Dear, oh, dear. I respect the man (‘like’ would be too strong).

And who am I to judge one responsible for hundreds of mad English students (as well as no small number of mad English teachers)? But life under Smedley is unnerving. With no other teacher have I muttered so frequently and with such bewilderment the words, ‘Well, I didn’t see that coming.’
He’s eccentric – I’ve noted that. But that’s not unusual near where I live. Indeed it seems to be almost expected by a good number of my countrymen.

However, eccentric is buying an Italian motorcar and driving it with the convertible canvas roof down, no matter what the weather as long as it’s officially ‘summer’. Filling an Italian motorcar with oranges once a year in order to maintain a ‘pleasing, Continental citrus aroma’ is beyond eccentric.

Eccentric is loving football so much that you wear – on the odd occasion – boots to chapel, or keep a soccer ball on your desk. Smedley, however, not only insisted that the school crest was changed (see below) but deemed to allow both boys and girls play the Beautiful Game and then in order to protect the girls, offered them the use of cricket bats.

I can say with all honesty that I love my school, but the odd, never-the-same-twice shadow that Smedley casts over the place means it is a school like no other, and frankly, nothing could ever happen there that would surprise me.

Rollover to see what happens to an orange tree when Smedley drives past and spots it.

I enjoy a practical joke as much as the next chap. Smedley, however, has a way to turn the tables on you and leave you scratching your head.

When some of the Sixth Formers, in an act of tremendous good cheer, filled Smedley’s 1913 convertible Vauxhall with oranges, poor old Smedley was a mix of outrage, frustration and lip-smacking intrigue. Turns out, he’s a big fan of oranges and found the citrus aroma that lingered on his leather upholstery reminded him of his honeymoon, which he spent in Spain.

So, thereafter, every year, Smedley would fill his Vauxhall with oranges, cumquats, limes, even the odd grapefruit, until the juice was visibly dripping out from under the doors. He’d leave the car like this for a week in order to achieve that summery, Continental scent. Then he’d buzz around Wentwillingsley and the streets of London beyond, top down no matter what the weather, waving at every man and his dog and chirping, ‘Splendid day to be out!!’. It truly boggles the mind.


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Roger Spoffin
“There are some things you learn to live with. Like your Headmaster.”

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Doffington MacDroughal
“Smedley’s the greatest Headmaster who ever lived.”

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Martin Marlborough
“Sir Reginald Totting-Smedley’s love for rugby reveals a logical mind. It gives one confidence.”

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Wentwillingsley School
Famous not for academics, but for being the first school where girls can play rugby.