S.Anselm’s is a school Alice-Miranda could certainly attend. With many young boarders, students range from Nursery through to Year 8 (which is the equivalent of Year 7 at home in Australia). Co-ed, there is an easy rapport between the students and teachers and a real sense of happiness about the place.
The reason I wound up at S.Anselm’s was through a FB connection with Penny Price, who runs the Alphabet Street website in Sydney, promoting all sorts of events for children. Penny had highlighted some of my Alice-Miranda tour events in Australia last year and I emailed to thank her. She told me about her niece who loved Alice-Miranda but lived in England and went to boarding school – cue the link!
One of the teachers, Richard asked me if I might know his father in law in Australia – a children’s writer too by the name of Colin Thompson. I couldn’t believe it. Colin and I sat together at Linsay Knight’s farewell from Random House in December, we had books on the same shortlist for the CBCA awards in 2006 and I had recently been talking to him about the Abbotsleigh literary festival in August. His daughter Alice popped over later to say hello too. The world is a small place indeed. (When I arrived back to the hotel that night there was an email from Colin about the Abbotsleigh festival – too strange!)
The gardens are gorgeous with the ‘Headmaster’s Lawn’ dominating the front of the main building. Surrounded by flower beds it’s all very pretty. I was surprised by how large the grounds were. There were fields to play games on and an indoor heated pool as well as tennis courts and other more passive spaces.
I worked with the Year 2 students in the Lower School after lunch. They are gearing up for the Jubilee and wanted to know about Australia and if we had a queen too. I shared some things about Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose with them as well and they asked some wonderful questions.
Ian arrived and we watched a drama lesson before the children arrived back from their various activities. A group of five students were improvising a piece about the Titanic and it was great to watch their ideas unfold.