Is it too early to be writing about Christmas?
I suppose it is December 1st, only 24 more sleeps until the big day and now Brentwood High street has switched on the Christmas lights I think I have permission to write a slightly festive-related blog.
Mrs Taylor and I decided it might be nice to send out a Hough Christmas card to all the families, agents and School staff who are in some way connected to the boarding house. We bought a box load of Santa hats and assembled the boys in the Common Room for a group photograph.
Now boarders come in all shapes and sizes. We have Ran Lin who is the smallest and Alex Zhou who is our tallest. We measured and it would take three and a half Rans to equal one Alex! There are 37 of them and with my little old digital camera it was quite a struggle to squeeze them all into the frame, but we managed it – just! Oh and then the boys decided that we (Mrs Taylor and me) should also be in the photograph which meant trying to work the timer. Now I have no idea who designed this camera but the timer only has a three-second delay which resulted in many photographs sans me, because I was desperately trying to push the button and get myself into position before it took the photograph.
After several unsuccessful attempts, one of the more technical boys (Leo) had a look at the camera, and found that the timer could be adjusted to 15 seconds delay - I hate technology! Anyway, the picture was done and the cards are being delivered on Monday.
On Wednesday evening we took the boys and the girls from Mill Hill to Bluewater for some early Christmas shopping. It is a regular trip each year because all the boys and girls take part in Secret Santa and buy each other a gift, which we open on the night of our Boarders’ Christmas Supper.
I say Secret Santa, but in Hough it remains secret for about twenty seconds! They each come into the Duty Study and choose a name from the hat. Then they go outside where there is a gaggle of other boarders and I hear lots of chatting in native languages and a cry of “ahhhhh!” Now my knowledge of languages is limited, but I can say in confidence, I could go to China, Russia, France, Spain, Italy, and Romania and ask anyone in perfect Mandarin, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian: “Who is your Secret Santa?” I have heard it that many times.
I think it’s all been a little much for the elves of Hough this week. It is Saturday night and usually they are up and about but to paraphrase festive favourite: “...all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”