The scrunched up bit of paper at the bottom of my son’s school bag said:
I’m writing to confirm that your son has been invited to participate in the Senior Schools Challenge on Tuesday 1 February.
This was a “University Challenge” style quiz being held in a rather smart independent school, Nottingham High School, with invited teams from Lincolnshire, including the Grammar schools in Boston, Sleaford, Grantham and Spalding. Each of the two teams from Rory’s school consisted of two pupils from the Sixth form and two from Year 10/11. The competition didn’t start until 3.45pm so a minibus was taking them, leaving at just before 2pm.
I had no idea how long the event would last so packed his bag with plenty of sandwiches, crisps and drinks. I needn’t have bothered as Rory had managed to buy a steak bake from Greggs before he got on the bus and the host school provided a fabulous buffet with “cheesy nachos and chicken things and stuff” according to my lad.
He returned home just before 10pm that night, having lost quite spectacularly but full of excitement about how great the day had been. Far from the normal monosyllabic grunts, Rory entertained us with tales from the day: the extremely clever boy on one team who was so fast on the buzzer Rory’s team were 100 points down after ten minutes, how Rory was very chuffed with his answers “oesophagus” and “palaeontology” and how they’d decided if there were any classical music questions they would just say “Beethoven” (it worked!)
The best answer of the day, however, belonged to Rory’s best pal who buzzed in with this corker:
“Who was Nadezhda Alliluyeva married to?”