21st May 2021

It is human nature to ‘shoot from the hip’, or say or do things on impulse, sometimes as a reaction to something said or done that has caused upset. 
The Ethiopian proverb ‘darbatani jinfu hinqabatani’ loosely translates to meaning - after you have thrown the spear, you cannot catch hold of its end.  The explanation is that once something is done one cannot undo it, though one may regret having done it.
I spoke of this proverb at the beginning of week 6, when from experience we all know that this can be a tiring stage of the Summer Term, with assessments and exams looming on the horizon before a holiday can be enjoyed.  Fatigue can lead to intolerance and impatience, especially when the weather is so unsummerlike, so we all need to remind ourselves not to throw any spears!

Despite the weather, the hardy Kindergarten community visited Wooplaw Woods on Monday.  Those fabulous red boiler suits will be familiar to the resident wildlife, so no doubt the rabbit warrens, fox holes and badger lairs urgently filled up as the St. Mary’s minibus pulled up in the vicinity.

woods visit May 21 H

Mrs Berni reported that the four staff, Bethany from Borders College and the seventeen ‘red devils’ had a wonderful walk, and actually escaped the rain.

Outdoor environments such as these, have the most calming and uplifting effect on our wellbeing, which tallies with Michael Morpurgo’s book ‘A Song of Gladness’ which I read to the school in last week’s assembly.  The sounds of Music coming from the verandah garden has given us all a real boost at a tiring time in term.  Orchestra practise and some long awaited singing has helped us all.
Many of you who have been coming and going from the campus will have witnessed the ever developing eco-space in the veranda garden.  Mr Brydon, with help from Mr Rooney and Euan has moved the development along at an exciting pace, and it is hoped the week ahead will see further progress. 
greenhouse 20 May 21

The power of social media can be a doubled edged sword, and from time to time spears are thrown through the ‘magic window’ that cause no end of problems.  However, we have been contacted by a Former Pupil from the early 1940s this week, who has been watching the development progress of the eco-space on our school website.

Mr John Benn has made a donation to this development that will see furnishings in place in the greenhouse in the next fortnight.  Alongside considerable support from The Friends of St. Mary’s and the FP Association, we have every confidence the garden will be a wonderful environment for pupils, staff and parents in time for our final weeks of this most testing of academic school years.  That will be higly appropriate timing ahead of our first class Form 8, who I believe will be making their own donation to the space.  Watch this space.

Midweek, Kindergarten took to the all-weather area to complete the annual Pedal Push in aid of a charity supporting Type 1 Diabetes, and their efforts merited generous donations to a cause close to the team’s hearts.
Form 2 headed off to Gunsgreen House in Eyemouth, to learn about the house’s chequered and fascinating history, and Harriet and Hugo called in to test my knowledge on their return.  I have to admit, they knew far more than I, and I was given a very informative history lesson right there and then!  Sports news of the week started in a frustrating fashion with tennis lessons falling to the weather.   However, we were reminded that bad luck is temporary but class is permanent.  Anna, Tiggy and Iona were selected for the South of Scotland U15s hockey squad – a remarkable achievement given they are all at least a year and a half young.  Congratulations to them, and what a lift that news has given Mr P and Mrs Bell who, along with the girls’ parents, have championed their endeavours over the years.
On an academic front, we are very proud of the endeavours of Form 7 and 8 in the UK Maths Challenge.  Some notable results are mentioned below, but Dr Morgan was at pains to highlight that several have just missed out by a mark or so.  He is proud of all for giving this demanding process a go.
Today Miss McRae held an open meeting for parents to meet our instrument tutors. It struck us just how fortunate we are to have such an experienced and highly qualified set of tutors looking after our pupils early musical education.
That concludes my first .Mail this term.  I enjoyed my sabbatical and thanks to Mrs B for standing in on my behalf, during a phase where Fridays seemed to be throwing up many interesting tasks for the Headmaster.
Keep smiling, and hang on to those spears!


Jules Birdsall, 21/05/2021

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