The Summer Term has ended in pell-mell fashion, with four days telescoped into one. This did not make it easy for Hum and his School House boarders:
“A ‘soaker’ for the whole afternoon of Sports Day; followed by a very showery carrying out of the programme, a few hours before the departure of the boys’ luggage, increased enormously the difficulties of packing, which are not mitigated by the habit of leaving boots and macintoshes, sun hats etc., in the field, pavilions, and even hedges, in spite of many exhortations to bring such things up in good time.”
As a result of the ‘soaker,’ our final day of term started with the Sports Day programme. In between the showers we completed all events except the Obstacle Race and, in spite of the bad conditions, Cecil Salkeld beat the school record with his Hop, Step and Jump, which was measured at 32 ft. 7 ins.
From Sports we moved on to Prize-giving. Numerous cups and prizes were presented and speeches made – including one of my own, which I will come back to another time.
Then it was time for the Concert, featuring a violin trio by Mendelsohn, a Beethoven piano solo, ‘And did those Feet‘ for solo and chorus (a new piece written by Parry) and numerous other musical items and recitations. It was all rounded off with ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and the singing of the School Song, which rather took our critic by surprise:
“Little boys can make a noise, a master knows it well; but never have I heard such a cry as that roof-raising yell!”
He went on to note that there is only one thing that you should expect at the OPS, and that is the unexpected.
“And so ends the Concert, which, on top of Sports and Prize-giving, you might think enough for one day. But is a Dragon tired or lacks he voice for more? Feed him with supper and he is ready for the House Smoker [‘Sing Song’]. Now beware the Skipper’s eye. The sword of Damocles hangs over you and sooner or later it will fall: for he has got you on the list and you will none of you be missed. Visitors, the ladies, servants, les fiancés, ‘salvete, ‘valete,’ all are called upon and none may refuse the summons.”
An important change to arrangements had to be made for the evening. In amongst all this excitement, around midday, six boys collapsed with the ‘flu’ (we had five cases about a fortnight ago). Hum is to be credited with this successful move:
“A successful innovation in connection with the house supper was the adjournment to the School Hall (necessitated on this occasion by illness in the sickroom, above the Dining Hall) for the ‘Sing Song’ after supper. There was more air, more freedom, and certainly more talent displayed than on previous occasions.”
A full final day indeed, but what are the holidays for if not for some rest?
CHRISTMAS TERM will start on SEPTEMBER 20TH 1918
4 thoughts on “July 20th 1918”
Looking good, I feel tired just reading about the final day of that term.
Amazed that so many traditions survived. But what’s the House Smoker?
A university term for a low-key in-college entertainment. In this context it is the ‘Sing Song’ referred to by Hum Lynam.