St.Stephen's School

Arvon House

We arrived after a long journey at Totleigh Barton, where we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the houses, which are surrounded by vast patches of greenery. When we came to this rural place, we were shown to our rooms by Claire, who, with Eliza, are the hosts of this wonderful house. We fitted in perfectly and after unpacking, we had scones with traditional Devon cream and raspberry jam, which were delicious.

After that, we had a little chat about the expectations and regulations. For dinner we had pasta bake and it was amazing seeing the room all set up. It looked very nice and dinner was fantastic. We met our tutors, Nicola and Jacob, and had a session with them, where we discussed what we would miss the most from home. Overall, the first day has been successful and we hope the next couple of days are the same.

Most of us had our first experience of nature in Devon: cows, sheep, geese and melodic, chirping birds waking us up to a new day. To start, we had a selection of flavoursome fruits to crunchy cereals. Our two tutors: Jacob and Nicky, who are published authors, taught us how to implement and refine new ideas within poetry and prose (story writing). Some of the learning that has stuck with us are: the three Cs (create, craft and communicate); starting with a striking first line or sentence; including an element of surprise. We went for a country walk, accompanied by Frank (a sprightly, tiny French bulldog) and Clay (an old, brown Labrador), who were very friendly and were good company during the walk. The highlight of the walk was walking on a narrow, wooden bridge with what seemed like gushing water water underneath. This was a terrifying experience for most of us, but we had plenty of adults and dogs to help us.

Again, we had a walk in the open fields of Sheepwash (name of this village) and again, we were joined by Frank and Clay (our temporarily adopted pets). This time, we used our five senses to help us with our story writing. Chetan and Maryjane scribed for us as we mused about the open fields. Most of us were sucked in by the mud monsters. As a result, we were lathered in murky earth. It was fun! In the evening, we were fortunately joined by a guest speaker, Emma Carroll, who read extracts from her two published novels and gave us a preview of her next, yet-to-be-published books. Most of us got the chance to purchase one or two of her autographed novels. This was a unique experience! We are all inspired to read and write more. Currently, we are trying to publish two of our writings for an anthology.