Yesterday evening as students stood before their wardrobes, each contemplating with excitement the prospect of the evening to come and considering what sartorial numbers to draw out, the ORA team was working busily beyond them to create a magical space for the mid-session party at Kingston Bagpuize.
For what could be more magical than to step into the kingdom of Narnia, entering a world where fauns, lions and beavers speak, sleigh rides are necessary for getting around, and children occupy the thrones of dominion. So, having readied themselves in Catz and encouraged each other into the party spirit―indeed not something that took tremendous effort―students boarded the coaches and travelled 10 miles south to Kingston Bagpuize; this Norman settlement now boasts a grand 18th-century house, which was the home of the son of John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir and writer of The Thirty-Nine Steps.
It was at this house that students partied to celebrate the end of their first week at ORA. They were treated to a delicious meal, followed by turkish delight and gourmet popcorn; some of the braver students took to duelling in the gladiator ring, or had their palms read by Madame Kundalini. Then it was time to hit the dancefloor, amongst snowy firs and frozen fountains, as the noble Aslan looked on. The place lit up with disco lights and students’ energy, as they threw some shapes and moved to the music. Whilst they did not quite tread until dawn, students kept dancing well into the evening, and continued to do so up the steps of the coach and through the quad to their bedrooms on returning to Catz―remembering, all the while: “Once a King [or Queen] in Narnia, always a King [or Queen] in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice.”