Typical British weather meant a few pleasant surprises initially, alongside rather more disappointments: the first week of term was encouraging, the school grounds were looking cricket..ready and the pool was heating up nicely. However consistency has never been a meteorological strongpoint in the UK, and the gloom ensued with some matches cancelled and year group BBQs held in the drizzle. (more…)
It is already four weeks into the very short Lent Term; we all got through dry January, some of us better than others and, apart from the odd temperature and sniffle, we are currently bug free. We welcome two new Matrons to the team, since the departure of Miss Chelsea and Miss Holly at Christmas. (more…)
October came and went in a flash and already we are hurtling towards the unmentionable festive season and a very busy time for all at Woodcote!
Just before October half term, there were a couple of notable events for the boarders. First, the annual “Woodcote’s Got Talent” on Friday 16th October.
There is some remarkable, undiscovered talent amongst our boys, including an extraordinary performance by Joshi Smethurst-Gosling, whose rendition of Silento’s Whip Nae Nae would have made it into the X Factor finals.
Finlay Hedges, aka Dynamo, had the judges – Mr. Beharrell and the Matrons – awestruck with his magic tricks, not to mention his skills on the unicycle. Truly outstanding!
One of my personal favourites had to be Milo Tennant and Bold Dickson with the Eating Challenge. Whether this was classed as talent or just pure stupidity is for you to decide, but they each embarked on a succession of spoonfuls of Tabasco, peanut butter, salt, lemon, Marmite and Sarson’s malt vinegar. The facial expressions were utterly priceless!
However the votes were in and the results as follows: BRONZE to Ignacio Guisado for his Freestyle Dance, SILVER to Harry Knight and Seb Campbell-Preston for their Marvin the Midget act and GOLD to Tom Martin, Conor Sexton and Ewan Hunter for their intelligent and comical “Woodquotes”.
Second, on Sunday 18 October, the boarders’ outing was to a Premiership rugby match. Not the World Cup, but nevertheless the boys were treated to a trip to the Madejski Stadium to join 6,597 others to watch London Irish vs. Leicester Tigers. Final score 16-28 to the Tigers. Mr. Ramage, Mrs. Woodall and Mr. Ovenden also went along, for what was a very jolly afternoon out.
The first Friday back after half term saw Woodcote’s Bonfire Night. This is where the Dominies boys come into their own. Following tradition, they are responsible for the planning and design of the ‘Guy’. This year, the unlucky culprit was Sepp Blatter and with the help of Mr. Ramage, Miss Cavanagh and the brilliant Mrs. Lumsden in the Art Room, they made the most fantastic lookalike Sepp, who sadly fell to his end under all the crates and diesel set up by the Groundsmen. In true British style, everyone enjoyed a burger and toffee apple in the drizzle and Mr. Knight and Mr. Beharrell’s fireworks display was (almost) of a quality to rival the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
There is however only some much excitement to be had and the boys continue to enjoy some down time in the dorms in the evenings in their respective Common Rooms. The Juniors are particularly enjoying Lego, pool and DVDs in theirs, plus the odd bit of gymnastics thrown in. Why would you NOT want to board?!
Coming up…….Fires and Homemade Pizzas, Gravity Force, Race Night and Delivery Pizza, the Winchester Christmas Market and last but not least, the best night of the year, the Christmas Break Up Supper!
Here’s to the next 5 weeks…….
Reprising their role as Heads of Boarding are Mr. & Mrs. Knight and seeing as the HM has to write his own blog, it is I, Mrs. K. who is now reporting on this, our boarders’ blog!
It is exactly 3 weeks since term started and the summer holidays seem a long and distant memory! We have welcomed a very healthy number of new boys to Woodcote this term, not forgetting our new staff as well, but I hope that by now everyone knows which dormitory they are in and who all the Matrons are! The dormitories continue to look more inviting than in decades gone by. The Pelicans are the latest to have been spruced up by our extremely handy resident handyman Attila. New curtains preside in Big Top, Little Top, Red and Blue and Dominies has been given an internal facelift. By all accounts the Dominites are a very lucky bunch and are even asking NOT to have their late-ups back at school in order to go ‘home’ earlier! Mr. Ramage and Miss. Cavanagh are keeping them well stocked with toast and Nutella in the evenings not to mention the Gaming Room with its very own driving chair. Any guesses as to what Mr. Ramage is doing on his day off?!
The weekly dormitory competition is in full swing. This week the Pelicans have won (tidy beds; tick, dirty pants and socks in the correct baskets; tick, and the Golden rule ‘Respect Your Matrons!’ adhered to; tick. So, last night the Pelican boys chose their prizes from a Mr. Kimchi (a posh Pot Noodle in case you were wondering), a packet of Pickled Onion Monster Munch or a mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows plus a DVD.
On the first Saturday night of term, a gaggle of boarders came to camp in our garden. We all had a fabulous evening and one of the boys said to me “Mrs. Knight, this isn’t camping, this is GLAMPING!”. They had a nature treasure hunt around the grounds followed by a BBQ of burgers with the works. The fire bowl was lit and Mrs. Woodall sat around with them, where they exchanged scary stories and warmed themselves on hot chocolate and marshmallows. They were all asleep by 10.30pm and we didn’t hear a peep from them until 7.00am the next morning where they were all still huddled in their sleeping bags chatting away.
Two Sunday outings comprising of Ride the Hill – Mountain boarding at it’s best – and Paintballing were, by all accounts, huge fun. Many more excitements in the Sundays ahead include a rugby match, London Irish v Leicester Tigers and Go-Kart Racing.
Last night the boys were treated to the first of our half termly themed Supper nights: Oktoberfest. The dining room was decorated with German bunting and the boys wore pretzel glasses! The celebrations included Bratwursts and Black Forest Gateau but sadly no steins of beer or Lederhosen allowed! Next up for November will be a country themed supper from the winners of the Rugby World Cup. Let’s hope it’s not Japan – it could prove very expensive for the Chef and the Bursar will be calling me into the office! Until next time, Happy reading!
As the term draws to a close and with the leavers on their trip to Cornwall, it allows me a little time to write the final boarders’ blog of the year. The last few weeks have of course been as busy as ever! All the CE candidates passed their exams with flying colours, vindicating the long standing decision to keep them (and they are mostly boarders) at school in the week prior to the exams. The mood since has generally been one of relief and on enjoying the last weeks/days of their time at WHS. They have certainly managed to do that, with trips waterskiing, skateboarding down large hills and finding some time to work with the local community.
The Dominies boys have been enjoying some additional free time in the evenings by playing football on Dominies pitch, playing their own FIFA 15 league on the PS3 or becoming property tycoons playing Monopoly! With the weather being so hot of late – record temperatures earlier this week – we have allowed the boys some later than usual swims to help cool them off. It is not always easy to keep the dorms cool at this time of year, but the boys have adhered to all the advice we have given, making their ability to sleep much easier.
The highlight outing recently was led by Mr. Monk, who along with Mrs. Lyddon, Miss Cavanagh and several parents took over 40 boys to London for the Waterloo 200 commemorations. The pictures tell the story of the day best, as they dressed in replica battle dress and paraded up The Mall in front of thousands of spectators. A memorable event and additional thanks must go to all those involved.
The Wimbledon tennis championships started at the beginning of the week, so we thought it only right and proper that we have a traditional Wimbledon picnic supper for the boys. There were cucumber sandwiches, scotch eggs, quiche and a drink that resembled Pimms! All of this was of course finished off with strawberries and cream! Thanks to the chef for going to all the effort to provide such a delicious meal!
So, with the final weekend of term finally here we find that boarding at Woodcote has never been as strong as it has been in recent years. Of those currently at the school only eleven boys have not experienced boarding in one way or another. The boarding numbers at the bottom of the school have never been so high, showing that having an organic approach to boarding encourages them to take it up and enjoy the sense of belonging to a community. For the second half of this term we have been full, with every bed taken.
On a personal note, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Woodcote but after 15 years as boy, gapper and now teacher, it is time to move on and experience pastures new. Being head of boarding has been incredibly rewarding and I hope the boys will ultimately look back on their boarding experience with fondness and full of fun memories. I certainly will………
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