An epic week! It is bad enough going back to school and/or work, but we had another super bang. The dreaded
longed-for telephone call announcing the arrival of Ofsted next day came Monday lunchtime. Our Bursar received
it and from then on it was manic, panic mode, action stations. The Girls and the Head went into frenzied overdrive
and the Bursar was not far behind. I deemed it prudent to absent myself as I should have been with Class 1
listening to the children read, as of old. I offered my apologies and of course nobody minded. It was a beautiful
afternoon so I took myself off on to Fr. P's patio garden and tidied up the pot plants in preparation for their soon to
be Winter housing. When Tuesday came, having been through Ofsted five times, I returned to Withnell to just be
around in the Presbytery in case one of the children should innocently ask:
And the gentleman Inspector then asking, “Who's Jane?” and might want to see the whites of my eyes! I was
spared the ordeal. Yet I did meet him in the afternoon as Fr. P offered the use of the Presbytery dining room as a
private room off-site so that he could converse with the Governors. A most pleasant man, and as they left the
house laughing and grinning, Dave Faulkner wittingly remarked: “Where is Father Peter with the beer and
sandwiches, which made them all, including the Inspector, laugh even more. My hostessing having been done, I
could return home feeling that I had played a small part in our school's Inspection!
As a post mortem note I expected an anti-climax and weary Staff. Nor was I wrong. They crawled through the
remainder of the week, and Friday (always popular) could not come soon enough. We will not know the “Result” for
a while (approx. two weeks) but I do hope that they did okay.
The high-light of my little world was Thursday. I went on a school trip to Chester with Years 4,5 and 6 and their
teachers Mrs.C., Miss H., Miss B., Mr. B. and our new Site Supervisor Mrs. W. It was all to do with their topic 'The
Romans.' Thanks to a rather nasty accident on the M6, our coach driver, who was excellent, took us on a magical
mystery tour around the Merseyside area c/o all sorts of Motorways and over the new Runcorn – Widnes Bridge
which the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex opened earlier in the year. Consequently we were late arriving and
our Museum Hosts jumped into action. Mrs. C. and I with Year 6 and part of Year 5, to make up equal numbers,
were whisked off to the Amphitheatre by an army clad Roman Centurion. The pupils were treated as if they were
young Army recruits and learnt how to create the classic Roman Formation; the Tortoise.
Then the fun began. Actually inside the Amphitheatre, our character of a Centurion started going on about what
they were used for in the past and the Gladiators. Mrs. C. and I both muttered,
“You know what's coming next?”
Sure enough we were the chosen victims. The pupils were to be the entertained crowd. I was the feisty Sparticus
and Ms. C. the moody Glaucus. We muttered our strategy under our breaths and launched at each other. Now I've
been watching too much of “The Lord of the Rings” of late, so remembering a few movie tactics I went O.T.T. Mrs.
C. went into complete surprise and stupefaction. Pupils roared vibrantly and I became a crowned victorious
Gladiator, cheered on by the animated crowd. The Centurion decided to become Caesar and condemned Mrs. C.
to death. Whereupon he drew a real glittering sword from his halter. Gasps! Mrs. C. looked horrified and had to
bend down for decapitation. The sword went up, dramatically descended and deftly stopped over Mrs. C's neck.
The children screamed authentically. Wow!! Well done Mrs. C. ten out of ten for bravery and for being such a good
sport. The same happened to Miss H. in the afternoon Session. She was to be decapitated. Quite a day all in all.
My 2018-19 Sacramental Programme started today. My year of instruction now runs. The first Session is always a
big hit as the children go on a “Treasure Hunt” and see things used by Fr. P. It always fascinates them and I recall
the Sacrament of Baptism and jog their memories from previous R.E. lessons. The issue of commitment is always
raised and enforced and it is then that the weak and the strong candidates are found. So we will see in future
months how many can “hack” it.
The storms in the U.S. and the Philippines are a grim reminder that we are still at the mercy of the elements and
not their controllers.
“Our turn next,” observed Fr. P. on Saturday. “We've got Hurricane Helene coming our way for Monday/Tuesday.”
Wonderful! So on that light note, batten down the hatches for Monday evening and watch out for the animals. Have
a good week.
Love and prayers.
Most weekends we have our young people helping with the Collection, collecting Missalettes at the end of Mass and taking part in the Offertory Procession. We try to alter our front of church Tableau each week to fit in with the Gospel of the Day, and a short explanation is given to the Congregation.
People show great interest in what the Catechist does each week!. Our parish is a small country one, and through the Sunday Mass our little ones get to know each other before entering our school.
Fr. Peter Charles Crowther obl. sbso | The Presbytery, Bury Lane, Withnell, Chorley, PR6 8SD | Tel 01254 830 995 | Reg Charity: 232709