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Croquet Summer School 2009 - by Daphne_Gaitley 10/08/2009 @ 15:39

Summer School 2009

This year’s event was held as usual during the final week of July, when the weather is normally settled, fine warm and dry, but the start of the course was beset by a hard, heavy rainfall which prohibited use of the lawns until mid morning when the rain eased off and eventually ceased to give way to more pleasant conditions. The rest of the week was fine, as the South eastern corner enjoyed brilliant sunshine while the rain was confined to other areas, except for an hour or so on Thursday afternoon when another heavy shower was experienced.

The students enjoyed the relaxed, informal atmosphere of the course, but still learned a lot, and the improvement in standards during the week was markedly apparent. Enthusiastic approval greeted the standards of coaching, and the general friendliness of the coaches themselves, and, of course, high quality of the fare offered at mealtimes, but particularly at lunchtime. The bar also proved to be another facility to attract praise. The overall assessment of the course, as indicated by the returned questionnaires, was extremely favourable and around half of the participants have expressed an interest in returning next year. However, this always happens as they get caught up in the general euphoria of the Summer School, but that said, many do return in subsequent years.

The School usually attracts a number of overseas visitors, but they were not apparent this year unless the Irish visitor is so reckoned. Apparently, he was looking on the internet for such a course and came across this one. A likeable fellow, he will probably return next year with his cousin.

The midweek evening barbecue was well attended, and again a superb meal was provided. We were also fortunate in having Mr. John Solomon as a guest, who addressed the assembly and offered words of encouragement to the players, as well as graciously signing copies of his book for several of them.

Two other unexpected highlights of the week were the passing and later return of an old steam locomotive and carriages on the adjacent railway, and a flypast of some frail World War 1 aircraft including old biplanes, and even a triplane to honour Mr. Henry Allingham, the world’s oldest man and war veteran who died a few days earlier and whose funeral was being held that day.

In conclusion, the Summer school was a success for all involved in its organisation and execution.

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Daphne Gaitley

August 2009


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