14 January 2021
Mr Adrian Ross, valley resident and Head of Theology
It is hard to believe that we are in a position of returning to a virtual Woldingham School. Whilst I hate to be the bearer of more bad news, this lockdown will not, unfortunately, see the much-loved Gardeners’ Wold return for a second series. Not least because it is currently far too cold for this sun-loving individual to contemplate standing outside filming for any length of time. However, I hope a weekly article and accompanying photos taken by me, other colleagues who also live on site, and perhaps some from the small number of boarders here will help keep you in touch with place in which we’re lucky enough to live, work and study.
The first days of a new term were certainly eventful. Those of us on site awoke to see the valley covered in a blanket of snow. This certainly brought a small moment of joy in a challenging week and some of our boarders - and staff - did get outside to have some fun in the snow. As temperatures went from minus 4 degrees at night to a “balmy” 3 degrees during the day, the blanket of snow remained on the valley slopes over the weekend allowing our small community to enjoy some sledging.
Entering our first full week of online learning, we were greeted with what one could claim to be a warm Monday morning, at least compared to the weekend’s weather, and by Tuesday the only remnants of the snow were a snowman and a "snowbaby" near the flagpoles.
The valley is never the same without the sounds and energy our almost 600 students bring, but it has been a pleasure to see the small community of on-site boarders settling into life and routines in the ensuite accommodation in Shanley. On asking one tutee (who shall remain nameless) if she had a good view from her room, she responded that all she could really see were some bins! On closer investigation, and a turnaround of her laptop to share the view with the rest of our tutor group, she could indeed see the household dustbins in front of Marden Lodge. However, the rest of her view is up the valley leading towards the back barrier – hardly as bleak as we had first been led to believe!
I hope that the start to this term is going as well as can be expected given the extraordinary situation we find ourselves in. Let us pray that we are all able to return to the valley soon - at least in time to see the snowdrops and daffodils emerge.