I have located my laptop underneath a pile of spent fairy cake cases. I have blown the dunes of crumbs from the keyboard, and cautiously wiped a smear of something – salted caramel? – from the screen. I am ready to write to bulletin.

As we near the end of Cooking Week, I am starting to feel like a Masterchef judge. Aspiring chefs come to my door bearing delicious cakes, biscuits and other delicacies. And, like Greg Wallace, my appetite for these proffered treats appears to be insatiable. Despite an alarming hike in calorific intake, there is always room for just a little bit more. My thanks to all the boys who have kept me so well fed this week, and also those whose dishes proved too un-transportable or too delicious to bring in to me, and who sent photographs instead. I have also heard rumours of some boys setting off on the morning coach with hopes high, intentions good and tuppawares full of flapjacks, cookies and cupcakes to share with their teachers…sadly, the treats sometimes proved slightly too enticing, and never reached their intended targets.

I have done my best to keep a faithful record of all the meals I have seen or tasted, and the culinary roll of honour runs as follows: Adithya Arvind (cheese paratha); Joel Arulpragasam (biscuit pudding); James Bantick (chocolate brownies); William Barnes (double chocolate chip muffins); Jonah Blake (melon salad with parma ham, breadsticks and dips, parmesan chicken, potato rosti, salad, Eton mess and raspberry muffins); Conor Bleach (chocolate chip cookies); Shane Bowden (chocolate cake); Lucas Carbajal (pasta frola – a very nice Argentinian dessert with quince paste on a biscuit base, for those not familiar with Latin American treats); Ethan Clapham (baked salmon with mashed potato and broccoli, toad-in-the-hole with vegetables); Thomas de Gruchy (flapjacks, complete with 1W-themed icing); Quentin Duff (chocolate brownie); James Emery (chocolate fondant, served in a very attractive terracotta pot); Edward Finnett (crispy sausages with magnificent mash and succulent spinach; Eton mess with blueberries and raspberries); Ben Francis (sausage rolls and flapjacks); Ben Freer (lasagne and chocolate brownie); Easan Gunarajah (chocolate cupcake); Chris Hardy (chocolate coconut ice); Nayaaz Hashim (fabulous fajitas, balsamic vinegar gelified beads with a tomato and mozzarella salad, emulsified lemon foam; mango lassi, potato paratha, dark chocolate truffle with cocoa dusting); Milo Heard (spinach and feta omelette, chicken, mushroom, quinoa and lentil risotto, chocolate brownies); Billy Hutchings (fudge); Luke Jansen (pitta bread pizzas); Teddy Jerome (spring vegetable pasta); James Langdown (sausage rolls); Alex Lloyd (marble cake); Jamie Lund (Norwegian granny’s apple cake, honey salmon kebabs with steamed asparagus, rice and vegetables, stir-fried vegetables with noodles); Alexander Mehta (mozzarella salad with tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and rocket; pesto pasta); Louis Middleton (shortbread); Sandy Mitchell (salmon noodle soup, chilli chicken tacos); Jake Murray (kung pao chicken); Thomas Norman (pizza margherita, chicken and asparagus pasta, duck with red wine and crab apple sauce, strawberry jelly, blueberry muffins); Rohan Raj (chocolate chip cookies); Vathshan Ramanakanthan (crepes with fresh fruit, cream and chocolate sauce (Mr Chaveneau was very impressed); Freddie Seddon (spaghetti bolognese); Ben Settle (chocolate fairy cake); Xandy Slater (chorizo risotto and chicken curry); James Wiley (chocolate brownies); Thomas Wykes (chicken pasta and chocolate chip cookies); Oskar Zieleznik (penne pasta with a tomato, tuna and anchovy sauce, custard-filled blueberry muffins).

If the boys have shown me photographs or brought me samples and I have forgotten to include them here, many apologies – please let me know and I will include it in next week’s bulletin.  And, of course, it is not yet over – some parents may be keen to drag the initiative out until Sunday evening ebbs away (a final cup of tea and cookie at five to midnight, perhaps?).  But all good things must come to an end, and, come Monday, I must sweep my desk clear of food detritus and learn to cater for myself again.  Congratulations to all the boys who had a go in the kitchen this week – whether you were complete novices or grizzled veterans of the hob, I hope that you enjoyed the experience and picked up some useful skills.  With no reported cases of food poisoning (incubation periods notwithstanding) and a steady flow of emails from the regular saucepan-wielders of the First Year households expressing their gratitude for the respite,  I think we can judge Cooking Week 2016 to be a great success.

Difficult as it has sometimes been to imagine this week, there does exist a world beyond food, and First Year life has been as busy and varied as ever.  We have also been enjoying Science Week, and yesterday all the boys were treated to some fantastic practical demonstrations from members the Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Technology departments.  Some of my particular highlights were Mr Armstrong’s amazing invisibility fluid, the coke and mentos volcanic eruption, and the demonstration of the effects of surface area on rate of reaction through the incineration of angel delight powder.  Whilst I was watching this last one, an inopportune gust of wind diverted the powder away from the naked flame and over the expectant audience, leaving us all with a fine residue on our faces; I can still just about smell the butterscotch.  The event culminated with a suitably impressive, liquid nitrogen-induced detonation in the cloisters – finishing with a literal bang.

Our literary quizzers were in fine form last week, winning a bronze medal at the Richmond and Kingston Inter-Borough competition.  Well done to Fred Darley, James Emery, Nayaaz Hashim, Oliver Pulfrey Baker, Neo Sukhraj Hammerl and Alexander Upshall, who impressed the judges with their eclectic knowledge of literature.

The Music Department put on the annual Jazz Café last Saturday evening, with our coolest musicians providing the entertainment whilst their parents enjoyed a meal in the Main Hall.  Ben Francis on the marimba, and Thomas Wykes and Edward Finnett on the clarinet, all put on a fantastic show.

On Monday, an Old Hamptonian, who attended the school nearly 60 years ago, returned for the first time since leaving as an eighteen year old in 1948.  David Austin is a veteran of the Korean War, and lived and worked in Canada from the age of 23.  Matthew Hibbert met Mr Austin, and was able to compare experiences of being a new boy at Hampton today compared to during World War 2. There is a full story of the visit in the News section of the website, accompanied by some fascinating photos.

The curtain came down on the rugby season, with the U12B team losing an entertaining match against Ibstock Place A team.  The opposition were well-drilled and full of powerful runners, and raced into a 17-0 half time lead, but a gutsy second half performance saw Hampton cross the line three times through Gabriel Hannah, Thomas Simm and Matthew Hibbert.  Well done to all our rugby players on a most impressive debut season.  It was also pleasing to see three First Years representing the U13 Table Tennis team in matches against Royal Russell – congratulations to Olly Coles, Ethan Clapham and Rohan Raj.

There has been lots of good news on the merit front, with certificates awarded this week to: Maximilian Bublik, Patrick Helm, Younes Tahir, Quentin Duff, Fred Darley and Max Broughton (20 merits); Jake Costen, Freddie Seddon, Chris Hardy, Olly Coles, Patrick Helm and Younes Tahir (30 merits); James Bantick and Ethan Clapham (40 merits); Edward Finnett (50 merits); Billy Hutchings (80 merits); and Nayaaz Hashim, Sam Colvine and Ben Francis, who become the first boys in the Year to break through the 100 merit barrier.  Fantastic news!

Thank you for bearing with me throughout this long bulletin, but I must go now.  Through the door I can see another boy bearing down on my office with a purposeful expression and a tin-foil-wrapped package…I think it is snack time again.


Mr J. Partridge

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