Thought for the month
From the Rector
Thought for the Month November 2016
Acton Burnell C of E school. Hurbert Riggs was a formidable head teacher and I was a young inexperienced infant teacher. Together we taught sixty children split between two classes. Hubert taught the key stage two children and I taught the reception and year one children. We had no teaching assistants and the only extra help we had was a lovely lady called Sheila Leeman. She was the school receptionist and was married to Keith Leeman, a chemist in Church Stretton. Sheila often helped me in the afternoon by hearing children read and taking out groups for art work. The three of us made a great team.
One bitterly cold Friday, just before we broke up for Christmas snow began falling rapidly as we began lunch. The falling snow quickly developed into a swirling blizzard. The school grounds were transformed into a beautiful Christmas card scene.
Throughout lunch excited children gazed out of the steamed up windows at the constantly changing winter scene outside. Now and again the bright jewel coloured fairy lights flickered on the Christmas tree in the hallway and the children giggled in surprise. Several of my class called out to tell me that my car had disappeared under a blanket of snow! The ice-blue sky changed to murky white colour and the snow blizzard thickened. Hurbert’s Saab car was rapidly changed into a large white dome shape and the great bulk of Sheila’s Land Rover was altered into an uneven rectangular block.
Children had begun to ask if they would be staying the night at school if they couldn’t walk home. Older children added more drama to the situation by discussing the possibility of sleeping in the library, needing torches, and raiding the school kitchen for food! They looked like they were acting out one of Enid Blyton’s stories. Younger children were bewildered by the huge drift of snow which had accumulated in front of the main door.
Hurbert, Sheila and myself began to put a plan of action into place. The school minibuses couldn’t reach us and only the local children would be able to walk home. Mr Morgan, the local farmer came to the rescue with his John Deere tractor. He began to take a couple of children at a time home in the tractor. This, as you can imagine, caused great excitement. There was a mad dash for wellingtons, mittens, coats and scarves.
Local parents began crunching their way in the now freezing snow. They looked like spooky elongated figures walking through the mist like a scene from Narnia. The rest of the children clambered into Sheila’s Land Rover and set off into the icy lands around Acton Burnell. Much later, when all the children had been safely delivered home the three of us walked out into the silent, cold and mysterious car park. Then the three of us drove along the treacherous icy lanes guided by a bright full moon. Much later we finally reached the A49 and they turned left for Church Stretton and I turned right for Shrewsbury. It felt very lonely driving on in the ghostly shifting mist. Eventually I reached my village. Mum and Dad were waiting for me with a lovely warm supper. It was good to be home.
I love the snow though! Making snowballs and snowmen is always fun no matter what age you are.