Breaking the ice
I played cricket when I was younger and it is a game which I have long enjoyed watching. I realise that it can appear impossibly slow and dull to those who do not properly understand it but it involves a considerable range of skills and five-day Test matches are often fascinating and sometimes wonderfully exciting and unpredictable. The length of the matches also provides opportunities for reading, relaxation and conversation with companions and newly made friends.
During the summer I was on the boundary one Sunday watching my younger son and his friends playing for their club side. I started chatting to one of the other fathers who I did not know particularly well and quickly discovered that he is an old boy of both our junior and senior schools. I inevitably asked him about his sixth form and university studies. His passion was English literature, which he studied at Oxford University. None of this is particularly surprising but the same could not be said for his answer to my predictable question about how he earned a living. There were many responses which I probably anticipated: solicitor, barrister, accountant, teacher, journalist publisher, for example. I did not expect him to tell me that he is an ice sculptor. He then proceeded to provide me with a fascinating insight into the history of ice and the many and varied projects in which his company has been and remains involved. I was so interested in all this that I asked him if he would be happy to come back to King's and give a talk to the Cavan Taylor Society, the cultural society for the boys in the Lower and Upper Remove (Years 7 and 8). He replied that he would be delighted to do so and promised that he would bring some ice with him and give the boys a brief demonstration of ice sculpting.
Jamie Hamilton joined us yesterday and we all enjoyed the hour or so that we spent with him in the New Hall. He provided a brief presentation explaining how an enthusiasm for iced drinks spread from the USA to Europe and the way in which this made possible the development of ice cream. Chefs in fine hotels then started to sculpt table decorations from ice and so a new art form emerged. His father, originally a chef, set up his own ice-sculpting business - Hamilton Ice Sculptors - nearly fifty years ago and Jamie now works with him in the family firm.
Jamie has recently been involved, amongst many projects, in sculpting staging for an opera in Spain, ice wheels for a Lexus car advertising campaign and the Magical Ice Kingdom for the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. While he told us about all these things and answered the boys' questions, he sculpted a beautiful clam from two blocks of ice. (Please see the photo in this week's Junior Views.) All of us - the boys and those teachers who could be there, too - so enjoyed watching him at work and listening to his answers. At exactly 12.30, as our session was drawing to its conclusion, Jamie finished the clam and received warm applause for the shimmering creation which he lit beautifully but simply with a small, battery-powered light.
The presentation gave us an insight into a world which, to the best of my knowledge, was unfamiliar to us all. It also revealed that there are many ways of earning a living and that entrepreneurial talent can take people in surprising directions.
Friday 10 February 2017