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Stanchester Academy
Stoke Sub Hamdon, Somerset
Group status: In a world without order, through a melee of seething bodies, they come ... fighting through the tide of broken but suddenly hopeful humanity that is ... the end of school! Here come the Reading Group ...

The legendary GM-free, totally organic, non-additive Fiesta en la Biblioteca Reading Club -Motto: Shambolism in action! - Doin' the Power Stance

Chào mừng bạn comrades (that’s Vietnamese, apparently). And, as ever, a fuzzy, fuzzy, big and buzzy warm welcome back to the near-mythical (in our eyes anyway) Fiesta en la Biblioteca Reading Club. So, without further ado let us introduce you to the band … on lead vocals (and cowbell), and with a honey-dripped voice that you can hear from way Down Under (which is lucky because that’s where she is at the moment, travelling the highways and byways and drinking rather too much goon) we have our erstwhile president Laura; on lead guitar (a Rickenbacker 360 Fireglo (Smithereens style), obviously) we have our legendary treasurer and all-round power pop genius Mrs Lawson. She’s finally managed to set up our “totally legal, honest guv” off- shore Bahamian bank account under the, frankly, dubious name of Harry Red(k)napp (with a silent K for legal reasons). But, as always, we’d like to emphasise that we are a not-for-profit organisation and all monies collected will be re-invested into our new ecological, self-sustainable Nassau penthouse suites. On triple bass (because double is just so last year) and kazoo we have the sensational Miss Crees / Mrs Glenworth, dependent on who’s asking and what they want. On kettle drums, bongos and other sundry household implements that make a banging sound (no double entendre intended) we have our parental advisers (and, let’s be honest, we need them) Mrs Bertschinger and Mrs Hall who both still look remarkably sane and still turn up to meetings voluntarily, despite the shenanigans that have ensued over the last few years. On Hammond organ (and coconuts, for that authentic clippity cloppity sound) we are delighted to welcome back the awe-inspiring and genuinely adorable Miss Quantock, accompanied this year by the charming and very, very, very (and then some) cool Poppy. On (the) fiddle (and washboard) we have the newest addition to our cornucopia of talent - the heroic, hedonistic and downright humdingin’ Ms Priest. She’s been smitten by the reading bug (which is a first for a PE teacher) but there’s more than a hint that she’s also lured by the promise of custard creams. The giveaway is that she uses one as a bookmark. Leading the mighty brass section (and with added castanets and triangle) we have Di Osborne and Bridget March from Heathfield and King’s Bruton schools, and we will, of course, be doing loads of activities with them because they, genuinely, have more than a smidgeon of musical prowess and, dare I say it, talent … which is a phrase that I do not use lightly, and (if truth be told) seldom, if ever, when we use the words Fiesta en la Biblioteca and musical in the same room, let alone the same sentence. And so, to the most important part of the band … on various instruments of percussion (and torture) including tambourine, glockenspiel, conch shell, spoons, woodblock, dustbin lid, cymbals, musical saw, finger nails down the blackboard … give it up for the sensational (if slightly deluded) Stanchester Shambolic Chorus (interject applause, whoops, hollers, general mayhem here). They’re brilliant, they’re beautiful, they have voices of angels, and they all talk at once which means (a) we teachers don’t have to do an awful lot of work and (b) they inspire us tremendously with their erudite and wistful comments on all things Carnegie which makes us very, very happy indeed. There’s about 30 in the Chorus and when they’re on song they make an angelic sound. We love them all. Immensely. Oh, and we’ll be doing all the usual, chaotic things that we always do for the next six weeks … everything from book reviews, to eating cakes, to visiting other schools, to eating cakes, to workshops, to eating cakes, to author visits, to eating cakes, to updating the website (whilst eating cakes) and, just possibly, eating one or two cakes. We will, of course, finish with our much talked about luncheon finale where we will disclose the verdict of the judges, as well as our own choice of winner, and, if we’re lucky, eat a cake or two. This year’s theme will be The Woman in Black … but done as a Cockney musical. We’ll be polishing up on our rhyming slang, banging out a few tunes on the ol’ Joanna, eating pie, mash, liquor and jellied eels, and Daniel Radcliffe has promised to make a guest appearance. Although when I say Daniel Radcliffe don’t get your hopes up too high – my library budget can only stretch so far, but the Radcliffe lookalike (in the loosest sense of the word) advertising in the Yeovil Gazette has promised us a very reasonable rate because, inexplicably, he’s not got a booking on that day … or the day after … or, he tells me, for the foreseeable future. Promising, then. Luckily for us the library doesn’t need transforming too much because the cleaners haven’t dusted for the last three years (since Barbara got transferred to Science) so there’s more than enough cobwebs in place to satisfy even the most diehard arachnid lover. This year will be the best ever, because our reading group is, simply, the best ever. We love them all. Each and every one of them. They make us happy, they make us smile. And they make us very, very proud. Now, as the Ramones say … 1-2-3-4!!!

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Hypothetically speaking (because they dont pay Mrs Lawson or I enough to make it a reality) but if we were to have a Reading Group train trip which line should we take and where should we go?

Chiang Mai, Thailand to Singapore
Siliguri to Darjeeling, India
Glasgow to Mallaig, Scotland
Qinghai, China to Lhasa, Tibet
Cuzco to Machu Picchu, Peru
Adelaide to Darwin, Australia
Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa
The Bergen Line, Norway
Title: Tamar
Author: Mal Peet
Winning Year: 2005

This is an enthralling and multi-layered novel that traces the story of two men caught up in secret operations in World War Two. It looks at the negative impact that war has on those involved and on succeeding generations. Guilt and its ramifications lie


Colyton Grammar School