December 23, 2017

Memories of Bedales and a Happy Kiwi Christmas

Pohutukawa flowers-

Many years ago, while eating breakfast on holiday in Orewa, I was amazed to read an article in the paper written by a man called David Hill.  He didn't mention the school involved then, but I knew; it could only have been Bedales. The unique culture that I remembered so well shone out from the writing.  I wrote to him at the time as I was returning the following year for the Bedales Centenary and he was kind enough to reply.  He is now a successful children's author here in New Zealand.

The Bedales Centenary was wonderful - as well as catching up with old friends, two of my grandfather Leslie  Kent's paintings were hung at the school as he was an OB from the early 1900's, along with his sister Phyllis. He started the Bedales Chronicle which is still running today, and in the holidays, before we left for a new life in NZ,  it was always my pleasure to sit with him in his airy studio, with the special northern light windows, the gas fire and the smell of turps, and relive Bedales with him.
Grandpa at work in his studio, with Grannie 

Today, another article by David Hill, on much the same topic appeared again in the paper here.  It made me smile - it is still a lovely story and has a nice Christmas feel. I hope you go and read it in full. Here is a short extract...
Just before Christmas four decades back, I helped raise the literacy levels of the British royal family.
It was the winter of 1975-76. We were halfway through a UK working holiday, and I'd landed a job teaching for the pre-Christmas term at Bedales School in Hampshire.
Bedales was – still is – one of those places where the UK's wealthy arties send their kids for a liberal education.
In my 12 weeks there, I taught poet Ted Hughes' daughter, novelist Frederick Raphael's son, and the youngest son of an actor called Sir Laurence Olivier, whom you may have heard of? Lovely kids, all of them, even if they reckoned I pronounced Shakespeare's Danish tragedy as "Hemlut".

Today we are getting together to celebrate Mum's birthday - I see Facebook has her age as 57 which I am sure she will be thrilled about!  The holiday period will be particularly hard  - the first without Dad and her older sister, Morag, who also died this year.  It makes us appreciate being together more than anything else could - the gaps left are so hard to fill.

Frankly, I can't wait for 2017 to end as it hasn't been a great year - but there have been lots of good things as well so I can still feel happy and look forward to the next few months. We are having a lovely warm summer which helps!

At a recent and excellent talk put on by the Veterinary Association, Dr. Tony Fernando spoke on The Science of Happiness. He is a psychiatrist, sleep specialist, educator, and researcher, who talks about compassion in healthcare, happiness, mindfulness, enlightenment, his journey as a Buddhist monk, and a bunch of other stuff. He suggested we practice gratitude - keep a diary.

You could also play the Glad Game or do Thankful Thursday posts as suggested by Jaz and GB - see here for an example... 

I can say I am very very glad that Jaz had a positive report from her latest MRI and the "thing" has shrunk further - all due to positive thinking, resveratrol and turmeric I understand.

Dr Fernando suggests that instead of mindfulness, practice kindfulness -  as mindfulness is better that way - with compassion and morals.  If you have time, he is well worth watching..... and thanks to "youtube" you can......

He also developed the CALM website - Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind

Now I must go and finish the birthday cake!

Wishing everyone a very happy, kindful holiday season wherever you are.


  1. Dear Fi, Happy Christmas to you and your loved ones, and may 2018 be much, much better for you than 2017 was!
    I so agree with Dr. Happiness - gratitude is essential, and has been my dominating emotion for several years now.

  2. Good to see 'Helmut' on the syllabus.

  3. Well I am so glad that I am back in Blogland. That was a lovely post. I shall read the full article later. I will also have to watch the video at a later date given its length. However the concept of Kindfulness is inspiring and yet so obvious. It's just a shame that the world in general sees everything in terms of conflict.

    I wish you contentment and good health in the year ahead.

  4. Thanks Mieke, Angus and GB - good to hear from you x


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