Shrewsbury School

A Week in the Life of Theo Simmons (Ch 4)

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Theo kindly agreed to step into the breach and write up his 'week' at extremely short notice. As an enthusiastic member of the Creative Writing Group, and of Chapel Choir, he has written up the first few days of this week in true Churchillian style.


Chapel ChoirSunday
My week began with the usual verve that surrounds Shrewsbury life. It was Sunday, my only truly ‘free’ day, supposedly, however I was aware that in the twenty four hours that lay before me I was not going to be left entirely to my own devices. I was woken by the daylight peeping through the gaps in the dorm curtains and the shuffling snuffling sounds of my dorm mates, who were unwilling to admit, like me, that even though they spent the entire previous week waking up feeling as though they could have slept till lunch time, on Sunday the dawn greets without a care for planned hours of rest. I had no time to sleep in till lunch even if I had wanted to that day, as soon I was out of bed and off to the chapel for a choir rehearsal. After which at 11 o’clock I walked to the art building for a drawing session in which I continued working on a GCSE portfolio piece - a drawing of a victorian clothing wrangler - along with the rest of my set, under the excellent eyes of the art masters.

Brunch was a quick affair before a hasty walk back to the house in an effort to maximise work time in the short while before the full chapel choir rehearsal at 2pm. The hour quickly arrived and, bracing myself against the icy December air all the while muttering the definition of osmosis under my breath, I made my way over to the chapel along with many other Churchillians in preparation for that evening’s service.

An hour or so later as the parting notes of Rachmaninoff's "Bogoroditse Devo" hung in the air sending shivers up my spine, I knew that the service would be fine, and indeed it was. The evening began in a wintery twilight, the lights on the town bank shimmering in the steel grey waters of the Severn river as the choir, fully robed now, lined up beside the chapel ready to process. Inside, the deep, warm colours gave a cosy feel and the service passed with hearty singing and some intricate reading in various languages that awoke the spirit and excitement of Christmas in everyone. Even if it had lay buried as in my case, under the hectic nature of the end of term.

After the success of the service, the choir changed and headed for Kingsland House where the Chapel Choir Christmas meal was taking place. We were welcomed by Rev. Dobbie and soon we stood, de-jacketed, in the warmth of the living room among the throng of choir members and the tinkling of light conversation. Mr. Mason and Mr. Moore were present along with the Fannings and other members of staff, a buffet had been laid out and we navigated the clockwise (or anti-clockwise?) process of getting our food and proceeded to take our plates through to the candle-lit tables of the main rooms. What followed was a thoroughly enjoyable evening in which a friend and I engaged in a magic trick where it appeared as if we could read peoples’ minds; I will not divulge the nature of it here, tricks of the trade and all that!

The week continued much in the way it had begun, with French tests and Maths exams spinning into the fore even after the previous night’s frivolities. My sport change that day was ‘Super Benjies’  and my  aim was to obtain a time at least somewhere near my personal best of 13 minutes 10 seconds. With a result only seven seconds off my PB I made my way contentedly if a little achingly to double Biology in which more revision on digestion, osmosis and diffusion was done.

That night marked the last meeting of term for the Creative Writing Society, and with themes set from ‘Christmas and winter’ to ‘James is Awesome: Debate and discuss’ the evening passed in laughter and in thought as we shared our work and commented on others’, and engaged in a little ‘speed writing’ on topics to get our creative juices flowing. I look forward to the club come the New Year, as membership is only increasing and every new member brings something fresh to our group of like-minded people on Monday nights.

The day began with a tutor period where the workings of the school and the closeness of Christmas was discussed with energy by a small group of us with Mr. Moore and Mr. Hudson. Art then beckoned - another hour and a half stint on the detailed ‘Machine drawing’ before a very interesting RS lesson in which the relationship between religion and animals’ rights was looked at, and an inspiring video from Greenpeace played. After break it was time for Athletics, in particular, Javelin and high jump. We warmed up extensively as the day was a bitter one, including an exercise in which Mr. Howarth appeared to almost moonwalk across the astro turf, such is the foot coordination runners apparently need to have. Lunch followed, with our final lessons being music and maths; the first a promise of honing our musical ear listening to various instruments, the second - paper two of the maths exam. I am aware of the logic of putting tests at the end of term, but in the last week they are definitely not welcomed by the tired, worn down pupils they are received by! A two page history essay later, among other things, and I am lying in bed, one day closer to the approaching holidays!

Today has something in its advantage, something that means that it can never be a ‘bad’ day. Double English then History, my two favourite lessons in one morning, nothing could be better. It proves a nice antidote to Physics and Biology after break, even though I actually quite like my current topics in both of them. English involved discussion on ‘new media’ and viewing of a documentary on the creation of Facebook. It was very interesting seeing how something that my generation takes for granted sprang from the seeds of so many ideas, relatively recently. In History we examined the gamble that was Hitler’s move for Anschluss with Austria in 1938. In Physics we had to write a step-by-step description of an  intricate mechanism that would supposedly get a man out of bed and make breakfast, drawing on the aspects of Physics involved. A Biology exam was next on the menu - before what was for lunch, that is - and soon I am walking back to the house ready for the writing of this article in the two hours or so before Chapel Choir. From this point on I know that the great swirling chasm that is the end of term is about to suck me in.

For now it is the time, with great festive cheer, to begin practising a comedy dialogue piece to be performed with William Allot in Friday night’s ‘House entertainment’ - and to continue to put off packing for as long as I can!

Merry Christmas all,

Theo Simmons Ch

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