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his has been a term like no other. ‘We Are PGS’, our special collaboration between the School’s Archive and Portsmouth Point, seeks to record the experiences of our community during the Coronavirus outbreak this year: to share how we have adapted and responded as individuals, as a school and as a wider community, from Portsmouth to Australia. We celebrate the commitment, courage, creativity and care which have been evident in so many facets of our lives in difficult circumstances. In the new way of living and being that we experienced during lockdown, there has been a great deal for us all to do differently, and a great deal for us all to learn. First and foremost, I would like to express our gratitude for the support of pupils, parents, grandparents, staff, Governors and Old Portmuthians as we have adapted: everyone has made the very best of these challenging circumstances, and the strength of the community has shown itself more than ever at this time. From late March, our site was closed, in accordance with Government guidelines, to all but the children of key workers and our vulnerable children. For all other pupils, we switched to teaching a full timetable remotely. We have been incredibly impressed by the way in which pupils have engaged, and the independence and proactivity they have demonstrated. Likewise, we are thankful for the assistance offered by parents at home. For many staff, too, this has been a new departure, and they have embraced the possibilities of delivering live lessons online with enthusiasm.

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From online entrepreneurship to a new university preparation course for our Year 13 pupils, from practice careers interviews conducted remotely by a global network of OPs to a new extended project for our younger year groups: this is a time that has sparked innovation, and there are many new developments this term that we will want to retain and develop. More recently, as evolving guidance has enabled us to welcome increasing numbers of pupils back to school, our attention has turned to the re-organisation of the site, with its colour-coded walk ways and play areas, and to the joy of seeing pupils happily play in the quad as they are reunited with friends and teachers: a reminder of how very important – notwithstanding the many possibilities that technology offers – is our shared community on site. It is both moving and inspiring to gain a glimpse, here, of what lockdown has meant to pupils, OPs, staff, parents, grandparents and friends of the school. There are vivid memories of past crises, poignant celebrations of NHS and care workers, fascinating reflections on the social and cultural implications of the pandemic, and wonderful accounts of the efforts people have made, collectively and individually, to entertain and support one another and their communities from home and in school. My thanks to all those who have contributed, and to John Sadden and James Burkinshaw for drawing this collection together. In years to come, it will offer us a fascinating insight into this strange time.

Dr Anne Cotton Head The Portsmouth Grammar School





















Image: Tony Hicks

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I remember

WHEN... Old Portmuthians were asked whether they could recall a national or international crisis that impacted on their schooling at PGS in some way.


Evacuation, World War II

PGS Evacuees with model aeroplanes,1941.

Within a few weeks my burgeoning topjunior childhood life, so full of confidence, direction and promise, came to an abrupt end. Portsmouth Grammar School announced that it would be evacuated at the outbreak of war to Winchester, six days after my twelfth birthday and the day before war broke out... All went tolerably well until a few weeks later, when holiday time came to an end, and the school got its act together to begin some serious teaching in improvised surroundings. I quickly discovered that being at a holiday camp was one thing, and being away at school was quite another. The routine changed dramatically. Away went the leisure time, the walks, the games, and in came a heavy schedule of classes, more classes, and prep. Many of the ablest teachers had left for the war. There was no equipment, and few textbooks. Improvisation was the key word. Often there were no blackboards. Against

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overwhelming odds the teaching staff did their best to communicate subjects that were entirely new to me – French and Latin – and to other new boys who had never experienced them before: and often they took their cue from those who had come up from the prep school, who had already been learning these subjects for a couple of years. David Manship (OP 1939-46) In this video, John Sadden highlights when pupils' lives and schooling dramatically changed during wartime, bringing both challenges and opportunities.


Polio outbreak In the mid to late 50s there was a real polio scare, although nothing like the COVID-19 problem. I remember that sewage in the sea was considered to be a possible source. I also think that at least one pupil caught the disease. Michael Taylor (OP 1952-61) I remember the polio scare, as I started at PGS in the late 1950s. A couple of young sisters who lived next door but one to my maternal grandparents caught it, one of them was badly disabled by it, the other somewhat less so. By a coincidence about 12 years later, I met the lady who would become my wife,


and both she and her mother had had polio, and, though her mother was quite badly paralysed, she herself had recovered. My mother-in-law is now 98, lives with us and has to use a wheelchair fulltime. Fortunately the vaccine was discovered shortly after, and cases now in the UK are extremely rare. Let us hope that a vaccine and a cure are found for Covid-19, as this is a far greater pandemic than the polio outbreaks, though both are extremely worrying. I hope everyone and their families and friends will remain safe. Geoff Goble (OP 1958-65) Sometime in the fifties those of us in the basic section of the CCF were called to the playground and told to go down to the armoury, which was below Thorne’s (the Porter’s) empire and to remove the bolts from our Royal Enfield 303. We were told to take the bolt home and sleep with it under our pillows. Quite a responsibility! There had been an IRA scare. Better safe than sorry, I say! Christopher Parsons (OP 1948-60)


Measles epidemic I can’t think of anything drastic. I remember when half the class of lower three in the spring of 1961 was off school with measles but nothing apart from that really. Martin Pickford (OP 1960-70)



The Big Freeze

Assassination of President Kennedy

Cuban Missile Crisis I do recall one teacher who I think I won't name, telling the class one morning during the Cuban Missile Crisis that we might not be back next week. I was very frightened by that although there was a lesson quickly learned about the authority of teachers! Shortly after that there was a degree of social isolation caused by the severe winter of early 1963, but really nothing like this. Dave Allen (OP 1958-67)

The Hilsea moat during the Big Freeze of 1962-63. The Camber and Langstone Harbour also froze over.

On the day that the snow started a pupil from Horndean named Robert Kelso and I had to walk from the Guildhall Square (where the bus wasn’t moving) to Waterlooville (We were only about ten at the time). We started at about 2.00pm and arrived at my home at about 7.30pm. Robert then stayed the night with us and his dad picked him up on the following morning, which was a Saturday thank goodness. Martin Pickford (OP 1960-70)

Cuban Missile crisis 1962, the closest the world has come to nuclear war. Wikicommons Library of Congress

The Cuban Missile Crisis was in my final year (Classical VII). I cannot remember details of how we found out but there was briefly a genuine feeling that this could be curtains. Seventeen was an impressionable age! Derek Cannon (OP 1956-63)


When the buses couldn’t get over Portsdown Hill from Waterlooville, Roy Willis (Maths Teacher) marched the pupils over the Hill to get them to school. Tim Thomas (OP 1960-69)

President Kennedy a few minutes before his assassination (Wikicommons)

I think we heard the same day – word of mouth – and, as I recollect, I was about to go home in the late afternoon or evening. Ian Ventham (OP 1956-66) I was watching the Harry Worth comedy programme on TV, when there was a newsflash to say Kennedy had been shot. This would be about 9pm in the UK. I don't think that he was dead at that time. This followed a little later. Martin Waldron (OP 1958-64)


Aberfan Disaster Not really comparable but nevertheless a harrowing emotional impact was being in the quad and hearing about the Aberfan disaster in 1966 (when thousands of tons of coal waste slid down a hill and engulfed a primary school in Wales, killing 144 people, mostly children) Nick Goodall (OP 1963-73)

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Nearest comparable event was the Foot and Mouth Epidemic of 1967 which forced PGS and all our rivals to close their School Cross Country courses. Over 400,000 animals were slaughtered. Our course went through affected farms behind Portsdown Hill. Nick Watkins (OP 1964-70)

The school went to watch the fleet leave and return on the Round Tower. Many parents and relatives went. The Round Tower was reserved for PGS which was great as it has the best view. As I recall a camera crew asked to join us as it sticks out and thus is the best spot to watch from. I am sure we would have brought Old Smokey (Artillery Flag from Cadets) and a few Jacks. Many fathers and uncles were in the Navy. Actually, come to think of it, I am sure they handed out little flags like they do for royal visits. Daniel John Clark (OP 1982-87)

The Great Storm of 1987 was said to be the worst storm in England since 1703, devastating huge areas of the country during the evening and morning of the 15-16th October 1987. A sailing boat landed in the middle of Southsea Common.

Foot and Mouth disease


IRA terrorism

Falklands War


Hailey’s Comet

The IRA dominated the headlines in the 1970s

On the 5th Jan, Mike Kemp and I went to the London Boat show with my father to see a version of a new boat he'd just bought. Sometime after we'd looked at it the exhibition was evacuated due to a (IRA) bomb threat. Mike and I dithered because we didn't know where to meet my father but eventually left, and as we were wandering around outside heard the bomb go off. The back of the boat we'd been looking at was peppered with shrapnel from the blast. We shrugged our shoulders and went home, didn't seem like a big deal, it was happening all the time‌ We were 14. Robert Eastwood (OP 1967-77)

Word went around on television, and then a rumour at the school, that the end of the world had been predicted to happen during 4th Period GCSE French. Something to do with Hailey's Comet I believe. We knew the time it was going to happen and were quite excited to see if the prediction was going to come true... The class started and was delivered in Mr. Payne's usual style and then a few minutes before Armageddon he taught us that the correct way to say good-bye in French in such a situation was "Adieu!" we all practiced saying it, and then waited patiently for the end of everything... We were then told to open our text books to page 64... Jason Godwin (OP 1979-92)

The Great Storm

Susan Millar (OP 1987-89) After a Hayling Island night of the windows being battered with debris, we got up and dressed and walked out into our 400m long suburban road only to find that 13 very mature trees lay one after the other in the road. It was impossible to move more than 5 metres in either direction from the driveway: no way we could get to PGS that day. Indeed, it was not until 16:00 the following day before they had cleared a way through the fallen trees with the incessant scream of chainsaws throughout. Steve Wentworth-Pollock (OP 1984-91) There was a noticeable drop in numbers of pupils in that morning and we were soon sent home before all routes on/off Portsea Island were closed. Oddly, I had dreamt that night that one of the trees outside my bedroom window had fallen through the roof. When we checked it later, you could rock the whole trunk and we had to take it down. I also remember the whole line of huge trees along the top of Crookhorn Golf Club being levelled (along with so many others).

Aftermath of the Great Storm of 1987 Creative Commons: Ben Brooksbank




Steve Scaddan (1983-90) I woke up in the middle of the storm. It was about 4am, and the house was shaking. I looked out of the bedroom window to see a massive tree branch at least 18ft long hurtle down the road (near Waterlooville). I remember thinking "That's windy" and went back to sleep!!!!! I don't remember an issue with getting to school. My biggest memory was my archery club (near Petersfield) had a major competition in a week's time and all the trees from one end of the course had been dumped across the middle of the course. It took working parties a week with chainsaws to cut a route through. I also remember that one pupil lost his father to the storm; if memory serves he was a police office (Inspector?) who was on his way to work and a tree fell on his car.

the conditions, and the staff would line the passengers up in pairs (I was with Ian Fyfe-Green ) by the exit gate and every time the boat came level with the pontoon (it was bobbing a couple of feet below and above due to the waves) we were pushed towards the exit with the urgent instruction “GO!”. Fairly sure they wouldn’t do that nowadays! Ben Jacob (OP 1981-92) I remember walking to Southsea Common and seeing a sailing boat in the middle of the common! It was a strange day all round.

2001 9/11

David Powell (1980-89) I think we had two days off school, as there was some tile damage to the roof. We lived very close to PGS in Old Portsmouth and the storm was amazing. I now live in Hong Kong and experience typhoons (hurricanes) every year and it was definitely hurricane strength. Steve Buckley (1985-95) I was in the lower school in 1987 somehow Simon Doyle his brother and I made it into school the day after (we shared lifts) but not many did so; it was pretty quiet. People were being sent home but we couldn’t get hold of anyone on the phone to come and get us as the wires were down so we ended up staying all day. I remember the cladding hanging off the sides of many buildings on the drive through Portsmouth. Stephen Adamson (OP 1985-92) We had to walk home from school to Portchester since all transport was cut and phones were out on the (Portsea) Island. Quite an experience. Can't say it really had an impact on our schooling but it most certainly is a night that will stick in my memory forever. As a 13-year old, walking home through a hurricane and dodging falling debris was quite something! Matt Pilott (OP 1982-92) I vividly remember the October 1987 storm - I was in the 3rd year (Year 9) and lived in Gosport. I remember the Gosport Ferry was still running, despite

9/11 Twin Towers, Wikicommons: Michael Foran

Co-ordinated terrorist attacks by al Qaeda in the United States claimed 2,977 lives. Becky Johnson (OP 1993-04) I remember being in a Food Tech class and being told there had been an “incident” in America, but I don’t remember it being properly explained to us. I think there were a few people with family in America who were allowed to go home early, but I didn’t really understand what had happened until I got home and watched the news. I would have been year 9 (aged 13).

to convince themselves that the world was still in one piece by avoiding the sheer horror of the previous day. In the classroom it was a different matter. It was Wednesday and for Sara Dipple and me in Reception and our new little 4 year-olds, it was phonics day. We didn’t realise that our letter of the week would produce the words that it did. “The letter of the week is T” said Mrs Dipple, the children had to suggest words beginning with the t sound and my job was to draw the objects on the whiteboard for the children to copy onto flash cards. Terror, Tower, Twin, Two, Terrible called out the children; that silenced us all. We stopped and let the children talk, they all knew to varying degrees about the events in the USA. Some had been told by their parents and some had had the unfortunate experience of expecting to watch children’s TV only to find rolling news broadcasts. Neither of us can remember how we steered the topic away from 9/11 but I suspect we abandoned the letter t in phonics for a few weeks. Mark Green (OP 1995-2002) I was in the sixth form on 9/11. We were sat in a Maths class (in the newly acquired Cambridge House). Mr Thornton (I think) was the teacher - told us something was happening in the US. We all wandered across to the teachers’ office/another room where there was a TV. Remember watching in horror as the second plane hit and a little later as the buildings collapsed. (I don't remember whether I saw the buildings collapse there or later, but it was definitely live). Sad day. Obviously we never finished our mechanics maths questions that day.... not too sure what else happened after that.

Helen Ring (OP 1993-2006) I remember walking home from school very quickly so I could watch the news, knowing something had happened in USA, but not told explicitly. (Year 9)

Guy Cockcroft (OP 1990-2003) I remember being in Chemistry for 9/11 and another Chemistry teacher putting his head through the classroom door and exclaiming “I think World War 3 just started!”. Then watching it on TVs in shop windows on the walk to and from the train station after school.

Kathryn Moffitt (JS Staff 1998-2019 and PGS parent) The next day in the PGJS common room, there was very little talk on the events in the USA, perhaps people were trying

Jon Croxford (OP 1996-2003) I remember finding out from Miss Bush in her tutor room, and then me and Duncan Sanders speculating about World War 3 on the bus home.

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Rhys Pickett (OP 1993-2003) I remember where I was for 9/11. In physics with Miss Cox. She wheeled the tv in so the class could watch. Billy Nicol (1993-2003) I was just going into the Rotunda for music when 9/11 happened. Last lesson of the day and then went home and watched the news for the rest of the evening! Very strange! Amelia Tyman (OP -2006) I have a vivid memory of being on the hockey pitch when the news started coming through. I seem to remember seeing teachers talking together and then Miss Barrett passing on the news. We didn't really know at that point what it meant and then the full extent became apparent through the afternoon and when we got home. It's one of my strongest memories. Emma Le Neve Foster (OP 1997-2004) I was in English with Ms Creswell on 9/11. I remember it so clearly. It was the end of the school day. I remember getting the Fast Cat home to the IOW and everyone was talking about it, then watching it on the TV with my Mum when I got home. I definitely did not understand the full extent of what was happening at the time. Kerida Allaway (OP 1997-2001) I had actually left PGS the summer before, but happened to have popped back in that day to say hello to some of my old teachers as my university course wasn’t starting until October. I remember something happening and everyone rushing to the rotunda to watch it on the tv screen there. Later I drove a friend home and we were listening to the coverage on the radio


Simon Doyle (OP 1985-95) I had left the school by 9/11, but was a young Lt aged 24 and expecting a career of not more than UN Peacekeeping or maybe a Northern Ireland tour. Returning from assisting a LCpl at His Court Martial we heard the news of the first strike, then watched the second on TV and were stood to in order to secure airfields around Salisbury to receive, secure and search transatlantic flights for more terrorists when The US threatened to close their airspace. After that we all gained a lot of experience with hot, sandy places including two tours to Iraq and two to Afghanistan.


Terrorist attacks on London, 7/7 When the 7/7 bombings happened in London in 2005, I had moved year groups and was working with Year 4, in fact the same children who I had been working with in 2001 for 9/11. We were in a buoyant mood as we left school, London had been awarded the 2012 Olympic Games the day before and that was the subject of much of the chatter from the children, most of whom had decided that they wanted to be in the GB squad! We adults (by now with mobile phones) heard about ‘something happening in London’ as we walked down to St George’s Church for the children to rehearse their play. I think this was when we were without the DRT as the new complex was being built hence the use of the lovely old shipwrights’ church. The rehearsal was uneventful and it was only when we



got back to school before lunch that the reality of 7/7 hit. Children had somehow found out (how?) and were asking if their parents who worked in London were OK. Worried colleagues with children in London were texting them. Kathryn Moffatt (TA 1998-2019, PGS parent)



Empty desks PGS, EPIDEMICS AND PANDEMICS JOHN SADDEN ARCHIVIST notified parents that the school would be closed for two weeks from the 14th28th October. Sadly at least one boy’s father died, throwing the family into desperate poverty in the days before the welfare state. Several Old Portmuthians who were serving their country in the armed services are also known to have died. The total number of fatalities in the UK is estimated to have been 200,000, and up to 50 million globally.

Headmaster James C Nicol and his staff c 1911

In 1895, two years after taking up his first headship at Portsmouth Grammar School, James Carpenter Nicol had to deal with a problem which “seriously hampered schoolwork and sports” – an influenza epidemic. It was noted that in the colder classrooms where, it was claimed, ink froze in the inkpots, pupils were less likely to get sick. It was surmised that “microbes are as fond of heat as ourselves, and flocked in their thousands to the rooms of warmer climate”. Mr Nicol’s teaching staff numbered 13 and it is reported that, at one time during this epidemic, seven were laid low. But, several weeks later, The Portmuthian happily reported that:

“the influenza has come and gone, leaving with us pleasant and disagreeable remembrances. Remembrances disagreeable, to some, of aches and pains, pleasant to others, of days spent in comparative idleness. On the whole, the majority of us cannot but have kindly feelings towards the epidemic which gained for us so welcome an exeat. It seems to have attacked the masters more heavily than the boys.” Mr Nicol had to cope with a staff shortage again during the First World War as teachers volunteered to serve their country. And, by October 1918, a few weeks before the Armistice was signed, the deadly “Spanish flu” pandemic hit the school. Mr Nicol

In 1929 the Head, Canon Walter Barton reported that influenza had reached the school and, at one time, 120 pupils out of a total school roll of 550 were off sick. Three years later, during another epidemic, two-thirds of all pupils were reported as being absent. Tragically, one boy died and several staff were recorded as being seriously ill. In the exceptionally harsh winter of 1939-40, Head Joe Stork and his pupils not only coped with the chaos, challenges and adventure of wartime evacuation and billeting in Southbourne, but also with an epidemic of German measles and influenza which, once again hit both pupils and teachers. The editor of The Portmuthian wrote: “We were led to believe that warmth and winter sunshine awaited us, and what have we found? Biting north winds, prodigious falls of snow, drizzle, slush… The health of the School has suffered in proportion, but ill-health, as well as bad weather, has been general throughout the country. German measles has been

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The Victorian Portsmouth Grammar School

Headmaster Joe Stork

the principal scourge, with influenza running it a close second. Here we should like to voice a word of thanks to householders for the patience and consideration they have shown when boys in their care have been ill. We assure them that their kindness has not passed unnoticed.” Schoolboys with “lobster-like faces” were sent to bed and some whole forms were completely written off. A humorous poem in the Portmuthian included the lines:

At first the harmless, necessary sneeze; Then nostril damp, premonitory wheeze Of bronchi clogged, unmoved by any Zube; Then the physician's slim mercuric tube Revealed "One hundred! Hm ... he's got the 'flu." It really didn’t hurt, but was so contagious; You stay away from school – so advantageous To those who dislike Test, Exams and Orders That those who caught it from us should reward us!


Headmaster Canon Walter Barton (left) during the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1928

Nearly eighty years later, David Miles (OP 1941-45), recalls his experience, “Just prior to the Easter holidays, I found myself in an isolation room with a nasty ill feeling and a temperature. One of my fellows had preceded me but nobody was telling me anything about his or my condition. I was examined by a doctor during the night and, the following day, ordered to pack my case and go home for the holidays. Somehow, feeling very unwell, I struggled with full attaché case to Pokesdown Station and there boarded the Royal Blue coach for Portsmouth…I was whisked away “home” to Bosham, where my parents were living because of bomb damage to our house in


Portsmouth, and there spent most of the Easter Holiday in bed with closed curtains… Fortunately, I seem not to have suffered any of the sometimes severe complications which can accompany measles.” The most recent Influenza pandemic to hit the school was in 2010. The Portmuthian reported that it was a “particularly devastating strain” that “infected both teachers and students alike” Fortunately it was a simulation of how disease can spread through populations which provided pupils with an introduction to the study of epidemiology.


PGS Pandemic We ran a simulated influenza epidemic in 2010, a cross-curricular initiative by the Biology and Geography Departments; geographers considered how diseases spread spatially, whilst the biologists considered the epidemiology of the virus. SARAH STEWAR T (HE AD OF GEOGRAPHY & GEOLOGY)

Pandemic 2009: infected pupil

The Sixth Form leaders infected 5 pupils each on the first morning – anyone they had been sitting next to for more than 5 minutes was vulnerable. We had House Assembly that morning so it spread across year groups quickly. Each infected pupil reported to the infection centre (the Biology Department) the next lunchtime to collect an “infected” wrist band and the next day again to roll a dice to see whether they survived, collecting a white wristband or a black one if they didn’t make it. There was an infection centre set up outside the Common Room for staff to report to as well. Many did not make it, but the good news was that the Head survived. The whole week was orchestrated by Jenny Dunne (a Biology teacher at the time) and supported by the other teachers in the departments, namely Emily Toland, Karen Sparkes, Sarah Stewart and Jess Howlett. It certainly feels very strange looking back and thinking how much truth there was in our simulation.

Pandemic 2009 participants

Infection Headquarters in the old Biology block, 2009

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The Great Plague and Covid-19:

LEARNING from HISTORY The literature of the past always informs our understanding of the present. The Covid-19 pandemic led me to Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year (1722), which describes the impact on London of the "Great Plague" of 1665. It is based on the recollections of his uncle, Henry Foe, who survived the Plague (and on whom the semi-fictional narrator, ‘HF’, is modelled). JAMES BURKINSHAW TE ACHER OF ENGLISH Social distancing and self-isolation were as central to the lives of those going through the Great Plague as to ours: "The best Physick against the Plague is to run away from it... People walk'd in the middle of the great Street, neither on one side or other… they would not mingle with any Body... would stand and look at them and sometimes talk with them at some space between." One of the most heart-breaking aspects of Covid-19 has been the fact that those most seriously ill cannot be visited in hospital by close relatives; Defoe describes how "People... when they have had the Distemper, have been so far from being forward to infect others that they have forbid their own family to come near them... and have even died without seeing their nearest Relations lest they be instrumental to give them the Distemper... but sent his Blessing and Prayers for them by the Nurse, who spoke it to them at a Distance." There were disagreements in 1665, just as there are now, about the right time to end what we now call "Lockdown". The narrator, HF, describes people,


prematurely judging the Plague to be over, despite "Physicians... telling (people) how a Relapse might be more fatal and dangerous than the whole Visitation that had been already... but it was all to no Purpose... they open'd shops, went about the streets... and convers'd with any Body that came in their way to converse with... This imprudent rash conduct cost a great many their lives.” The courage and dedication of health workers was as appreciated then as it is now: "Physicians... ventured their Lives so far as even to lose them in the service of Mankind." Then, as now, the situation brought out the best in people: "there were many instances of immovable Affection, Pity and Duty in many." However, there were also those that sought to exploit the fear of others: "They ran to conjurers and witches and all sorts of Deceivers... who kept them always alarm'd... to pick their pockets" just as some unscrupulous individuals (including the President of the United States) have been hawking false "cures" for Covid-19. There have been depressing stories about individuals cruelly coughing or spitting on others,


Tesco Fratton (image by John Sadden)

claiming to be passing on the virus; Defoe describes a man who "kiss'd (a woman) and which was worst of all told her he had the plague and why should she have it as well as he." In both the seventeenth and twenty-first centuries, extreme situations revealed human nature at its most inspiring and its most dispiriting.


Defoe convincingly presents the shift among Londoners from initial complacency to incipient anxiety. At first, people "had a mighty fancy that they should not be visited or at least that it would not be so violent among them." However, a sense of insecurity soon develops, not least because of the invisibility of a Plague that can be passed on by what we would now refer to as "asymptomatic" carriers: "The Infection was propagated insensibly and by such Persons as were not visibly infected, who neither knew who they infected or who they were infected by... We see Men alive and well to Outward appearance one Hour and dead the next." He reflects on the tragic irony that "a Person had been a walking Destroyer, perhaps for a week or fortnight... how he had ruin'd those that he would have hazarded his life to save." HF criticises the City authorities for their initial hesitation to take action: for want of timely entering into Measures and Management... such a prodigious Number of People sunk in that Disaster which... if proper steps had been taken might... have been avoided" which mirrors current criticism of the Government over the timing of lockdown. And, in the seventeenth century, as in 2020, it was often the poorest members of society who were placed at the most risk: "The richer sort of People.... throng'd out of Town with their Families and Servants... all hurrying away... the Poor... push'd into any kind of Business, the most dangerous and the most liable to Infection." There are surprisingly few references to God in Defoe’s account; however, it

(image: J. Burkinshaw)

should be remembered that this was the century of the Scientific Revolution. HF notes that "We must consider (the Plague) as it was really propagated by natural means... No one in this whole nation ever received the sickness or infection but who receiv'd it in the ordinary way of Infection from some Body." Wondering about the nature of the Plague, he also speculates whether "There might living Creatures be seen by a microscope of strange, monstrous and frightful shapes." Just as our daily governmental press briefings invariably begin with the number of Covid-19 fatalities, Defoe's narrative is punctuated by the "Bills" - daily and weekly tallies of the dead. He also notes that then (as now) there were concerns that the numbers were being under-reported: "It was found that there were more who were dead of the Plague... but had been set down of the Spotted Fever or other Distempers, beside others concealed." During the Covid-19 crisis, hope has been expressed that, once this has passed, we can transform ourselves, our society and our world for the better. HF reflects, "I

Walpole Park, Gosport (image by John Sadden)

wish I could say that as the City had a new Face so the Manners of the People had a new appearance... the general Practice of the People was just as it was before and very little Difference was to be seen... there did not cease the Spirit of Strife... which was really the great Troubler of the Nation's Peace before." One of the most important things we can learn from history is how not to repeat it.

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DO WE NEED TO PANIC? Sophie Mitchell (Year 13) and Anna Danso-Amoako (Year 12) were writing about the coming pandemic for the school blog, Portsmouth Point, many weeks before most of us were aware of Covid-19. Here are extracts from their prescient articles, written in January 2020. Sophie Mitchell: 2019-nCoV, a new virus has currently killed 56 people and infected over 2000. There is much panic that this could soon become a global epidemic, threatening to infect countries across the globe. The virus itself comes from a group of viruses known as the coronavirus, from the Latin corona, meaning crown. There are only 6 known coronaviruses which are known to infect humans, one of which is the common cold. They can range from mild symptoms to death, and the 2019-nCoV appears to be somewhere in between. However, it brings back memories of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which killed 775 people and infected 8273. The Chinese government was accused of covering up the outbreak, not revealing the truth until lots of people had succumbed to the disease. In the face of 2019-nCov, China has effectively quarantined 30 million people, with the province of Hubei now having mass border checks. However, there are fears it is too little too late.


It has recently come out that during the incubation period, which can range from one to fourteen days, people can spread the virus. That means people with no symptoms can still spread the disease. In this way, there are fears that it is already present in much larger numbers across China, much more than previously reported. Hospitals in Wuhan are so overstretched that they cannot test people for the illness, rather choosing just to treat anyone with any of the symptoms in a bid to prevent it from being deadly. Therefore, people are afraid the number is much larger than reported. The current 56 deaths out of 2007 cases leaves the 2019-nCoV with a 3% death rate, meaning that 3 people in 100 who contract the disease will likely unfortunately die. However, currently, the disease has only been fatal in people with pre-existing conditions. The WHO has yet to declare A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), something it did with Ebola, Swine Flu, Polio and the Zika virus. This means it is rather an emergency in China, but not yet one for the global


community. If the 2019-nCoV does reach the UK, basic hygiene measures should help in the prevention of the spread. These include washing your hands with hot soapy water for 40-60 seconds, not touching your mouth or face with unwashed hands, cooking meat and animal products thoroughly and wearing a mask if you are sick. But for now we must hope that China can control and reduce the spread, like with SARS. Anna Danso-Amoako: Before I begin, I feel it is important to say, it’s OK to be scared. We’re certainly on the edge of something we’re not fully prepared for but with all the public awareness and global efforts to combat the spread of infection, all hope is certainly not lost. Coronaviruses, firstly are more common than imagined. They refer to a group of viruses rather than a singular virus and within this group exists the common cold. Much like the cold, the other viruses in this group all have the potential to cause respiratory damage to differing degrees. Within the last 20 years two different outbreaks of Coronavirus resulted in a combined total of roughly 1600 reported deaths. In 2002, from southern regions of China, the first outbreak was recorded by a virus known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS. It can be argued to be the most infectious of the two outbreaks as it resulted in an identifiable 8437 cases in 30 different countries. The second of the two outbreaks was



Image: CDC

caused by a virus known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). It originated firstly in Saudi Arabia in 2012 with had a reported number of 2494 cases. For both viruses there are no successful cures which is particularly concerning as the current outbreak known as the 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV is closely associated with both. The first confirmed death from the Wuhan Virus was reported in China. While the patient had underlying health problems there was an indisputable link to the virus. The patient was a 61 year old man who had previously purchased produce from the market and sadly although medical treatment was provided he later died from heart failure. It should be noted the symptoms encourage infection with coughing and sneezing. In a highly densely populated area such as China, avoiding infection is near impossible without public awareness. With the transmission of the virus outside China, airports began screening for the disease in multiple countries, led by the United States. This was made possible by the release of the genetic sequence of the virus by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made public to

every other country. However, cases have officially been reported in both the United States and Australia. A vaccine is being developed by scientists at the National Institute of Health in America; however, it is in very early developmental stages so it may be some time until an established vaccine is available for usage. The World Health Organisation has remained consistent in its stance to not call a health emergency for the virus; this may change, as events unfold. So how worried should we be? This is a difficult question to answer. Luckily, as of writing the number of cases confirmed in the UK are zero; with airport screening already in place, this should remain the case for at least a short period of time. However, as it takes five days for signs of the virus to be detected, it is all too possible that people infected by 2019-nCoV have already reached the UK. I end by saying keep an eye on the news; the spread of a disease is an issue that affects us all – and this may be an event that defines our year.

From late 2019, Year 13 pupil, Chelsea Liu was reading the published online blog-diary of Wuhan-based writer, Fang Fang, which exposed the scale of the crisis at a time when the Chinese government was still seeking to conceal information from the public. In this video, Chelsea describes her own experience of following Fang Fang’s daily revelations.

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last day SAM BRYAN

March through the Arch on 20th March, parents with toilet rolls organised at the last minute

YE AR 11

The last game of football in the quad

Nothing felt real any more. Like a badly rushed plot of a mediocre game about some kind of apocalypse, everything was moving at a thousand miles per hour around me and my circle of friends while we just sort of stood there and watched everything burn. The build-up of stress had disappeared with my hopes of completing my exams and earning the sort of “rite of passage” to A-levels. The virus had completely ended everything in only a few months. Something we had laughed about in stupidly made memes about a plague but had secretly feared and simultaneously knew would never spread far had churned through the human populace using young people as vectors to reach the ends of the earth. Today was the last day of secondary school for us: no results day, no prom. Nothing was left. We had a measly six or seven hours to celebrate the last five to twelve years all of us had spent with each other, condensing what should be several months of emotional goodbyes into a whirlpool of tears for


some to those who were leaving and a “see you next year” with an elbow bump to people staying for Sixth Form. Shirts were signed with a variation of generic goodbyes in vibrant sharpie that everyone reeked of by three o’clock and immature drawings to be hung on your wall until university. A large order of Dominoes was ironically shared unevenly in the midst of a global pandemic during lunch, while nostalgic stories of Year Three crushes and football games I often lost were loudly reminisced in a hall of 100 almost-grieving students, who, despite our differences, seemed to be finally united in a sad celebration of our memories. An impromptu service was given by the Reverend Hunt followed by the most emotional singing of 'Jerusalem' I’ve heard since we sang it on a mountain in Spain to memorialise a climber who died recently there. Some smiled through tears because it wasn’t just a sad occasion to remember the old but to bring forth the new. A new chapter was starting in everyone’s lives and to dwell too much on the past removes your ability to develop. Scars will always act as a reminder about what happened but you must think of them as a motivation to develop and grow so you don’t hurt yourself in the same way. We were all celebrating moving on from the normal routine of classes we don’t really care about and talking to people we sort of care for into a fearful unknown of new people and opportunities.


March through the arch, leavers

Jerusalem in the Sixth Form Centre

The final closure was at the end of the day, the literal final few minutes of our school time. The Year Thirteen marched through the gates in a symbolic act of moving on and the few of us that didn’t take off as soon as possible for food stayed behind for one final photo and goodbyes, before wandering in our own separate directions into our own stories.



LEAVE NOTHING IN SCHOOL COLETTE WHITE SECRETARY, UJS All week tensions had been growing at school amongst staff and pupils; worried faces and whispers in the stair wells. Ultimately, all of us thinking the same thing, would we go into lockdown today? I became glued to the BBC News App, seeking out any new information and despairing at the rising number of cases and, more worryingly, the increasing number of deaths announced every afternoon at the Downing Street Public Briefings that were being broadcast every day. The number of pupils not coming into school starting to creep up from Tuesday 10th March and by Tuesday 17th March, 15% of our Year 5 and 6 pupils had been pulled out of school by their parents, understandably concerned at the expanding global situation. Two days later the number had doubled; 30% of pupils were being kept at home. Some parents phoning in were almost apologetic, unsure if they were overreacting whilst others were confident, taking control amidst the uncertainty and gathering in their flock. We as staff carried on, maintaining normality for the remaining pupils but underneath the façade worrying for our loved ones and of course, ourselves. Many of us were hurriedly issued with laptops to enable us to work from home if the inevitable happened and an eerie

feeling settled into my psyche – the happy place, where I spend most of my time was about to drastically change! On Friday 20th March, with a growing pupil absence list, we were informed that it would be our last day in school for the foreseeable future. Pupils were to be taught remotely and staff would be working from home. I felt a combination of guilty excitement but overwhelmed with anxiety. There was a tangible spark around the building as Form Teachers led their pupils into the ICT suite to go over, one last time, how to log in to Google Classroom and familiarise them with how their new school day was going to run. The day passed by in a blur as I tried to think what I would need to take home with me at the end of the day, pupils asked a multitude of questions and parents reached out for reassurance and answers. Then came home time for the pupils, they were despatched class by class to the changing rooms with the instruction, "Take everything home, leave nothing in school." As I watched them trooping past my desk weighed down with PE bags, rucksacks, book bags, coats and the occasional odd item that someone had brought into to talk about in House Meetings, I was struck with the thought of how painful it must have been for wartime parents to have packed off their children as evacuees. I was quite emotional as I knew these

Image by John Sadden

THE HAPPY PLACE WHERE I SPEND MOST OF MY TIME WAS ABOUT TO DRASTICALLY CHANGE... children well and didn’t know when I would see them again. Our comfortable, secure routine was being turned upside down by an invisible enemy that only a few months ago was a news headline from distant shores. Lockdown had begun.

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new way

The Junior School pays a Rainbow tribute to all of those who have kept us safe during the pandemic.

The week before the Government introduced Lockdown on 23rd March 2020, half of my Form of 17 had already decided that the time had come to isolate and stay at home. PIPPA GILES UJS TE ACHER the week went on. We were all using Google Classroom, but no Live Google Meets as yet, and we all knew that this had to change.

Amy Wilson-Smith

This is when “Home Learning” or, as PGJS called it, “Continuous School Provision”, began for me. It was an unnerving start, trying to teach live in the classroom but also fulfilling a teaching obligation to those at home – a lot of photocopying, scanning and uploading went on. During that week, I went into school for three sessions of teaching the children of Key Workers. None of us were used to what was going on, but we learnt as


Easter holidays were spent in some degree of anxiety about how we could deliver a good learning experience. Most of us had to learn how to use Google Classroom more proficiently, learning about the uses of Jamboard and how to schedule and run Google Meets so that everything we presented to our pupils would be interactive and interesting. At senior level, the Deputy Head, Acting Head Jason Ashcroft, had the added responsibility of handing over to our new Head, Amy Wilson-Smith, who was taking over as Head from her role in Abu Dhabi. An INSET and incredible IT support from members of staff, including at least 15 mini videos from Jason, helped us to become confident in delivering a very new type of curriculum for the first half of the summer term. Five weeks of Live online teaching followed and, after the initial worries, I really enjoyed it. We had to recreate every piece of teaching material. I can honestly say that I did not/could not use a single piece of planned work from previous years.


Jason Ashcroft

I live in the middle of the countryside, on the edge of the South Downs National Park, in a community around courtyards, so living in isolation did not mean seeing no-one. Our neighbours were always around for a distanced chat and I enjoyed having my lunch and coffee breaks between lessons sitting in the sun or walking around my garden. The pupils also enjoyed getting up later – as did I – and being able to go to their kitchens for a snack whenever they wanted to and playing at home. Many of the normal pressures of life disappeared – no commuter traveling to Portsmouth, many fewer emails and more time at home; the gorgeous weather throughout this period helped, of course!


P O R T S M O U T H P O I N T. B L O G S P O T. C O M




the first CLAP EDIE CHARLES YE AR 11 Stubby bits of blue-tack are pressed against windows securing the homemade posters - ‘Thank you NHS’. Windows creep open and tentative faces peer out like hibernating animals from their burrows. I guess that's what we are, for now - hiding, afraid, lots of us unhappy. But grateful. For the first time in what feels like forever, the mellow humdrum of life seeps through our locked doors. We’ve forgotten what noise sounds like, replacing drunk chatter from the streets with rhythmic clicks and taps on our phones. We long to be allowed a trip to the rubbish dump or the bank or the key cutters or anywhere that used to be mundane. But we should be happy. Boredom is a privilege in a time of national emergency. More cracked and dry over-washed hands appear, wrestling the window latches open. People are staring at each other, as if bemused by moving and unfiltered faces. The first clap. The sound barely reaches my ears before the eruption of applause. Like a city Doorstep clap in Florence Road (photo: Celia Clark)



of cheerleaders, but the team we love and support is the NHS. Yells, screams, drumrolls. They all envelope our ears as we join in, banging the table and losing our voices into the night. There is so much love we didn’t realise. A warm glow fills my heart, the type that makes your ears and toes tingle with fuzzy joy. It’s like happiness is bursting out from every window. Eventually the clamouring thanks dies down and windows are bolted again, solitude returning. But we don’t return to our phones. Our phones that blink at us to say someone has bothered to tap a little red heart on our photos. That someone has moved their thumb a couple of centimetres to message us. Our phones that distract us all. Instead we all stay poised like clumsy Jenga blocks trying not to fall down. We want to feel the real connection, laughter, love, stories, joy, sadness, grief and pure zinging emotion for as long as possible, untainted by glaring screens and united by our nationwide appreciation for the incredible NHS.



child health services Dr Clare Smith (PGS parent) wrote this to mark International Day of the Nurse (12th May, 2020). DR CLARE SMITH



PARENT It’s hard not to communicate the value of nurses without setting this within the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Our current situation might cause us to overlook the essential work that our community nurses do for children and families every day. The work that nurses in community child health carry out includes the direct faceto-face care that we see on our television screens. In addition to this, our nurses are an essential part of a closely-knit safety net that we weave for children and young people in our community - to help to keep them safe from harm and maintain healthy lives. Our vision is that children can live their own very best lives and grow to become their best adult selves in terms of their health and development. Where there are barriers to this vision, our mission is to use our skills in healthcare to work with partners in other services and help to break them down. These barriers may be due to illness, disease, long term health conditions or special educational needs. Others, such as poverty, limited opportunities or abuse, though not caused by health, have an impact on a child’s health, wellbeing and opportunity. Covid-19 has not stopped the presence of the many real, non-Covid related health needs that children and young people face every day. In addition, new barriers to getting help have emerged, for example, as a result of not accessing usual services due to social distancing measures or fear of going to hospital because of Coronavirus. Our nurses have been working hard since lockdown, developing new ways of working so we can identify children and families that need help and act quickly to put that help in place. Sometimes all that is needed is reassurance. Families with young children who are sick and need to go to hospital have been supported by our community children’s nursing team

with information and guidance on how to care for children at home, preparing for and going to hospital when needed. Families have told our nurses that this reassurance in the community was just what they needed to be able to take their child to hospital safely if they needed to do so. Sometimes, looking for children whose needs might be hidden because of the lockdown can help ensure that the right help can go out to families who might be struggling. Our nurses are working in teams with doctors, therapists, colleagues in the council and education and with charities to identify and support families with giving children the essentials they need to keep safe, physically and mentally, and to support their health and development. Because of Covid, some of the face-toface work that we routinely do in schools, children and family hubs and community clinics has had to reduce. Our nurses, have been working in new and different ways so that they can continue to provide the essential services that children need right now. Compassion and patient-centred care doesn’t always come in the form of a uniformed nurse on a hospital ward. Each day I see nurses, therapists and doctors carrying out compassionate care through home visiting, video or telephone consultations, working with families to develop the right information and guidance and working through others who are in contact with the children needing support. I would like to take the opportunity on this International Day of the Nurse to personally thank all the clinicians that I work with in Community Children and Families Services, for their constant and unwavering commitment, even in the face of this pandemic, to keeping children safe and healthy.


Ralph Wilson and his NHS visor

Many pupils began independent projects during the lockdown period. These varied from creating PPE for the continuing shortage during the pandemic, developing CAD skills to baking. Ralph Wilson in Year 11 developed his own design for a visor for medical staff. He made these using acetate and his own 3D printer from home. The design was then taken and developed further to be distributed to NHS staff. Arwen Jones, also in Year 11, spent hours sewing washbags for doctors’ and nurses’ scrubs which were also given to grateful NHS staff. It is selfless acts like this which remind us how considerate and caring our pupils are.

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Every day a bonus -

FROM DARK CLOUDS TO SUNNY DAYS Dave Allen (OP 1958-67) is an artist, author, academic and musician as well as being Hampshire Cricket Club’s archivist and historian. DAVE ALLEN

Dave Allen at Hilsea

OP 1958-67 Around teatime on Tuesday 10 March I drove home from Queen Alexandra Hospital, after the last of 20 consecutive weekday radiotherapy sessions, attacking the prostate cancer to which I’d first been alerted about nine months previously. Over that period, I had all kinds of ‘inspections’ including a biopsy, an MRI scan and a small ‘out-patient’ surgical procedure. Add in the pills, hormone injections, a couple of awful days with a catheter and general disruption to my insides from which I coined the phrase ‘keep your friends close and the toilet closer’, and as I passed my 70th birthday’, I experienced a sudden, highly developed sense of my own mortality. Still it was over, and initial tests suggested that the cancer, contained within the prostate, had been dealt with successfully. On the following morning I was in the University’s Performing Arts White Swan Building, behind the Theatre Royal, working with second year undergraduates on a delightful jazz singing unit which was moving towards assessment. My longtime colleague Dr George Burrows invited me out of retirement to participate in the unit and I was enjoying hugely drawing upon 50+ years of singing experience and a considerable fondness for the ‘great’ jazz singers, to offer advice about delivery, ‘feel’ and technical aspects like microphone use and the very clever new App ‘iReal Pro’ which provides a basic


backing track which can be manipulated to adjust tempo, length and key. I was also advising on the construction of a 1920s-style set for the live performance which was to be a substantial part of their assessment. On Thursday my wife and I drove to Amberley Castle in West Sussex for a delightful and rather lavish couple of days, to celebrate her birthday, then returned home on Friday afternoon to change for a ‘posh’ black-tie dinner in the Guildhall with guest speaker the very entertaining Kevin Keegan. The event was a sell-out but there were noticeable gaps left by the more fearful who did not show as the rumours about the virus spread. On the Saturday, we drove to Bishop’s Waltham to visit a friend of 50 years who had just moved into a brandnew home, then on the Sunday, as he and his partner flew to spend a couple of weeks in her Dutch home (he is still there), we drove to Surrey for a very nice lunch with special friends, followed by a visit to the RHS headquarters at Wisley. So far so good then, although the news about this new virus was becoming increasingly alarming. On Sunday 18, I sent emails to my pensioner pals in the Southsea Skiffle Orchestra, and to the Guildhall to check whether we should contemplate proceeding with the rehearsal there on Tuesday morning. The


venue felt it was our ‘call’, and we had mixed views, but then came the more serious announcements from the Prime Minister and everything was off. There are about thirty members of the Skiffle Orchestra all pensioners playing the hits of 1957, and I had joked that we would never split over musical differences, merely Anno Domini – of course none of us anticipated this interruption. On that Tuesday morning my newspaper’s headlines announced “PM tells Britain: stay in to stop march of coronavirus”, adding a focus on “over-70s” and the hope that this “approach could cut the estimated death toll from 260,000 to 20,000”. There was also a “guide to isolating yourself”. George called to tell me that undergraduate lectures were cancelled and plans were underway to teach ‘virtually’ – not easy with live performances – and I wondered whether I was safe walking to the shop to buy my daily ‘paper on the Wednesday. I chose instead to save a considerable amount by subscribing to the on-line version although given the necessity of some shopping and a bit more courage, I still buy the ‘real’ thing when I can. It’s clearly a sign of my age, but the feel of paper is somehow irreplaceable. On Friday morning I made my regular weekly trip to the Hotwalls for an early breakfast in the Canteen, then a day


painting in Studio One – I am a member there of the only collective, so I use the studio every Friday; sadly on this visit, I learned that the Canteen was to close that afternoon, while Dave Allen when he the studio door was in the 1960s band was closed to Rosemary visitors, including any who might wish to make a purchase; suddenly we had no prospect of any income to pay for rent or materials. I did not know then but it would be my last Friday there, and living in a small house with no dedicated space, it’s much harder to keep painting. On Saturday I was due at the historic Bat & Ball Inn on Broadhalfpenny Down, Hambledon for a bi-annual lunch with fellow cricket obsessives from across southern England where, for more than 20 years, we have marked the start and end of the English cricket season. It was of course cancelled, along with every match so far of the 2020 season. Those 10 days had been a lively mixture of social events and postponements but since then my diary has tended to look increasingly repetitious. Once every week there is a very early trip to Morrison’s for a big shop, interspersed with occasional trips to local Co-Ops or Tesco. I live just round the corner from the school so the daily walk is always pleasant taking in parts of the Camber, Hot Walls, seafront and we are very fortunate to live just off the street on a square of 10 terraced houses; a number of us have taken to meeting ‘at a distance’ for an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon for a beer and a chat, and we have included a couple of older single women who live near and clearly welcome the social interaction. That process is repeated on Thursday evenings from 7-8pm and concludes with the NHS applause which as I write is coming under increasing scrutiny for its apparent ‘politicisation’. I understand the reservations but beyond the very public

expression of support for everyone in the NHS, it seems to me there is, for us at least, a real benefit to our local community and especially children who will grow up telling tales of this and the importance of the NHS, as my parents were part of that generation that told tales of war-time spirit. I have no problem with expressing my support for the NHS, for in mid-April I had to walk to my GP's for my final blood test and a couple of weeks later came the ‘phone call – replacing a face-to-face appointment – to tell me all the evidence suggested my cancer had gone. The blood test had reminded me, however, that these times had overtaken any unbridled sense of relief; I had waited outside the back entrance, having ‘phoned to say I was there, before being ushered in to something that resembled the sequence in ET when the US government officials and scientists invaded the home. Scientists and ‘the science’ became a daily presence at home in the late afternoon on a television where I have also succumbed to the lures of Netflix, otherwise most days have settled into a routine of walking, reading, various Facebook sites and a major project, sorting out my huge music libraries, virtual and actual. If I manage to complete that task the iPhoto Library is next! The other thing that has happened – like many others – is an outburst of gardening, especially with such a fine spring. 50 years ago, I worked for 18 months as a gardener’s assistant on Southsea seafront and, lovely though it was, it cured me of any great desire to be the domestic gardener. For some years my wife and I lived in Broad Street without a garden, but when we moved in 2008 and she retired, she became devoted to the horticultural arts, did a fine job, and now I’m working alongside her. I have also started to rework an overgrown garden opposite our house, belonging to one of my older neighbours – especially planting a bee and butterfly-friendly mini-meadow.

One of the rare delights of this whole period has been the encouraging news world-wide about pollution and I’m very happy to leave my car alone apart from one quick weekly drive around Southsea to keep it functioning. Were it not for my considerable involvement at the Ageas Bowl, as Hampshire Cricket’s Historian, I wouldn’t bother with my car, I would share my wife’s, but the irony is of course that I cannot go there now. In fact, the club are trying to keep supporters entertained and I am producing regular articles for their website and helping one of the writers at The News with information for cricket articles there. One of my pieces, for the VE Day celebrations, was about the impact on cricketers in the years 1940-1945 with some speculation on how that compared with the current situation. The students used all the technology at their disposal to send draft versions of their performance – sadly no sets – George and I commented, and then the final videos came in and we were able to mark them. We took care to be fair with these, but also to bear in mind the impact of ‘lockdown’ on their learning and I think we got things right; they seemed to enjoy themselves despite everything and the results were encouraging. What the future holds for them we cannot be sure of course, but it is a sad situation for younger people. By contrast, while I too would love to be meeting pals, eating out, visiting galleries, painting in the studio, doing gigs – my ‘other’ band (Scarlet Town) has of course been cancelling everything too – and watching cricket, there is an odd sense in which, perhaps especially given the weather, I have not been overly upset by this experience. Is that partly the relief that my illness is over (for now at least) and perhaps that sense of mortality that now sees every day as something of a bonus, whatever might happen? I can’t be sure – and as a member of the vulnerable group I must take care – but in comparison with so many people, especially young people, I’m very fortunate. If this really is ‘the new reality’ so be it. But maybe the sun could keep shining? Please.

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a sense of


and to an extent their family’s lives, at risk because of this commitment to patient care. For me, the satisfaction of improving someone’s life is one the main reasons I want to do medicine at university. Our healthcare workers have inspired the whole country and I think this pandemic has put into perspective the huge sacrifices they make in the name of patient care.

Artist: Eva Sutherland Year 9

Covid-19 is scary. It sees no colour, has no care for rich or poor and it is ravaging the world today. Warnings of a pandemic have always been there but nobody believed, especially considering our rapid advancements in medicine, that our planet would fall into the state it is in now. As the UK prepares to soften some lockdown measures, it is important to reflect on what has happened in the turmoil over the last two months. In the centre of all this


chaos are the NHS and care workers who, every day, put themselves in danger to help others. Both my parents are doctors and they both have an underlying health condition which puts them at higher risk to coronavirus. But to them, their patients need them and they feel morally obliged to help them. This sense of commitment to patient care is one of the six values that make up the NHS constitution. All healthcare workers around the world are putting their lives,


Image: Nathaniel Gingell, 5G



into a situation where they need to be admitted to hospital in the first place.

In our PPE

After leaving school I studied law and theology at Cambridge University before joining the Royal Navy as a seaman officer. At the age of 30 I decided to switch career and become a physiotherapist, completing my physiotherapy degree at the University of Southampton in 2004. I now work as a Clinical Specialist and Service Lead for the Hythe Pain Management Service in the New Forest. In my spare time, I enjoy writing children’s books, helping out at my son’s navy cadet unit, and spending time with my wonderful family. In the last three months, like many of my NHS colleagues, I have been redeployed in response to the COVID 19 crisis. The pain service that I normally work in was temporarily suspended and I have been transferred to the Community Therapy team in the Hedge End area. In the community team, I visit patients' houses, ensuring that they are safe and healthy following discharge from hospital, and doing what we can to prevent people getting

Have I enjoyed my redeployment? Yes definitely. It is very rewarding work, and it is great to feel that you are helping to keep people safe and making a difference to their lives. Has it been difficult? At times. It has meant refreshing a lot of old (and somewhat rusty) skills in a very short period of time, as well as learning about many new processes and ways of working. The community teams have become increasingly busy recently as we have started to see the knock-on impact of the Coronavirus situation on NHS services, and I have never ‘donned’ and ‘doffed’ so much personal protective equipment in my life! My redeployment in the community is due to come to an end shortly and we are starting to rebuild the pain team again. Certainly I have gained valuable insights into community work which will help us improve our pain service, and I plan to ensure that the links we have established will be continued, in order to provide more joined-up, integrated care for patients in the future. Alongside my redeployment, my wife Emma has been continuing her normal job as an Occupational Therapist in the Rowans Hospice, caring for people with life-limiting illness. Her job is always challenging and rewarding, but even more so at the moment. Coronavirus has brought added anxieties for patients and staff. As a charity, there are concerns about financial stability, particularly with the current closure of

the Rowans shops. Added to this, there are the practical everyday difficulties faced by patients, families and health care staff as they try and minimise the risk of virus transmission. At home, we have got used to spending a lot more time together. Our elevenyear-old son is no longer dashing every evening from club to club, although he is attending some online. He tolerates our presence (most of the time) and is amused by our lack of IT literacy. Our three-yearold daughter seems to be enjoying having both mum and dad around more. We have got used to a more sedate pace of life at the weekends, and some previously alien concepts, such as ‘zoom’ and ‘houseparty’ have entered our vocabulary. Even more unexpectedly, they are now in commonplace usage for my dad and Emma’s mum, both in their seventies, with whom we keep in touch regularly through the miracle of the internet. We, like so many people, have been forced to re-evaluate our lives and reflect on what is important to us. Despite the horror of the Coronavirus crisis, I hope we have learnt some lessons that we don’t forget. Many ‘facts of life’ that we once thought immutable, are now utterly changed, some for good and some for ill. It seems strange to think that only a few months ago people gathered in pubs, restaurants, theatres, sports stadiums, without a second thought about contact with other people. What am I looking forward to? I’m looking forward to hugging my dad, my sister, my friends (even the ones that aren’t ‘huggers’!). I’m looking forward to going to the shops without worrying about whether I am encroaching on anyone else’s space or they on mine. I’m promising myself that when (eventually) this is all over, I’ll have a big party at which no-one will be allowed to be more than two metres from another person at anytime. But in the meantime, Ems and I are just getting used to the ‘new normal’ and trying not to forget how lucky we are.

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Silver Linings? INTERVIEW WITH

March 2020 is so long ago. A virus from China had been covidentially creeping up on us, but normal life went on as I urged Dr Barry Squire to join me for five days at my new house in Normandy.

a Nightingale Nurse

JOHN OWENS (OP 1953-63) , WITH CASE NOTES FROM BARRY SQUIRE (OP 1956-63) On the agenda were activities under the general heading ‘humping’. My van was to be loaded with furniture and other chattels for the new place; logs were to be gathered in; recreation and sight-seeing would soften the impact of all this hard work; and there was surely ready access to local camembert, cider and Calvados. Barry, a one-time flanker two years running for PGS 1st XV, was to be my ‘heavy lifter’.

Edith Critchley (Year 12) interviews her Nana (“the most interesting person ever to walk the planet”) about her experiences as a Nightingale nurse. Edith was inspired by studying the essays of Florence Nightingale as part of her English literature IB course:

My gung-ho optimism came up against his scepticism. Me: ‘The odds on our surviving are better than 2000:1’. Barry: ‘There are some damned suspect statistics around the whole issue.’ I thought he was being needlessly morose, but he has a clear, scientific cast of mind (worth every penny of his Ph.D.) whereas I’m a woolly… I was going to say ‘thinker’, but maybe the reader can come up with a better description. Barry could, for sure.


John Owens 1st XV 1962 63



Just before booking our five-day Portsmouth/Ouistreham return ferry (March 16-21), Barry went down with a gruesome set of symptoms after returning from a visit to his son in the Orkneys. Grossly insensitive, I put some of this down to hypochondria; he was thinking


blood or bone cancer and a quick, allround decline. Convalescence at home on the Isle of Wight was prescribed, his GP muttering about IBS, so off I went, on March 16th – lonely, of course, but otherwise fairly chipper. On March 17th Brittany Ferries texted to say they’d be sailing ten minutes later than scheduled on the 21st. On March 18th they cancelled all sailings until

further notice. A trifle phased, I phoned P&O Calais whose sailings were still on. Having ex-European Ferries shareholder perks, I booked a special rate ticket (costing about half the aborted BF inbound price) for March 19th as signs didn’t look good and P&O might cancel their sailings, too. Leisure activities were curtailed; work-rate went up; all humping objectives were met. On the morning of the 19th, endless north- and south-bound lorry traffic jams for channel tunnel and ferry port appeared out of the blue as I neared Calais, autoroute slip roads inexplicably coned off. I took the next available exit and spent two minutes in a lay-by to plot a cross-country route, straight towards the terminal, by way of winding lanes through dune country, to the ferry port’s very own access dual carriageway. My report-back email to Barry sums up the position: ‘Yes, my return was smooth all the way up from Normandy, then a trifle hairy for the last few miles approaching a lorry-jammed Greater Calais. Had to approach the terminal via Marck and the dunes to the north, passing hundreds of static lorries yet finding the car check-in virtually deserted and hardly any lorries going aboard the near-empty ferry. I haven't a clue what was going on, and it's not only Putin who clamps down on news that goes against the party line. Radio 4 said nowt about Brittany Ferries throwing in the towel on Wednesday and Calais sinking beneath a tide of static trucks.’

Barry Squire 1st XV 1962 63

Three months on, there’s still no news of those hapless lorry drivers. For all I know, they’re still chatting amongst themselves on the hard shoulder with what’s left of their baguettes and Orangina. Barry, on the other hand, last week sent an illustrated article from The Times describing all Covid symptoms: ‘Did I tell you I thought I've had it (Covid-19)? A couple of weeks

THE ODDS ON OURSURVIVAL ARE BETTER THAN 2000 TO 1 ago there was an article in the paper showing all the other symptoms that have been recognised now besides cough & sore throat. There were stomach pains, muscle aches & rashes like hives…Well I had all those along with a cough & sore throat after I got back from Orkney. ‘If you recall, it was so bad that I actually went to the surgery on Monday, by that time expecting bone & bowel cancer. The tests eventually came back clear & it was put down to IBS. They said I could go to the chemist's for something to ease it which naturally I didn't as we'd become locked down & I wasn't going anywhere. At that time there was no suspicion of these being coronavirus symptoms so I wasn't tested for the lurgy. I'd like to get an antibody test if they ever release them to the general public as it was too peculiar to be explained away easily otherwise. ‘Fortunately, I'd backed out of the trip or I might have infected you! Always a silver lining, eh?’ Yes, Barry, but thank goodness you were fit enough to overcome what sounds to have been the job-lot of Coronavirus symptoms. A second silver lining? They’re now saying that the broader and more acute the range of symptoms, the speedier the return to health and the stronger the resultant immunity. Another consequence of this episode is that certain of my intimates now refer to me as ‘John O’Dune’ or – in even poorer taste – ‘The Dune Buster’. A third silver lining? I don’t think so.

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WORKERS Rob Murray is a leading cartoonist who draws a weekly cartoon for The Sunday Times and contributes regularly to Private Eye, The Spectator, The Critic and a wide variety of other publications. He also illustrates books and provides cartoons for advertising campaigns, as well as taking on private commissions. A sample of his work drawing humour from lockdown is on page 36 and Rob’s website has a gallery showing a broad range of his work www.robmurraycartoons. ROB MURRAY

Self-portrait while at PGS

OP 1988-99 Six weeks ago, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and with the country on lockdown, I joined forces with psychologist and author Dr Kevin Dutton to launch Bottle Moments, a project using personalised cartoons to bring some much-needed joy — and to say ‘thank you’ — to frontline key workers. Kev is a longstanding client of mine, with whom I have collaborated on several projects in the past (most notably illustrating some of his bestselling books, including The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success, co-written with Andy McNab). The idea for Bottle Moments is a simple one: we asked frontline key workers to contact us on social media and tell us about something that is getting them through this difficult time: a happy memory, an aspiration, or perhaps simply a special friend or relative they can’t wait to see again when this is all over. A moment they wish they could bottle and keep forever — something they think about to help get through the tough times.


Key workers provide a photo or two for reference, and I bring their Bottle Moment to life as a quick cartoon, encapsulated in a bottle — which we then post on Instagram and Twitter. I’m drawing these around my regular press deadlines and other commissions, and it’s been a challenging but hugely rewarding experience. The response from key workers to the cartoons I’ve drawn for them has been wonderful — they have really appreciated the drawings and said they’ve brightened their days after a tough shift; some have even told us they’ve been moved to happy tears. The media response has also been amazing. Amongst the highlights, Kev and I appeared on TalkRadio to discuss Bottle Moments, and we were also featured in the Daily Mirror. But the biggest boost to our project came on 29th May, when we were interviewed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Aside from giving us a platform to explain Bottle Moments to an enormous TV audience, the segment


also featured two key workers being surprised with a cartoon I’d produced for them. At the time of writing, I’ve drawn close to 100 Bottle Moments, and counting — we have a sizeable backlog, and we’re hoping to tackle as many as we can. Key workers can contact us with their requests via @BottleMoments on Twitter and Instagram, also using the hashtag #bottlemoments. Mental health was already a talking point before the pandemic, and lockdown has only increased people’s awareness of the need to hold onto positive memories and relationships. It’s also been very rewarding for me to see the positive impact a cartoon sketch can have on an individual. In my day job as a cartoonist for magazines and newspapers such as Private Eye and The Sunday Times, I’m used to poking fun at modern life or using cartoons to criticise those in power. With Bottle Moments, I’ve been able to use cartoons in a different way — celebrating regular hardworking members of society and lifting their spirits with a loosely-drawn likeness and some gentle humour.


Bottle Moments

‘My wife and I are both key workers. We go to a lot of horror conventions, which have all be cancelled. We’re looking forward to being back at these events’ — Tim, school cleaner

‘Today we’ve had to postpone our wedding! We can’t wait to celebrate properly with our family and friends’ — Sarah, health and social care worker

‘After Covid I plan to go to Australia, to nurse and travel’ — Laura, A&E nurse

‘My Bottle Moment will be seeing my dog again after I had to leave him with my parents almost six weeks ago” — Fi, community addiction nurse ‘My husband and I can’t wait to meet up with our friends and dance to ska music again’ — Lynn, support worker

‘Looking forward to seeing my community concert band family, to play my clarinet and lift spirits’ — Selma, GP

‘I’m most looking forward to giving my mum a big hug and kiss. This is the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other and it’s breaking my heart’ — Annaleigh, pharmacy support officer

‘I’m so excited to visit Hogwarts in Florida with my boyfriend after our trip was cancelled last month. I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan!’ — Haley, chemotherapy nurse

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fundraising We could not be more proud of the achievements of all our pupils who are helping their local communities during this time.

Netball Yr 13 girls v boys

Flixy Coote (Yr 8) with her brother and sister

Staff at hospital on sofa donated after SF Netball, end of Spring Term.

At the end of the rudely interrupted Spring term, Year 13 leavers took part in a friendly but hotly contested netball girls v boys game, raising funds for QA Hospital.

It's not all running though. During the Easter break, Scarlett Sprague in Year 13 climbed the 5895m of Mt Kilimanjaro on her staircase at home and raised over £200 for St John's Ambulance, and Eden Littlefair in Year 9 cycled a half marathon around his own garden and raised over £1,500 for The Sussex Snowdrop Trust.

Amongst the many pupils busy raising much needed money during lockdown are: Ben Sewell in Year 10 who took part in the 2.6 challenge at the weekend and has raised over £300 for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust; the Bayles family, including Patrick in Year 7 who have raised £2,750 by running a family relay marathon for The Alzheimer's Society; and Flixy Coote in Year 8 who, along with her brother and sister, ran 86 miles over 22 days raising £110 for Sussex Air Ambulance. Joshua in Year 4 joined his mum in the 2.6 challenge to support Asthma UK and Diabetes UK, where they were tasked to run 2.6 miles or walk 1.3 miles to complete a total of 26.2 miles over 5 days.



It is not just through fundraising that our pupils have been helping their local community, Will Hartridge in Year 11 has been helping to 3D print face masks to donate to key workers in South Hampshire as part of the Keep Them Safe organisation. To date Will has produced frames for 100 masks. Eli Merrigan and Liberty Mitchell Brock, both in Year 10, have been helping at Food Banks local to them and finally, Amelia Jones in Year 7 set herself the challenge of learning sign language during lockdown and completed an adult qualification in British Sign Language in record time, an amazing achievement.



for the


The 2.6 Challenge Children in Need

Early on in the lockdown crisis, I realised just what an amazing job our nurses and other care workers are doing - risking their lives to save others. LOTTI PABARI YE AR 5 Like millions across the country, my family and I have been clapping and banging every Thursday evening. However, although this show of appreciation is important, I wanted to do something more practical. So I dedicated two consecutive weekends to cleaning neighbours’ cars in order to raise money for the QA ICU, our local front line. I raised over £100 and I know that this, together with other fundraising efforts, will help the NHS staff to do their job more safely and hopefully go towards saving lives! Again, I thank the NHS staff and hope that with everything that everyone is putting towards them, we get to the end of this soon, and all those nurses get a lovely long holiday!

I am a Park Runner and since Lockdown on 23rd March 2020, I have, as my one piece of daily permitted exercise, been jogging. SUE PALMER TE ACHER 1999-2019 I was thinking of putting it to good use, when I was alerted to the 2.6 Challenge. This idea was set up following the cancellation of the 2020 London Marathon due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I decided that I would run 2.6 miles every day for 10 consecutive days to achieve my ambition of a Marathon (better late than never). I hoped that I might be able, in so doing, to raise support for Children in Need as part of my challenge. My wider family got wind of this, wanted to become involved and gather through social media – Sue’s 2.6 Challenge. We covered the whole country from Sunderland down to Hampshire, Wiltshire and West Sussex and included three OPs and one current pupil at PGS. 32 members of the family indulged in a wide range of 2.6 Challenges from the ‘plank’ , skipping, running and rowing involving many hilarious videos and commentaries. I completed my 2.6 Marathon Challenge, kept the boredom of lockdown at bay together with generous sponsorship for Children in Need, and as a family, we are still challenging each other using social media.

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MILES for MIND Biology teacher Pippa Hardisty took part in the Miles for Mind charity run in May, completing 146 miles and effortlessly capturing some stunning coastal scenes en route. Pippa took part as part of GoodGym, a not-forprofit organisation that encourages people to combine exercise with doing something good for the community. Pippa said, “There were 50 of us and we ran 4,300 miles altogether, to raise awareness of mental health , and the help running can bring�.


FOODBANK For a month from the 23rd May, 16 Middle School tutors and two Heads of Year took part on an epic journey, aiming to cover 3,935 k (2445 miles), the distance from the school to Newfoundland, Canada. The tireless teachers ran, cycled, walked and rowed - while respecting all rules on social distance and exercise- in order to raise money for Portsmouth Foodbank. The charity has experienced unprecedented strain in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, both in terms of raising funds and attempting to meet demand.

Sorry James I didn't understand the changes to this page

Alex Leach raising money for Portsmouth Foodbank




Making the most of


I am a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason, however small or big. PHOEBE CL ARK YE AR 11 Although the Coronavirus has meant my GCSEs were cancelled and I didn’t get certain experiences such as Results Day in the conventional way, this huge break has meant I have been able to focus on things I love. I have been painting many canvases and experimenting, doing yoga and becoming more flexible, and running, working my way up to 10 kilometres so far, with no intention to stop. I have been incredibly lucky that none of my friends or family have had the virus, and so lockdown has actually benefited me in strange and unlikely ways. This time has also made me realise that we all need to make the most of each and every day we can because this time has gone so fast and it feels like we have nothing to show for it; personally, I feel I cannot afford to waste any more of my life not doing what I love, and letting myself and others hold me back from having fun and making the most of my life!


Isolation OLIVER APPLEBY YE AR 7 Isolation is awful, We don’t have lives anymore, Because Boris made it lawful, Interest in life is poor. Same four walls every day, To stop the virus’s pace Isolation is the price we pay, Never leaving this depressed space. One room all day working on a computer, The loneliness cuts like a knife, No longer am I a commuter, No freedom, No fun, No life. Covid-19: I’m really not keen.

THEO WILSON YE AR 13 reflects on opportunities presented by lockdown.

Isaac has a remote pillow fight with his friends in Year 2

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Margaret’s Covid Chronicle 2nd April Well that really was a good birthday to remember! In spite of the post being delayed for days, I still got 20 cards to open – and I know from friends that there re other on the way… so many friends rang for a chat or texted that I just sat catching up with them for most of the day. Then at 7pm, Kathryn, Ben and Stephen arrived and serenaded me on the balcony with Ben on his guitar… 12th April The weather was beautiful and we were able to sit out comfortably out on out balcony in t-shirts. Youtube streamed a live broadcast of Andrea Bocelli singing to the world from the Duomo in Milan, “hugging the wounded earth” with beautiful music and the world paused, thankful for the community spirit and empathy we share. 10th May Ben was asked by his trumpet teacher, Mr Brown, if he would give a talk on the trumpet for a virtual assembly to be shared with all Junior School pupils and Grandad and I were so proud to see the resulting video that Ben produced for this.

Margaret Earnshaw is an active member of the school community, both as grandmother to four pupils and as a regular attendee at Cathedral assemblies and concerts. With fellow volunteer Yvonne Kingston, Margaret also runs gardening sessions for Upper Junior pupils and has created a wildflower area, bug hotel and bird feeding station on the school site. Early in March 2020 Margaret and her husband Don developed what they thought was a cold. They thought it wise to avoid friends and family at a time when there were increasing concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic. Their selfisolation began on the 9th March. A week later, Margaret embarked on chronicling her life and that of her family in a remarkable illustrated diary which she hopes will provide a personal record for her grandchildren in the future. Margaret has happily agreed to share her diaries here. Full diaries available here (2 volumes, two pdfs)

11th May The tv news and newspapers today are so full of negative comments complaining about the lack of firm guidance from Boris last night. We have taken to switching the tv off when this sort of sensational journalism is presented and we try to find positive articles in the newspapers that bring hope and promise rather than blame and anger.





an Orwellian experience? In this age of digital connectivity, it is impossible to turn on the radio, TV or open a news app without being inundated with euphemisms that seem to restrict our every move. RORY RICHARDSON YE AR 11 Terms like “social distancing” and “lockdown” try to add a positive spin on what could yet evolve into something much more negative. Everybody seems to have their own ideas on how to cope in these trying times. Whilst I cannot claim to be able to solve all of your lockdown woes, in this article I will share ways in which I have preserved my sanity - the majority of it, anyway. One of the aspects of this isolation that I have found the most difficult is sticking to social distancing. It is not so much in understanding why it is necessary, but in remembering to do it all of the time. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to keep a two metre buffer zone around you. For example, when walking down a narrow path, it can be very difficult to pass people without infringing on their government-prescribed space. It must be even more difficult for small children, who cannot understand why they can no longer interact with other people. The other day, I was mowing the lawn when my neighbour, a very excitable seven-year-old rushed over and inquired as to what I was doing. His mother rushed over and immediately started shouting at him for getting to close. To me, this seemed over the top, but at the same time it might not be. I did not know the child’s medical history. I did not know if he had any underlying medical conditions. Now more than ever, it is important not to jump to conclusions. At first, that mother could have seemed angry and harsh, yet she might be trying to save her son’s life.

If this international crisis had occurred at any other point in recent history, I doubt that the general population would have been able to cope as well as they have. In the era of mobile phones, nobody can truly be isolated. A plethora of apps promoting connectivity and allowing for video calling are readily available, with even more being released as the lockdown extends. One of the only unsurprising parts of the planet’s response to the virus is how people have found ways to profit from tragedy. The Apple store listed 23 official video conferencing calls at the start of this calendar year. When compared with the 88 currently available, it is obvious to see a truly capitalist attitude emerging from the loneliness of the world. Houseparty is an app which was well established long before the start of the virus. I myself used it in the immediate aftermath of the end of school to remain in contact with friends. However, just as Britain was beginning to close down, it was the target of a huge so-called smear campaign, where rumours of hacking were falsely spread around. At the same time a relatively unknown app from the bastion of security issues, Facebook, burst onto the scene. Immediately, it was adopted by governments around the world. I would like to think there was at least a little testing before desperation brought some of the most powerful governments in the world to blindly trust a company proved untrustworthy. My younger sister was on a call with her friends when a man they had never seen before joined them

and started shouting at them. Something that can be taken away from this is that anyone, world leaders to year 7s, need to be careful and not just trust the only app suitable for their needs. Now that it is a requirement that people stay at home, and the novelty has worn off, it is important to make sure your time is spent meaningfully. I have powered through a whole heap of novels from an online library in an effort to keep my mind working. A lot of my time has also been dedicated to completing work assigned by my school. Whilst not enjoyable, the importance of keeping fresh in my mind the specific knowledge needed to pass an exam that I am not going to be taking any more is obvious. I suspect that the schoolwork may also be an effort to keep children in a routine and to keep them from growing restless, but my varying theories regarding this subject may have to be the subject of another article. Overall, my attitude towards the Coronavirus is somewhat complex. On the one hand, I can see that it is a global crisis that rushes world governments into making quick decisions and confines them to them with pride. But in contrast, Newspeak such as “social distancing” and “self isolation” is enough to make anyone dig out their Orwellian goggles and start looking at the world from a darker perspective. “Self isolation” as a phrase - not a concept - really epitomises my lockdown. “Isolation” in this case is simply a less intimidating word for quarantine. With regards to the “self” part however, the false impression of an independent choice is generated. It is not you at all that is keeping you inside, not your concern for other people’s health, but the enormous pressure placed upon you by society to comply with new social rules; not those involving distancing, but instead just staying inside when ill. The heavy use that these new idioms now enjoy has likely aided in how they have now embedded within our everyday lives. I would not be surprised if this also makes it considerably more difficult to return to the currently accepted normal. Ultimately, I think that it has been overanalysing things that has kept me going through what will go down in history as a truly odd time.

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Rob Murray’s Lockdown Gallery



More work by Rob Murray (OP 1988-99) appears on page 28



DOWN UNDER Blissful Isolation in Japan 90 year old Rae Webb (OP 1941-47) tells about his life in Queensland

RAE WEBB OP 1941- 47

JASON GODWIN I am a widower and live on five acres in Gympie a small country town 160 kms north of Brisbane, the Queensland state capital. My life revolves around what I am going to have for dinner, volunteering in my local library and overseas travel. This is my story. Because of self-isolation food shopping has been far more difficult, the library has been shut for the last two months and travel out of Australia has been completely banned; my life has changed. The local response has mirrored that of the government. We were “strongly advised” to stay at home and only go out if essential. This meant most small businesses in shopping centres shut down, supermarkets had security guards to control numbers and had marks on the floor to control numbers and social distancing. Shelves quickly emptied because of panic buying exacerbated by interstate transportation problems caused by border closures. Pasta and toilet paper being two examples. Garden centres and other DIY stores are doing a record business as people stay at home Our biggest DIY centre now has a facility that you tell what you want to do and they will parcel-up what you will need and deliver it to your home. Business that have stayed open have clear plastic screens to separate staff from customers. These I think will become permanent. Travel out of Gympie is restricted to 50kms.In Australia people over 60 get free antiflu injections I got mine from a heavily masked doctor In the surgery car park. I have been extremely lucky. For the first five weeks every Sunday evening friends brought me meals on two nights

plus desserts and another dropped in a meal from time to time. As restrictions were eased I had to point out the necessity for me to get back on my own two feet. I will be ninety in July and my youngest son had planned a big party in Gympie but we have had to postpone it. Reasons: many of the guests would have come from Rae on a school other states and interstate travel is visit to the House of Commons in still subject to a the mid-1940s 14-day quarantine period. Most travel within Australia is by air, the only planes flying in Australia now those for fly-in fly-out iron-ore and coal miners. To date nationwide we have had only 102 deaths from the virus. By any measure it seems we have beaten the virus, although a second wave is always possible. This is entirely due to strong timely and all- encompassing leadership from the Federal government using the full strength of its legal powers. Because he needed the support of the people in this “war”, the Prime Minister has been on television on an almost daily basis explaining the challenges and what the government planned to meet them. I wish you all a speedy return to normality whatever shape the new normal may take.

OP 1979-1992 I work from home most of the time anyway, so a global pandemic hits and my life is barely affected; that just goes to show what an exciting life I lead... :-) We came out of our State of Emergency last week, but there is talk we are heading for another one... I probably won't notice it...

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PRAGUE Author and film director Stephen Weeks (OP 1956-66) reports from the Czech Republic and looks with horror at the situation in the UK. STEPHEN WEEKS OP 1956-66

In Computing, the children were asked to design a robot which would help them during the lockdown period, explaining the physical operating systems and sensors which help it operate effectively. Bruno (6P) designed a very helpful shopping robot - something we could all use to avoid those queues!


I wrote this in mid-March: Everything's been 100% locked down for 16 days now. It's rather good that everyone is playing their part - streets completely empty, anyone venturing forth to the supermarket wearing masks, keeping their distance - as in the supermarket itself. 7am to 9am is reserved for those older than 65. People have stopped panic buying, so everything one needs (including bog paper) is available. Czechs are terrible bargain hunters, so usually the one slot on the wine shelves with good Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot reduced to 50Kc (£1.60) would be empty... but this morning there were bottles left - and it's an OK wine too, from Chile. I help our Anglican Church here video a Virtual Eucharist each Saturday so that our congregation can view it at home at 11am on Sunday. Otherwise the mood is calm, and - so far- only 30 deaths, most of the poor devils have been extremely old and chronically ill from other ailments. I was horrified when Bosphorus Boris, with the evil Commissar Cummings in the shadows behind him said (in the Trump manner) 'It's business as usual.' During those days until scientists persuaded the pair that this was unreasonable and the virus would become uncontrollable, many hundreds were infected - which quickly turns to thousands and with a certain % of deaths. Those deaths are laid at the Government's door! I hope you are faring OK - and wear a mask anywhere outside of your home. Lots of women are voluntarily making masks at home, and the government has hired a huge Ukrainian tank-transporter plane to go to China to pick up more


Stephen with friend Helena

medical supplies. All Metro trains, trams and busses are now being coated with anti-bacterial covering, so it might be OK to use them again, and everyone obeys the rule to wear masks, But, I am also enjoying being stuck at home - as so are all publishers and agents, not hiding behind their secretaries and happy to read something new - so my agent's been busy sending them stuff and communicating with them. Last week alone I wrote 30,000 words for a new book… And now it’s near the end of May. Deaths in the Czech Republic have risen to just over 300, and infection rates are really down. This would equate to 2000 deaths in the UK… but it’s astounding to see over 47,000 deaths, and the UK is still arguing if masks work! Masks have been worn not to protect one but to stop one infecting anyone else, so if nobody is infecting anyone, then the virus dies. Boris Johnson’s keeping shaking hands with hospital patients and so on could be spreading the virus! I have a friend who nearly died from the virus and who had gone to the Cheltenham Races – a lunatic decision not to ban it. It put 250,000 people at risk and many thousands contracted the infection there. This week in Prague all shops and restaurants have re-opened and gradually normal life is resuming. I hope there will be a proper enquiry in Britain to find out why Britain was locked-down far too late.



Isolation and


When the pandemic first broke out there was an outbreak of stockpiling items such as toilet rolls, pasta, baked beans and flour. Images in the news of supermarkets with empty toilet roll isles sparked some amusing headlines and, on this theme, Year 7 were asked to create a mini-project designing and creating their own monster using the now-famous toilet roll tubes and other recycled packaging. This was an additional project alongside their academic classwork.

Dr Richard Simonsen, OP 1953-1964, reporting from Rio Verde, Arizona, USA The coronavirus lockdown affected many in the United States in very serious ways like income and job loss. For an old retired dentist, the experience was more one of isolation, than any significant disturbance of life. Well, my local gym was closed and after the outstanding experiences from my time at PGS where I picked up the daily exercise addiction, that did set me back a little. However, I just adapted and used exercise equipment in the garage—that is generally easy, but with no air conditioning, and when temperatures reached over 44° this week, it can get a little tough! But I cannot complain personally about the hardships of the COVID-19 tragedy. For my colleagues in clinical dentistry however, the past months have been a disaster as dental practice was essentially shut down except for emergency care. It has also been devastating to many small businesses particularly restaurants, many of which will not be able to pick up business again. So, some are cutting corners on safety precautions to get back into business faster by not wearing gloves and masks, something that will come back to haunt us I believe. While we are supposed to still follow social distancing guidelines, recent experience tells me many are not taking the pandemic seriously enough. The older generation seem much more likely to follow the public health guidelines than the younger generation. Sad. We are still under curfew in Arizona, from 8pm to 5am. There was some rioting and damage done to downtown Phoenix stores earlier last week, but demonstrations now have become entirely peaceful after President Trump used his power to violently break up a peaceful demonstration outside the White House so that he could walk to a nearby church for a photo opportunity with a bible. That event

Richard Simonsen in 1959, when he was the fastest athlete in the school. He went on to run for Norway in 1971-73.

may well be a turning point in not only the demonstrations, but also in the understanding of the institutionalized racism that pervades American society and that is the basis for all the problems that came on top of the coronavirus issues. There is a strong push now to get back to “normal” (which we never will) and it remains to be seen what effect this will have on potential second and third waves of this highly infectious disease.

“It was an incredible period of time when you are fighting for something as basic as freedom and one-man, one-vote. As a result of my working with the anti-apartheid folks (a long story!), when they got into power I was asked by one if I would like a meeting with Madiba (Nelson Mandel’s tribal name). I jumped at it and in January 1996 during another visit to lecture to NAMDA, the black dental organization, I met one-onone with him for 15 min in the offices of the African National Congress".

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GULF report Sound advice in poetry CHRISTIANA YE AR 4

I joined PGS as Head of Rugby in the summer of 2008. My time at PGS for several reasons was very enjoyable; genuinely lovely pupils, a great PE department, a witty and caring Housemaster and, most importantly for me, a large improvement in how we played rugby. SIMON BAKER PGS SPORTS TE ACHER , 2008-13


CRISIS Self isolation can be fun for a while Time with my family, making me smile Missing school and missing my friends Staying at home until all of this ends Washing your hands, avoiding the crowds Hugging and kissing no longer allowed Doctors and nurses protecting the ill Fighting the virus takes all of their skill Let's keep in touch 'til we go back to school Ignore all the panic and let's all stay cool


After five years in role and countless years of being wet and cold teaching Games my wife and I (plus our six-month-old daughter) wanted to experience something new, and warm, and I accepted a role in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Not long after, several OPs joined me in our venture, Amy Wilson Smith joined the Prep school and we worked closely for some years as the respective DSLs of our part of the College; the Cannon (Lilly, Oscar and Henry) family joined us virtually from day one and we are still in weekly contact with Dr HelenandCannon as my four-year-old calls her; this academic year Suzanne Gardner has also joined the College as a member of the PE team. We have lived in the Gulf now for seven years, it’s an area not without its problems but, on the whole, our time here has been very enjoyable. The UAE is an incredibly safe country with much to do, plus the sun continually shines. We are now a family of four and I still teach in the same school which originally appointed me so I would hope I am doing something right. When the Covid virus hit, in early March, schools remained open with small operating differences,


for instance hand gel was forever present, the teaching of swimming ceased and all after school activities stopped. With the pandemic making ground in mid-March the government acted swiftly, moving Spring break two weeks forward allowing schools time to establish online learning platforms if they were already not used, and upskill staff where necessary. Around this time, we were also informed that eLearning would remain until the start of the next academic year to enable school management to plan long term. Spring break arrived; at this point staff could still travel abroad though it was cautioned against. Midway through Spring break flights in to and out of the country ceased for all, leaving some staff and families stranded abroad. After a short time, incoming flights resumed for UAE passport holders only who wished to repatriate. Now, 12 weeks later a very small number of flights are still arriving slowly bringing in residents who are key workers. After the spring break the country closed off its borders and all schools, state and private, functioned independently by eLearning. Some schools collapsed timetables teaching only English, Maths, Science and Arabic, many others kept to their full timetables. Initially, most lessons were prerecorded rather than live but


Learning from lockdown Year 7 pupils interview each other about their experiences and reflections.

Simon with Amelia, Sophie and Helen

as safeguarding policies moved with the times lessons for Upper Senior pupils, on the whole, became live. To create a sense of normal the school day remained as close to how it would look as possible, meetings were still held (via Teams), assemblies ran etc, some subjects had to adapt, PE moved towards a health fitness style curriculum and Design Technology branched out in to Food Technology. For many staff eLearning has become a fine juggling act, balancing the demands of teaching with home schooling their own children. In the wider community, a strict curfew was established, mosques, malls and all leisure facilities were closed. This remained the status quo until early June; then Malls, hotels and restaurants begun to open, though mosques, pools and gyms remain closed. Everywhere within the UAE you have to wear a face mask (and often gloves) and you are testing regularly for your skin temperature whenever you enter a building. Currently movement out of the Emirate to Dubai etc is banned unless you have an exemption permit. Summer here is never easy with the daily temperature working towards 50 degrees, our restrictions are slowly starting to ease and inshallah (if Allah wills it) the pools open soon. Many staff are keen to travel home this summer to see friends and family, it is hoped they can all return in time for school in September. Due to my wife’s working commitments we are not travelling this summer, instead we will undertake several staycations, ideally with pools and leisure facilities being accessible. Masalama (goodbye)

Olivia Hancock interviewed by Lucy Smith. I go for a walk with my dog and my mum most nights or sometimes a bike ride instead. I ride on the roads more now because there isn’t much traffic. I keep in touch with my Grandma and Grandad and my auntie, uncle and cousin over Facetime. I text my nan and sometimes speak to her on the phone. With my friends we text each other A LOT and we have Facetime calls, and I recently attended a virtual birthday party. I enjoy being more relaxed, doing whatever I want at break time and lunchtime (well, inside) and I get to spend more time with my mum, dad, brother (actually no, I don’t enjoy spending time with him) and my dog, Alby. I enjoy going for walks with my dog more now because there aren’t as many people around and hardly any cars. There is also a lot less pollution now because there aren’t as many cars and only a few planes flying. One thing I would change about lockdown would be so you could go out for exercise more than once a day because I would like to go for a bike ride in the afternoon then walk my dog in the evening, but I have to choose either one or the other. At least we can go out for exercise, unlike some countries. I think that school, overall, is quite nice but most of the work is filling out worksheets and that gets a bit boring. I like doing Google Meets because we get to talk to our teachers. I would like to do more work away from the screen because most of it is on a computer. I think we should do more creative work and things that are different to the ways that we usually work.

Aayan Alom interviewed by Nawaf Chowdhury I have enjoyed the way we use Google Meet to communicate with our teachers and classmates and how on Google Classroom our work is set in the different sections. In my free time, I have mostly been doing some exercise and also having a break going outside and playing football/tennis with my family. I have not enjoyed the way we have to sit down and look at a screen for 6 hours a day. Miabella Clark interviewed by Zoe McCauley I have tried to vary what I have been doing, achieving different things each day. Remote learning is nowhere near as good as school but at least I get all my school work done because there is no talking in the background (except my mum who sits on the same table as me!). It is strange that in the future history teachers might be teaching people in the future about us. That's quite crazy. It's weird not having to go on a journey to and from school, I just have to walk up and down stairs. And also it's weird because we only see the same people all the time. The only people that I see unless I leave the house are my mum and dad and my cat (if you call her a person). Zoe McCauley interviewed by Miabella Clark I enjoy doing puzzles and reading more. Also, when you go outside it feels special. I miss not having to cross the road when you see another person coming. That's annoying! The first thing I am going to do after lockdown ends is run around shouting: “Zoe is free! Government has freed Zoe! Zoe is a free human!” Or do something more sensible like go to see my grandparents. To stay healthy I go in the garden as much as possible and run around like a lunatic.

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we are

THE LUCKY ONES Covid-19 hit Hong Kong very early on – hundreds of thousands of people per day travel between Hong Kong and Mainland China – but the memory of SARS in 2003 triggered a very rapid response. DAVID POWELL

David Powell masked

OP 1980-89 IN HONG KONG People immediately started wearing masks (leading to a shortage, obviously!), although there is a culture here of that so that, if you’re ill normally, you wear a mask to protect others around you). They also started self-isolating at home, many of them before their employers and the Government mandated it. This has been very effective in helping Hong Kong become one of the first places to emerge back to something like normality – although as a place that continues to rely on global trade for its existence, we need the rest of the world to return to normality as well. On a more personal note, our family has been in Hong Kong throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We last left Hong Kong in early February, when normally we would also have travelled away for Easter and public holidays in May. We won’t be travelling back to the UK in the Summer now, and for the first time since we moved to Hong Kong nine years ago, we don’t have our next holiday planned. But we are the lucky ones. We haven’t got sick and none of our relatives have got sick – this is a great relief as both mine and my wife’s parents are elderly and not in


Poetry in

lockdown Celia and Deane Clark (OP 1945-53, and also PGS parents) have closely observed their world during the crisis, Celia through her poetry, and Deane through his art. Celia’s lockdown poetry has recently been shared with the listeners of Radio Solent, and Deane’s pre-crisis art has appeared in many publications, most notably “Deane Clark’s Portsmouth”. Contact details and link to Powerpoint.

A route between two train lines on Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR), our version of the Tube network. Normally there would be thousands of people going through this route at any one time in rush hour (an English analogy would be Bank station in London but about 10 times busier), but this photo shows almost no-one venturing out.

the best of health. It’s unlikely we would have been able to travel to see them if they had got sick. We also have managed to keep our jobs when Hong Kong has been quite hard hit. Things could have been a lot, lot worse for us and we are very thankful that, so far, the pandemic has been more of an inconvenience than having had any serious impact.



April in Lockdown

Closed The motorway sign says “Do Not Enter Portsmouth” What? Are we closing ourselves in, Eyam-like to contain the plague? A port can’t do that: Commodore, Connemara, other freight-laden ships weave their cross-Channel tracks, unceasing… so that we may eat. Police: no sea-swimming, park bench sitting Soaking up the sun? Virtual escape’s possible If we’re web-connected: phonecalls, facetime, silent lettered dialogues, winged poems, virtual cooking, friendship’s news… even group sound/sight zooms. But this strange hiatus, dislocation’s becoming too familiar, as warming spring blossoms, blooms. Easter Saturday 11 April 2020

Rage Recovering prime minister loiters in his luxury country house. Inept politicians fail to order much needed masks and gowns which prevent invisible contagion spreading death from face to face. Relentless sun shines down, indifferent, day after day, while our lives contract to imprisoning housewalls, while monstrous spring advances, colours blazing, burgeoning, blooming, surrounds us all.

This April is the cruellest month I’ve ever known. After so much rain, unbroken sun calls us out at last into the open…where we’re seared by biting eastern wind, police-admonished not to sit or congregate… So – ‘cabined, cribbed, confined’, we’re compelled to stay inside. death and loss is out there in other people’s breath, their coughs, their panting and their sneezes… Yet we’re alive, sustained by neighbour’s loving help, offers get us food and drink, and newspapers, which numb us with rising numbers of the dead, pain of the dying, uncomforted. My doctor fears that I might be the one to kill her in touching with gloved hands glowing heat of an old scar. 16 April 2020

Lockdown Easter Saturday Diagonal waves trash/kiss the pebble beach, leaving with a lace-edged withdrawing hiss. Bare beach: human-emptied. Lockdown Silence From our upper circle bed the street slopes upward to the sea. But Southsea linear theatre’s eerily silent, even for a Sunday. Cars and cycles swish across the mid-view; Pram-pushers determinedly seek the seafront; panting heavily; runners swerve their pathways to avoid us. But to my deafened ears no seagulls shriek no sparrows cheep – (vanished years ago) no voices sound, no blackbird sings. 26 April 2020

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ADAPTING to lockdown Abigail Cooper (Year 10) shares advice on how to get through lockdown.

Time off school, sleeping as long as you like and not having to go anywhere that you don't want to. Sounds great, right? Most people would agree with you, until it happens and then you realise you have nothing to do, nowhere you can go and cannot see anyone for the forseeable future. This snap back to the reality of self-isolation is what millions of people are facing right now, including yourself, but that doesn't mean you have to go mad. Social distancing can seem like a Herculean task, but there are several ways of coping well, including exercising, taking up a hobby and seeing other people. While you are being told to "protect the NHS and save lives", it's easy to forget about your own personal wellbeing. One of the most important ways to look after yourself is to exercise. It can be very easy to use self-isolation as an excuse to take it easy, but in fact this will only make things worse. Extensive studies have found that exercise releases the natural mood, lifting hormones called endorphins, which go a long way in making you feel good. In fact, a significant percentage of people who have had depression have said that exercise has helped them to recover. Remember that, even though you're only allowed to go for one form of exercise a day, there is no time limit to this activity, so you can be out for as long as you like; just remember to keep your distance from others.


Staying on the topic of wellbeing, it's also vitally important to take care of your mental health. One way to do this would be not to speculate or overthink the advice given to you. It is so simple to hear all of this (often contrasting) advice on how to stay safe during these difficult times and make up worst-case scenarios in your head. This is dangerous, because stress can actually lead to a weakened immune system or make you think you have the virus, even if you don't. Just take one day at a time. Also, it is easy to go "stir crazy". When my friend was recovering from a major operation, he found that he would often be bored and that would lead to negative thoughts. He found that taking up a hobby (in his case, writing poetry) was such a powerful tool to have when it came to his self-care. So, learn from my friend, and take up an activity that you never thought you would. Any progress no matter how small will give you a sense of self-worth; you'll free proud about your new skill and those endorphins will be released again! Lastly, make sure you listen to your body. Don't forget to do the basics right. Remember to wash your hands, eat regularly, and sleep well, to keep yourself in the best possible position. The last thing to remember is to continue to see people. Now, I don't want you to break the Coronavirus laws and go and meet up with ten different people in two days; that will only put you, others and the NHS at more risk than before. What I mean is that you


Hand by Jevon Hannah (Year 12)

need to keep in touch, through any means possible. This not only looks after you, but it will help the people you talk to as well. This contact can be in any form you like, whether that's spending ten minutes on FaceTime to a friend or writing an isolated older relative a letter. Also, remember that you can go out with or spend time with the people you live with. Making others feel good and not alone through communication will only boost your self-esteem and help you not to feel lonely. Overall, it is entirely possible to "not be lonely whilst being alone". Looking after yourself properly is important, now more than ever. Remember to keep active, take time for yourself and keep in touch with others. Self-care and selfisolation really can go hand in hand.




in Lockdown

Dr Carol Webb (Senior School Librarian) writes near the end of Week 13 of Lockdow Sadly the assumption that I have lots of time for more reading is an erroneous one. If only! We knew lockdown was coming and the preparations were fully under way in that last two weeks before the closure was finally announced. I drove several boxes of items home that I might need when working from there. I spent the penultimate weekend testing many different online resources compiling Google docs to share with teachers. In those last days before closure we lent out thousands of books. The fiction shelves were left decimated and the reserve stock full of holes where once books stood. Week one and two of lockdown were emotionally tiring. I wanted to be able to support my colleagues as they faced the challenge of gearing up to teach online. This meant editing and updating eLibrary resources, doing literature searches, responding to email requests, creating videos, sharing ideas and planning work. Work and home blended into one. Fellow school librarians across the country were being furloughed. I knew that if that happened I would not handle it very well; the thought of being separated from my colleagues and not allowed to contribute to the whole school effort would have been quite lowering. Life felt quite frenzied and my mind too unsettled to focus on just one book for any length of time. From the outset there were daily phone calls with close family at first slightly anxious ones, asking about each other’s days and how we were all managing. Then some of these became zoom calls and evolved to include relations living across the globe. It is somewhat surreal to see a wild turkey on one’s screen, invading the kitchen, of a cousin who lives on a hillside

outside San Jose! Last Saturday (at the end of 12 weeks in lockdown) we met some family members at the top of Butser Hill. We sat on the grass, eating our personal picnics, a few metres apart but finally face to face. We looked out across the sunlit landscape towards Winchester and relaxed. Unlike the zoom calls there was no pressure to fill every silence with words. A shared sunset is always something special but last Saturday’s felt like a charmed moment where one could slip away from reality. I am now reading the amount I usually do during term time which is probably two books a week, interspersed by lots of articles and a daily skate through social media. Internment by Samira Ahmed broke the reading drought. I would like to say it is dystopian but actually it is too close to reality to wear that label. The Carnegie prize shortlist quickly followed in order to feed discussions in our three virtual lunchtime book clubs for 7, 8 and 9. These have become relaxed gatherings where we chat, do an old-fashioned style of quiz with pen and paper #shocking. This half-term we are reading the same book for a shared discussion #joy. For me, these meetings have brought my school week alive. Working with young people is what gives me the most enjoyment in my job. The secluded life of lockdown has made me realise how much of my work is influenced by seeing people, not only to talk to, but to perceive how they might be feeling. Not seeing people, not hearing from people, it is so much harder to judge if one is being effective. During Week 9, I will not lie, I might have wished I had been furloughed. Sorry. As the boundaries of lockdown closed in around us, in my diary lines were drawn, through every planned event and booking. This has not felt claustrophobic but more as if we were being cocooned. Breaking out in order to collect food, make occasional trips to school to do tasks that cannot be done from home, feel like forays into places no longer completely known. We have also come out with neighbours on a Thursday evening to clap for the NHS. Family members who work for the NHS have mixed feelings about this act. It expresses value for their roles but they question if this will remain beyond the end of the pandemic and whether it will

Photo: John Sadden

translate into better remuneration. Did you know nurses in Northern Ireland are paid less than those in the rest of the UK? In response to strike action six months ago, they were promised in February that this would be resolved. Nurses in Northern Ireland, Wales and England are all paid less than Scotland, why? The language used like ‘frontline’ causes concern as it characterises them as soldiers and therefore their ‘sacrifice’ or the loss of them to the disease is in danger of being taken for granted, somehow perceived as acceptable and necessary. So, we have felt diffident about joining the ‘clap’ but coming together with our neighbours has been rewarding. As a result, phone numbers were exchanged. We are able to give each other practical support and even share veggie seedlings (in a safe way!). Our physical world may have shrunk but reading takes one beyond all borders. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson is about the impact of racism on one family rooted in the trauma of the horrifying 1921 race massacre in Tulsa and is told from several perspectives. The writing is poetic and beautifully captures the nuance of those family relationships and the scars they carry down the generations. I have loved Woodson’s YA books for years and I am always moved by her work. It is the love in her stories that moves me. And then the horror of George Floyd’s death arrived on our phones… I feel such love for the grandmother in that book but the image on my phone… anguished desperate horror that this is still happening, that the reality away from the page is still this. Hundreds of years of people, still treating people, like this. One has to believe that the structures of power can be changed.

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(Continued from Page 45)

I decided losing myself in emotion does not help anyone whereas taking some form of personal action might be useful. In the immediate moment I sent money to the Black Lives Matter campaign. In the days since I have reflected on my practice as a librarian and as a person who works in an educational setting. Do I buy enough works by black authors and illustrators? Do they have parity in our library collection, displays and promotions? Do I read enough of them to ensure I recommend them to others? One lesson learned from my time of working in public service since 1986 is that one cannot take anti-racist values for granted, not in oneself or in other people. To make them meaningful and ensure they translate into policy and subsequent practice, it is essential they are frequently re-examined. Always asking what is it that causes dissonance between values and actions taken? A belief in equality requires commitment. Research is needed to find perspectives that challenge one’s cocoon. Not so much a willingness to step outside but courage to let their ideas inside. A librarian’s role is to ensure the library reflects its community; in school librarian philosophy this means not only supporting curriculum needs but ‘whole person’ development by creating a microcosm of the outside world. By presenting a wealth of information and perspectives the library meets information needs and through its actions, it creates a knowledge-making space for their ideas. You should not only find yourself in a library collection but all the other selves too.


Watching Spring become Summer CHRISTINE GILES OP STAFF 1978-2015

I taught at PGS in the Geography and Geology Department under Ray (Duffy) Clayton (1950-87) and it was there that I met Chris Derry, (Art & Ceramics Teacher 1988-2006) and also mother of Richard Goldstone (OP 1982-89) who is now a Commander in the Royal Navy. Our friendship grew, cemented by shopping trips to Gunwharf, meals in the A-Bar and wonderful holidays in Wisconsin and Nova Scotia. Chris is one of my longest standing friends and I frequently stay with her in France, usually for my birthday in August, but this year for her birthday in March. What a mistake! A two-week holiday has now changed to nearly sixteen or 108 days because of the lockdown and travel restrictions imposed by the UK and French governments due to the Covid-19 outbreak. This will be my longest ever holiday away from my home in Old Portsmouth! This is a tale of cancellations by Brittany Ferries, Condor Catamarans and Ryan Air; of rural serenity in beautiful Northern Brittany around St Malo and Dinan; of electronic communications on Messenger, FaceTime, WhatsApp and email; of lifetime changes to socialising, shopping and health routines. I arrived in France by ferry from Portsmouth on 12th March, aware of the situation in Wuhan, but not yet so concerned that I felt I should return home before Chris’s birthday ten days later - no masks, no gloves, but I was using hand wash. We visited the busy local market on Friday 13th March - a portent of doom! Then we attended a birthday celebration on Saturday 14th- we


Chris Giles and Charlie – “The cat is called Charlie short for Charlotte and she has been an excellent substitute for my own cat, Shadow. Her owners have gone away so we are feeding Charlie who, so far, has brought us a mouse, a grass snake and half a rat. She is always ready for a cuddle though she has had tics which I have removed. She greets me every morning on the windowsill as I open the curtains. She loves fish skin, chicken skin and even cheese but most of the time she is happy with dry food and an occasional drink of water from the fish pond.”

were social distancing on greeting, which in France consists of knocking elbows once (or, if you know the person well, each elbow consecutively and as for knocking both elbows simultaneously!) Ten of us sat less than 1m apart round the dining table sharing lasagne and wine, and some hugs and cheek kissing occurred on departure!


Lockdown company – “We got to know individual cows by sight and the stockman added a few swear words to my improving French vocabulary.”

By the following Tuesday, March 17th, we were in lockdown as Chris is over the age where she had to stay at home to be protected. I could still go out for essentials but I cannot drive, and the house is part of a rural hamlet several kilometres away from the nearest shop. What made things difficult was that the French government introduced an Attestation de Déplacement Dérogatoire which had to be completed by each person on every occasion that they left the house for any reason, along with your passport, and the printer was running out of paper and black ink! We survived on Chris’s Nuclear War Food Reserves for a week or so (though I could not eat the tin of macedoine vegetables) then she drove to the local supermarket in her car, wearing a homemade mask, blue latex gloves and socially distancing with the trolley though not many others in there were bothering. No gendarmes in sight. I had used Chris’s 1940s hand driven Singer sewing machine to churn out pretty, floral masks at the rate of one per day but the ancient elastic in the ear loops perished as soon as they were washed! No hand gel, wipes, flour, pasta or kidney beans in the shop! The weather was glorious in early April, like Summer, and we were busy gardening and painting, sewing and cleaning. The wildlife here is stunning with garden sightings of hare, fire salamanders, herons, buzzards, toads, swallow tail butterflies, Carpenter bees, dragonflies and the biggest Asian hornets you have ever seen! Oilseed rape was in full yellow flower

A view of a summer meadow by Chris Derry (oil on canvas) inspired by a meadow close to where she and Chris Giles are staying.

everywhere and Chris developed hay fever with continuous sneezing every day. Was this a virus symptom? Over the next few weeks the Breton countryside unfolded as I watched from Chris’s Peugeot Coupe on the trip to the bottle bank (and we needed a weekly visit!) The yellow flowers faded, maize was planted in neat rows and started to grow quickly, calves and foals were born, elderflowers changed to elderberries and all the trees turned green. The dairy cattle are moved from field to field, urged on by the stockman in red overalls, feed and water are brought to them by tractor, cows are taken in for milking and the milk tanker visits twice a day. We got to know individual cows by sight and the stockman added a few swear words to my improving French vocabulary. Time passed quickly with Spring changing to Summer, punctuated by emails from Brittany Ferries to cancel four sailings because I was a foot passenger, Condor Ferries cancelled one because Guernsey was in total lockdown and as for Ryan Air....Then there were the government email alerts for new attestation forms, travel forms, certificates of health forms, travel restrictions of 100km from home, red

zones in Paris and compulsory masks in shops. I downloaded the Le Monde app for daily alerts and signed up to UKGov alerts too. My French has improved enormously since O Level Grade 2 in 1971! Then release came on May 20th as lockdown was lifted and the dreadful Attestation Forms were scrapped. We drove to the beach but the ice cream shop was shut! Life here is now mostly normal with shops open and bars and restaurants due to open soon. People can go to the beach and swim in the sea in groups of 10 or fewer with 10m between groups. Staycations are being booked, post is delivered, gardens look well-groomed and people have stopped getting in touch on a daily basis. What is the new normal going to look like? I enjoyed the peace and isolation, the lack of vapour trials in the sky, the close ups with wildlife. I feel calm, rested, tanned and at one with the world and the virus. My thanks to all those friends who kept me informed and amused on Facebook, especially friends and colleagues: David Hampshire (1977-2014) for the FaceTimes, John Baker (1995-2018) for the inspirational recipes, to the Surmaster David Doyle, to the Archivist John Sadden and most of all to the Marshal, Tony Hicks, for his magnificent images which kept me informed about the School, Old Portsmouth and even my home via his drone. I am due to return home by Condor Ferries via Jersey and Poole on 27th June, or by Ryan Air to Stanstead on 3rd July. If they both fall through I know I will happily stay here longer and my friendship with Chris Derry remains strong even though I broke several glasses, overwatered her plants and baked her some terrible cakes in the last three months.

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Our world is now different KATIE MOORE


KEEP smiling PGS Infants show their imagination, creativity and sense of fun during Lockdown.

This is my picture on the theme of a cartoon called 'Adventure Time' and the main characters (Finn and Jake) are feeling very lonely, sad and annoyed about not being able to be with each other because of social distancing. INDY STONE YE AR 6

Katie Moore - standing on spots before we come in

Orange and purple, two family bubbles, grouping like this, they’re asking for trouble! Washing and washing of toys and our hands, holding out wrists for our bubble group bands No cuddles, or squeezes or keyworker hugs, no playdough or teddies or story time rugs. No mummies or daddies allowed in at all, no dinners and puddings across in the hall Standing on spots before you come in, all dirty tissues to be thrown in the bin But still we are happy (but crazy) all day, in the place that we love, in this place where we play! Our world is now different and drastically so, but our pre-school is special it’s the place that we know! It’s the place we are nurtured and loved most of all, with teachers who catch us when our world starts to fall. It’s this love and support that will get us all through, in these times that are different and scary and new! June 2020






On 2nd June, Year 6 pupils returned to school. Here several pupils reflect on their experience of lockdown and of being back in school again Messy 6P When first reports of COVID-19 came out in China, I didn’t really care. It was in China and I was in England, it didn’t concern me. Even when the future pandemic crept closer and closer, I was ok. I always had believed that, nothing hugely bad would ever happen. I have always felt safe in my family and thought that nothing scary like a tidal wave or, in this case, a pandemic would ever happen to me and my family. The effects of the virus hit me when school closed and lockdown was initiated. My world flipped. I couldn’t greet my friends with a hug anymore, in fact, I couldn’t even see them. Everything I had hoped to do like the ski trip and the French trip were cancelled. I felt that the only people in the world were my family and digital school wasn’t much better. The constant headaches and hurting eyes were awful, as was the isolation I felt not being able to see my friends…. I now have 3 new playmates and we all have a same favourite game, tag. Well, at the moment, it is shadow tag to adapt to the no touching rule. I am writing this on June 11th,2020 and there is one question in my mind. When can I hug my friends and family again? Ruthie 6S On Friday the 20th we were informed that school was shutting, and we had to collect all our things and leave. I was lost as a lonely ship in the middle of the Arctic, my hopes of an early end lost, feeling worried sick for my 91-year-old

Year 6 pupils return, 2 June 2020 (Photo: Pippa Giles)

Grandpa. Though the teachers did a brilliant job teaching us as well as they could, the first week of virtual learning, before half term, was really tough. We didn’t have Google Meets yet, and were given tasks on the Google Stream to photograph and send in. I got achy legs from sitting down for so long, and horrible headaches from staring at a screen for hours on end. Then came the hols- the strangest hols I have EVER had. Silent streets, lonely shops, listless days. We couldn’t sail on the harbour and practically boiled. We went back to virtual learning after the break. It was much better as we had live meets to speak to our teachers and friends, which was a brilliant high for me. Raphaël 6S As we ended the term, I started to get really worried that the government was starting to say we were doing well. I thought it was nonsense! We were only 2 weeks in lockdown! Now as more weeks passed I started to get really sad; I wanted to get back to school now, I mean I kind of liked remote learning, but it wasn’t the same. Also I kept on being distracted by things. I would start to daydream about normal life, keepi ng drifting off track….I started to feel happy we were all working together! But that did not last long… It had to happen. A

Government adviser went on a 250 MILE CAR JOURNEY!!! That broke so many rules I started to think we are not all in this together. I started to think how useless this government is. I want them to be fired! But then sad because we were going downhill, typical humans… Jemima 6S As soon as I got home, I would check the news; no day would pass without me knowing the “latest numbers”. Somehow it thrilled me, not the thrill of there being a virus or how deadly it was, but the thrill of not knowing what would happen next. It’s like a preview for a book - they make it practically impossible to not go buy the book. I was hooked by this virus. The first week or so of lockdown was actually rather exhilarating, as I love trying new things. Weeks past and still no news of coming out of lockdown. It was the same things each day, same room, same people, same technology, it became almost sickly. Feeling senses of nostalgia and nausea, I couldn’t wait to get out of lockdown. The impacts on my life had been devastating. Without going to ballet classes each day, I felt incomplete, like a part of me was missing. Yes, I still had online video meets for them, but it wasn’t the same. You can’t try and recreate something differently. It is what it is, like each and every one of our lockdown experiences, they are what

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they are, you can’t change that. During lockdown, I became vegan. Personally, I think it is the best choice I have ever made, my physical performance is better, I feel healthy and refreshed, I feel like no one can stop me. Wilfred 6S Darkness. The only word that can properly fulfil what lockdown and Covid-19 was all about. The streets were quiet, I couldn’t see my friends and everyone was close to absolute boredom. I just didn’t know what to do. I don’t think ANYONE knew what to do. Not even our Prime Minister. I felt helpless, like a beetle on its back, squirming cluelessly. I wanted to scream… At first, I thought it would be fun to have more technology helping me with my learning, and getting to stay in my home environment, but I had no idea about how wrong I was. The only company I had was my family, and that was probably the most frustrating part. I got sick and tired of technology, technology, technology. Sure, it was scary and that, but we all hung on together and it is really working. Over the past few weeks, I’ve realised that actually, there are a lot of good things coming out of this, and a lot of other good things are happening across the globe. For example, there is a lot less pollution in the air because nobody is really needing to go anywhere apart from the essentials. Another good thing is that all the wild fires in Australia have been extinguished, and New Zealand is completely Covid free. To conclude my thoughts and feelings, I am not at all annoyed or sad about any events, and I am prepared for any hurdle that is thrown my way. I’m ready for what else you’ve got, 2020! Iris 6S That’s when remote learning started for me. Until the Easter holidays, everything was boring and dull, we stayed at home glued to a computer screen on Google Classroom. The real problem was the PE and Games lessons because I did not have enough room. I was new at that point as I had joined the school in January and my mum was a teacher in the Upper school. On the news, the government was saying that the teachers were not trying their hardest, but the teachers here were and I appreciated it. The Easter holidays soon passed and remote learning was


Year 6 return 2 June 2020 (Photo: Pippa Giles)

considerably better than before with live Google Meets and more time to interact. PE and Games was still the same because most people did not have the space. It was ages since I had seen my friends in Staffordshire. And then we got a message that Year Six, Year One and Reception could go back to school on June the second, the day after my cat’s birthday. So we read through an online document explaining everything. At first my parents did not want me to return, then they read the document and were really happy at how well thought out it was. I went back to school and things were much better, I even made some new friends! It was really well thought out.

to Gatwick. We went straight to our new house, thanks goodness we had bought some of the furniture and my grandpa had been able to get the new beds delivered! Around the 21st April 2020: first day of online learning and new school. I miss my dad, he's in Dubai and can't get back as he works for Emirates. Today was very fun I was in on the lower junior and senior site at PGS as my mum is a key worker. I think this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially because a lot didn’t work and many children had to figure that out. However, working online definitely improved our digital skills.

Josie 6G School ended abruptly in Abu Dhabi around the 16th March. At first everyone was really excited about lockdown and online learning but, after a few weeks we all seemed to realise that it was not all fun because it turned out that online learning was much more difficult than it first appeared. My family were planning to leave Abu Dhabi on the 4th April 2020. Unfortunately, we had to change our plans to the 27th March because we were worried that we would not make it out of the country before lockdown became more intense. We moved into a hotel five days before the flight day, but again we had to change our plans. An urgent phone call came later that night to let us know that all flights out of the country. would stop after the 23rd March. Luckily for us we got the last flight out of Abu Dhabi to England; also my cats got the last flight

I have so much wanted to see you all, Even if it meant being six feet apart, Just because it’s hard Not seeing my friends for months. (Ah, Ah, Ah) I want my friends with me right now. (stamp, stamp, clap, clap) I miss those warm summer days, Barbecues burning, sun shining, Seems like a perfect time to me. I wish the community could reunite I wish we were back on the school site, (Ah, Ah, Ah) I want my friends with me right now, (stamp, stamp, clap, clap) Swimming in the sea, I wish that it could just be Over And that this could be, Just be, A DREAM.


Eva 6S Song: Locked Down



Art by Sophie Reeve-Foster Year 12

The announcement of lockdown at PGS in March sent a shockwave through the entire fabric of the school. We were in our rhythm, had found our footing in the long marathon that is the school year. The end was so near in sight for so many of the examination classes: victory glinting on the horizon. Just weeks from now, pupils would be saying farewell, launching themselves into an autonomous whirl of examinations where they would eventually find their feet, figure out that they were made of something much stronger than that once thought. They could sit alone at a rickety examination table and make their mark. Grades would appear next to their names come August. They would be counted and validated. All whipped away in an instant. WhatsApp groups went bonkers within a week of children being home-schooled. Parents became teachers and pastoral guides in the blink of an eye.

For once, I had to stop. I no longer had to bundle my bleary eyed children out of the front door at 7am, commute with hundreds of others along the M275 into Portsmouth, carry unbelievably heavy bags of marking to my classroom, rush about site dropping off kids, checking the staffroom for notices, be accosted in the playground whilst desperately trying to get to my classroom to sort things out before the start of the day. Every second seems to be accounted for when one is at school timetabled. All of a sudden, I am being told that it is OK to take time out to exercise; it is actively encouraged. Why was it never encouraged before when we know the remarkable benefits of a stroll by the sea? Never in a million years would I dream of this if I was at school. Every second counted in the education race. Now, I walk before the day commences or do a yoga session whilst being awake, rather than squeezing it in at 5:30am when I should still be fast asleep. At the end of the day, I take the kids out on their bikes to explore local heathland and forest. We build dens, climb old

yews, watch unsuspecting deer graze on lush grass. Teachers all over the world have had to upskill in the blink of an eye. The hours that have gone into this must be immense. Luckily, the whole global teaching community has come together, sharing top tips and resources, providing tutorials, offering a helping hand whenever needed. I have had the joy of sharing my new skills with colleagues at other schools during weekend Meets. Covid may have physically separated us, yet it has bound us together in so many positive ways that I would never have imagined prior to lockdown. Lessons are not the same. I mean this in both the positive and negative sense of the word. The lack of social interaction, observing body language to check on whether someone has understood something, or sharing a joke and watching a whole class erupt with laughter, are things that cannot be replicated on the screen. Being able to crouch down beside a pupil to tell them that their paragraph is really quite superb then watch their smile spread surreptitiously is one thing I truly miss.

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School Open The school has remained both physically open throughout the crisis for keyworkers’ children and, as illustrated throughout this publication, remotely for all pupils. But behind all the teaching and learning has been a superlative effort by the skeleton support staff in ensuring it is able to happen, not least by the IT staff, the cleaning and maintenance staff, key administrative staff and medical staff and the Marshals, who keep the doors open come what may.

Keeping fit,


Top left: Lockdown football in Quad, left: cricket practice at home; above: Lockdown dilemma.

Paul Slater (Caretaker), Tony Hicks (Marshal) and aerial view of PGS during lockdown (image by Tony Hicks)



Through the summer term, the Sports Department has endeavoured to provide a number of opportunities to ensure our pupils remain active. We realise that the lockdown and the School closure have made it more challenging for many pupils to remain active in the usual ways provided by school. The importance of this physical activity for wellbeing cannot be underestimated. Just some of the highlights of the term include hundreds of hours of activity on Apps such as Strava and Strider, videos of pupils taking part in games sessions, brilliant numbers on several of the co-curricular sports clubs including 36 pupils, parents and staff taking part in a workout to honour Captain Tom on Saturday morning at 8:30am and over 100 pupils & staff taking part in the 1500m Inter Schools Competition with 15 other schools. Congratulations to Year 11 who has the 3rd most entries for all the schools involved for their age group. The PGS Sporting community have now placed in the Top 3 schools on the Strider App each week since it was launched. Over a number of weeks PGS Sport topped the charts with almost 2000 Kilometres of activity. Strava has proved just as popular with pupils and again this has meant hundreds of activities and hours of cycling, running, walking, swimming, SUP Boarding, Sailing and Wind Surfing.



Life in lockdown with ENDANGERED SPECIES I flew out to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa in early March to complete a four-week Endangered and Priority Species Conservation & Habitat Management Course run by Wildlife ACT. CHARLIE GULLIFORD OP 1996-2009 A non-governmental organisation, Wildlife ACT partners with several reserves across KZN to carry out crucial priority species monitoring and provides state of the art animal tracking and anti-poaching equipment where needed most. The course is based at one of their projects on an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) protected area, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP) – the oldest reserve on the continent and the birthplace of African wildlife conservation. The Covid-19 pandemic did not escalate globally until halfway through my course, at which point my flights home were cancelled and South Africa put on lockdown shortly after. Wildlife ACT were a true lifeline during this time, and we decided that upon completing the course I would stay on as a volunteer to assist the monitoring teams. A key source of Wildlife ACT’s funding comes from paying volunteers; people of all ages and backgrounds travel from around the world to support the teams in their daily efforts monitoring the endangered and priority species, ensuring informed management and the animals’ safety. With international travel restricted, both the physical and financial support of volunteers has been lost, and Wildlife ACT have had to make many prudent money-saving sacrifices so that they can weather the storm. The committed team members at Wildlife

ACT agreed to reduced salaries during this uncertain time, a clear demonstration of their dedication and passion for their work to save species from extinction; work vehicles were sold; new methods were found online to provide news, information and training for their global supporters, and monitoring sessions were greatly reduced to save on fuel costs. Covid-19 has impacted our work in many ways. Firstly, with the twice-daily monitoring sessions now restricted to just three per week, following up on the reserve's endangered animals is considerably more difficult. The endangered and priority species which we routinely check for are African Painted Dog (Lycaon pictus), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and Lion (Panthera leo). While the tracking collars provide GPS location points, these only become available when an animal is in range of a signal tower and we therefore rely on the VHF components to gain visual sightings where possible. VHF (Very High Frequency) technology emits a consistent radio signal that is picked up by an antenna and this signal increases in strength when pointed in an accurate direction and as you get closer to the animal’s location. During

these monitoring sessions, I scan for the different collar frequencies from the back of the Wildlife ACT vehicle while the monitor traverses the reserve, giving them coordinates and bearings in real-time so that we can triangulate the animals. This is vitally important so we can check their condition and intervene if any man-made occurrences have caused them harm. It is also imperative that we ensure the animals stay within the limits of the reserve, to reduce the risk of human-animal conflict with the surrounding communities. Secondly, the financial and economic impact on those in South Africa who now find themselves jobless may drive some to hunt for bush meat to feed their families. In these instances, snares are placed close to the edges of parks to capture game, but snares trap animals indiscriminately; Cheetah, African Painted Dog and many other species are caught as by-catch, and their use is likely to increase as people become more desperate. This is a particular problem with Painted Dogs. The strong social bonds and loyalty within a pack leads to the other group members refusing to abandon the ensnared dog, and they then become caught in surrounding snares themselves.

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Thirdly, the country-wide travel restrictions – while set to ease at stage 3 – have so far prevented tourists from entering the park, resulting in greatly reduced income for EKZNW which would normally be used for park management operations. There is also concern that the longer people remain unemployed due to Covid-19 the more desperate they may become, and some may turn to poaching to earn money. It is only a matter of time before the syndicates which run organised poaching operations find ways around the various lockdown restrictions, and the EKZNW anti-poaching teams are already working back-to-back shifts to protect their wildlife as budgets are set to tighten further. On a more personal note, I have been left in limbo, unsure of how or when I will be able to go home. Repatriation flights announced recently were fully booked before I had a chance to apply, and with no more planned for the future it is likely I will remain here until commercial international flights are permitted again. There are of course far worse places to be during lockdown; the importance of the work, the natural beauty of the reserve and the friendships I have made with my teammates are a soothing balm when homesickness strikes. Disheartening as this all may seem it only proves how vital Wildlife ACT’s work is. By providing their monitoring services and the data collected therein, as well as deploying the high-tech tracking and antisnare collars completely free of charge to these reserves, EKZNW’s funding and resources can then be focussed on antipoaching endeavours and vital reserve management operations. So that they may continue to do so, Wildlife ACT need the


support of those worldwide who also could not bear to lose these rich areas of biodiversity. As such, I took it upon myself to set up a fundraising initiative on GivenGain, calling on the help of anyone who wishes to play their part in keeping Wildlife ACT active during this strained and difficult period. Donations directly fund costs for fuel so that we may continue to travel and monitor the animals; vehicle and equipment maintenance; veterinary and tracking equipment costs; Wildlife ACT staff salaries and more. The link to my page can be found below and all donations are gratefully received.

Instagram: @britinthewild www.givengain.com/ap/ charlie-g-raising-funds-forwildlife-act-fund www.wildlifeact.com



DISAPPEARING into NATURE Author and journalist Neil Ansell (OP 1970-77) is spending lockdown working on his new book. One of his earlier works, Deep Country, was described on Countryfile as “a gem, an extraordinary tale. Ansell’s rich prose will transport you to a real-life Narnian world that C.S. Lewis would have envied. Find your deepest, most comfortable armchair and get away from it all”. Deep Country describes how Neil lived alone in a cottage on a remote hillside in Wales for five years, a deliberate act of self-isolation, his only company the wildlife that surrounded him. He explains in the book how he kept a journal. “I wrote it when the mood took me, and there are long gaps, as it never crossed my mind that I might one day want to make use of those notes. When I read my notebooks now I can see a

dramatic change taking place from beginning to end. For the first year, it is a fairly straightforward diary, an account of where I went, what I did, and how I felt. By the second year it is strictly a nature journal: a record of my sightings and perhaps some notes on the weather. And by the third year it is virtually an almanac: arrival dates for spring and autumn migrants; nesting records; perhaps interspersed with an occasional piece of prose capturing a fragmentary moment, a a description of the flight of a single bird. I have disappeared entirely from my own narrative; my ego has dissolved into the mist. I came to the hills to find myself, and ended up losing myself instead. And that was immeasurably better.” (reproduced with Neil’s kind permission from Deep Country – Five Years in the Welsh Hills, Penguin 2011)

our lockdown

THEIR FREEDOM In her spare time, PGS Biology teacher Dr Nicola Thomas makes videos on environmental issues such as deforestation and climate change. Her Youtube channel has built up quite a following with nearly 5,000 subscribers. In recent months she has covered aspects of Covid 19, lockdown and the impact on wildlife and the environment.

Hilsea comes alive with wildlife JAMES WHEEDON RESIDENT GROUNDSKEEPER

With Hilsea at a standstill, with no late nights, no floodlights, no daily rush of busy traffic, no one around but me and my dog Mylo, the sports fields took on a new and different form of life. I wasn’t furloughed, instead I was at Hilsea to keep the place ticking over whilst the world adapted to this new way of life. I live at Hilsea with my wife and two boys, aged six and four. They had the run of Hilsea and this big green space was all theirs. The maintenance was cut back to a minimum and many areas were left to grow peacefully and wild, allowing nature to take over for a brief time. With Hilsea now resembling a small nature reserve I saw the long-awaited return of hedgehogs. A hedgehog has not been seen here in over 10 years. We also have a population boom of slow worms taking refuge in the long wild grasses. This also brought about some visitors in the form of grey partridges. The local red foxes enjoyed the peace and were seen daily sunbathing. At dusk I saw a sight I’ve not seen here in all my 18 years at PGS. The flight of the male stag beetle. These guys were everywhere, flying in the car park by the pavilion all the way down to the main gate and Hilsea Lodge. It was an amazing sight. Dusk also brought about pipistrelle bats and the local tawny owl. Butterflies, mainly the peacocks, small tortoise shells and red admirals, laid plenty of eggs all over newly established stinging nettle patches. I was also luckily to see a swallowtailed butterfly visit the grounds. Grasshoppers made a comeback and well as the wasp spider. The new wild patches brought forth two rare flowers; the pyramidal orchid and the bee orchid. So, over the past few months with minimal work to the fields, Hilsea came alive with wildlife. It was an incredible sight, one I never thought I’d see. With limited human interaction nature just carries on and takes full advantage of the peace.

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I was interested by the implications of the fact that the pathogen does not recognise boundaries between humans and other species. I think this can help us to be less anthropocentric as we begin to realise that we are a part of the natural world just like every other organism. Deadly diseases such as Covid-19 are becoming increasingly prevalent for the simple reason that humans are destroying habitats on an unprecedented scale. Thus, we only have ourselves and our use of environment and treatment of wildlife to blame. From a philosophical point of view, this leads us to realise that humans are not the central element of existence but a part of a community all with the potential to contract these zoonotic diseases, I hope that COVID - 19 will lead us to having more respect for the natural world and our part in it.

Even the swans are self distancing (Photo: Tony Hicks)


I think that the COVID-19 crisis has certainly shed light on problems that generally get hidden away from the public. For example, despite the evergrowing climate activism movement, the coronavirus has really shown us that it is going to take a mammoth, almost- apocalyptic effort in order to reduce our emissions. I read an article the other day that described ‘Himalayan Mountains seen from Indian village for the first time in 30 years’. In India, the crisis has been so severe to industry and transport that air pollution has decreased by up to 80% in some areas. I hope that, as a result of the crisis, industries (as much as they would like to return to normal production) will think about the effort required to change our


Clear blue Solent (Photo: Tony Hicks)

emissions and may introduce meaningful initiatives (perhaps even detrimental to their profits), in order to change the ever-worsening climate situation. Now I know that is a colossal ask, especially in countries where heavy industry is everything to the economy - but I think, if we all take a step back and realise the impact we are having, then maybe some good will come. I also think, as a result of the crisis, that communities and societies will be stronger than ever. No


longer will we be programmed only to think for ourselves, but maybe others too and that there we will operate as a community. For example, I hope that as local pride increases, independent shops (such as corner shops) will once again become a centrepiece of local communities. No longer will you go to M&S to buy your Christmas turkey but maybe the local butchers or Jeremy down the road who owns a small farm shop outside his house?



Lessons from lockdown –



The author and subject of this article have been anonymised by request

I see you say we'll take it on the chin. I see you say together we'll win. I see you smiling, shaking hands. I see you recover in loving hands. I see you ruffle your raffish hair. I see you stand and clap and cheer. I see you say you really care. But I see dead people everywhere.

As many of us in this country are reported to be struggling with the double standards shown by those in power, and recoiling at the weakness of a leader so dependent on another man and not on principles, the reality of surviving lockdown has arguably been made that much more difficult, painful and challenging, because of the perception that our leadership lacks integrity. When integrity is gone – things crumble. How do we keep going forwards when the words of a leader ring hollow? I have learned a lot by looking at other countries. I have had the privilege, and pain, of walking along side educators in other countries during lockdown, and of being in a position to help and care. I have been given a window into a world that I am protected from ordinarily, and it is important, in my opinion, to keep that window open, and to care, learn and educate. In some countries people, particularly those in more economically deprived communities, were left to starve by their leadership during lockdown. Cases of Covid-19 in the countries I am referring to have thankfully been few, as far as anyone knows; it has been the heartless and often brutal neglect of the populace by their leaders that have endangered life. When many in such countries are unable to work (for example during lockdown) wages stop and there is no backup. Reserves of food, and small reserves of money are soon gone – especially when food prices have quadrupled due to the situation. During this pandemic, food

aid has only been given to certain areas. The distribution of food has been made illegal, with people being charged with treason or attempted murder if caught doing so.  Individuals have been beaten and even shot for missing lockdown curfews or being seen to not comply. People have become desperate; it has been reported that those in one area have been eating rats in order to survive.   Those in power have not escaped the abuse either. It has been reported that one politician who exposed government corruption was tortured almost to death. Countries have been given a lot of money during Covid-19 to help citizens, but often not a penny reaches them. So – what have I learned by the experience of walking alongside and caring for those surviving this situation? Integrity is everything. Due to the integrity of one educator, his people trusted him to help and he had the courage and drive to help them, even when it was at great danger to himself. Many other educators have gone into hiding during lockdown fearful, or not having the ability, to help their staff. Integrity has enabled trust; integrity has enabled action. As a result, hundreds of people did not starve. So where does his integrity come from? Faith, hope and love. He looks up; bypassing his mortal leader, and is not disappointed.

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a transformed world? JULIE LOMBARD YEAR 13

The Covid-19 situation has shown many people come together to help each other. For example, elderly people have been helped by younger generations with grocery shopping, record numbers have signed up to be NHS volunteers. However, the anxiety induced by the pandemic and the economic and social consequences of lockdown have also led to serious problems. There has been a dramatic increase in domestic violence against women and in incidences of abuse. In Italy, we have been presented with comforting headlines about “Mafia helping the Covid-19 situation�, whilst the reality is that during this time of crisis they are taking advantage of people's weakness for their own personal and organisational benefit in the long run. This situation could bring us all together in new ways or it could just as easily lead to a violent, broken society where each individual is only interested in their own survival.


The consequence of this economic disaster may be dramatic reformations to the political and economic models of our time, focusing on social co-operation and care rather than individual monetary growth which leaves so many behind. I do not believe a broken society will invariably become violent; rather, it has the opportunity to grow into something new, something more caring as people are brought together from their economic and social divisions.




In the past few weeks I have enjoyed reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, which was recommended to me. The novel presents Crusoe’s adaptation to every situation he is placed in. The way Crusoe builds a home and a sustainable food source is impressive and something I have tried to duplicate at home to lessen the burden on food delivery. I have planted some fruit and vegetables that hopefully will become something we can eat. Furthermore, I think that in the situation we are all currently in, unity has to be created and friendships need to be made and sustained, something Crusoe learns when he frees Friday and helps him learn Christianity. I admit that, despite talk of a transformed world after this is over, I think that it is unlikely that the world will change for the better.


Many economies will be in desperate circumstances and so will do anything to increase profits and get back on track. This will result in a situation where old backwards methods, perhaps methods that damage the environment will be used. Furthermore, the lower-paid workers who are current heralded as heroes will be taken advantage of to benefit the rich and the economy. This will create a huge disparity between rich and poor, a gap that was previously closing due to government regulations. The world can only change if the belief in class systems is stripped away, which I believe is impossible. However I think that some respect and community connections could remain if the situation continues long enough or becomes so dangerous that bonds have to be made. This could result in an atmosphere of unity and could cause the country to stick together and help everyone. But, sadly, I believe it is more likely that the selfish tendencies of man will prevail and nothing will change.


How Many Must Die

BEFORE THINGS CHANGE? EMMA MOSELEY YE AR 12 How many must die before things change? Their lives remembered Only as numbers.

Existence is hell. My gender demonises me, it damns me. I am not your plaything. I am not your sexual currency.

The world is unravelling, frantically winding out of control But how was it held together before?

I am numb.

Black skin is a death sentence. Black skin has been a death sentence for the past 400 years. Children lie dead in the streets. We step over their corpses. They deserved it. We called them super predators stripped them of their innocence forced them into the streets locked them in prison cells killed their parents. And we pat ourselves on the back: this is how it is. Things mustn't change. They can't.

137 women killed by a partner every day. How many can you name? How many must die before things change? It's time to wake up. How many fear holding hands with their love? Do you? I do. I cannot love who I choose. 12 countries can legally kill me. Will you remember my name? Will things change if I die? Our soil is saturated with tears, Our oceans are filled with screams. No one is safe until we are all safe.

13% of the USA population is black. 43% of the victims of fatal police shootings are black. How many can you name? How many must die before things change? We drank the kool-aid. We've been drinking it for centuries. It's time to wake up. But I am tired.

PGS pupils, staff and families celebrate Portsmouth Pride, 2019.

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Where in heaven’s name does one begin? Never have I thought the ancient Chinese animadversion ‘may you live in interesting times’ more perplexingly wrongheaded.

into a near-infinity whilst, when I think back, March seems like yesterday.

I am sick of interesting times. For these past 4 years, this country (and much of our sorry world) has had enough ‘interesting times’ to fill a century. Never before - in my admittedly short 26-yearold life (and who knows what fun the future holds?) - have I written off an entire year so early (circa March 23rd). Never before has the fragility of it all been so apparent.

I am lucky. The main effect of this event on me has been psychological. I have managed to work throughout the months. I haven’t lost any one I love or know. I think, though I can’t be certain, that I had a mild form of the illness in mid-March: I was beset by a crushing headache and hoarse cough, but after a few days they were gone. So in lieu of a heartbreaking story, or triumph in the face of death, or even any petty personal despair, I shall offer a few observations, for what they’re worth.

Of course, everyone by now has re-read Camus’ The Plague, but what struck me so forcibly when I perused it again at the beginning of this ‘crisis’ was how masterfully the writer captures the psychological, even the phenomenological, effects of pestilence. How it warps one’s sense of time. How cyclothymic the experience is, veering wildly between a weird sense of festivity and a horrifying blankness. I’m sure I am not the only one to record changes in the intensity of my dreams, for example. One particularly horrible night-terror consisted of a group of machines suddenly appearing in a metropolis quite like London, killing anyone who had any human relationship, and allowing the rest of us to live on the condition that we resided in cages, slept only 3 hours a day, worked tirelessly for the machines and neither spoke nor communicated with anyone. My sense of time is positively Bergsonian: a day can stretch

Firstly, it has not been fashionable to be sceptical of government policy these past few months. Or rather, it has been permissible to be sceptical only in a certain way, namely sceptical of the lateness or laxity of the lockdown. I confess, although I was profoundly alarmed by the pestilence and still am, I have been at first mildly, and now increasingly, sceptical of the whole policy of ‘lockdown’. Of course, I am not a scientist and I, like everyone else, trust scientific advice when it's given. But we should not surrender our minds or freedom to scientists as though they were a caste of obscure Brahmin intoning the sacral language of R-numbers and stochastic probability. Whether a lockdown on this scale, to this degree, and whether an expansion of the state’s powers to a literally unprecedented extent were necessary are open questions, although you wouldn’t know it by reading or watching



Deserted Commercial Road 3 April 2020 (Photo: John Sadden)

much of the British media. One of the more alarming aspects of these months, at least for me, has been the bizarre unanimity and unreflectiveness of the British media - rarely was dissent from the government’s policy given airtime or space. And I’m not talking about rightwing columnists and libertarian idiots – or even for that matter Lord Sumption. I’m talking about Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University. I’m talking about Dr John Lee, or Dr John Iaoannidis of Stamford School of Medicine, or Professor Sucharit Bhakdi of Meinz. Instead, we have heard asinine talk about ‘The Science’ (as if this were a single thing; as if this warranted a definite article) from profoundly inexperienced and incompetent politicians, who have no idea what they are doing and who can barely conceal this fact when they’re wheeled out squirming at 5pm to address a beleaguered nation. The farce that is Matt Hancock is not one any civilised people should have to endure. I urge you, put aside 3 hours to investigate the genuine conflicts and contentions within the epidemiological and scientific communities across the world regarding the efficacy of lockdown. What you will find is not just a surprising breadth of opinion, but a mess (yes, mess) of conflicting data.


2 April 2020 (Photo: John Sadden)

13 April 2020 (Photo: John Sadden)

I broadly consider myself of the left, and it distresses me to disagree so profoundly with so many people with whom I usually agree. But it is easy for wealthy liberals in pleasant houses with large gardens to finger-wag and exhort and retweet Neil Ferguson articles (in between Zooming their equally comfortable colleagues), when millions of low-paid, low-skilled, zero-hour workers have seen their livelihoods go up in smoke; when there are millions who have been trapped inside, unable to meet or see their loved ones; millions of perfectly healthy young people who have had their educations thwarted, or indeed ruined; millions of healthy older people who, given a choice, would rather take a risk and enjoy the remaining few years of life pursuing their ordinary pleasures, but instead are cooped-up and, so often, alone; millions of other Britons now too terrified to emerge, fearful lest the virus strike them down, as they assume it inevitably will. The British media had an obligation to foster a lively national debate about this most

profound change to our way of life, and it failed. Where, too, has been Britain’s proudly vocal human rights lobby, who (quite rightly) fight to safeguard abstruse rights when the government hints at their amendment or removal? We have witnessed the destruction of ordinary rights unseen in our history, without a peep. And it’s no good saying the changes are only ‘temporary’. ‘To be temporary’ is, ironically, not a measurement of time. Indeed, it can mean endlessly, depending on who’s judging. Thirdly, and I have to say it, I wish there were less of a national cult of the NHS. I think this fetish is harmful to our health, and I don’t mean that just metaphorically. Marx notes that when we fetishise something we discharge it of its material reality and invest it with powers it doesn’t have; we see it lopsidedly; we grotesquely enlarge one inessential element of it at the expense of all other qualities. We have turned the NHS into a national fetish - the clapping every Thursday night is a pure example of the magical thinking of fetishism, for instance. I wish every Tory voter who clapped so assiduously and thumpingly, every Tory voter who painted their windows with pretty rainbows thanking NHS staff, and all the rest of it - I wish all these would actually vote for a party who bothered to fund the NHS properly. Clapping does nothing. Indeed, a few of my doctor friends have been actively appalled by it. What is needed is grown-up democratic participation and holding those who would privatise, mismanage and defund to account. Likewise, the nightly bulletins of journalists in ICU units, with all the heartwrenching paraphernalia of tubes and plastic garb and monitors, has occluded the national tragedy of what has taken place, more silently and disgracefully, in our nursing homes. I can’t help but thinking, too, that the exhortation to ‘protect our NHS’ (from a government, or a party of government, which has consistently underprotected it) is the wrong way round. The NHS is here to protect us, not contrariwise. It is not separated - or alienated - from the

economic, social and civic life of the nation: indeed, the entire discourse of NHS vs. Economy is profoundly stupid. Thankfully, this discourse has begun to ebb away these past few weeks. There seems to be a growing recognition that, even if there were a so-called ‘second spike’, it would be unfeasible to re-enter lockdown at the depth from which we are now groping ourselves out of. There also seems to be a growing recognition that the damage already done to the national life by this lockdown - physical, mental, financial - is in itself a crisis which may dwarf the one we appear to be, tentatively, resolving. To end on a less contentious note, I think it can now be pretty much agreed that the government has blown it. The grotesque deficiencies of the modern Conservative Party – from its distrust of local government, its amateurishness, to its inability to gauge the mood in any other part of the kingdom except England – have been consistently exposed. Gone forever is the myth of British efficiency and good-governance (as if the bungling of Brexit hadn’t already exploded that). Every aspect of the British state has been found wanting, and perilously dysfunctional. The unique achievement of the Johnson government may turn out to be the inability to manage the defining crisis of our era combined with precipitating a depression the likes of which we haven’t seen for 300 years. We, the British, introduced the world to industrial modernity. We created the modern liberal state. We are the first to endure the limits of that liberal state in the profoundly chaotic world of the 21st century. It is unclear if such a state can survive. Meanwhile, for all of us, ominous noises sound from the future’s grim horizon. And so, let us join with the French diplomat and writer Paul Claudel who said at the start of the Great Depression, ‘Gentlemen, in the little moment that remains for us between the crisis and the catastrophe, we may as well drink a glass of champagne.’

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what did you do in the

LOCKDOWN, MS SMITH? LUCY SMITH (TE ACHER OF PRS , HE AD OF YE AR 8) As a child, I had a particular fascination with the experience of those on the Home Front during World War II. Every time I went to my grandmother’s to stay over I would ask her the same question: “What did you do in the war, grandma?” She would take me into the kitchen, sit me down, light up a Silk Cut cigarette and tell me what it was like to live at such a strange time in history, with all its restrictions on the usual human freedoms we enjoy. I would listen with interest as she told me the same stories over and over again- what sort of gas masks they had, the different types of shelters there were, the ration books, and the propaganda. We find ourselves living in another strange time in human history, facing a different type of enemy but one which no less impacts on our day to day lives. The language used by the government and the media has, at times, been deliberately evocative of wartime in order to arouse the sort of “blitz spirit” that tends to appeal to the national psyche.


With this in mind, I thought it would be a fun use of lockdown to try and recreate some of the classic Allied British and American propaganda posters of World War II, updating them to put across messages relating to the coronavirus pandemic which we find ourselves living through. In doing so, I have been able to teach myself some the basics in using Adobe Photoshop. Although I have used other software from Adobe’s creative package, this is my first time using Photoshop so I have managed to go some way to accomplishing that much-popularised quarantine goal of learning a new skill! I hope the results, four of which are shown here, are amusing as well as carrying some serious messages relating to our behaviour during this time of international crisis.



VE 75: Comparing

the Blitz and Covid-19

During lockdown, the nation celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day – but, necessarily, in a socially distanced or remote manner. Simon Lemieux (Head of History & Politics) draws some interesting parallels between war and pandemic. Writing this as I am exactly 75 years after VE Day I am struck by three things in particular. The irony that we are celebrating final victory in Europe, and liberation from the oppressive ideology of Nazism but being distinctly unfree, confined to base as it were. Like convicts, let out only for daily exercise, all ‘prison visits’ to take place at a safe distance. No street parties, just some bunting and Union flags battling for window space with rainbows and tributes to key workers. Free to celebrate, yet everywhere in chains selfisolation, to misquote Rousseau. Secondly, the parallels with the Blitz fascinate and resonate. The final, and most tragic aspect, is that so many of those dying from COVID-19, are exactly those who survived the Blitz and the Second World War, those in our country aged over 80. The Blitz in its main 1940-41 phase claimed around 43,000 lives in total the majority in London, with cities the worst affected. Those in slum areas and the less well off on balance fared the worst, relying more on communal shelters or the budget Morrison shelter, while the middle classes could afford the more robust Anderson shelters. And for the really wealthy, there was always a country retreat. So fastforward to 2020, 30,000 deaths and rising, London is worst hit and minority groups are disproportionately affected. It is the poor who have the humiliation of school meal vouchers not scanning at their local Tesco’s, while the chattering classes enjoy Ocado home deliveries, lowering the chances of contamination. Crises such as the Blitz and COVID-19 bring us together, yet reveal inequalities in society. Not so much an equaliser as a magnifier.

If there is one winner in all this, it will be NHS funding. The NHS are the frontline troops, the combat corps of doctors and nurses in the frontline combatting the deadly foe, but also vital are those behind ‘enemy lines’, driving ambulances, cleaning the wards, preparing hospital food etc. Casualty lists of the fallen appear regularly, each with poignant stories to tell. Not numbers or statistics but real faces with actual families. Many have served our NHS having come from afar, just as with Indians, Canadians, Poles, the Free French in the war. British frontline forces from the time of Waterloo have always been rather less British than we might imagine. Lest we forget, there was a Spanish surgeon serving on the Mary Rose warship back in 1513. The NHS emerged out of the debris of World War II as part of the newly crafted Welfare State, I anticipate that a renewed political attraction for high quality public services with the attendant tax burden, may well be one political outcome of all this. So can we see other wartime parallels? Well, rationing for sure (three items of home baking ingredients per customer). Queues and uncertainty about stock availability; one day I genuinely found all my local shops were out of sunflower oil; what to do? There is the heroes-andvillains theme played out by the media. We have stories promoted of heroic efforts such as Captain Tom Moore and other fundraisers, those individuals who sacrifice creature comforts to enter the fray by serving in the emergency services and as key workers. Yet, we are chided about the selfish individuals who hoard, scam, travel hundreds of miles to ‘smell the sea air’. The Blitz and World War II too


saw shirkers, black marketeers and those who exploited the misery and loss of others. What about education? Evacuation, in the war to Bournemouth for the bulk of PGS pupils, to their bedrooms for the coronial generation. Make do and mend, improvisation, innovation, making the best of what we can. Disruption for sure, but clear attempts to carry on with established routines: daily (digital) registration, regular if slightly shortened lessons accompanied by daily devotionals/workouts/mindfulness. ‘We are PGS’ prevails, ‘We shall return’ though probably in staggered order and with appropriate social distancing. But at least the buildings will be cleaner and more pristine than they were when the school returned to the High St in 1945. Our characters as educators and pupils will have been shaped; we’ll have enjoyed some challenges and new luxuries – suspension of uniform, laxer dress code for staff (no onesies though), less homework/ marking. But we’ve often struggled with getting to grips with new technology, exams don’t go away, syllabuses must be waded through. A return to the new normality is anticipated by most, but we’ll miss some things about remote learning. My reflections and minor musings are of course entirely Anglo-centric, yet this is a global pandemic. In no other country I suspect would this comparison bear up or resonate. Yet, other countries too, will be drawing on their own historical resources. For Spain, it is parallels with the 1936-39 civil war and for France, the Occupation endured during World War II. For the US, such wartime comparisons make less sense. For our friends ‘across the pond’, this is war very much on their home front. Far from coming to the aid of a beleaguered Europe, their supreme leader struggles to deliver a message of consistency and unity beyond that of having an eye to November’s elections. A case for Trump of, ‘Ask not what we can do for you with COVID, but how COVID can work for me (or at least not wreck my chances of reelection)’. So, a marathon piece about an epic crisis. ‘See you on the other side’, as Great War soldiers would often say before going over the top into an uncertain fate.

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THE WAR IS OVER! The war is over! The war is over! Breathe a sigh of relief the war is over! Wave your flags from side to side and cheer VE Day is here! Jump and shout hurray The war is over! The war is over! Remember the day you were born And the freedom you have now The soldiers fought long and hard So we could have this day.


So as we celebrate, Stop for a moment and think of our ancestors Who fought for us to live in peace. We are forever grateful to those who lost their lives for us. Thank you for your bravery and courage. We shall cheer in your honour As VE day is here. Kayla 4P

Broad searchlight blades intersect, separate and cross, flare the Common’s trees, probing beams towards the city, watched by crowds of silent people silhouetted against night sky. Bright Venus sparkles high overhead. Red/green paths of light colour the Swashway. Parked fleet glimmers on the horizon.

Young pupils celebrated the 75th Anniversary of VE Day by writing poems, creating bunting and baking and decorating delicious cakes. Tanya (2G) and Alfonso (2G) created some beautiful bunting for the occasion.

Searchlight symbolism’s understood but feeling’s muted; we’re sombre in unnatural quiet: no shouting, dancing, drinking, coupling, nor any flag-waving do we feel like doing now.





1945 JOHN SADDEN ARCHIVIST News of Victory in Europe, on the 8th May, signalled that the end of the war was imminent. Throughout Portsmouth, church bells joyously rang out and in Portsmouth Harbour ships’ sirens and hooters joined in a cacophonous chorus of celebration. The residents of the city decked their battered, narrow terraced streets with bunting and Union Jacks. Spontaneous street parties took off with singing and dancing. Effigies of Hitler were burned. One immediate and very welcome benefit for pupils, announced by Headmaster Donald Lindsay, was a two-day school holiday enabling pupils to join the street parties and, later, a crowd of 25,000 celebrating in the Guildhall Square. They cheered as sailors climbed the burned-out shell of the Guildhall tower to ring the Pompey Chimes. The editor of The Portmuthian took it all in his stride: “Victory in Europe has not, if the stark truth must be told, inaugurated any dramatic change in our life or progress”. The school, he reported, “is rising Phoenix-like from its own ashes”. On their return from their celebratory holiday the boys assembled in the school hall for a Service of Thanksgiving before academic studies were resumed. It was business as usual. Pupils had returned from their evacuation at Southbourne back in January 1945 and over the following months had enthusiastically played their part putting the school back together again. The school site, occupied by the Royal Navy for five

PGS Pupils walking past a bombsite in the High Street 1945

years, had been bombed. Incendiaries badly damaged the Lower School (now the Upper Junior) and an explosive bomb made a large crater in the Quad, taking out many windows. Hilsea was in a terrible state following army use, though cricket matches were able to take place. Classrooms were reinstated and arrangements made for athletic sports to take place at the Royal Naval ground at Pitt Street. VE day was celebrated, but the war was not over. Relatives of men fighting in the Far East, where the war raged on, could not fully embrace the joy. A further eleven former pupils are known to have died following the Victory in Europe. The school looked to the future. Temporary wartime staff left, pre-war staff returned and new staff were taken on. Confidence was growing. The number of pupil admissions increased dramatically. “Already, the school is regaining its former vigour”, it was reported, “enthusiasm grows apace”. The school was “on the threshold of a new age… “.


School Governor and Lord Mayor Cllr Rob Wood and the Lady Mayoress continued with their civic duties through Lockdown when circumstances permitted. Here they are seen socially distanced from the Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, and naval base commander, Commodore Jeremy Bailey (OP 1978-91 and PGS parent), at a flag raising ceremony marking the start of Armed Forces Week in June.

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EXIT, no stage left James Robinson (Director of Drama) makes a plea for the survival of our theatres I know many of you enjoy theatre, and like me you may be very sad and worried about the possibility / probability of losing a large proportion of theatres and companies in this country, large and small. Make no mistake, these venues will shut, some will go into administration, some will become nightclubs or supermarkets (remember how close the Kings Theatre was to becoming a Wetherspoons once?), and some may take years before they are able to return to a normal programme. If culture in this country is not exactly being ignored by government currently, it is definitely towards the back of the queue. Apart from isolated interviews, there seems little national drive to save our theatres, maybe because many people feel that these places are being supported by 'someone else'. They're not. That someone is you. Society without theatre is an impoverished one. So let's do something before it disappears. I'd love to help guarantee that many of my favourite theatres are safe, but I can't afford to support them all, and neither can you. It may be there's a venue in a neighbouring town you love, but if we just take that approach, we'll end up diluting support for places on our

doorstep. More Wetherspoons, people. So let's support our own city venues, and ask our friends, either through copying this onwards or starting your own campaign to do something similar in Southampton (save the Nuffield!), Chichester, Newbury, Brighton, Salisbury, Northampton, Leicester, Manchester, Leeds...you can see where this is going. And yes, yes, London too, although I do suspect that theatres like the National and the Old Vic, with their legions of supporters and sponsors, will find a way out of this.

The Kings Theatre in a deserted Albert Road (Photo: John Sadden)

I'm donating the approximate cost of two tickets to the New Theatre Royal in and will be doing the same for the Kings, Southsea. These are beautiful theatres built by that celebrated theatre architect, Frank Matcham. I don't frequent them every week, or indeed every month, but I have enjoyed shows and directed plays and musicals there and I don't want them to go. If you live locally and can afford to, consider doing the same. Let's see if we can make something go national. Something like 'Save Our Local Theatres'. Or whatever you want. The name doesn't matter. The money does.

Cancelled production of 'Annie' at the Kings. Will the sun come out tomorrow for Portsmouth's theatres?

THE SHOW MUST GO ON Every Friday throughout Lockdown, PGS drama productions such as Goodnight Mr Tom, Mary Poppins, Treasure Island and some of the critically acclaimed Kings Theatre musicals were live-streamed on Youtube and enjoyed by hundreds of PGS families and Old Portmuthians. Right: 'Bring it on!', Nov 2019

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Needle in lockdown Jan Needle (OP 1954-60) has written over thirty novels as well as plays, television series and other books for adults and children. JAN NEEDLE OP 1954-60 Lurking over my laptop in the midst of the Corona Lockdown, beset by terrible stories from around the country (and the world), it occurred to me that I needed a laugh more than almost anything. Not enough to marvel at the magnificent ineptitude of Boris and his Bumblers on the telly every night, I wanted something that would amuse me without an edge of trepidation. In the old days, when I lived in Portsmouth, there was the sea. If I couldn’t sail on it, for whatever reason, I could at least swim in it or walk along the beach. Up here in Manchester we have many rivers and canals, but they’re not the same, are they? Even though the Mersey is running almost unpolluted now (lucky ducks and fish!), you’d hardly want to swim in it. And I thought of other plagues. Of how old Shakespeare often had to leave his work in London and go on tour with his gang of actors to get away from their equivalent of Covid 19. And I thought of the days when I was a young reporter on The News, complete with suede shoes and a silly hat. Not far from there to imagine that young Will was a cub reporter, wielding a quill pen instead of the ubiquitous Bic I used. What would it have been like if the editor of Ye Globe, in Fleet Street, had sent him to interview King Lear? Fleet Street was the Fleet Ditch in those days, an open sewer full of filth. Having worked there when I moved from Portsmouth, I’m saying nothing! So the idea was born to demote the Bard from his perch as Britain’s greatest writer (and let’s hear it for Marlowe, Webster, Tourneur and the rest) to being a spotty youth tricked into marriage far too young

Photo of Jan Needle and new book

by a much older Stratford lass known (possibly) as Anne Hathadose. In an era when fifty was a ripe old age for dying, the eight year gap between Bill and his squeeze was possibly significant. I have to admit that since being introduced to his scribblings, I’ve become something of an expert. Although I was terrible at school – eased out of PGS after two terms in the sixth form, for general hopelessness – I did go on to get a first-class honours degree in drama at Manchester University seven years later. Mr Snelling, my English master, was not wrong, however. When I took an A level in the subject aged 25, I got an E. Whoops – sorry sir!

young Will could claim! Oh, that takes me back. A Brickwoods bitter at one and eight a pint. Less than ten pee. I’ve almost finished the next Covid Caper starring Shakespeare, although at least one other non-Bard story might be interposed for variety on the way. This one is set in Scotland, among Macbeth and ‘his three weird sisters’. It’s called Scotch on the Rocks, and is full of shenanigans that would make a Sun reporter blush (possible? Answers on a postcard please.)

Shakespeare, like most of the Elizabethan dramatists, is genuinely full of wonders. But it didn’t take me long to realise that he was a populist, and much of what some people treat with po-faced reverence today was meant to make the groundlings laugh. Let’s face it, they had pickpockets in the audience, along with busty maidens selling a squeeze of their ‘oranges’ for a groat – so why not cater for other tastes as well? If you pop out old Gloucester’s eyes on stage with the deeply compassionate line ‘Out vile jelly’ you’re inviting vulgar giggles, surely?

Then there’s one set in a school not unlike Eton, where our current Prime Minister went, and the fees are nearly thirty grand a year. People who’ve sent their kids there reckon it’s cash well spent, I’m told. We’ll see.

So there’s this weirdo king, who’s decided to split his kingdom up between three daughters, and here’s this young scribe trying to write it up for Ye Globe. It’s got tragedy all over it, and once I’d started, I just couldn’t stop. The best fun out of a world pandemic I could ever have imagined. Scrabble through my memory for other crazy stories, dream of trips to Denmark and Illyria, how about a day or two in Rome? Just think of the expenses

To which my only answer would be this: what’s more serious than Will Shakespeare? That’s what I was taught at school!

So there you are. I got fed up with sitting indoors and dreaming of my boats (one in Langstone, one on the Menai Straits), while eating and drinking far too much, so out popped Covid Capers. I could be better served by writing something serious, you might think.

Shakespeare – the Truth www.amazon.co.uk/dp/ B088NC2Q77

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How coronavirus impacted


Coronavirus has had a significant impact in many different areas of the sporting world. From grass roots and Sunday league to elite level sport, the virus has put a halt to it all, and there are consequences across the board. Lower league football clubs, in particular, are in a state of uncertainty. Teams have not played a match in months and this is a huge problem for a number of reasons. Clubs are still having to spend money to pay players' wages, as players still rely on this source of income for their livelihood (although there have been a fair few examples of players accepting wage reductions). Clubs have other ongoing expenses, such as paying other staff and maintaining their stadiums. Their costs are still relatively high, and this is very problematic as their income has completely dried up. Lower league football clubs have to be very careful when managing their finances under normal circumstances, and so to have no income coming into the club means big problems. Their income comprises ticket sales, sponsorship money and merchandise sales from club shops. Without these sources of income it means that the clubs are turning over huge losses each month and some clubs simply can't run like this, and are facing extremely tough decisions over what to


do in these unprecedented times. Barry Fry, the former Director of Football at League 1 club Peterborough FC, has warned that many clubs may be forced to fold during this time. This could be catastrophic for English football, as many great teams with illustrious histories may be lost in the midst of this pandemic. Fingers crossed. On the other end of the spectrum, elite level sport has also been impacted badly. Top earning athletes are being targeted by the media, and in many cases this has been unfair and undeserved. There has been lots of controversy around whether top level athletes should have their wages cut, whether they are doing enough for charity etc. For example, Arsenal football player Mesut Ozil was dragged through the mud in the media after refusing to accept a wage cut. He was one of only three Arsenal players to reject this wage cut despite being the highest paid player in the squad. This was the story put out in the media to try and portray Ozil as a selfish person, but in a statement from Mesut Ozil and the football club the following day it was revealed that Ozil had been doing a lot for charity during this time (something he has done for a sustained period of time). The reason that he had not accepted the pay cut was because


Marcus Rashford

he wanted to have control over where his money was going, and to ensure he could donate as he wished to charity, which is completely understandable given that he did not know what the owners of the club would do with this money if he were to accept the cut to his wages. Recently, of course, Marcus Rashford of Manchester United has forced the government to change their policy on free school meals for children during the summer holidays through a highly effective campaign that put politicians to shame. Another negative impact that coronavirus has had on elite level sport, and particularly on sports such as tennis, athletics and golf, is that the top level athletes (excluding the few big stars in these sports, who have lucrative sponsorship deals and are already rich) rely on tournament money to earn a living. When athletes go to these tournaments, the prize money is what they are playing for. Less well-known names in tennis rely on tournaments such as Wimbledon and the French Open to make their money. First round prize money for Wimbledon 2019 was ÂŁ45,000, which is a very substantial amount for a tennis player who is less well known, and not raking in the big money from sponsorships etc. Without this source of revenue, many tennis


players, athletes and golfers will be losing their main source of income. This will bring uncertainty and doubt as to where their next paycheck will come from etc, and is another dark cloud over sport during these times. Coronavirus has also affected many athletes and clubs in their preparations for tournaments and competitions that will now either not take place, not be finished or be postponed for an unclear period of time. Lots of these top athletes and clubs have committed a lot of money that is essentially for nothing. For example, in the EFL championship, Leeds United brought in over 10 new players for the 2019/2020, spending big money on players wages and transfer fees in order to secure promotion to the Premier League, which they have been agonisingly close to in previous years. They are currently sitting in 1st place in the Championship, with automatic promotion all but secured, barring a major slip up. Coronavirus has now potentially put a stop to that. There has been a lot of talk about making the football leagues ‘null and void’, essentially meaning that Leeds would not be promoted to the Premier League and all that hard work and spending would be for nothing, with a lot of their players on loan as well and most likely not returning next season to push for the title again. If this happens, it will mean teams and athletes spend lots of money, without getting anything back. This again could put some of these athletes and clubs in financial trouble and be a major issue for the sporting world. Overall, I would say that there have been a lot of negative effects on sport caused by the global pandemic that have applied pressure to many areas of the industry. However, we need to put this in context as there are bigger problems in the world and many sports people have stated the health and safety of everyone is paramount and should always be put first. Hopefully sport will be back on our screens soon, and the coronavirus pandemic will be a thing of the past.

AN ARTIST'S inspiration Many in the school community will know that Ruthy Martin, the Senior School receptionist, is also an artist and her talents have often been used by the school for leaflets, posters and signage. Recently, she illustrated a new banner which greets all visitors coming through the Arch, reminding us how to stay safe.

Ruthy with her school signage

Lockdown has brought problems for Ruthy in accessing art materials for her personal art, but also an added impetus. “I was very scared of getting ill at first, and was full of nervous energy,” Ruth explained, “and being creative was my outlet”. Ever resourceful, Ruthy adapted her normal creative work accordingly. “I was struggling to get any watercolour paper and the right colour acrylic paints and so scavenged little bits of paper and used envelopes.” The results are delightfully tiny pop-up cards, some no bigger than a credit card, showing her distinctive characters

– cats, dogs, rabbits, seagulls, dolphins, sailors in their yachts – mostly set in an immediately identifiable Portsmouth. Ruthy’s wonderful miniature scenes may be seen at her studio at No. 1 Hotwalls.

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Music and mindfulness at PGS

During lockdown, member of the Cotton family perform a concert using home-made carrot recorders.

Gareth Hemmings (Director of Music) The challenges of remote learning have inspired our Music Department team to come up with some highly creative solutions and exciting projects to engage our pupils and the wider school community. 1-1 instrumental and vocal lessons have continued over Google Meet and feedback from staff, parents and pupils has been overwhelmingly positive about this way of learning; ironically remote teaching has actually fostered closer relationships with the Department and families as the lessons are actually

PGS Junior Brass Band 'Baggy Trousers"

happening in pupils’ homes. This progress has been evident in the number of pupils submitting performances for our virtual concerts. The new Music Department website provided a platform for our weekly lunchtime recitals, and for releasing past concert performances for families and friends to enjoy. A YouTube live stream provided the platform for our musical theatre singers to perform an evening of songs from shows and another open mic band night is planned for the end of term along with a Baroque singing extravaganza! The Department website has also been the platform for our new Music for Mindfulness twice

weekly podcast to share music to soothe the soul and calm the mind, as well as a section for discovering new music with posts by both pupils and staff. Musical activities have been set for pupils to try alone and with their families and there are a wealth of musical training activities on the site as well. This has been an important way of keeping the musical life of the school alive and present in our community.

COMPOSING MUSIC DURING LOCKDOWN Benedict Blythe (Year 11) has composed two pieces, 'Flying Away' and 'Mirror in the Field', inspired by thoughts of freedom, concern for the environment and reflections on the nature of identity and isolation.



Flying Away... Mirror in the Field




The reassuring presence of School Counsellor Dr Niki King has been maintained throughout these challenging times through a series of weekly videos on mindfulness to help pupils, parents and staff. These sessions have helped with, for example, those of us who have experienced difficulty sleeping, or who need to be reminded to be kind to ourselves. The whole series is available to view on the Portsmouth Point blog.

During lockdown I have mainly been concentrating on completing an art/words/music project with my musical partner. This was originally part of a multi-media installation During lockdown I have mainly been concentrating on completing an art/ words/music project with my musical partner. This was originally part of a multi-media installation that we had booked into the Portsmouth Festivities programme and was to include artwork by Simon Whitcomb and photographs by Nick Ingamells. In the face of the pandemic we have recorded a mini-album which we have just released. The track ‘One In, One Out’ is a specific response to my experience of the lockdown (lyrics reproduced below) and the album artwork is a piece I created for the installation.

Blanket - wrapped and bleary Lost on the endless prairie of the widescreen afternoon Slippered, slip-shod and sleep-eyed behind half-drawn curtains Hiding from the day Only the low mumble of the television and the hum of the refrigerator To counterpoint my breathing One in, one out, one in, one out Soft-spoken voices from the house next door Then a cough and a sudden laugh, high and sharp With a hint of madness And later the clang of a tuneless piano Announces the shuttered evening and all its endless hours With a muffled, half-remembered tune One in, one out, one in, one out Digital download available here https://junkyard3.bandcamp.com/releases

P O R T S M O U T H P O I N T. B L O G S P O T. C O M




ARTDuring Lockdown

During lockdown, Year 9 pupil, Samuel Lewis, created a digital drawing above made with the Tayasui Sketches app on iPad: "I wanted to convey the shared experience of Covid-19 that has affected people worldwide. I have been studying street art in Art and I wanted to use that aesthetic in my piece."

Cathedral Studies by Habina Seo (Yr 12)

Self-portrait with Naomi by Elsa Davies (Yr 10) (on right)



Tonal study by Elsa Davies (Yr 10)



'LA PESTE' Year 13 IB students discuss Albert Camus’ La Peste (The Plague).

Nikhila Behari: I felt that Camus’ observation that “The plague never dies or vanishes entirely” could be interpreted in many different ways. The first one being purely scientific as, a plague is never fully eradicated even with a vaccine. There will always be that pathogen that still exists and has escaped the vaccine thus allowing the plague to survive and throughout history come in and out of society. Additionally, I read it as the way in which the plague causes many negative externalities, for example the impact on society of the death of loved ones, the trauma from those working on the front line and lastly the economic impact that the plague has caused can be everlasting and change the way society operates forever. Dominic Ager: Camus is suggesting that truth - real, enlightened truth, not ignorance disguising as truth - is the force for good in the world. The line “it is knowing whether or not two and two do make four” has further interesting implications for the nature of truth. The suggestion here is that truth - and by consequence goodness, if you follow Camus’ answer - is not concerned with abstract ideas such as reward or

punishment or the whims of people, but absolute truths such as two plus two equal four, and therefore it is concerned with the pursuit of knowledge. What I think Camus is trying to say here is that in order to make an objectively good decision or action it requires a great deal of knowledge. What causes some people to make good or bad actions has nothing to do with the morality of a person, but with their level of ignorance. Imogen Grears: I believe this virus is allowing us to change as a population as a world or as a country and if it never finishes entirely then this may seem to improve how we live. For example we could look at the effects of coronavirus on the environment and climate change. Looking at this from a philosophical point of you may see that this problem and the plague is helping to shape our society and to show us what we can live without. Rex Binning: There seems to be a sense of our own self-deception portrayed by Camus. We never expect anything to disrupt the comfort of our fairly privileged lives so when something occurs which does interrupt it, we seem to take offence as if to say that we have been wronged by disease or pandemic. The “bad dream” reference is especially true. We seem to struggle to accept that this is reality. People are still holding the belief that future plans will follow through and that this is a mere interval in our lives and the play, as it were, will continue shortly but this is

very much a part our life which we must embrace to avoid falling into a situation where we are all stuck waiting for our “deserved” moment of bliss. Camus is opposed to the ideas of absolute freedom held by other existentialists such as Sartre and Beauvoir. Camus believes that the human condition is confining, that with pestilence, plague and famine nobody will ever truly be free. I wouldn’t completely agree or disagree with this; they pose real threats to us and our freedom but they only restrict our freedom to the same extent that the rest of the human condition’s routine and monotony does. Moreover, although we have to stay indoors and avoid contact, we do not have to think in a restricted and confined mindset.

P O R T S M O U T H P O I N T. B L O G S P O T. C O M








YE AR 12


I’m trapped in a snow globe, In my own world. Lost in a flurry of thoughts, In a sea of words. The people walk past me Unaware. I want to break through the glass, But I don’t dare.

Everything seems to pause, Everything seems to slow, Even the slowing is slow, As all slows to a halt

Every day I dream of What’s beyond my grasp, My vision is obscured Just want to rip off this mask. While you may be safe, Shielded from the pain, There’s a longing for reality And I’m bound by these chains. So I sit here staring through a window, Alone. Blinded by the falling snow.

Time seems to have stopped, Each day goes by slowly, Nothing seems to ever change , Simply an ever-perpetuating state of boredom, An insatiable feeling of emptiness, Of missing something, Of missing everything And yet, just out of our grasp, Everything seems the same, The world lives on without us, We sit and watch it from behind glass, From behind a screen, Perhaps the scariest thing is that the world doesn’t appear to need us We are unnecessary Without us, The sun still sets and rises, But there is no one to see it, To post about it, To show the world about it, We are caged, just as we have caged the world, As wingless birds, We wait, Wait for the moment we may fly, As we watch birds beyond the glass Each day meshes into the next, Why are we here again, What is this for, Why?



It’s too quiet I don’t like it I hate it I want out Silence means thinking I am thinking too much How much longer Must I wait? Must I want? Must I think? I am not dead, Nor am I dying You are not dead, Nor are you dying Yet I feel I’m decaying Day by day I need out I want back Back to the halcyon days Of war Of pain Of suffering How selfish it seems But I need it



2020! Just a phrase we know. That’s trapped us inside for days, As we hope for them to soon go, While we learn a life of new ways.

Darkness surrounded many of us, Friends and family kept in touch But their faces on a screen, Can’t compare to a simple hug.

Coronavirus. The pandemic That shouldn’t have happened to earth. That has shaken up the whole world, showing imperfections in our system.

This year threw us a curveball, Despite that, we have adapted. Obstacle are thrown but open Gateways to new beginnings.

This virus doesn’t discriminate, This virus doesn’t care about you. Your age, race, sex or disability. It doesn’t matter, we are all humans!

We thank key workers for our lives, Keeping us safe by risking their own. Not all heroes wear capes: Ours wear masks of victory!


Dreams can be renewed but love can’t, Yet we still live and move forward, And live and learn in our houses, Learning new things about ourselves.

Although our hands cannot Touch yours for the time being, We hope our stories can -


The number of crafts skyrockets, As the boredom continues on, The days and nights are indifferent, They both seem to never end.

Image: Sasha Freemind (adapted)

And give you the light in the dark.

YE AR 12 I see fire, furious cobalt flames Searing canopies, scorching families Lives aflame, money retired A planet like an enkindled match I see death, surging graphs and figures Benighted heads oblivious, devoted specialists furious Shallow acts, stretching transmission A country painted sterile I see masses, all nauseous with repeated suffering Hundreds of forgotten victims, at fault of a failing system, Protesters' silence, leaders lying A human with a coloured shield

Walls of isolation surround me, Give me hours of reflection. Despite the stress and fear I feel, I’m grateful for the opportunity. Teens struggle to teach themselves Their syllabus for upcoming exams. Whilst friends party and pity them For their hard work and determination. We look back to photographs, People herded in like goats, Everyone around in masks, Separated from loved ones close.

P O R T S M O U T H P O I N T. B L O G S P O T. C O M


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We are PGS  

The school community during the pandemic.

We are PGS  

The school community during the pandemic.

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