*Shrill of a whistle*
For this years boarders’ Christmas supper, the graduate assistants and gap students of Marlborough College Malaysia took the boarders on a festive journey from Malaysia to the North Pole on the ‘Polar Express’. Clutching their golden tickets in hand, the boarders were invited by the Conductor into the main dining hall, now transformed into the train station at the North Pole. The passengers made sure to visit the ticket office and check their “carriage” number and “platform” on the Train Bulletin Board. Inside there was a cacophony of Christmas decoration to excite our passengers on their visit to the North Pole. There were man-size lollipops, twinkling Christmas trees, tumbling presents, reindeers and even two 10ft tall candy canes framing Santa’s grotto centre stage, all backlit with glistening snowy lights, just to name a few. For such a vast space, making the hall feel cozy was one of our design challenges. The walls, no longer brick, were covered with candy canes, tickets and an abundance of quotes from the eponymous film, reminding us of the Christmas spirit. Running at the end of the Platforms, we even had a mock-up train with images of our wonderful chefs as passengers who very much enjoyed having their pictures taken! For Heather Stevens, the warm colours of the space reminded her of St Pancras in London which for many beaks and pupils feels like home after being away!
The night was spectacular, and the chefs did not disappoint, cooking up dish after dish of delicious Christmas dinner with each boarding house taking the opportunity to serve and clear the tables on the whistle of the Conductor. After mains, our speakers Nhu Nguyen (Steel, U6), Meredith Regan (Iskandar, Year 8) and Oliver Flint (Taylor, Year 8) reminded us of all the achievements of the term both in their houses and around the school, and conveyed happy wishes for the new year ahead which has come all too quickly! Afterwards, we sang our first carol, ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas,’ spearheaded by our very own MCM-Rockstars – Dr Tomlinson and Mr Finn bringing some Christmas cheer before dessert.
Despite the round bellies from scoffing down so much chocolate cake, we planned one last surprise treat for our passengers on board the Polar Express. On the conductor’s whistle, a vast Golden Hot Chocolate canon was whisked out for the passengers by our gaps, tailed by a chain of catering staff serving piping hot chocolate and marshmallows from brilliantly decorated trolleys to loud applause. With chocolatey cheeks, we arrived at our destination – the North Pole, where Dr Tomlinson welcomed passengers, leading our traditional Marlborough College version of ‘Twelve days of Christmas’ – which certainly woke any sleepy passengers on the train!