The Italian Job ...

There has been no time to draw breath in the 2nd half so it is only now, having just finished writing my HM reports, that I can sit back and take stock of all that has happened over the last 3 weeks.


The CE results were the best ever (58% A* and A) and we added three further awards – Top Boy to Rugby, Top Science to Radley and an honorary College Scholarship to Glenalmond, finishing the year with a tally of 17 scholarships and awards from the 21 leavers going on to British public schools.


It was time to party.


On the Monday after half term, we took the leavers on a distinctly early morning flight to Rome. We were met at the airport by Mr. and Mrs. Bailey and packed into 3 minibuses for lunch on the Via Appia. The afternoon was spent cooling off at the fountains in Tivoli before repairing to the Baileys' house for swimming and supper.


Tuesday was Rome itself – the Leavers spent the morning rehearsing and then performing a play on the history of Rome before a tour of the Colosseum in the early afternoon. The ice cream walking tour began, taking in the Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Piazza Navona (with 6 ice creams along the way) followed by pizza and a fairly interesting, edge-of-your-seat drive through Rome back to the Baileys for late night swimming.


On Wednesday the morning was spent by the pool and the afternoon at Ostia Antica and the beach. This was followed by a brief visit to the police station and then back to the Baileys for – you guessed it – swimming and supper.
Thursday morning was also spent by the pool before heading down the hill to visit Guido, a world authority on Automata – he was, at one point, the curator of the world’s largest automata museum and still kept many of the exhibits under his bed. The leavers spent the afternoon making some quite extraordinary automata of their own.


From there, it was a short drive to a local agroturismo where the leavers (and staff) made their own pizzas for supper and we were also treated, by the owner, Fabio, to a vast array of antipasti and local wine. It was then back to the Baileys for……a final swim.
On Friday we set off for the airport and were back at Belhaven in time for fish and chips.
Meanwhile the other years had also been on their trips and outings.
On the Saturday there were no matches so we had Patrol Rounders; on Sunday there was the IAPS Athletics at Fettes – it was a beautiful afternoon made even more beautiful by the fact that Belhaven won the whole thing. Easily.
On Monday the Leavers took part in the Iron Will challenge and broke every record; on Tuesday they all went to Jupiter Art Land; on Wednesday, the Leavers went on a tour of Belhaven Brewery and then we had the final matches of the year against Craigclowan and Cargilfield.
NB. Over the season, the cricketers won 33 of the 40 matches played; the 1sts and 2nds won all their matches (8 a piece) and the 1sts also won the Glenalmond 6s for the second year in a row. Between them the 1s and 2s scored 2323 runs and took 156 (out of a possible 160 wickets). 15 different boys played for the 1st XI and 21 for the 2s. 6 girls played rounders for the Dandylions and the 1s lost only 2 games; the 2s only 1. The U11 As missed out on an unbeaten season by ½ a rounder.
On Thursday it was the Leavers’ Guest Dinner – a black tie affair where they invite an adult guest who does not know the school well and Dinner is served by the children in Form 2. This year we had Mr. Michael Spens, ex-HM of Fettes, as the after dinner speaker, giving some particularly good advice about which rules can be broken and which can’t!
On Friday we had the Patrol swimming and Diving Finals and also the ‘Just a Minute’ final; On Saturday it was Fathers v Sons Cricket and Mothers v Daughters Rounders followed by the Summer Concert in the evening, attended by over 250. On Sunday it was the Leavers and Parents tennis all day, followed by the Leavers’ evensong at which I gave my ‘Penguin’ sermon….
Into the final week of term and on Monday it was Pease Bay, although I think I had put the children off the scent by ‘shouting’ at the Leavers before assembly in my study and ‘cancelling’ Pease Bay and Leavers’ Dares – I had no idea how difficult it is to pretend to be angry when everyone is smiling, but I think we pulled it off. I was particularly pleased with, “NO, CHARLIE, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANYTHING FROM YOU!”
Anyway, after a whole school barbecue, the afternoon was spent at Pease Bay – shrimping, playing touch rugby, swimming and attacking Leavers’ Rock. On Monday night Mrs. K and I had all the Leavers and several staff over to our house for an American evening – Root Beer, hot dogs, southern fried chicken, pretzels, Lucky Charms, Hersheys and Rocky Road – I then took them for a swim at 10pm.
On Tuesday we had the Wimbledon picnic for lunch followed by a final ‘Thursday Run’ to see if any records could be broken on the firm ground – many were, including the school record for 3 laps, the holder breaking his own record by a further 21 seconds! Superstars followed this and a barbecue and then the whole school tug of war. Meanwhile the Leavers were off at Leavers’ Beach, barbecuing, swimming in the sea and playing games until 11pm.
The final day of term started smartly at 05:00 as I had to go and inflate the 100ft bouncy assault course that the Leavers had ordered for their Leavers dares. They then woke the rest of the school at 06:15 for an hour of fun and games involving silly string, shaving foam, copious amounts of water and literally thousands of sweets along with a water slide and the inflatable assault course, before leavers’ breakfast outside – waffles, pains au chocolat, more sweets and fizzy pop.
Once the clean-up operation was complete – and they did a brilliant job – it was time for prize giving. 104 prizes were awarded; there were 845 commendeds for outstanding work over the course of the term and 1249 plus points for good behaviour. Just while we’re on statistics, the children have read 59,995,268 words this year with 13 children reading over 1 million words each!
The Patrol competition couldn’t have been closer with only 100 points separating top and bottom; on Tuesday lunchtime it was a dead heat between the top two patrols, changing only when points were added for Superstars and the new Thursday Run records.
The final standings were:
1st        Lions                            1761 points
2nd       Woodpeckers              1756
3rd        Owls                            1700
4th        Wolves                        1663
Goodbyes were then said to the Leavers before they processed out of the Front Hall as OBs.
It was time to party….
That is all.

Henry Knight, 12/07/2018