As you may have noticed, it has been a very long time since my last blog post. Being a Housemaster is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done, but it is very time-consuming.
So as this year has progressed, my ‘To Do’ list has grown, priorities changed and unfortunately, the Blog keeps getting moved further and further down the list of jobs. So here I am, on the eve of half-term, the boys are either frantically revising or busy packing. So I have filched thirty minutes to write this long overdue blog.
What’s been happening at Hough House?
Well, thanks to our amazing Maintenance Man, Paul – we have transformed three areas of the House. The conservatory, which was once a store-room is now a place to work and study. The Library has now become a silent study room and a games’ room, not at the same time! And the quad, which so resembled a prison yard I was going to issue all the boys with orange jumpsuits, is now a wonderful outdoor space – look at the photos, I am sure you will agree it has made a huge difference.
I cannot believe how quickly a year has gone by. Sue (my wife) and I were talking the other night about how it seems like only yesterday that we were moving in and both staring into the void like rabbits in headlights. And here we are, halfway through the last term of our first year.
Before taking this job I was lucky enough to go on an excellent course run by the BSA all about taking over a boarding house; it was incredibly useful. There were so many points about what to do and what not to do and the advice was very good.
What nobody tells you though, and what nobody can prepare you for, is saying goodbye. Last night we had our leavers’ assembly in our newly renovated quad. I had planned what I was going to say and then I was to give each boy his leavers’ gifts: a baseball cap and a Memory Book (which everyone had signed). As I looked around at the faces of those boys, who in a few days or a few weeks will walk out of the door, and never return: the emotion was overwhelming. Seeing them all together: Chinese, French, English, Russian, Nigerian, German, Japanese, Romanian, Latvian, Indonesian – all of them who were once strangers to each other but who are now friends for life. I have to be positive: they are about to start the next chapter of their lives, some are off to university (Warwick, Kings, Manchester, Imperial, Leeds and Loughborough), one has been scouted by Lincoln Town FC and one is off to study Medicine in Boston. Yes, all of that is positive.
But like any strong family, when one of our own, or in this case many, leave the nest, a small piece of my heart goes with them. I used to tell people ‘I don’t have children,’ but actually, now I do. Thirty-seven of them and each one is a boy.