It has been an exciting week! The much anticipated and longed for return to school for all was approached with a definite air of excitement on Monday morning and I have been so proud of how the girls have handled the transition back to the classroom. If the state I was in on Monday evening was anything to go by the girls will have felt a mixture of joy, excitement, anxiety and panic. Although I thought I was super prepared, it was a real shock. That said each day has been a little calmer and I know the girls experienced much the same.
Having enjoyed a weekend of beautiful weather, Monday and Tuesday generally followed suit and there was a definite feeling of spring in the air. This didn’t last though; wintery undertones crept back in on Tuesday evening and we were faced with gale force winds and rain come Wednesday.
Up at school, testing has continued in vain, chorister rehearsals at the cathedral have returned and the girls enjoyed getting their teeth into before school, lunchtime and afterschool clubs again. The re-opening of the SBA has meant a return of the boarders’ evening sporting activities with the fitness suite session on Tuesday evening proving particular popular and endorphin releasing! The girls were buzzing on Tuesday evening. For those not keen on the iron pumping, I initiated another jigsaw puzzle….it wasn’t long before others succumbed and were helping out too.
Wednesday afternoon activities were delivered face-to-face for the first time this year and it was great to have Lisa re-join the boarding community having successfully completed her quarantine (due to travelling from overseas) on Thursday afternoon.
With the weekly boarders having departed for home we were left ten strong in number. The girls changed out of their school clothes and kicked back in the common areas before supper. Hattie and Amy partook in their usual zoom fencing session and then it was a pizza supper followed by an hour of prep.
With our evenings a little fuller now that school has resumed, I have been missing our board game sessions. So, whilst the senior girls relaxed and/or used the gym, I coaxed the juniors down for a game of Rummikub. Angie and Leora, now pros, led the way teaching Rosie and Freya and we had a great hour and a half together but it was Angie that triumphed, winning three of the four games.
On Saturday morning the girls enjoyed a lie in before brunch and then spent the early part of the afternoon popping to Tesco/town for essential shopping or in the gym for another workout.
With the national lockdown still very much in place and trips off site not possible, Mr Hatfeild, having remembered how much of a success they were last November, hired the laser tag guns for the weekend. It wasn’t long before the girls were teamed up and battling it out of the school site once again. Nooks and crannies that we didn’t even know existed provided perfect hiding places and although the weather was unpredictable, it didn’t dampen the girls’ spirits or enthusiasm; it was great to hear them shrieking with laughter and working together. We returned back to the boarding house wet.
The girls had decided that they wanted a Mexican theme to the evening on Saturday. So, immediately after having supper, the girls all assumed the role of chef and in no time at all tortilla’s were being flipped, Jalapenos were being sliced, limes were being squeezed and avocados were being microwaved.
The decision to go Mexican had been a late one and so there hadn’t been the time to purchase the compulsory piñata . But this wasn’t going to stop Jess. A quick improvisation with a cereal box, a lanyard and a stuffing of whatever could be found in the cupboards, and they were away.
All that was needed now was a piñata buster. First to be tried was a fencing foil. However, the flexibility proved too much and despite patient coaching from Amy and numerous failed attempts, the foil was eventually discarded.
Next attempts were made by Charlotte and a hockey stick. After some mighty blows, the piñata finally yielded and out spilled an explosion of dried Weetabix, biscuits and crisps. The baseball bat, waiting quietly in the wings, wasn’t needed after all.
With the games finished, it was time for some dancing. The lights were dimmed, the music was turned up loud, and not a single person was allowed to sit out.
It was amazing to see just how much energy the girls still had. But after another hour of bopping, jumping, singing and squealing, the girls finally started to droop. Despite feeling really tired by now, the girls did not want to end the day without a final effort at the jigsaw.
Sunday morning was beautiful and fresh and Amy started her day with an early morning run. Most of the girls were feeling really tired today and were very much in need of a gentle day. Some went shopping for essentials; some went for a walk to the park; others stayed close to home and caught up on homework and domestic duties such as tidying their rooms and changing their bedding.
By the evening, all the weekly boarders had returned and the house was busying itself again getting ready for the week ahead. It has been quite an incredible first week back. The girls have been very much missed and it is wonderful to have the house fuller again and hear the laughter and joyful chatter. We look forward to much more of it.
Mrs Sarah Mulready, Housemistress Girls Boarding