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St Peter's 13-18

9 May 2019

9Some brief thoughts after another busy assembly with much to celebrate.  I thoroughly enjoyed some time on the river last week watching some rowing from the launch.  There is an old saying, “I love work. I could stand and watch it all day long” and that was rather similar to me sitting in comfort while the crews exerted themselves in a series of drills up and down the water. One crew were having difficulty in sitting the boat evenly, especially as they were starting to get going. Just like starting to ride a bike though, the faster they went, the smoother and more balanced they became. A strange connection of thought perhaps, but it reminded how much better things tend to be when you get over your initial hesitation and simply get started. A message for getting on with exams but also for most things in life. 

The opposite problem of how things can go wrong when you travel too fast was seen not long after that in the 1st VIII when, after a hugely impressive and settled start, a momentary lapse led to a massive crab being caught and the boat stopping dead in the water.  An interesting reflection on the perils of going too fast as well as too slow.

On returning to the Boat House steps, there was another interesting sight.  A group of pupils trying to pull a launch off the water and up the steps. They were straining as hard as they could but it was only when they started to bail out the water inside the launch and get some more people to help that they could finally get the job done: the power of lateral thinking and that many hands make light work.

This reminded me of when I was a Housemaster, many years ago when the world was very young and the motto of the House was possunt qui volunt.  The phrase comes from The Aeneid and the description of a rowing race between two teams – one containing the all-stars and the other, less talented individually, but who literally pulled together and won the race.  Some of you will have had a go at translating possunt qui volunt in your heads and it roughly comes across as “those who want to are able to”.

A good motto for most situations in life and a better one than the motto of my last school, which was discere aut discede – the rather uncomfortable message “learn or leave”. So, to the Upper Sixth as you complete your journey “over ancient ways” I would like to wish you every success and happiness over the coming weeks. Remember the importance of rest, good diet and exercise to sustain you in your work and also that, while you sit at the exam desk as an individual, you have a great team around you. I know you want to, I know you are able to and I am sure that you will.