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1998 Tinokura

Fun and Games at Peterhouse Girls

The ozone layer above Tinokura took a serious hammering last year - from the moment in the first week when news leaked out that we would be visiting the Girls' School on Sunday for some Fun and Games.

The School Shop soon exhausted its term's supply of acceptably exotic deodorants and when the great day came the sun almost managed to burn its way through the depressingly heavy cloud layer- thanks to the ozone hole overhead. Despite the greyness, hours had been spent on getting baseball caps set at just the right back-to-front angle, and the trendiest of summer gear (giving just enough hint of 13-year-old biceps) had been mulled over, selected, borrowed, loaned or stolen for the occasion.

Sir had given one of his Boring Warnings that The-Man-to-Watch-Out-For was the Mega-Sir, Mister Calderwood. PHG Headmaster, and that it wouldn't be a bad idea to spring to attention whenever he came into view. So that's what we all did as we emerged from the 76-seater bus on the edge of the drizzly PHG field where the orgy was set to happen. All but one, that is, who for some reason chose that moment to lie on his back in the mud and "check out" the mechanical underpinnings of the bus. (Farmers' children can be such an embarrassment.) By the time we were due to leave, however, the bus had sunk up to its hocks in the mud, which led to one or two intimate encounters with msasa saplings during the extraction process, making Sir's face go red. But the jangling noise of aroused hormones drowned out all such trivial considerations for the moment - and, indeed, for most of the rest of the year.

Cupid strikes
And these restless hormones gave rise to the urgent need for our long-awaited and even longer-promised card-phone to be installed. Its eventual arrival saw Cupid abandoning his global commitments to roost in the rafters above this new PTC marvel. Even an ordinary mid-morning break-time would see him draining his quiver of arrows-of-desire as phone lines into Chisipite, Arundel (and even if all else failed PHG) became clogged. Exhausted phone cards became more of a litter problem than Freezit tubes. Such unhindered access to a phone did have its drawbacks, however, every time a French test loomed mothers would be phoned and regaled with tales of starvation, epidemics and persecution requiring instant withdrawal from this Hell-Hole of a school

Gosho Park
There were other milestones, besides. During the winter term we made several overnight visits to Gosho Park. These offered all the prerequisites for memorable camping: charred lumps of meat with frozen centres, garnished with ash, and accompanied by a huge surplus of lumpy sadza; Sir always forgetting the salt; late-night wide-eyed tales around the camp fire; a film of ice covering everything the next morning; the endless search for forks in the sand; a kudu eating the cornflakes: glistening black-leather straps served with shapeless grey balls as bacon-and-eggs for breakfast; and washing-up times when the campsite would always be strangely deserted…

Brave Souls Weekend
What they couldn't escape, though, was our Brave Souls Weekend, which saw a colourful and genuinely arctic environment of igloo tents surrounding Tinokura. I suppose it was the promise of a heated bar which attracted them (if the 3 am closing time was any thing to go by) or the faintest possibility of finding a real loo, and the chance to catch up on each other's news in the long queue for a tepid shower. Judging by the shaken looks on several boys' faces - and smug exhaustion on several parents' faces - the next morning. It had been a night of reckless abandon and pillage. One mother of an A-Blocker (who should have known better than to get mixed up with this crop of D-Block parents) had been kidnapped (tent-napped?) for the night by some rowdy farmers, giving rise to scenes so disturbing that even Mr Calderwood abandoned his tent for home at 4 am. Muttering something about golf clubs. All I know is that my wheelbarrow has never been the same since it was used by another riotous bunch of farmers as a braai-drum.
The winter term drew to a glorious close with its usual camping extravaganza for the D Block at Great Zimbabwe.

This year the pendulum swung from the Great Thrust of last year - the Spellathon - to "Mathletics". This particular fund-raising effort certainly paid off handsomely and we comfortably cleared $40 000, though my bubble of delirium was neatly popped by the Rector's dry observation to me that the only reason we had earned so much was because the Zim dollar had crashed! Nevertheless, this hard-earned income will give us the opportunity to start work on a recreation area behind Tinokura.

No record of a year in Tinokura would be complete without recognition of the commitment shown by many of this year's VI and V Form monitors and staff tutors: In particular, my thanks go to James Bowles - our Assistant Housemaster for his cheerful contribution to the welfare of the three ''generations" of boys he has known in this House. All these boys and many of their parents join me, I know, in wishing him success on his return to England. Despite the fact that he has left behind two cats and a Land-Rover for the Housemaster to look after, things won't be quite the same.

Guy Cary,

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