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This week I was at the Boarding Schools’ Association annual Heads’ conference. There are usually some terrific speakers and a chance to visit somewhere different and this year was no exception!

Ben Fogle spoke about how it was his boarding experience that transformed him from ‘a shy boy who would hide behind Daddy’s legs’ to the man who has achieved all he has. Frank Gardner, BBC Security Correspondent, was fascinating and wonderfully understated about his experiences, based largely in Arabic-speaking countries, including his being shot and recovering both physically and mentally from that. despite it leaving him wheelchair-bound: certainly a man whose glass is at least half-full and just one example would be the fact that he is President of the Ski Club of Great Britain.

This year we were in Manchester and the major dinner was held in the Lowry Gallery with views across ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘The Theatre of Dreams’. My ignorance of Lowry means I possess a ‘matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs’ insularity about his paintings but there was a great deal of other work that was impressive, including the particularly entrancing ‘The Sea’ from 1963.

Another major benefit of this cross-association gathering is that it is always good to catch up with Heads from senior schools and compare notes to ensure we are all moving in a similar direction: thankfully observations would suggest we seem to be doing a lot of things pretty well on the boarding front at present.

Whilst I was next to Old Trafford on Wednesday, things were happening at Anfield, of course, and if anybody has tickets to Basel on 18 May I know at least one Deputy Head who might be interested!!

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