Archive for the 'Writings' Category

Brockwood Observer Autumn / Winter, Issue #44

Here is our Autumn/Winter issue of the Observer.

An explosion of smells, numerous kinds of dishes and peculiar culinary techniques are all features of the Brockwood Food Festival and what fabulous looking dishes it results in.

Not many students consider tree climbing an important part of their learning in school, but Noemi does, meditating on her relationship with the tree while giving sensible instructions for the beginner.

It happens once in 5 years, takes a whole year to prepare for, involves a huge amount of work, runs for 5 days and attracts hundreds of people; it is of course an alumni reunion.

Once a year Brockwood runs an Annual Appeal to raise the necessary funds to support the good work that goes on here; this explains how that money was used and the benefits that flowed from it.

…and more…

Click on the image below to view the magazine online or here for its pdf format.

‘Last Night the Moon rose from the Albanian Hills: Why are we so destructive?’

Brockwood Park School staff member Andrew Alexander keeps a blog on his educational adventures. His latest post concerns War, Divisions, Fear and Observation, Unity and Learning. It is titled; ‘Last Night the Moon rose from the Albanian Hills: Why are we so destructive?’ Read his full article here:

Andrew Alexander

All the Bounty of Brockwood

The summer has arrived at Brockwood, and nowhere is this more evident than in the garden. Apples, berries, flowers, and herbs are bursting with vigor into being. The days of herbal teas, lavender oils, hand-picked salads, and raspberry breakfasts are upon us. Fresh figs and plums are not far behind. Those coming for the reunion will arrive at the peak of this bounty, and can look forward to a veritable feast of Brockwood garden goodies.

Photographs by Sarah Lewis

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That All Important Mixture of Perseverance and Creativity

The following is a review of ‘Beasts of Consciousness’, a play written and directed by Brockwood Student, Adele Guyton (17 years), and performed by a student cast before a full auditorium of guests at Brockwood on Friday night. The review is by teacher, Andrew Alexander:

As soon as the title is digested, you know that you are going to enjoy an evening of true entertainment, with a play of originality and verve, and music of added spice and variety. The genius was not just in the play itself but also in the balance that created a complete array of delights so complemented in style and content as to form the perfect whole in a holistic environment.

Beasts of ConcsciousnessPhotograph of cast (minus Sam Muller) of the play

So to the play itself, if I could remember the exact quote about ‘originality’ in play, I could make some clever remark; but, being at least three times the age of the youthful author, I cannot (there is some exaggeration here). The cleverness of the script, the energy of the performance and the simplicity of the setting made it a wonderful experience. James, the endearing, bumbling and ultimately unsuccessful playwright, adopting the romantic image of the writer cloistered in the attic with his characters – quite literally as it turns out. The family below and the potential love interests being engineered by both his sister and his landlady, form a backdrop against which the characters that have escaped from the imagination play out their parts.

There are many things that are remarkable about this production – the maturity and strength of the writing; the quality of the acting; the sheer exuberance and enjoyment of all the cast and the extraordinary accessibility and connection between the production and the audience. There was a great deal of humour, both in the writing and the acting – a little girl a few chairs away from me was giggling loudly almost throughout one scene; and this was not the scene where the two actors barely managed to control their own laughter. I have to say I have never watched a scene being played out with such earnestness so close to exploding mirth, and yet it enhanced my enjoyment of the play to see the uncontrolled teetering on the edge of chaos and pulling themselves back again. In addition to the humour there were fascinating changes of mood, from desperation, humiliation and manipulation to the final liberation: it could be said to be a happy ending for all, but I am not so sure.

For the writer/director this production was a triumph of that all important mixture of perseverance and creativity; for the cast this was a celebration of cooperation and dedication; for the musicians and dancers it was the opportunity to contribute to a special event; consequently, for the audience it was an experience of delight.

Andrew Alexander 29th June 2014

Brockwood Observer Spring / Summer, Issue #43

Here is our Spring/Summer issue of the Observer.

The journey, as a solitary traveller, to two of our sister schools in India had a profound impact on Brockwood teacher, Fazila Benoit.

Having recently brought his own son to Brockwood as a student, Pablo Severin is reminded of the day in 1973 when he was dropped off here, feeling terribly alone.

With the arrival of spring the Grove is bursting with colour and life and there is no better place to sit beneath a tree and read poetry.

Question: what do the replica cockpit of a Spitfire, two horizontal top-bar bee hives and some freshly baked bread, pizza and brioche have in common? Answer: they were all made by students, mature students and staff.

…and more…

Click on the image below to view the magazine online or here for its pdf format.

Surprise encounter during the recent Istanbul riots

During last Saturday’s Istanbul riots, former Brockwood Park School student Daniel Christoffel, who lives and works in Turkey, had to take shelter in an Istanbul coffee shop with three tourists from the other side of the globe. To their great surprise they found they had something in common…

SurpriseEncounterIstanbulRiot(In the photo, from left to right, Varun, Daniel, Prashnant and Kaushal) — at Taksim Gezi Park, ISTANBUL.

“I had a rather unusual encounter the other day, which I thought would be interesting to share with you.

For those who might not remember me, I used to be a student at Brockwood from 2002-2005. Beginning this year I moved to Istanbul for work and I have to say that I’ve never experienced so much noise and distortion ever before.

Anyhow, let’s get to the point. I moved to a lively district in the heart of the city but since it is right in the middle you get a lot of the recent protests as well. Turkey is currently in Turmoil due to the rigid regime of the current government. This Saturday was the anniversary of last year’s Gezi Park protests, where many people have died.

I was out in my neighborhood hanging out at my friend’s shop drinking some coffee and watching the crowds getting more and more excited. You could see the police move slowly down the hill while the protesters yelled and clapped. The police shot a few tear gas capsules but it was still all quite normal. We are used to a little bit of tears in the eyes.

The protests got more and more ugly; the protesters started throwing stones and bottles at the police and suddenly the whole atmosphere collapsed and people panicked and ran down the hill chased by police. As the rubber bullets and tear gas bombs flew next to my friends shop we knew it was time to get in. We locked the doors, and put the shutters down.

We barricaded ourselves into the shop watching the street fires burn higher and higher. We were six friends, one cat and four tourists in the shop, who also ran inside as it became ugly. In total we spent about two hours in the shop trying to escape to the back of the shop as the tear gas came in through every crack.

It was a fun crowd like always and we had plenty of coffee, water and music to have a good time. The tourists turned out to be a group of friends from America who studied together. They were very friendly, but scared at the same time as they are not used to these kind of protests. All of them came from India but mostly grew up in the States.

So we had some talks about Istanbul, Turkey, the US and India and had a good time. As we talked about education they said that three of them went to a small boarding school in India, no one would really know it, in the State of Andhra Pradesh. I did not think much of it as India is big, however when they said Rishi Valley I knew what it was all about.

Is that not the funniest coincidence? A former Brockwood student lives in Istanbul and during a protest meets with four strangers in a shop, which is barricaded, and three of them turn out to also have been to a Krishnamurti school? Now I think, that this was the most curious thing that has happened to me this year and somehow there must be a meaning behind all of this… Krishnamurti is everywhere 

More importantly, these encounters show one how small this world really is and how small all of our problems really are. Once back in the open world, led by greed and power, the need to achieve something becomes ever so important. But realizing how small we actually are makes me realize how unimportant most of the thoughts are, also.

I wish you all the best and hope that this little encounter inspires some as much as me.

All the best, Daniel Christoffel”

A new dishwasher for the Rota Room!

After 16 years of loyal thrice daily service, our washing up machine, known around Brockwood as the Rota machine, decided to call it quits. For three weeks we all washed our dishes by hand, hoping that the machine could be salvaged, but sadly without luck. A new machine was ordered and just arrived today. In the photos the old machine is standing outside, waiting to be hauled away, and the new machine is about to be taken into service.
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“School for Thought”––an article in the Southern Daily Echo about Brockwood Park School

“In the heart of Hampshire is a vegetarian boarding school where the day begins with silent meditation and there are scheduled sessions for philosophical discussion. Sally Churchward visits Brockwood Park to find out more. . . .” You may read the whole article here:

School for Thought

Landscapes and Lifeskills

Recently we had a visit from Kael Del Campo, former Brockwood student (2002-2005), who brought with him a copy of his book Landscapes and Lifeskills. After leaving Brockwood with A Level exams in maths, physics and Spanish, Kael had a gap year in India most of which was spent teaching at a school in Auroville. He then attended the University of Exeter to study physics, gaining a double-first, honours degree and having spent his 3rd year studying at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.


Kael worked for a year teaching in Barcelona before attending the 4 month Landscape and Lifeskills course at the Gurukula Sanctuary in Kerala, India. This involved 7 students from around the world and was partly taught by fomer Brockwood student, and sanctuary director, Suprabha Sesham, and current Brockwood staff member Lorenzo Castilleri. Kael’s self-published book, which can be downloaded for free here, documents his experience of the course, which looked at global environmental and economic issues and involved direct observation of nature and the experience of living in the rain forest of the Western Ghats. Kael is now a maths and physics teacher at The Acorn School in Gloucestershire.



Feeling the pressure?

Brockwood Park School staff member Andrew Alexander keeps a blog on his educational adventures and his latest post is about pressure at schools. After writing about all the pressures students are faced with, he concludes, ‘Just listen, look and be still for one moment. Then, without pressure, we might be able to explore together this thing we call life..’ Read his full article here:

Andrew Alexander