Shrewsbury School

A Fortnight in the Life of Alfie Grocott (PH 3)

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Alfie has somehow managed to find the time to write up his personal account of 'Foundation Fortnight' - the induction programme for all the 128 boys in the Third Form.

Alfie Grocott (front left) in New Boys' Race

As we drove through the gates and into school on my first day, I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect.  How hard would the lessons be?  Would I make any friends?  Would I enjoy the sport?  However, I was quickly reassured by the end of my first day in the Third Form that I was going to love Shrewsbury, although it was fair to say that my feet still haven’t touched the ground.

After spending nine years at my prep school, Packwood, I felt I was ready to enjoy some new experiences; and I certainly have!  In my first week alone I have sampled German, Rowing and Fives, all new experiences for me and for most of my year group.

There have been many highlights, but in my eyes none more important than meeting those in my new house, Port Hill, and experiencing some of the famous camaraderie.  I’ve already made some good friends in the house and hopefully it will stay that way for years to come.  I particularly enjoyed the massive ‘Kick about’ that was organized for my house on the first afternoon.

Tuesday saw me worrying about the Swimming Tests, something I was very keen on passing, as I couldn’t wait to row for the first time; my fears were unnecessary, as just about everyone passed and was therefore eligible to go out on the river.  However after the initial happiness at my success, came the dreaded Top Schools.  Two hours on only my second day!  However, I was assured by a kindly sixth former that after Foundation Fortnight, my work-load would eventually settle down.

The highlight of the week came on Wednesday, the first time I ever stepped into a rowing boat.  After a quick lesson on technique and a go in the brilliant ‘Tank’, we were allowed on the river, a truly exhilarating but terrifying experience.  It was at this time that I realised how addictive rowing can be, and so myself and about sixty others signed up to do it on a regular basis.

On Thursday we were shown some of the huge number of Societies on offer.  One of my friends decided to sign up for polo, despite the fact that he had never ridden a horse in his life, simply because he “liked the shirt”.

Friday was a particularly humid if not, tropical, day and I have to admit I was pouring with sweat.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t helped as I had to run about half a kilometre back to my house to retrieve my copy of Hamlet which I had been specifically told to bring to my English lesson.  This taught me a valuable lesson; don’t forget your books or you might just have to run half a kilometre to go and get them.

Saturday dawned, the day of the famous New Boy’s Race.  This is a gruelling two kilometre run around the school.  After what seemed like forever, the finishing line came into sight.  Just as I began to relax, one of my friends appeared from nowhere and sprinted ahead. Incensed, I summoned my last reserves of strength and after fifty agonised metres, regained my lead and ran through the finish.  I was quite proud to discover that I had finished in 35th place.

That evening there was a quiz in the Allington Hall for all the new boys, which turned out to be great fun and all who participated had a great night.

I returned home at 9pm, by now, exhausted.  What an eventful and enjoyable week it had been.  That night I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I found myself dreaming of rowing for the 1st Eight.  What would my second week at Shrewsbury have in store for me?

Well, the second week here proved to be as busy as the first.  To begin with, on Monday the entire Third Form were relieved to hear that Top Schools was cancelled.  However, our happiness was short-lived, when we discovered that we had the initial assessment tests, a huge IQ exam upon which some of our predicted GCSE grades would be based.

On Thursday, half of the Third Form took part in our weekly music lesson, which to my dismay involved solo singing in front of the rest of the group.  Singing is not my forte and I felt myself blushing crimson and thrusting my hands deep into my pockets as I was told to stand up.  My rendition of ‘You Raise Me Up’ was met with hilarity.

Saturday involved the brilliant House six a side football tournament, which was great fun for all involved.  My team Port Hill B’s, started off with a win against Ridgemount, but were thrashed 7-1 in our second match against the eventual winners, Oldhams.  However we made it through to the quarter finals- where we were unfortunately savaged by the massively skilful Severn Hill.

As a dayboy, I am not used to going to school twenty one days in a row, but this is in fact exactly what happened due to Third Form Chapel on Sunday.  A happy occasion for boarders, (possibly the first time seeing their parents in two weeks), it was just another excuse to be dragged from our beds for the dayboys.  That night, I collapsed on my mattress and immediately drifted off into a deep and contented stupor.

back to top