Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Remembrance Sunday

The Duke of York's School Dining Hall and Clocktower

It's wednesday now and I still haven't blogged about our weekend in Dover at my old school for the Remembrance Sunday parade, service and 'old boys' dinner.

Louise and I flew down on the Saturday and arrived at Heathrow in plenty of time to hire a car and I never realised how long it takes to drive from Heathrow to Dover (2 Hours). We arrived a little later than I expected, but with enough time to unpack the clothes for the dinner that night and get some water and snacks from the nearby Tescos. I was hoping to get to see the Rugby match, but alas we arrived hours to late for that...

We were staying in the same hotel as the old boys association dinner which was at the Ramada Hotel and quite conveniently located for the school. We were very impressed with the hotel, very clean, nice food and a free wireless network (which my Mylo couldn't connect to for some reason).

The dinner was being held in a marquee which sounded and looked quite ominous as it was outside, in November and the lights had just failed... After 15 minutes they got the lights working and everyone eventually found their seats! The marquee was surprisingly warm inside.

We were definitely the youngest at the old boys dinner, probably by about 15 years - but everyone made us feel extremely welcome and most were impressed we'd made the journey from Scotland for the weekend. Aubrey Sadler apparently had difficulty deciding which table to place us at since we were so young, in the end he placed on the headmasters table with a few other teachers whom I knew already and some members of the OBA. He couldn't have made a better choice and I thank him for that - all of us at the table exchanged stories all night! I was amazed at how the other members shared stories about people and things that were at the school even when I was there!! The headmaster became head of the school two years after I left and will be leaving the school shortly - it turns out he actually met his wife in Glasgow and worked at Glasgow Academy! The food was extremely nice and I would definitely go back again.

The OBA had put a band on for some dancing after the dinner which played well and we even got up for a couple of the songs!! After the dance, I had the opportunity of singing the school song 'Play up Dukies' which I had never heard before, the other old boys were stunned at this and helped me along with the song and I was given a copy of the lyrics to take away.

The last time I went for the Sunday parade was in 2002 when it was rained off, but the weather played in our favour and I joined the rest of the school along with other Old Boys for the first time since I left with Louise watching from the sidelines. We parade around the main square before marching to the war memorial for a short service to remember those soldiers who gave their lives fighting for their country.

The sunday service was well and I took great opportunity in singing the school hymn 'Sons of the Brave' which was very nearly banned in '94 when the girls started at the school.

After, I was able to walk around the school museum and some buildings showing Louise where I lived and studied during my time there, we then went for coffee where I yet again met up with the headmaster who wished us well for our journey. I also met up with my old housemaster who it turns out owns a house in El Chorro, Spain where Louise and I visited on a coach journey in October 2004. I mentioned our house in Olvera and he knew of the town as he'd driven past it from Jerez airport, he also informed me one of the School Commissioners also owns a house in Olvera!

We left the school a little later than we thought and were a little late in dropping off the hire car at Heathrow (no extra cost), but in plenty of time for our delayed flight back to Glasgow.

All in all, a good weekend!

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