A poetic day

Poetic day, Tuesday, waking up in an ancient wood above Ullswater to the honk of greylag and strong early morning sun on the water. The Block 3 campers, tired out with scary bed time stories and an instructor-led night walk around the lake’s edge, take some rousing and sorting; where there is grumpiness, it usually is dissipated by quiet coaxing of the Outward Bound instructors, the need for activity and, of course, the surroundings. Gold star for Zazu overnight, curled up in the porch of my tent. Back to Bedales to meet the Poetry Society and English department colleagues who have come to chat over supper with the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and musician, John Samson. Having felt a bit nervous about how a combined poetry and music performance would work, the result for me is an enhancement of the poetry, whether that is through John’s intriguing musical interludes or his additions during the reading, for example the strains of the Christmas Carols that accompany Carol Ann’s poem about the Christmas truce of 1914.  The evening finishes with discussion about Edward Thomas in the White Horse where, arguably, Thomas’s poetic journey began.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.