Beijing, Brussels or Bulford. Lockdown all over the world. 

That last week before lock down was a huge endeavour to get all our girls safely home be it to Beijing, Brussels or Bulford… we managed it and they are all now ensconced in lockdown where ever they are in the world. For the Ivy House staff it was like the calm after the storm, except the stillness echoed with uncertainties and the silence felt ominous. It was very bizarre and we miss the hustle and bustle that should be the Summer Term in Ivy House very much!  However, we are keeping in touch with the girls in various ways, letter, 8×8, email and sharing poetry!

The first weeks for me on the furlough scheme were an exercise in adaptability.  Learning to think only a day in advance, appreciating immediate family, feeling blessed to have an outside space, discovering new activities (Joe Wicks is a torturer and growing veg is surprisingly satisfying) and swapping personal interaction with virtual interaction.  I have become a replacement for my girls’ pen pals which I am thoroughly enjoying, lots of baking, knitting rainbow bunting, watching umpteen series of ‘Friends’, playing Animal Crossing and quietly supervising their respective home learning. Their adaptability and acceptance of this ‘new normal’ has been humbling.  We have all had ups and downs but are safe and well which is the main thing!

Underpinning all this has been the relief of being part of our Warminster community, catching up with Mrs Crinion who is still working away, joining the staff 8×8 coffee breaks, watching the wonderful assemblies, sharing funny memes on our ‘Marvellous Matrons’ whats app group and listening to Jessica chatting animatedly during a tutor time 8×8.

I have also been inspired by so many Warminster School colleagues/parents/pupils efforts to support the NHS and our various communities. Be it sewing scrubs and masks, making visors, adopting elderly neighbours or volunteering with local action groups, our community has stepped up as ever.  I, along with many of my colleagues, have been collecting and delivering prescriptions to Warminster residents who are self isolating.  Elderly people who are locked down by themselves in small 3rd floor flats with no outside space but are gracious, uncomplaining, appreciative and for whom a small bunch of flowers from my garden bring beaming smiles.  When one of my lovely ladies told me she would be clapping for me on her doorstep that Thursday evening, the lump in my throat was impossible to clear.

So that ominous silence has been replaced with a quiet acceptance that life will restart gradually and that the spirit of Warminster 1707 will keep us hopeful and positive.  I so look forward to the time when we have all our Ivy girls back together and we can exchange real hugs rather than virtual ones!

Sophie Saunders, mum of Jess and Matron Ivy House

Here in Ivy we have been missing our girls very much… the house feels quietly expectant, with dorms still full of their belongings and their smiles beaming down on me from all the great photos in the entrance hall.  We can’t wait to see them all when we are given the green light to open up again, whenever that may be.

I am very reassured that all of them are safe and well in lockdown with their families.  I have seen almost all of them on our 8×8 meetings, spoken to a few during catch up phone calls and the most lovely thing has been receiving responses to the letter we sent out to them a couple of weeks ago.  It has made me remember how heartwarming the written word arriving in an envelope is.. it seems that the current crisis has helped us to reconnect via the humble postie. Ivy is also reaching out to them all with a surprise during the Poetry and Prose evening… watch this space…

Mrs Crinion, Year 3 teacher and Housemistress Ivy House