“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

It is often said that we live in a complex world and that our existence is ever more complicated. In the Senior School assembly this week we had the chance to think a little about the benefits of simplicity and recognising that often complicated problems have relatively simple solutions. I told the following story to illustrate my point. Over the holidays I was fortunate enough to go to a restaurant to celebrate a relation’s birthday. During the meal a magician came to the table to perform a trick. He asked for a watch to use and I duly gave up my timepiece. He put the watch in the back and smashed it on the side of the table with a hammer. He opened the bag with a flourish and rather than seeing the watch miraculously still intact there was a smashed watch… not quite what he had in mind. The magician was apologetic and not only offered to replace the watch but said that he would pay for my dinner too. He said I could have anything on the menu and so I chose the lasagne. Can you guess what was in the lasagne? You’ll never guess… That’s right, meat, pasta and cheese, it was lovely.

Sometimes the most obvious answer is the right one. We are starting the final term of the year and the start of a term is a good time to set some goals. Simple goals. I’ve encouraged the Senior School pupils to not overcomplicate this term. Those who have public exams should prepare for them. Regular, structured revision we all know is better than a cramming session the night before. We all know that we should seek to achieve a balance in our activities if we are to get the most from the term. We all know that it is good to establish regular sleep patterns, spend time out of doors, read books, talk to friends face to face, make the most of all that Paris has to offer and of course a little time on screen doesn’t do any harm. I know that this is all obvious but isn’t it amazing how often we are prepared to give complex or fanciful explanations to avoid confronting a simple truth?

The summer term is truly special, it should be enjoyable, and it should be fulfilling. There are no first term nerves, winter is behind us and there are few places that can be as pleasant as the riverside in Croissy during the summer. I hope that our pupils make the most of their talents, the opportunities that are on offer, and the chance to spend time with their friends. Whilst there are exams, they can be taken in as part of the term, they are not all that exists this term. For some, this will be the last term that they spend with us, it is important that it is as enjoyable as it is productive. Put simply this is the very best term in which to work hard and play hard. And for those of you who are worried about my watch, it didn’t really happen…

Have a wonderful, balanced, enjoyable and fulfilling summer term.

Nicholas Hammond