Well, yesterday has to go on record as one of my wierdest and least successful days ever. In lunch, I was told to come to the Housemaster's Study straight away afterwards. Normally this would get me worried. It was no exception. My immediate reaction was to think 'what have I done for which I could get busted?' But it's the end of term, and he's not in a vindictive mood, so I was lucky.
There were two of us in the study with Him, and we were given a mission. No, a Mission! We had to go to the house of one Nick George, and 'persuade' him. No, really. He was planning to come to Winchester College next year, starting at 16. He would be here for 2 years, get some A-levels, and leave. But it seems he couldn't face it. He claimed he felt behind on the Maths and Physics, but if he got in, surely he can't be? We thought there must be something else... We realised that he should be at least talked to.
We were told that we were 'ill' for the afternoon, and that the matron would cover for us. Although she did not look happy at all, she consented to this, and we were given £45. We were also (unfortunately) told that we had to return any change. And provide receipts. We looked at this guy's file. We found his address and phone number. We made a plan. We moved.
The first step was to get to Alton, which was the nearest big town to his village. This, in practice, meant taking the two sides of a triangle, due to the wonderful layout of British Rail's network. Once again, we take off our hats to them. We also had a long wait for a connecting train in Woking. I used this opportunity to slip off into town and buy Operation Flashpoint. It looks amazing.
The train to Alton, when it finally deigned to arrive, was slow and packed. We got there eventually though, despite all the best efforts of conspiring fate. Reaching Alton, phase 2 was to reach the
town village sleepy hamlet of Medstead. The phone number for the taxi company in the window of the station was, obviously, not connected to anything at the other end. However, in a bizarre twist of fate, the bus that we got onto to ask directions actually went to the town village center. So, twenty minutes later, we disembarked, and found ourselves standing in front of a little old Village Shop(pe). We went in, nervously. For those of you who have ever seen 'The League of Gentlemen', we were strongly expecting to hear a voice call out 'Are you local?'
In the event they were actually very helpful. The house was the third on the right, down the second road on the left. However, what they didn't tell us was that the roads were half a mile apart, and the houses as much so again. Finally, three hours after we had set out, we had arrived at a place that was annoyingly close to that from which we had come. We knocked on the door. No reply. We knocked again. No reply. We tried the handle. It was open, but we thought that breaking and entering was not a good thing to add to stalking. We tried a third time. Third time lucky. Nick's sister came to the door. I don't know whether I was tired or just desperate, but she was really a sight for sore eyes. And guess what she said? 'Nick went out 10 minutes ago. You just missed him.' I went down on my knees and cursed the gods.
We returned to Winchester by a better route: one about half the length of that by which we reached the house the first time. We reported back, and admitted our failure. We're going again today. But this time we have a much better plan. A very cunning plan...