I was speaking to one of our board of Governors before we went for our celebration afternoon yesterday and she referred to where we were going as 'Downton Abbey'. It's not a programme I watch so it didn't mean much to me. However, when I drove through the gates and saw this
I could guess what she meant. This is just the main part of the house, to the right is another 'wing' with tennis courts behind it. When I tell you that about 150 members of staff went and more than 100 cars parked on the front lawn you can imagine the size. And yet although it was very grand, it was not pretentious inside. This house is quite obviously some one's home, and not just something for show. Yes, there were chandeliers in every room and oil paintings of the owners in the drawing room, but alongside that were framed photos of them dressed in silly costumes and pulling faces for the camera with grandchildren at Disney. The furniture was very regal and yet they obviously have fun in this home. There was a large dresser in the hallway, for coats and hats to hang from. The top of it was covered with all manner of hats, from knitted berets to panama hats, bowler hats and floppy sun hats - dozens of them.
It was a lovely gesture from a lady who has been on our board of Governors for over 20 years and who has taken a genuine interest in the school. I think we all appreciated being given a few hours off work to relax and enjoy a collective pat on the back.