Xin Nian Kuai Le

Well, it arrived, everything was different and it was exciting for a while. But before long, the novelty wore off and the unsatisfying reality prevailed. No, I am not referring to the pandemic over the last twelve months. I am talking about the arrival of the snow this week. Storm Darcy is normally something else in my household so this eastern beast was a welcome distraction as well as an encouragement to get outside for fresh air and bracing exercise. If only there had been a bit more!  

If that was a frustration then it is nothing compared to that experienced by the ox according to Chinese folklore. Legend has it the Jade Emperor said the order of the Chinese zodiac would be decided by the position in which the animals arrived to his party. The ox was set to appear first but was tricked by the rat who rode on his back before jumping off and scurrying in ahead of him.

Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox and infants who make their appearance this year, just like those in born in 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961 (and so on), will be diligent, dependable, strong and determined. Patience is another virtue of people born in these years and they place strong values on family and patriotism too. Normally, to celebrate, I join the boarders at a local restaurant but this has not been possible so I shall simply say “xin nian kuai le” and have a super year all you ‘oxen’ out there!  

And, on this day in previous years, we have enjoyed one of my favourite events of the year: the House Music Competition. Sadly, this cannot happen either but the musical output continues and we are looking forward to holding a Virtual Richardson Recital on Tuesday immediately after half term (25 February). Parents of all the pupils involved will have received a separate email from Mr Cousins explaining exactly how it will work but all are welcome to attend and we will send joining details the day before.

Congratulations to Becky Hao who yesterday broke the school touch typing record that had been 70wpm and is now 89wpm and 100% accuracy. Evidence of a genuine benefit from the current situation!

It was Safer Internet Day on Tuesday and we have been discussing this important topic this week in various forums. In his Chapel address, Mr Tomsett spoke about the positive and negative influences of the media and there was an interesting element about fake news in which he encouraged the children to really think before taking everything they read for granted. There are so many benefits to technology which we promote but we need to be mindful of the flip-sides too and, as educators and parents, this is a constant message to transmit to our children. For helpful information try:

Thank you to all those families who participated in the Friends’ Quiz on Saturday evening. Superbly hosted by quizmaster extraordinaire, Mr Shouksmith, the questions were fun, varied and challenging to make it a lovely community event.

So, we have arrived at half-term and although it has been dark, cold and miserable at times, the sun is out today which I hope bodes well for the coming weeks and months. We await the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February which should provide us with a clearer idea of the pathway ahead and I sincerely hope that we will be making plans for a full return on 8 March. My fingers, and everything else, are crossed.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very good half-term!