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So we had a stowaway last week.


I was up North in a school that shall remain nameless.  Everything was going well.

On the Tuesday, a student I didn’t recognise came in after registration.

“Hello, can I help you?”

“Yes, my name is Jane Doe and I’m part of this project”

“Um, are you sure?”

“Yes, I was ill yesterday”

I explained to Jane that unfortunately we are very strict about letting students join once a project has started. We’ve tried it before and it generally causes a wide range of problems.  I said I’d talk to the staff anyway and she went back to lessons.

After a few seconds I had a thought…  Yesterday we’d had the full ten students.

I counted them again. Still ten of them.  I’d been very clear with the school that ten was the maximum, and more to the point, I’d seen a list that had two equally sized columns of names.

I had a conversation with the teacher and we went though the register carefully. Our Jane Doe wasn’t on the list, but one of the others wasn’t…

She’d joined the others when their names had been read out in assembly and trotted along.  She’d come in, been a sensible, if quiet, member of the team, worked hard, and was a model writer.  She just was supposed to be somewhere else.    As is tradition for stowaways I was broadly in favour of her joining up.

A teacher was dispatched to ring home to obtain the relevant permissions.  After 15 minutes of what was presumably unsettling wait, the blessing was obtained and our writer was, to overextend the metaphor, promoted to full crew, and her name added to the front of the book .

The ‘White water’ part of our name was only intended to be a metaphor… But I’m debating getting a captain’s hat.





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