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September 19th, 2011

At Ardingly

I am back in the UK, giving a series of presentations today at Ardingly College (which, I am told, boasts Neil Gaiman as an old boy). They let me participate in a sailing regatta (470s) on the reservoir this past Saturday; it was probably the first time I have been dinghy racing in 30 years at least. I crewed for one of the students, and we did quite well. But my upper legs still ache, three days later, from their unaccustomed usage. Great fun!

Today I did a round of presentations at the school, ranging from upper forms to the pre-prep. (Very confusing; what the US would call a prep school, they call a college; a middle school or junior high, is called the prep; and the primary grades are pre-prep.) Of the many bright and delightful kids in the pre-prep (2nd year, equivalent of the US 2nd grade), one small girl in particular was a font of information, all of it politely given, all of it correct... for example, she carefully defined the word "constellation." Clearly the most outstanding scholar of her year.

"Oh," said her teacher when I asked about her later, "You mean Hermione."

I gave her a look.

"Yes," she sighed, nodding. "Really."

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