I arrived at Inverlochy this morning and there were already children here, waiting, it's early though and one girl taps and flicks at her 'phone while the other sits looking around, legs swinging from a chair that's too high, she's new and no doubt still interested in the height of our ceilings and the plaster decor that adorns them.
Then another car pulls up and out jumps three kids, they run up the steps shouting back to parents below, one almost leap frogs a decorative pedestal, a remnant and reminder of the past, the grand house that that once stood alone surrounded by tennis courts and trees. Many trees remain and include a hundred foot tall Norfolk pine and of course the house, large and impressive. Other cars arrive and more children come running and dancing up the steps, it's a crisp, clear, cool morning and with their breath before them they run and jump just like dragons on a quest.
Inside the house it's warm and cozy, children greet each other excitedly, they throw down bags, then someone discovers the old piano in the hallway, there's a tentative few notes as it's tested, it works! chopsticks fills the air, full percussive bass and a sweet tink tink tink as the right hand play melody; I take a look to see who's playing, there's three of them, two little girls who can hardly see over the keyboard and a very tall boy in the middle, each one playing a different part of the piano. They finish the piece and and one of the girls plays a jazz standard, I forget the title, a Cole Porter piece I think, it was written decades before she was born but she plays it beautifully, I stand and listen while children chat and run and start donning smocks for the art lessons that will start in the next few minutes. The jazz standard finishes and Robbie voice appears above the din "OK everybody in the common room" children come from outside, from the hall way, from upstairs and suddenly the common room is is full; Robbie gives instructions for the day above the excited chatter. It's the second day and there's art works to finish and new works to begin....drawings, paintings, clay models, all made between the old wooden and tiled floors and the high plaster ceilings of this grand old house; brought alive by the students who love to learn, I can hear low noises coming from the rooms now, I take a peek inside, I see concentrated faces and hands working assuredly at a creation, nobody notices me and I close the door; time for a coffee while I work out next terms programme.