If you read this blog you will know that the thing is written by some bloke in the south of Spain and that it is largely built around the subject of fly fishing. This may well be true but the blog, for me, is the closest thing that I have to a diary and I am using it here to record an event which may have little significance for others but that means a great deal to me and to our family.

On Friday the second of our two kids finished school and graduated at our annual speech day. Like her brother Leo, Pippa attended the English International College of Marbella for all her school education having enrolled at the ripe old age of two. She was one of only three graduating students to have attended the school since Earl Years.

This year she was elected Head Girl and, in that capacity, she was required to make a speech to an audience the numbered over 800 at the speech day event. To her great credit she delivered it particularly well and received a standing ovation. Leo and Catriona and I were all delighted.

No more words from me. Here are Pippa´s words Instead:

Hello to everyone. It’s funny people think this lectern is here to hold your paper, but I think it’s really here so you can’t see how much my knees are wobbling. Okay, so I’m my usual fashion I’ve left the writing of this speech to the last minute. So a few days ago I sat and pondered what I should say to you all. This is probably the last time I’ll be allowed to speak to this many people, so what should I say? Well, I absolutely knew what I shouldn’t say, because I felt that maybe I should give advice to you all. But who wants advice from an 18 year old who knows nothing about life and may or may not have passed her A-levels. I’ll leave the life advice for the likes of Ghandi and Mother Teresa.

I will, however, tell you some of the things I have learnt here at EIC, things which cannot be found on any syllabus. Now, EIC is a lovely little place with a pond,  a peace pole and a random house smack bam in the middle of it and EIC sort of reminds me of one of those little planets in The Little Prince or the British Gas adverts. So for the 16 years that I have inhabited this lovely little planet I have learnt quite a few things which to me are invaluable. Firstly, when I arrived here in a dress which my mum still tells me was about 3 sizes too big because I was just too small for anything they had in the shop and those first few years for which I have little recollection apart from the memory of being completely and utterly happy. But then it all changed because I had reached the spelling test kind of age. Now these tests see they weren’t hard per se but I could never do them and I would spend the whole week dreading them until I got to the age when I just didn’t care anymore. Now, this probably isn’t a message Mr Griffin wants me to be sending up on this stage but I will nonetheless. It was my first taste of failure, and boy was it sweet. This acceptance of my complete incompetence  has been something which has kept me going and is one of the reasons why I think that for many years, German was my absolute favourite lesson despite the fact that I was never able to string together a complete or coherent sentence. So what I’m really trying to say is that failure is absolutely okay and to put it in the words of Ellen DeGeneres “When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”

Another  thing which I learnt very recently was when I was desperately searching for something to say for this speech so I pulled out every

document about me I could find including my personal statement and my head girl application letter. Now, I read this letter and I couldn’t stop laughing because of all the ambition I had had and all the things I said I would put into action. Did I succeed in achieving all of these aims? No, but some and some is enough. I’m proud of what the four of us have achieved with the support of teachers and friends. So that’s my final little message, don’t be afraid to be overly ambitious and also don’t be disappointed with yourself if you don’t achieve everything you wish for.

Okay so to round off this little planet metaphor, because I do love me a little metaphor, we are all leaving this planet and embarking on a voyage into an unknown future. Me and this incredible group of individuals sat behind me who I would just like to say are some of the kindest, most caring, funniest, most talented and utterly lovable people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We are all setting off together but in our own little space crafts. And there is something special about these vessels, they are each unique and they have been built and crafted and patched up not only by ourself by our teachers, our families and our peers. The teachers have built the foundations, done the tricky electrical work so we hopefully won’t crash mid-journey they have given support and help whenever needed. They have never shied away or given up and their persistence is truly incredible and even though I’ve been taught by some of the finest English teachers, I do not feel I could ever properly and truthfully articulate how grateful I am. The parents and families, on the other hand, are the fuel, their eternal love and support is what keeps us going and what I know will allow us to be happy and safe wherever we end up in life.

So I would like to say a final thank you, to everyone who has helped me get here, I wish I could name you all but the list is endless. And I close with the words of Charles M. Schulz the creator of Snoopy “Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tommorow, rest this afternoon.”


Here is a little snap of the family which was taken after the end of the formalities.