Be Health and Safety Conscious ...

So the 2nd half began with a Halloween Party for the Lions – last term’s Patrol Shield Winners; sadly there were no pumpkin effigies of the Headmaster or Head of Boys’ Boarding this year but our focus is firmly on Bonfire Night these days … more on that anon.
We had visits from one of the rugby coaches from Sedbergh, who came to coach our Under 11s and children’s author Piers Torday who spoke to Forms 2-6; we also invited the children from West Barns Primary to come along and listen. There was also a book fair for them all to stock up on both the latest and classic titles.
The reeling practices have begun; with 30 in each of the top two years we have split them into two groups, although with lots of boys in Form 1 and lots of girls in Form 2, they won’t really balance out until they come together for the final few sessions before the Reels Party in February. Early indications suggest that the dancing will be of a very high standard indeed.
Last weekend, there were two 7s tournaments – one for the U11s at Cargilfield which we won, and one for the U13s at Ardvreck. The U13s had already won the Loretto 7s tournament earlier in the season but, as Fettes and Merchiston were not invited to that event, could not unequivocally claim that they had beaten all-comers. This was put right at Ardvreck where they won tournament, beating Merchiston comprehensively in the final.
As it so happened, we had the new Headmaster of Merchiston to preach at the Sunday service, as our respective teams were doing battle in Crieff. Sadly, the results were not through before he left so there was no opportunity for crowing. It was, however, a real pleasure to meet him and he spoke superbly. His sermon nearly fell flat at the start when he asked the children how many of them had enjoyed Halloween on Wednesday with trick or treating, pumpkin-carving, dressing up and so on; I think he was somewhat stymied when no one put up their hands and I had to explain that the cruel, heartless Headmaster of Belhaven had banned Halloween.
In order that those at the Ardvreck 7s could enjoy the bonfire party, it was moved from Sunday to Monday, although it nearly didn’t happen at all. The insurers were not keen to allow it to go ahead unless both the fireworks and the bonfire itself were tended to by professionals. I think they were somewhat nonplussed when they asked what qualifications were held by the person letting off the fireworks, to be told that he has a Diploma from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, a PGCE and an MEd – not perhaps quite what they were looking for. Anyway, money talks and, for a small increase in the premium, we were covered.

Perhaps this video link will amuse and ensure the Insurers' confidence (as well as possibly giving them apoplexy) in the Headmaster and Mr Townshend that they would never dream of following the video's advice and are in fact perfectly responsible people for the ignition of fireworks.

It was a tremendous evening that began with jumbo hot dogs in the Sports Hall followed by toffee apples and giant marshmallows dipped in chocolate. The children were then all armed with glowsticks and sent out with the specific instruction to go gentle into that good night.
Bonfire 2


The Form 1s had made two excellent guys – the boys had gone for a classic Hitler and the girls a ‘pop and roll’ icon who goes by the name of Ye, apparently. Richard lit the bonfire (in my prep school days it was the smallest boy in the school who crawled into the bonfire to light the diesel-soaked rags before being dragged out by his ankles before smoke inhalation got the better of him) and the guys were slowly incinerated to a chorus of ‘Burn, Baby, Burn” or something like that….
We then had a tremendous twenty minutes of fireworks and, although patently unqualified, Mr. Townshend and I managed to end the display with our fingers and faces still intact. (Again, at my prep school, it was the youngest boy in the school who lit the first firework, using the smouldering end of the Maths master’s fag as a portfire!)
Everyone was counted back in and I have received countless thank you letters from the children, who obviously enjoyed the evening tremendously and forgot all about Halloween ...

Pumpkin... until next year.

That is all.

Henry Knight, 09/11/2018