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Alma Summer Fayre: 2016

 Summer Fayre 2016

The Alma Summer Fayre. Highlight of the school, and my personal, social calendar. Parents gathered on a sweltering Sunday afternoon, even bringing some of their children, in order to raise money for the school. And make awkward smalltalk. After my phone ran out of battery.

With the school growing, this was the first year of the Fayre that the number of parent volunteers manning, or should I say ‘womanning’ - world built of equality - the stalls were outnumbered by attendees. Most of the action seemed centred around the Falafel stand, and for good reason, they were yummy! And the falafel were pretty good as well. Joke! With so many varieties, it was difficult deciding which delicious type to try, but I was politely moved on after an hour. I even went back for another portion later, but even though they’d run out of hummus they wouldn’t offer a discount. Believe me, I shall be bringing that up at the next APA meeting.

With the funds raised obviously going to a great cause, the success of our genes, parents were literally flinging the dosh about. And what better way to celebrate the day than by getting the most expensive temporary tattoo ever. The bouncy castle was free so I mostly hung around there. But trying to police that thing is like trying to herd cats. That are bouncing all over each other, knocking the smaller kittens unconscious.

There was a photographer, kosher ice cream, which is like normal ice cream but without the bacon bits, and lots of stalls selling lovely items, which I marvelled at wondering exactly what cut the school was getting.

No Fayre, or even Fair, would be complete without a raffle though, and some fantastic prizes had been donated. Real quality stuff. Did we win any of it though? No. It was torture. My poor son and I had to wait around for thirty minutes clinging to our blue ticket number 321, which we’d found in a chocolate bar we’d saved up to buy for his birthday, as one by one, the table emptied of all the ticket items. By the time our number was called, all was left was some football cones, some belly button fluff, and our dashed dreams. We chose the cones, taking them home in the very bag from which we’d first donated them.

Still, the reason you’re really reading this is to find out how much money was raised. Well, drum roll, £2551.78!!!!!!!!! That’s a truly brilliant amount of money, and should keep Mr Shoffren in guitar strings for at least six months. So well done all the parents who donated their time, expertise and unwanted belongings. It really was a great success and thanks to everyone who helped organise the day. Apart from the person who ordered the hummus.

By Josh Howie


Alma Goes Camping: June 2016

 Sports activit swimming pool Children with playdoh creations
Children participating in playdoh activity night sky Barcecue tent

The activity of spending any amount of time living in a tent is not, it’s safe to say, a popular Jewish pastime. Even when the Jewish people left Egypt they dwelt in ready-made Channel huts with a roof of branches, donned with plastic fruit and party decorations, and a piñata in the shape of the Pharaoh’s head. So the thought of camping, and having to put up your own tent, was as appealing as a kale and marzipan milkshake. Nonetheless many Alma families embraced it, (the camping not the milkshake), and spent a wonderful weekend in a field in Essex.

We were on the edge of the Epping Forest so surroundings were tranquil, lush and green but with any event in June you can expect rain, and lots of it. So true to form it rained throughout. However the Alma spirit was not broken and a campsite built on kindness sprung up. We had all manner of tents – from the deluxe with a spa, cinema room and basement excavation to the downright pathetic.

After some furious tent erecting and settling in, Alma families enjoyed a collective Kabbalat Shabbat and Friday night dinner, sitting around a campfire reminiscing about the Moss Hall Grove days and singing about being a free people, and settled in our own school. The atmosphere was jovial and spirits high, though soon came the rain and retreat into the main marquee. A midnight walk followed in the moonlit forest was well attended, with many kids able to join parents, to help them keep up.

On Saturday morning, some enjoyed time in the adjoining heated outdoor swimming pool while others watched videos of Miss Weldon’s phonics class. Not wanting to miss Coronation Street on Friday, more families arrived on Saturday and after lunch a parents verses children football match took centre stage. Naturally the parents let the children win, it wasn’t of course that the children were better, fitter and more focused, honestly it wasn’t. A range of activities followed, including arts and crafts and various ball games which brought boys and girls from all classes together - was so refreshing to see aristocracy intermingling with the proletarians. That evening families did their own barbeques, or joined others.

The biggest downpour came on Saturday night, after most were tucked up and sleeping, but being the wandering school we took it in our stride, after all we are a close-knit community brought together after being banished from two sites.

Sunday morning, stories about the previous night’s storms could be heard over bagels and rainwater. Then came the big pack up. It was a truly superb weekend and enjoyed by all; it took us all away from the hustle and bustle and brought people together, showing what a wonderful and cohesive community we are. Of course some serious organisation and hard work came into it – a big thank you to Paul Morris, Alexis Steadman and Becca Fetterman and everyone who helped make it happen.

Until next year – we’ll be four classes with great intentions!

By Jonny Paul