Last week at a school where the brother of an HCPT pilgrim has recently become head master I was invited to speak for a few minutes about HCPT to an assembly of the VIth form.
The school is a Catholic VA school for so I thought, boys, was not easy to find at least by car during the rush hour. In fact I soon learned that a few girls are admitted at least to the VIth form which is apparently mirrored by the presence of a few boy students at the nearby catholic girls' school.
Eventually after finding the site I determined that should travel there again be required I would ride there by bicycle as bike paths in London are at last becoming more worthwhile for cyclists to use.
The School is set in an unprepossessing site in a down town sort of building, despite which or maybe even because of which, the students and staff there turned out to be more than first class. Arriving slightly early I was introduced to a doctor who had also been invited to speak to the students about his profession.
The doctor turned out to be a world renowned expert on human organ/tissue transplants and was due to address the students for 40 minutes or so in a way which might encourage some of them to consider the medical profession when applying for university places.
The medic and I chatted at some length prior to the students' assembly. He told me that his wife and himself were both Greek and that they had lived in London for some 22 years. His view was and is, that the UK is one of the greatest places to live because he said, of the freedom there is here, to believe or not as the case may be, in what one chose and to live one's own life without being dictated to by others any more than is necessary in a free society.
I raised the issue of the not infrequently wet and chilly UK weather compared with the often glorious and warm Mediterranean climate to which he replied that one really needed to have come to the UK from abroad and not to have been resident here for most of one's life, to appreciate the freedoms to which he referred - and the weather is in any event not always as I described.
Being encouraged by the interesting conversation, I raised the EC in or out, issue with him. He turned out to be passionate about the UK remaining part of the EC so my equally passionate view that the UK should exit, led to some intense but very friendly discussion.
The head then appeared and took us both to the assembly hall. He explained that as David Bowie had sadly so recently died, he would put on a few tracks from one of his albums before the assembly opened, to draw the students' attention. Our private debate about the EC in the empty hall was then livened up somewhat by David Bowie's songs being switched on and amplified for the forthcoming student assembly.
Of course our conversation progressed from the Common Market issues to the professor's amazing work but what neither of us had appreciated, was that the students outside the assembly room doors, having spied two (comparatively!) old looking men apparently having intense discussion with a backdrop of David Bowie's songs (David Bowie age 69 when he died was more our generation than the students') were inhibited from entering and disturbing the 'peace' until eventually they were ushered in by some staff.
An hugely unusual and educational morning for which I am grateful to the School and its staff especially the head
Subsequently I learned that a few of the VIth form students had shown some interest in the HCPT 2016 pilgrimage so hopefully that too will prove to be productive for all concerned.