“I’m used to the rain.” – Marianne Vos

I’d forgotten one of my favourite Scottish words – driech until this week, but if I was to choose a word that sums this week then at first sight it is a pretty good one. For those not in the know it means bleak, miserable, dismal, cheerless, wearysome or dreary and this week that certainly covers the weather. There was a good article in yesterday’s Scotsman newspaper outlining the 30 best Scottish dialect words[1] if you want to mine more deeply a rich descriptive vein of vocabulary.

It has also been a challenging week for many families as unexpected obstacles have been faced on top of the weather being so very awful. From my study I have a view of the river and it is rising steadily, we are a good way off a flood warning but who knows, later this month I may be able to write to you about new school rules concerning canoeing to school. We will see, at least it will make a change from that other stuff I have clogged your inbox with.

One thing that never seems to be dampened, no matter how savage the downpour is the enthusiasm that some pupils have for playing either football or basketball outside. I’m always amazed by this commitment to sport although I do wonder how effective they are when back in the classroom. Yesterday, I was doing my lunch duty (bizarrely perhaps one of the parts of the week that I enjoy the most) when I was struck by the remarkable cheerfulness of our pupils. Just to spice things up a little I had reversed the normal queuing system and asked every child to wash their hands before going to eat, they proved willing to, they were cheerful as they waited a little longer than normal and I hope as a consequence that they all ate with suitably clean hands. Perhaps it reinforced the message that hand washing is super important at the moment. All at least appeared to be more than willing to cope with this change of routine and I was really impressed with the number of thank-yous I received having handed out the paper towels. We are fortunate to have such sensible, polite and responsible young people. It is good to be reminded that not all is doom and dreary. Similarly, I had the pleasure of being in the Junior School assembly this morning and it was truly heartening to see the enthusiasm with which each of the houses applauded and celebrated the success of the others – well done to the Vipers who won the laurels this week. Driech? Not a bit of it. Hush your wheest[2] Hammond!

Tomorrow is, of course, a leap day. A quadrennial treat for everyone. A particularly enthusiastic Happy Birthday to anyone who will enjoy the rare treat of a birthday this year. I wonder what use will be made of this extra day; whatever you are doing I hope that you have a marvellous 29th of February. And with that I will haver no more.

Nicholas Hammond



[1] https://www.scotsman.com/heritage-and-retro/heritage/these-30-words-are-shortlist-nations-favourite-scots-word-1403978
[2] https://www.scotsman.com/heritage-and-retro/heritage/these-30-words-are-shortlist-nations-favourite-scots-word-1403978