Zerlina has been harvesting, and has added a new word to her vocabulary ... and ours, come to that.
This afternoon, there was a short ceremony to dedicate a seat in the school yard to our caretaker, who died a few months ago, and to dedicate a tree to Aaron, the 16-year-old who died suddenly of natural causes at about the same time. The caretaker's surname was Hyde, so it's to be known as the Hyde Park Bench. It was short, simple and moving, conducted by the local vicar, who is also a parent of children at the school and who has just become a governor.
This evening, I was back in school for the Sixth Form open evening. There were loads of people there! The atmosphere was brilliant, there were a lot of the present sixth formers helping out and I trotted around chatting to various people, mostly staff and sixth formers - you know, the old schmooze, having my face seen and showing an interest. I took opportunities to watch students and teachers together, there is a lot of warmth and genuine friendship there, in an entirely appropriate pupil/teacher sense. There is a huge range of courses on offer for the 250 or so students: 25 A Levels, 4 Vocational Level 3 courses (equivalent to 2 A Levels each) and 2 Level 2 courses, which take a year and are equivalent to 4 or 5 GCSEs each.
I slipped out without saying goodbye to the Head, because he was talking animatedly to a boy and his parents. I drove home and sat down at the computer, just as an email dropped into the inbox. It was from a friend and fellow governor, giving the good news that his wife has just had her medical all-clear. Earlier this year, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, just like Ziggi. She has had chemotherapy, an operation, a break to attend their daughter's graduation, more chemotherapy, a break to attend their other daughter's wedding, more chemotherapy...and now she is told that she is free of cancer. And their son has been accepted on the post-graduate placement he hoped for. She can go back to work after Christmas - being a teacher, her consultant wants her to have time to build up her resilience against the children's germs, and then she will have check-ups for the next five years.
So, an incredibly tough and terrifying year, but she has come through it and dares to look forward.
Great oats from little apricorns grow?