This week the main focus at School has been World Book Day. It was great to see the children embrace dressing up at home and in School. A big thank you to Mrs Ayub, Mrs Kavanagh Finch and Ms Stacey for orchestrating the day’s events. It really was an inspiring programme, which was enjoyed by all. Whenever we hold such an occasion, Harry Potter is a hot favourite. But no characters come more to life – or are more visually attractive – than those of Roald Dahl. Not only was Dahl an extraordinary adventurer, Second World War pilot, ‘spy’ and inventor, he seemed to understand better than any other modern children’s writer what youngsters love. They like to poke fun at adults. They like to be excited, even mildly disturbed. They like larger-than-life, eccentric characters. They love humour, and funny words. But, perhaps above all, they like their stories to involve the eating of food. ‘His food was doughnuts and goose-livers. He mashed the livers into a disgusting paste and then stuffed the paste into the doughnuts. This diet gave him a tummy-ache and a beastly temper.’ Who else but Dahl could have written that?
Back in the day, children would get hooked on the stories of Enid Blyton. Like Dahl, she suffered, after her time, some adverse publicity, but she certainly had the knack of producing page-turner after page-turner. In those Famous Five books, the four children and their faithful dog Timmy were, I recall, great devotees of a picnic. How nice it will be this summer, (fingers crossed) to head off a long way away into the countryside, to spread out the rug and hand round the sandwiches, whisk away those oh-so-troublesome wasps and pour from that old family thermos.
After the privations of more than 12 months, children will be able to roam free again, to explore the wild; to fly kites real and imaginary; to go to the seaside; to lie down wherever they want and to make believe that they are following a rabbit down a hole, as Alice did on her way into her own Wonderland.
Luke Moss, our catering manager, really got into the spirit of Book Day, basing our lunch round Alice’s famous Mad Hatter’s Tea party. The food, as always, was fun and – unlike Dahl’s – delicious. Remaining on the culinary note, our Cook Along with Mr Moss and Mr Melia, was a stunning soufflé of a success. I believe that the large number of families who took part enjoyed this community experience.
I must also commend the Heads of School for their brilliant online storytelling to Pre-Prep. The young ones loved it and it gave our older children the opportunity to shine and be strong role models.
Well, I look forward to seeing the children next week. Please continue to support us all by following our COVID guideline.
Mr Noel Neeson | Headmaster