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Principal’s Christmas Address

Wednesday 16 Dec 2020

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is probably my least favourite Christmas Carol. I find it awkward to sing and I’ve heard too many versions of it adapted for laughs, to enjoy it when I sing.

And yet, it is also the carol with one of the most pertinent messages this Christmas. Over and over it says Glad tidings of comfort and joy.

Glad tidings of comfort and joy.

Now there’s a thought for us all this Christmas.

Comfort and joy.

I am absolutely ready – as I am sure you are too – for both comfort and joy, and indeed the former will lead to the latter. But what brings you comfort and what brings you joy?

For me, comfort this Christmas would ordinarily be being with my mother and my mother in law. Probably not at the same time as that could be exhausting and not comforting. But, their warmth, their hugs, their perfume, the way they hold my hand, the familiar cadence of their voice, the comfort that they bring just by being there. I wish so much that I could have that this year but unfortunately, like many of us, I cannot be with them.

But that’s not the only comfort that I crave. Comfort for me equates also to feeling prepared for Christmas, and not running around on Christmas Eve trying to choose my husband’s Christmas present. Last minute.com is not a recipe for comfort in my world. This year I have, remarkably, managed to do some shopping already which means I am more organised than I have ever been before.

Comfort also comes with being cosy, the fire lit, the tree sparkling, knowing that my loved ones are safe, being in my pyjamas and slippers, with a glass of chilled champagne and Eddie, my dog, at my feet. All of that will also bring me comfort.

I wonder what comfort looks like for you? After such a long and drawn out term, with many challenges of one sort or another, I hope that you will think for a moment about what comfort you might need this Christmas and moreover, I hope you find it. It often comes in quiet moments, a realisation that everything is just right, that you are happy in the moment, and it often comes with the familiar as I have mentioned.

As for Joy, this year, I would feel great joy if it snowed. I would race outside, build a snowman, grab a sledge and hurtle down the front – that would bring me great joy.

I also have a mild obsession with finding the right holly with which to decorate my house. I will feel immense joy when I find it, but it is quite a challenge because I am quite fussy. I love holly that is super prickly and has lots of berries on it. The only problem is that I usually find the perfect holly tree, adorned with beautiful berries in someone’s garden or perched dangerously on the side of a hill, all of which means I have to use surreptitious means to acquire it, sometimes involving long gardening shears and rope… but it is worth it, for the joy that I feel.

Finally, I will feel joy when I unwrap my tree decorations and am reunited with the old papier maché bauble that I made when I was five, and the fat angel that lives on the top of the tree, and the set of Russian dolls in the image of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the baby Jesus and even the donkey…I only see them once a year but the moment I have unwrapped them and finished reading the year old newspaper they were wrapped up in,  they bring me great joy every single time..

I’d feel joy if I managed to give gifts that made people smile – as I have mentioned, I have a somewhat inconsistent record with my present buying but I do try hard to buy the unusual, the unexpected and the unheard of…my most unusual gift was probably a camel – not a real one, but a life size, baby camel that shares my house with me even now.

I will feel joy when I play my favourite Christmas songs in the car with the volume turned up very high. It’s not a sight you want to see really, or hear for that matter, but it certainly brings me joy. A bit of Bublé, a bit of Leona Lewis, a bit

To Colours now….

There are no awards for Sport or Drama this term, due to conspicuous lack of opportunity. It’s no one’s fault, but hopefully we can revisit this next term.

Co-curricular Colours

Are re-awarded for Music to:

  • Ollie Raymond
  • and awarded for the first time to Arthur O’Toole,

I also want to congratulate Ollie Raymond who has been accepted by the Leeds Conservatoire – a fantastic achievement! The Leeds Conservatoire is the Oxford and Cambridge of the Music world. We have something of a legend in our midst – well done Ollie.

Further Co-curricular colours are awarded to

  • Rose Dorber and Alice Moore, both for their longstanding services to Music, and more recently, to the College Phab Club.

In LAMDA, we have some fantastic LAMDA results to report:

Distinctions go to:

  • Shobhika Bali for Grade 8 Acting
  • Freya Faulkener
  • Carmen Kardan
  • Peter Mackee
  • Arlo North all for Grade 6 Acting
  • Seth Faulkener for Grade 3 for speaking in public

Merits go to

  • Will Green for Grade 6 Acting
  • Jack Braka for Grade 3 Acting

Last but not least, we have the Academic House Cup:

This is awarded for the highest number of Positives over the term….

Academic Cup Autumn 2020

Position:

G 7
K 3
M 4
P 2
R 6
S 5
V 1

I hope that you all -staff and pupils alike – have a very comforting and joyful Christmas, filled with laughter and love. You all deserve it.

Thank you.

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