Wednesday 15 June 2011

History Day

You'd have thought the last few weeks of exams after a long (and hard) year of school, with only more difficult and more stressful times to come, that the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School's History and Economics students would have deserved a holiday until school officially restarted on the 20th June. Of course, you would have thought wrong because the imaginatively named History Day was organised to get us out of bed and doing something, when really doing nothing would have been the selected option by almost all.

I had just got back from a delightful week in Israel and prepared myself for getting through Passport control wearing flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt with an Israel passport that is 2 months from expiration. I was told to sit in the "Immigration pen" along with an Indian man speaking questionable English, an immigration officer that was, essentially, Taaj from Come Fly With Me and a goat. There, for some reason, is always an animal. Ok, so there wasn't a goat, but it smelt like there was one - something about Airports means that are not allowed to ever be cleaned and thus the floor just stinks. The guy came back, asked me if I lived here and when I replied that I did, he said he would "take me as a Brit and ignore my get up." Not quite sure that what I was wearing should determine whether or not I am allowed into the country, I just accepted it and moved swiftly on. This from the same border control that let my dad into the country on my passport, with the guy (when I explained that I didn't have my passport because my dad, who was picking up the baggage already, had it) claiming to, "Have been tired,".

I got back late, and wasn't really in the mood when I woke up the next morning for a train journey (which cost me £12.55!) into central London, even if breakfast at Starbucks, St. Pancras and Starbucks, Holborn beckoned. Even the sight of a solid 9.5/10 waiting at the platform at Radlett station couldn't perk me up (well, not all of me) and I drearily made my way onto the train.

Fuelled up, we awaited the arrival of the brains behind the History Day, a man whose main claim to fame involves working at a Sainsbury's and friendly people at the meat counter, before we were led into a room at LSE and the day began. It began, I have to admit, rather well with a really engaging (in my opinion) speaker. Although the topic, on the face of it, appeared rather dull, it was quite interesting and good discussion followed after. We'll ignore the face that one question smacked of obviousness and appeared to essentially ask if people in the Industrial Revolution were motivated by money. Although I hadn't forgotten about the lie-in so cruelly robbed of me, I had honestly been interested by part one, and hoped part would follow suit.

Days out with the History Department at Habs seldom pass without an event of some sort. Sometimes, as with the History Trip to Paris in Year 9, the route chosen by Mr Saddington will take you through the Red Light district at midnight or, as with the battlefields trip shortly after, two boys will hurriedly emerge from their hotel room very late claiming the alarm didn't go off. There was a combination this time. Firstly a fire in a nearby building, and then 3 boys turning up late after lunch.

Perhaps I should have known that I wasn't going to enjoy, that much anyway, what followed. It involved walking in the heat without any water. Not really my thing, if I am honest. While I do exaggerate, and hope to complete DofE Gold in a couple of weeks with training still being undertaken, it wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend lunchtime on such a lovely day. Don't get me wrong, the tour was interesting et al but I didn't think it is worth missing the lie-in on what is essentially a holiday for me still. It wasn't anything special, and I would have much rather been at school taking part in the pathetic excuse for lessons that will occur from next week if I was fated to wake up early.

An idea that has its merits, and indeed is worthwhile for the most part, History day should continue for future history students at Habs. Perhaps the date could be more sympathetic - would it really harm anyone moving it to a week where everyone is at school but isn't really studying, but nonetheless, it certainly turned out to be much more enjoyable than expected.