Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jolly Hockey Sticks

As a child I was a reasonably voracious reader, and the works of Enid Blyton and Anthony Buckeridge particular favouites. For this reason, I felt I had a good working knowledge of the fun and adventures to be found in a British boarding school. Today, for the first time ever, I got a real glimpse into one - or at least, the New Zealand equivalent. I was at a course at St Patrick's College in Upper Hutt. This is a magnificent old school set in beautiful, established gardens. The autumn display from the oaks and other huge trees is stunning. The buildings themselves are two-storied brick and built in the grand style of times well past. Luckily for me, getting to the conference room entailed walking along huge corridors and to the upper levels, giving time to admire the architecture and the beautiful wooden detailing of the stairs, doors and windows. But the prize sight was through the open door of the infirmary - a line of empty beds, and a scene seemingly frozen in time and looking exactly as if Dick or Julian might suddenly appear in their dressing gowns with Matron in attendance.

If you have never read a Jennings book, I highly recommend them - I think I'll look out one tonight.


  1. Could I just say that St Pats is in Silverstream, not the remoter reaches of Upper Hutt.
    I once went for an interview in St. Pats, but the presence of a priest in the interview panel put me off. I was lucky I didn't burst into flames when I walked through the door.

    My goodness, i remember Jennings. I also remember "The Fat Owl of the Remove"

    Remember him?

    1. Google tells me he is Billy Bunter, of whom I know, but have never read - though excellent, I'm sure. Jennings was brilliant.

  2. St Pat's Siverstream?
    The dreaded enemy!
    I went to St Pat's town and the most vicious, fiercest sporting, social and other competitions we had were with our 'sister' (how they hated to be called that) college in the Hutt.
    In the 7th form I was in the college's omly unbeaten sports team - 2B rugby. We gouged, scratched, kicked (not always the ball)our way to the top. When we met our old rivals (we had already beaten them in a previous game )St Pat's Silverstream at the end of the competition it was all on. We came away bruised and bloodied and sore. I had a broken nose and a cut lip. But .... we didn't lose. It was a draw. We had won every other game that year. We were heros!

  3. Gosh - amusing, rich and now rugged! I'm impressed!

  4. I always thought "Matron" was a bit dodgy.
    All these boys in their PJs and dressing gowns?

    Decididly weird. Throw in all the Monks and Priests at St. Pats and you've got a recipe for a huge disaster.