Marlborough College Summer School 2019 marks its 45th birthday with a bumper 550 coursesThe brochure for the 2019 Marlborough College Summer School (14 July-10 August 2019) has been thudding onto doormats across the land - and beyond. Online booking for the 550 courses opens at 10.00am on Tuesday, January 8 - and there is a five per cent reduction if you book before March 1.
In her introduction to the brochure, the College Master, Louise Moelwyn-Hughes, highlights the dozens of new courses on offer - from 'Arabic for Beginners' to 'An Introduction to Bee Keeping'. She also notes the new range of courses for youngsters - catering for those aged three up to seventeen.
Perhaps the most innovative of the new courses is the 'Heart of the White Horse' course in the Life Skills, Hobbies, Country Pursuits and Sports category.
Those signing on for the course will take part in the restoration of the Preshute White Horse (also known as the Marlborough White Horse) on Granham Hill. Dating from 1804, the horse will get a thorough clipping and rub down - or in more technical terms, the figure will be 'scoured and recut'.
This collaborative course is being run by Angela Shaw and Zoe Young - and they are calling on local expert and author Maria Wheatley to give participants insights into the archaeology and history of the county's eight white horses.
This course will end with a "Community celebration including traditional games...to share with the town of Marlborough, connecting people tom place and to each other."
There is certainly plenty in the brochure to choose from. For example in the Arts and Crafts category there are 39 new courses - from 'Indian Block Printing' to 'Radiant Watercolours'. Among the Landscape and Architecture courses there is a new out-and-about course from Adrian Woodford: 'Along the Ridgeway'.
Literature and Creative Writing includes the new course 'Writing Your Own Memoir' with Rosie Jackson who published her own memoir The Glass Mother in 2016.
Those interested in History, Art History and Culture can get a dose of realism from the ever-popular tutor Michael Hart's new course 'The Twilight of Liberal Democracy'. Alternatively they can escape into the bizarre world of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley with tutor Madeleine Emerald Thiele.
The Music, Dance, Theatre and Film category of courses offers a wide range of practical courses (like creating a 'Scratch World Music Choir' or learning Flamenco or to belly dance) or the informative (such as Robin Nelson's 'Short History of Operas').
Science, Technology and Computing has a new course on 'Code Breaking' and several courses on better use of your iPad or computer or camera.
Body and Mind covers many aspects of health and wellbeing - and beauty. Among the new courses in this category is one on 'Aztec Healing: Body to Soul' and another on 'Mindfulness for Stress Reduction'.
Alongside the learning and the creativity is the programme of entertainments. The full programme of evening recitals and talks will be announced in June. But the staple Gala Performances are featured in the brochure.
They include the world renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson on the roots of jazz, an Evening with Clare balding, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (under Polish conductor Marta Gardolinska), The Counterfeit Stones' mockumentary of the Rolling stones 'colourful' (ahem) history.
Also in the gala programme is a talk by the Reverend Richard Coles ('From Pop Star to Parson'), a feast of swing from singer Matt Ford and the 'unstoppable' Magic of Motown. And the Illyria theatre group will be back with an open-air performance of 'Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves'.
In his letter to Summer School customers, its Director, John Blake, ends with a timely look ahead to July and August: "Let us hope that we are blessed with the same beautiful weather as last summer!" Yes, indeed!