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The annual Easter Regatta was due to begin early on the last Monday morning of term.
The first event was a ‘swimming’ race concocted by the inventive Miss O’Connor. One had to ‘swim’ across the sand tennis court in a brown sack, imitating all the antics of dolphin kick and front crawl.
This was won by Tee Mahy, who was mimicking the crawling motion of doggy paddle with hilarious effect. Most of the other contestants moved along by inches, some of them in the backward direction!
The second race was that old classic—the flowerpot race.
Sally Gates crushed her first pot, as tradition decreed, as did the other racers. The only girl who showed mercy towards the school’s porcelain bill was Alissa Littleton, an exceedingly shy Second Former, who had no difficulty in systematically stepping, bending and twisting in order to create her path of flowerpots.
The next event was a blindfold race. Dollie Lemons made straight for the guests, who consisted of various parents and locals. Warned by rising shrieks, she recalculated her angle, and headed for the judges’ table.
Dr Carmen, scribbling hard for his latest article where he should have been paying attention to the race, never noticed her until it was too late, and she collapsed on the desk. How heartbroken was he to later find that she had crushed his beautiful Venn diagram of the Psychological Contract!
Meanwhile, Rosemary Lee and Lizzy Mortimer were both heading straight for one another. Arms outstretched, they were embracing before they knew it. Then, exclaiming in mock disgust, they ejected one another, turned in opposite directions, Rosemary to fall headfirst into a crowd of First Formers, and Lizzy to crash into Ophelia Phoenix, a Sixth Form racer who had hitherto been making quite steadily for the finishing line.
When Ophelia rose again, her perfect direction was lost, and she plodded slowly back the way she had come.
After a good ten minutes it became clear that not one of the contestants was ever going to reach the line, and so the race was discarded.
It was in the middle of the tub race, in which two girls had to cross the court inside a big washing basket using only two pole-like ‘paddles’, that there came a great peal of thunder and big raindrops began to fall.
Visitors scattered, Juniors giggled, and Miss Timber bawled into her megaphone for the school to clear up and assemble in the Hall.
Her orders were carried out instantaneously and efficiently, so that it was only fifteen minutes later that the not-so-bedraggled girls and visitors had congregated in the Hall. The Staff made their usual dignified entrance through the North door, and Miss Timber clapped her hands for implicit attention.