Whenever you see something billed as ‘an action-packed countryside adventure over two fun-filled days’ it’s clearly an event not to be missed. Rivalling those great festivals like Glasto or Splendour in popularity but with sheep and all things agricultural, it’s a sure-fire winner. The Royal County of Berkshire Show that hits Newbury each year is a must, especially when Horris Hill is right there in the mix. Not only could visitors see the cuddly Dexter, the mighty Aberdeen Angus, birds of prey, a food fayre and all things in-between, they could witness Horris Hill’s very own shepherds extraordinaire showing sheep to great acclaim. In addition to that, our very own archaeologist was out of the trenches alongside the school's golf course, with its Romano-British artefacts, to display her award winning produce. As I say, it was quite a show all round and our boys had a fabulous time.
The weekend got underway in quick-fire fashion with a large trip to our local Laser Tag venue. Beams were shot and dodged in equal measure and all had a great time. Sunday morning had hardly started before we had boys setting off on their travels, this time to the Boat Show in Southampton. Not so long ago, I was waiting for a small water taxi in Paxos when this massive super yacht moored up alongside, complete with all sorts of satellite dishes, blacked out windows and all sorts. If Santa’s elves make such things up in Lapland, then it would be on my Christmas List for sure. Yet this was but a dinghy compared to some of the vessels our lads got to sample at the Boat Show. All came back feeling that their pocket money allowance would have to be renegotiated with their parents.
Whilst all this was going on, we had a group back at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, and another exercising their minds and strategies with moves such as the Ruy Lopez or the Stonewall Attack. That sounds like something to do with the First Battle of Bull Run and those Virginians under General Thomas Jackson but it’s actually one of those chess openers that our boys adopt as a matter of course. We certainly needed that one and more as we were competing in the English Chess Federation U18 Chess Competition at Eton. What an achievement to be placed top Prep School. Also at Eton we had a group taking part in a competition that would stretch us in rather different ways. This was the HSBC Eton Dorney Triathlon. Equally challenging and rewarding, all had a super time, especially with one of our boys coming 5th in the Triathlon overall in the 11-15 year old age group.
Any trip that can boast touching the very ancient past whilst enjoying traditional cream teas is bound to whet the appetite, quite literally. Avebury is one of those places where one can sense the ancestors as the sun begins to go down and the misty early autumnal calm descends. The boys who went came back with even bigger smiles than when they had set out. Maybe that was the jam around the lips but the outing was amazing they said.
So another weekend drew to a close. As always, huge thanks to all who were involved in making it such a varied and enjoyable one.