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A View from The Close 140: Friday 3rd May 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

A busy week for all – from excellent sporting fixtures and charity events to a successful Year 10 Parents’ Evening and a wonderfully entertaining storytelling day!

It has been lovely to see so many pupils on The Close this week, enjoying their sport and playing with the new croquet and putting equipment. The introduction of the cricket wicket in the centre of The Close has proved popular, with many students and teachers having a quick bat and ball during break times.

On Wednesday, the Dover community joined together to wish the Bishop of Dover a happy retirement as he leaves the diocese this May. He will still remain the College’s Visitor and we look forward to keeping him on board with us.

We are in the process of finalising staff appointments for next academic year and parents will be informed of changes in next week’s copy of A View from The Close.

I hope you enjoy the bank holiday weekend.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Doodes.


Please note that a misprint occurred in the Dover College Goes Dutch article from last week’s copy of A View from The Close. Archie Seward (8, Priory) took part in the U12 Rugby Tournament.

Sports Report

1st XI Cricket – Thursday 25th April 2019

On Thursday – just two days into the new term – the 1st XI cricketers welcomed Bethany to Maxton. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, David Yeadon (13, School) and James Hide (11, School) got off to a good start hitting 15 from the first five-overs.

Unfortunately, the early season pitch provided a real test for the boys who were quickly dismissed thereafter for 43.

In reply, some outstanding bowling from Ryan Sewell (12, School) and, in particular Jack Hanson (12, Leamington) who took an important wicket with his first ball, restricted Bethany early on. However, despite some excellent bowling from Harvey Mashiter-Yates (11, Leamington) (who turned the ball around corners), the target was just too low.

Due to an early finish, it was agreed that a short five-over game would be played with Bethany batting first on this occasion. More excellent bowling from Jack and Harvey, as well as James and Callum Parsons (11, Leamington) (who took a wicket with his first ball in Senior cricket), kept Bethany from reaching 40 from their five-overs. The lack of pressure gave the boys a chance to express themselves with Dave hitting an early boundary. Ryan and James went on to score at over 10 an over with Ryan hitting three sixes and James hitting some sublime shots for four, reaching their target with five balls to spare.

Lots to work on with the visit of the MCC next week but, with some U15s stepping up successfully there is hope for a strong season.

Over the weekend, from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, the inaugural Dover College 24hr Sports Marathon took place. This was planned to be an experimental version, involving a relatively small number of pupils and staff which, if successful, would provide a template for a much larger event supporting the College’s charity in future years. As it happened, the Marathon was a huge success, with over 50 pupils taking part from 16:00 on Friday onwards in ten different activities. The Priory pupils provided the reliable backbone for the whole 24hrs, with some a part of 19 of the 24 hours. The Senior Boys provided much needed support during the early hours, keeping the momentum going, in particular three School House boys, Antoine Chaumont (11, School), Simon Gignoux (13, School) and Alex Despres (12, School) who played in the Sports Hall from just after midnight until 04:45. Congratulations to all the pupils who took part and my thanks go to the staff who helped throughout, Messrs Jack Payne, Ed Breeze and Taylah Hutson, who was present through most of Saturday. We look forward to raising a large sum of money next year for the College charity with a whole school event.

May Day Madrigals

On Wednesday 1st May at morning break the Madrigal Group sang us in to the Summer season with appropriate songs. There is a 500-year tradition at Magdalen College, Oxford whereby the choir ascends the bell tower of the Chapel at 05:30 on May Day morning to sing madrigals to mark the beginning of Summer. Many choirs up and down the country join in this celebration by holding similar events on this day. Here, at Dover College, we have been marking this occasion for many years.

This year we began with the anonymous 13th century round, ‘Sumer is icumen in’ and followed it with two madrigals by Thomas Morley – ‘April is in my Mistress’ Face’ and ‘Now is the Month of Maying’. The 14-strong group entertained the School with this vibrant, joyful music, standing on the steps of School House – a tradition worthy of repetition, which puts us all in a good mood, especially with the sun shining and the smell of newly cut grass around us.

Happy May Day one and all!

You can watch the video of the May Day Madrigals here:

Onatti Spanish Play

The Onatti production came on Tuesday afternoon to showcase their new play and what a pleasure it has been once again to have welcomed two Spanish actors at Dover College. Our students loved the Spanish play « el viejo saloon »! Shout out to Sam, Amira and Archie who volunteered to take part!  

You can view a video of the performance that Miss Charline Marié has put together:

Bronze Expedition Explores East Kent

Last weekend, two DofE groups, totalling 11 pupils, set out on their practice expeditions.  The practice expeditions now form part of the formal training process at Bronze level and allows individual participants the chance to put into practice all the theoretical knowledge they have been told in the afternoon training sessions and the safety planning day of 16 March.

On this practice expedition, the participants learnt how to cook a “substantial hot meal” on an expedition cooker, put up a tent and share the space with others, how to pack a rucksack – and what needs to go in it, how to use a map and compass and how to work as a team.

The leaders, Mrs Aylward and Mr Cox, each walked and worked directly with a group on the first day (Saturday) of the expedition to make sure that each person in the group had a chance to lead and to show that they knew how to use the map and compass. This skill can only be polished in the practical walking of the ground itself.  The leaders enjoyed watching each participant develop confidence and practical skills.  In the afternoon, the leaders trailed each group to observe how they did on their own.  On Sunday, the groups were truly on their own as the leaders followed approved DofE guidance to observe “remotely” – from some distance away – to allow the groups to develop their teamwork and problem solving skills by themselves.

As usually happens, both groups lost their way from time to time.  As it happens, getting lost is not a DofE “Fail” – as even the best navigators can lose their way from time to time. The skills that the Assessor will be looking for on the Qualifying expedition is what actions the group takes AFTER getting lost – How do they work together to get out of that situation and back on track?

The participants finished the weekend weary, wet and warm (the weather was an odd mix of everything).  They had learnt many things – including what NOT to put in a rucksack!  Between now and the Qualifying expedition they will reflect on what they have learnt and improve on all aspects of expedition work to impress the Assessor on the Qualifying expedition.  It was a solid weekend’s work by all.

An (improvised) Inspector Calls

Year 9 have started studying An Inspector Calls as part of their GCSE English Literature course. Directors, Erin Harris (9, St Martin’s) and Kirsten Blackburn (9, Duckworth), improvised a dining-table and it’s setting for The Birling’s formal evening dinner using glue sticks, books, Post-it notes and a tissue box! Putting on their best upper class accents they were able to have a good dinner to celebrate the special occasion of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft’s engagement.

Camille Coquet – Dover College French Language Assistant
The Moon

Miss Coquet spoke about The Moon in her assembly this week. It was a wonderfully interesting speech focussing a topic that truly fascinates Miss Coquet:


I understand that the theme that your teachers will include in your lessons this half term is The Moon so I have volunteered to talk to you about this topic, which I have always found fascinating.

50 years ago, a man walked on the moon. Pierre Desproges, a French writer, described this moon-landing as « a technical process consisting of dropping off idiots on a childish dream ». Since then, it continues to make people dream, more than ever, mostly poets. There is a

famous haiku by Matsuo Basho saying « From Time to time the clouds/let us rest/from looking so much at the moon », but he is not the only writer, we can count on some French writers such as Victor Hugo or some English writers such as Coleridge. We can also think of all those strange creatures appearing during the full moon: werewolves, vampires, which all emerged from the Victorian era in London.

But what does the moon truly represent?

The moon has always been seen as a female star: on the one hand it is the one we talk to, the one we look at with its heart-shaped eyes but on the other hand it is the one we fear because of the devilish creatures she gives birth to. From literature, to science and art, let us have a look at what the moon can tell us about women:

Let us talk about literature first

The moon has always been a great subject for literature and poetry, since the Ancient Greece and from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century, the moon has been the number one topic for all kind of writers. Moreover, I am sure that you all know at least one piece of art depicting the moon, and if not, a least a scene that occurs during the night and the full moon.

Many people look at the moon, dreaming of love, dreaming of freedom, dreaming of a rebirth. We tell her all our secrets, as the classical play writers did such as Racine and Corneille. The moon is part of the irrational and dreams and it inspires loads of powerful ideas and images.

But it is not just the French who have been at it! The gothic novel, born in England, gave a really good insight of what can happen at night. It became a literature of emotions, mainly written by women and appealing to women, who could identify with the terrors of young heroines. Most plots followed the same pattern: the heroin is kidnapped by a wicked relative, taken to a faraway castle or abbey, which with its tunnels and dungeons becomes a scene of terror, under a full moon literally casting light on her fears. I am sure that some of you remember reading this sort of thing in books written by Ann Radcliff, the most famous female author of gothic novels or by the very first Gothic writer, Horace Walpole who wrote “A man I know” and « The castle of Otranto » published in 1764.

But let us talk a little bit about vampires……Let me ask you a question: put your hand up if you think that the first vampire in literature was a male?  Put your hand up if you think that the first vampire wasa female….

Let me tell you, the first vampire was actually a female!

Coleridge, the great English romantic poet, who was influenced by the gothic novels, wrote « Christabel », a medieval romance ballad, full of nightmarish images: Christabel, daughter of a baron, meets, at midnight, a mysterious young lady, Geraldine, who hides her vampire nature.

This has been followed by many others, which the most famous is, without a doubt, “Dracula” by the Irish writer, Bram Stocker.

But, of course, we can’t ignore Mary Shelley, who wrote the novel about Dr Frankenstein, giving birth at night, and of course (under the moon!) to a monster, which is supposed to show all the dark sides, not of the moon, but of mankind.

And later on, as I mentioned earlier, the poor Victorians were kept awake on a full moon night by all the unknown monsters, vampires and werewolves, especially in London.

But there are also wonderful Victorian poems full of images of bewildering confusion at night and under the moon. One of them was written by Matthew Arnold and I think that you might

want to hear it because it was written about Dover!  It is called « Dover Beach » and in it, Matthew Arnold expresses his feeling of isolation AND quiet melancholy. I will read it to you now:

« The sea is calm tonight,

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits; -- on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone [...]

Only, from the long line of spray

Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar

Of pebbles which the waves draw back [...]

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring

The eternal note of sadness in ».

Finally, I could not resist mentioning The famous hunchback of Notre Dame in Paris, Quasimodo, who looks at the moon, waiting for compassion, friendship and love in the novel called « Notre Dame de Paris » written by Victor Hugo. I am sure he is doing this even more now that Notre Dame has been destroyed by this horrible fire.

Let me now tell you about the moon in Art and in particularly in Painting

Many painters also took the moon as a theme and here are a few examples.

The first one comes from the Greek mythology. The Greeks first represented the moon as a woman with a very pale skin, named Selene. She was in love with the shepherd Endymion and asked Zeus to put him in an eternal sleep so that he could stay young forever. We can find the representation of The Sleep of Endymion by Girodet, a French painter, who also depicts Zephyr, the Greek God of the west wind, blowing away the branches to let the moon, Selene, appear and touch him gently with her light.

For other artists, the moon is the witness of disasters such as the eruption of the Vesuvius. Volaire in his painting « The eruption of the Vesuvius » shows the contrast between the great

strength of nature, the Neapolitans fleeing away and the red tones of the volcano with the pale and cold colours of the moon, which are equally terrifying.

There is also another painter, Friedrich, a German romantic painter, who also shows the contrast between the great forest and the faraway moon and the smallness of humankind.

Let us now look at the importance of the Moon in Science

Yet again, everything started with the Ancient Greeks. Aristotle saw in the moon the perfect planet. Four centuries later, Ptolemy wrote the « Almagest”, which described all the stars, the moon and the tools used to see the sky. That was a really good start to astronomy.

Several centuries later, during the cold war, after the second world war, the space race started with this little sacrificed Russian dog, named Laika, which means « little barker ». Soviets scientists, in the 50s, wanted to know if it was possible to survive in space. During the cold war, this was such a great leap for mankind! Laila passed every tests (the same tests which humans passed 15 years later!). From then on, the space race continued and it was led and won by the Americans.

Laika is now very famous around the world, with many statues representing her, but another « pet » has been forgotten... A French cat, named Felicette was sent around the earth, in a French rocket, and when the rocket came back to earth, Felicette was still meowing. What a leap that was!

 We all know that Armstrong and Aldrin were the first men to reach the moon, but what people often don’t know is that they managed to reach it thanks to...WOMEN! Who said we were only good for housekeeping? We are also very good mathematicians!

 Indeed, computers were once women, working for NASA, the space Agency. with only paper, pencils and rubbers, they made the first calculations for the « Jet Propulsion Laboratory » of Florida, which was doing research for spatial missions. They all accepted to work a lot and be paid so little. They were so good that the manager of the calculations department then decided to only hire women. They had to work as much as three men, as they had to prove that they were legit...

All this, culminated with « Apollo 11 » and Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong who eventually landed on the moon in 1969 and behind all this, was Katherine Johnston, the woman without whom, none of this would have been possible, as she calculated the direction of the rocket. But after this, the race continued: In 1987, the first black woman, Mae Jamison, entered the space research program and broke every prejudice about race, people had had until that. Another big leap, perhaps as big as the one of humans reaching the moon, wouldn’t you say?

However, let us go back to the conquest of the moon:   Unfortunately, behind all those fabulous stories, there is a lot of rubbish too.

Indeed, all those missions left behind them many things: two golf balls, a metal ladder, twelve pairs of shoes, cameras, five American flags, food packages, and a panel saying « We came in peace for all mankind ». NASA, the space agency said that there would be around 20 000 kg of items and 75 spatial shuttles. The moon has officially become the museum of the space race! And what about the future?  Will we pollute the moon in the same way that we have polluted the earth, when the moon becomes the number one destination for human tourists?

But we are not there yet, so in the meantime I would like to finish with telling you a little bit about some amazing places on earth which will remind you of the moon.

This is “Le mont Ventoux” in France, a limestone mount, covered by the fog 200 days a year. It is the scene of a desolated landscape, which reminds you a little bit of the moon.

Another one is The Caldeira of Askja. It is the landscape which looks the most like the moon according to NASA. Located in Iceland (of course !!), it was the place where the Apollo missions did some tests. Lost in a desolated place, the volcanoes and frozen lakes give people an idea of what it is like on the moon.

Here, you can also see the desert of Atacama in Chili and many ice caves in Russia.


So, girls (and boys) whether you are a writer, a painter, a scientist, whether you dream or you do some maths and calculations, you are an artist whose true vocation is to show the real beauty, of what you see and always reach for the moon.

I am sure that you would have heard that very famous sentence written by Oscar Wilde

 « shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars»,

Well, the moon is always closer than you think. You are SPATIAL, you are SPECIAL.

Thank you for listening.

National Pilgrimage

May I draw your attention to an event taking place in and around the College in August? Our Chaplain, Toby Marchand, and two others, are organising a National Pilgrimage based on Dover and Canterbury. It is under the auspices of a body called the British Anglican Cursillo Council. “Cursillo” is a renewal movement within the churches of Great Britain and abroad. The event is called “The Pathway to Pilgrimage: Becket and Beyond”.

Up to 40 “pilgrims” can be accommodated, in School House at Dover College. There will be visits, in the School minibuses, to Dover Castle, and to Canterbury. Lectures, visits, worship, feasting and entertainment are all on the programme as befits a traditional pilgrimage.

Dates: Tuesday 13th August 16:00 - Friday 16th August 10:00

Cost £250

Full details and application forms can be found on the British Anglican Cursillo Council website. Look for “Information for Dioceses”.

It’s open to anyone, of any Faith or none. You will be assured of a warm welcome and a great experience.