Summer School addict

June 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm 3 comments

Every December I eagerly look online to see which courses are being offered at Marlborough College Summer School. I have participated in many courses over the years, as diverse as Divining, Creative Writing, Singing for Pleasure, The Alexander Technique, Journalism and Prehistoric Landscapes of Wiltshire (one of my particular favourites as it gave me the excuse to hug ancient stones). It doesn’t really matter which course I attend; I am a Summer School addict; a perpetual student. I love meeting up with other Summer School addicts who return every year from all over Britain and further afield. Every year I make new friends too. Given free rein to wander the beautiful old campus of Marlborough College I always feel inspired to write something…anything…and this is a short story I wrote about 6 years ago about a statue in the rose garden. If it’s still there when I visit this Summer, I will take a picture and attach. I suppose it was a prelude to embarking upon The Secret Society of Dragon Protectors…or at least the short story The Dragon’s Tale which grew into the series.

Marlborough College Old Boy by Debi Evans 2005

I stand in the secluded Rose Garden, intoxicated by heady summer scents from old-fashioned roses of every colour: peach, dark orange, crimson, custard yellow, and at my end of the garden I am surrounded by a horseshoe bed of white roses. The scent is overwhelming and indescribable. Sadly I can only imagine the colours as I cannot see them, for I have no eyes. I listen to the intermittent droning of what I imagine to be lazy fat bumbles weighed down with their sticky sacks of amber. It is a peaceful sound and I am dozing, suddenly to be awoken from my idyll by the twang of American Summer School students and they are enthusiastically looking for the ‘duelling lawn’ –“ it’s not here, this is the Rose Garden”, I want to shout but alas no words come out. Silence again, but for the beating of butterfly wings as they settle on the purple stakis: oh how wrong you are if you think that butterflies have no voice.  The secret of the garden is kept sheltered by imposing yew hedges, and the worn flagstones have seen many schoolboys’ feet over the centuries they have been trodden. I have witnessed many things over time, secret trysts, lovers’ tiffs and people seeking solitude in this tranquil place. My unseeing eyes strain to catch a glimpse as I am by nature inquisitive but have to rely on descriptions from the
half chick on the weather vane atop the College Chapel. He is my eyes and his name is Chantecleer (or Chancy to the gargoyles).

You see I am the cheery cherub with stylised curls and kissy cheeks, standing at this end of the garden. All manner of people come to look at me; toddlers kiss me, youths give me cigarette butts and tourists just like to be photographed with me – I believe myself to be quite a handsome little chap despite my broken nose, (such an indignity) if you ignore the rather rude cat calls from the gargoyles. Do admire my fine toes, pointing forward as I delicately skip with this garland thing. I can’t quite work out whether it is a pineapple or a sunflower in the floral rope because I can’t see it and the others won’t tell me. And so I stand on this concrete plinth with my milk-filled tummy and chipped drapery and sometimes wish that I was on a revolving pedestal so I could fully benefit from what’s happening around me. Perhaps someone could please turn me round? I wish I could introduce myself to you as Julius or Octavius or some other fine classical name, but Phoebe created me out of plaster and gave me the name Charlie. “Hey Chas, watch out here comes a pigeon” shouts the ever-helpful Chantecleer– not that I can actually do anything about it if they choose to dive down to leave their messages on my head. At least he can go into a spin and prevent his feathered counterparts from the indignity of actually landing on him. I just have to endure it and then I get all sorts of stick from the gargoyles, although Chantecleer tells me they are a pretty ugly bunch stuck up there under the gutter.

My one wish is that Phoebe had given me eyes rather than these unseeing gaping holes so please remember that, you budding sculptors, and to anyone who wanders into my Rose Garden, know that even if I can’t see you I can at least hear you (note my fine shell-like ears!) so do stop and say hello, though I can’t answer you, as dear Phoebe blessed me with an unspeaking empty mouth also. Oh and by the way lads, I don’t smoke so less of your cigarette butts if you don’t mind.

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Entry filed under: travel, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

dragons to UK nostalgia trip

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Phred  |  June 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you! Loved it all the more without the picture as I now have my own in my head and will eagerly await to see if it matches the reality!

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  • 2. Dee  |  June 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Here’s to lifelong learning and inspiration wherever it may be found!

    Like

    Reply
  • 3. debievans  |  July 28, 2011 at 5:51 am

    as promised, rose garden revisited and here are the photos

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    Reply

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Debi Evans

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