On Monday, I referred to events of the weekend; two bad, two good and two unbelievable events.
Whilst not going in to too much detail, it was necessary to refer to the horrific incident in Christchurch, New Zealand where two mosques had come under attack from a crazed gunman.  We reminded ourselves of the Maori cry of Kia Kaha “Stand strong”, and spared a few seconds thinking of all those affected by the devastating attack.

We also paid tribute to the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden who found herself having to explain why, despite receiving limited information, the authorities had not prevented the attack.  Such an explanation should not have been necessary at a time when she was doing her best to support the families of victims and those who were injured.  I am sure you will agree, she has conducted herself with admirable dignity during one of the worst weeks in New Zealand’s history.

The good, always outweighs the bad and alongside Prime Minister Arden’s composure and leadership, the courage of those who intervened was highlighted in the news throughout the weekend.  The heroism of brave bystanders and the police officers who apprehended the gunman, will be remembered by millions.  

And then, a change of tack to lighten the mood, led to a review of two unbelievable events that had taken place.  Mr P and Mrs Wright took our Form 8 girls on hockey and netball tour to Barnard Castle, Sedbergh and Windermere.  The fixtures opened with a most amazing comeback from the girls against a superb Barnard Castle side that found itself 3-0 ahead with not long to go.  The resilience of our senior girls came to the fore, and they managed to achieve a 4-4 draw that left Mrs Wright and Mr P high fiving everyone, all the way to Sedbergh!

The girls had several other fixtures with wins and losses but had a fabulous time and gave Mr P and Mrs Wright that wonderful feeling that their organisation and efforts had been thoroughly appreciated.
The girls’ hockey match against Barnard Castle was nearly the comeback of the weekend, but not quite!  Everyone expected me to rave about Scotland’s extraordinary 38-38 draw against England, so instead, I paid tribute to the composure of England’s replacement stand off, George Ford and his ability to think clearly and use his skills under the most intense pressure found in professional sport.  I left a lot unsaid, but those accustomed to reading between the lines knew exactly to what I was referring.  Never, ever give up.

Ms Birdsall and I attended the funeral of former St. Mary’s parent and much loved local businessperson, Graham Henderson on Monday.  His family provided a moving send off and conducted themselves with admirable dignity.  Graham would have been very proud of his wife and children as they paid tribute to a man who contributed significantly to the Melrose community.

Those of us who have the privilege of teaching Form 8, met with parents to discuss this year’s progress on Tuesday evening.  This particular parents evening; the last for many, is always a sentimental affair and this year was no exception.

On Wednesday our Kindergarten pupils took to the all-weather on their bikes to raise funds for this marvellous section of our community.  The occasional parent or member of staff was seen running along behind, as the fearless ‘peloton’ burnt up the circuit!  Well done, to all involved.

Odd and whacky coloured socks were adorned on Thursday, in support of Down Syndrome Awareness Week.  It always leaves one wondering when on earth would these items be worn other than on such an occasion?  We have some staff and pupils with some pretty extreme wardrobe tastes!

Today – Friday, the Senior School rehearsal has been in full swing.  Miss McRae has had a look of cautious satisfaction on her face, which suggests he cast are pulling this year’s production (Mary Poppins) together right on cue.  We never doubt them!

Finally, we wish Mr Brown and his “band of brothers” the best of luck at Mowden Hall’s U11 7s tournament, tomorrow.  They are a talented and committed bunch who will do the school proud, win, lose or draw.

Enjoy your weekend.          

Jules Birdsall, 23/03/2019

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