This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Emily Banyard, my publicist extraordinaire at Random House Children’s Books UK. Emily has put together a brilliant tour here – and on top of being incredibly capable and wonderfully warm, she’s a fellow Australian! She grew up about half an hour’s drive from where I live in Sydney.
Hornsby House has recently had a lot of renovation and building work done and is quite perfectly formed, although on a small parcel of land, particularly compared to what we are used to in Australia. We were warmly welcomed by the Head of English, Mrs Parkin and the librarian, Mrs Courtney-Clack. The library is lovely and clearly a hub of the school. We had lunch with the students in their dining room which doubles as a multipurpose area.
I loved seeing how well the children utilized their playground space, playing all manner of ball games, chasings and other activities – and there wasn’t a collision or cross word spoken.
My first group was Year 4 and it was great to have the opportunity to find out what they knew about Australia and tell them a little about what I do back home. The children were very enthusiastic and when it came time to do some drama I laughed when the boy I selected to play the role of the tantrum throwing student turned out to be the twin brother of the girl who was playing the Alice-Miranda part!
Hornsby House was a great way to start my time in London. The connection had come about through our Head of Junior School music at Abbotsleigh back at home. It was abundantly clear that Stephan had been a much loved member of the Hornsby House staff – with many teachers commenting on how greatly he was missed and how fortunate Abbotsleigh was to have him. I can only agree with that!