like something of a luxury! After the service we I headed down to KH for brunch.As soon as I had finished eating, however, I had to drag myself to the theatre for a five and a half hour play rehearsal. Then finally get back to house to relax…