On Friday 27th February, a full week at Radley for 20 French exchange
students concluded in the New Pavilion with a feast fit for a king, prepared by
Radley’s own Mr Barlass, Mrs Nott and Colombe. The evening started, after the Radleians
had sung their way through Chapel, with a slideshow of baby photos of everyone
on the exchange; both Radleians and the French. The reason for this became
apparent as the supper started.
As everybody sat down to their prawn salads, the reasoning behind the
baby photos was revealed. Each table of six had a small booklet, which
consisted of each and every baby photo in black and white with a little dotted
line below it. It was clarified by Mr Barlass as we sat down, that we had to
guess, as tables, whose photo was who, and the table with the most correct
guesses won; a task that proved much harder than it sounds. It is amazing how
different black and white photos are to colour photos of babies!
The meal continued with a choice of Thai chicken curry or salmon with
salad and a mixed rice, all of which was absolutely delicious, and must have
taken a very long time to prepare, judging by the quality. As the remaining
scraps of the main course were devoured, the Radley Clerks entered the room to
serenade us all with their a capella. Their first two songs went down so well,
in particular with the French girls, that the audience’s cheers for an encore
were met by a third song. A truly memorable touch to the evening. Pudding was a choice of apple crumble or roulade, which as ever went
down extremely well. As everyone was starting to finish up, the five-minute
bell was rung for the baby photo cards to be handed in for marking. Table 8
finished in first place, just one point ahead of the rest, and upon announcement
of the winning table, all the French exchanges decided that it was time to head
back to their hotel in Oxford, or out to enjoy the night life of the City.
Plans for Saturday were made in a flash, and with just three minutes to spare,
off the French students ran down the driveway to catch the bus.
On Saturday night, the last night of the second half of the exchange,
various ‘Soirées’ took place around the South of England. Whether you were in
Wantage or Newbury, Chipping Norton or London, it is fair to say that you would
have had an enjoyable evening, and I can speak on the behalf of every Radleian
on the exchange in saying that some lifelong friends from Paris have been made
and we look forward to welcoming Noemi and Louise, the two new French assistants
back to Radley in September.
Report by Alexander
Milne, H Social 6.1