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The passage of time is one of life’s certainties and we have moved inexorably into Christmas mode here, for what really is a joyous time. This morning saw the Nursery Nativity, this afternoon there were Carol Service rehearsals and earlier in the week I was putting lights on the gorgeous tree outside my office in the Pemberton Room.

I was the beneficiary of circumstance on Wednesday as, at the end of the day, I found myself reading to the Nursery children. There were some books wrapped in Christmas paper in a big Father Christmas-like sack that the children choose from: there is much anticipation as it is unwrapped, followed by excitement as the story unfolds – I think I told it in the right way! It was the story of ‘Stick Man’ and how he managed to return to “the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three”. A very seasonal tale and another reminder to me of the beautifully untainted wonder of very young children … and their ability to crawl all over you, to spill milk, to splash the water everywhere when they wash their hands and to tell you something completely random as soon as it comes to mind: brilliant!

There are plenty more festivities ahead starting with the Carol Service this Sunday at 5.30pm and I look forward to seeing all of the Prep children and their families there as we re-tell the story behind Christ’s Mass. There are then Christmas lunches, St Nicolas, the Boarders’ Feast (including some very ropey staff board-treading: “Oh yes it is!”) and I have already noticed the appearance of mince pies around the place! There does seem to be a good deal structured around food but we end this term deep in the heart of this time of year as first children and then parents enjoy the Pre-Prep Nativity play. I hope everyone has a fantastically fulfilling final fling.

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