Baker’s Beacon Blog – Week 3

22 September 2023

Dear Parents,

Beacon boys on the whole seem to love reading.  This past week, when running interview practice for some of our Year 6 boys, every boy without exception knew which book they were reading and could speak articulately and enthusiastically about the content.  This is not always the case though and last year, a boy who ended up doing very well in his senior school applications, did answer my question with, “I’m not at the moment sir, I don’t like reading books.”  We refined that response of course (!) but the honesty was refreshing and for many boys, including my own, picking up and immersing oneself in a book does not come naturally.

A good alternative in our modern world is the audiobook or increasingly, a podcast and, with such a plethora of interesting and entertaining content out there,  I will always be listening to something or other on the way to and from work.  Much of the time it is just ambient noise that I’m not really paying attention to, merely a backdrop to my own thoughts and filling that silent void.  On occasions though, something is broadcast that is so engrossing it demands my full attention.  ‘The Rest is History’ has just released two excellent podcasts on the emergence of private school education, referencing one of our local feed schools, Merchant Taylors’, in the second episode.  Working in the sector I know little of its background and found the insight fascinating, even though if much of it makes difficult listening and an example of how things have changed immeasurably in recent years. On Sunday morning’s, ‘Desert Island Discs’, the ‘castaway this week’ was Adrian Edmondson.  I liked ‘The Young Ones’ as a boy, who didn’t, and though I’m not a massive fan of his work or familiar with everything he has appeared in, he began speaking which such empathy and authenticity that it compelled me to listen intently to the whole episode. His reflections on his upbringing were very personal – his father routinely despaired of him and urged him to get a ‘proper job’ – and his emotional recalling of his time writing and laughing with Rik Mayall; a moving example of the power, impact and legacy of strong friendships.

Younger son Joseph’s birthday this weekend, 16…where did that time go…and though we are (thankfully) in that mid teen void of no big birthday parties, I do feel that these things have to be marked.  Shall we all go to the coast (no – too far), shall we do the driving route through Woburn Safari Park you used to love (no – grown out of that), shall we drive up to Leeds to watch Watford play (no – we’ll probably lose.)  How about that Formula 1 driving simulator experience thing in the City of London (now you’re talking, yes let’s do that!)  Good to know I still have the occasional good idea for a family day out…

Have a good weekend,

Nick Baker

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