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21st January 2022

Every year, the third Monday in January is dubbed ‘Blue Monday’.  This is apparently based on the cold weather, Christmas over-spending, dark nights and mornings, and possible new year’s resolutions falling by the wayside.
 
With definite signs that the majority of our COVID troubles may be behind us, our Monday 17th was far from ‘blue’.  We reviewed the gist of last week’s blog as a focus for our runners ahead of the Rawthey Run on Thursday, which I will come to later.
 
A middle school production rehearsal was further evidence that normality might be emerging on the horizon and a bustling boarding community throughout the week provided that refreshing and heartening reminder, that no matter what life throws at young people, as long as they have each other’s company to enjoy, they just get on with their days and routines.
 
Baking with young boarders in the girls’ house on Monday, and Pam baking a wonderful birthday cake for our star pupil Blair (devoured during Tuesday’s supper) soon provided ample distraction from the cold and the dark outside.
 
By Wednesday, not only was the day brightened up by some excellent fixtures against Mowden Hall and Merchiston, but that sharp, crisp, bright spring sunshine brought a new light to the campus, and this has continued during daylight hours as the week has gone on.
 
The Friends of St. Mary’s provided hot soup and hotdogs for all team players from under the gazebo and this added to a most convivial gathering with our opponents, who proved formidable and happy to be demonstrating their talents on away ground.  We shared with visiting opponents’ parents the delight at being able to play these fixtures once again.
 
Wednesday also marked the 60th birthday of a well-known, much-loved character.  Our bus driver Norrie Smith was born on 19th January 1962, the same day as Holywood actor Jim Carey who described himself as ‘sixty, sexy and looking forward to cream corn and strained peaches for tea’.  We gave Norrie a bottle of wine!
Mr Rooney coordinated a much-enjoyed trip to Ashkirk driving range for our 28 boarders on Wednesday evening, and though the target pins were not coming under intense fire, most pupils and staff involved got in the swing of it (boom, boom!).
 
Last week’s sentiments expressed in my blog were read out to some ahead of the Thursday trip to Sedbergh for the Rawthey Run.  Our most capable and courageous runners gave a proud account of themselves with outstanding performances from Martha, Ophelia, Aleshya, Rosa, Mary and Sophie in our U11 girls’ team that finished 2nd overall.  Our U13 girls’ team finished 3rd in their age category. All boys chosen to run gave a commendable account of themselves despite the calibre, size and speed of their opponents.  Gregor deserves mention for finishing 8th a year young in the boys’ U13 race.
An entire team full of battlers, with notable individuals making sure St. Mary’s upholds its reputation is all Mrs Bell, Mr Inwood, Miss Burn and Mr Rooney could ask for.  We have other staff who run as part of our cross-country club; Mrs Stuart, Mrs Kirkness and Miss Simpson are all keen runners, and St. Mary’s staff feature alongside George Watson’s College and Merchiston Castle staff in the latest  Doddie Aid mass participation event update.
 
We have some tired looking pupils in school today, but they are feeling proud of their efforts and enjoying a sense that they did their bit for the team.  No ‘Blue Monday’ or Friday, here!                    

W J Harvey
 
 

 

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