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The Rendcomb Torch Posts

MISSION CATASTROPHE!

February 13, 2019 • torch2018

The following are two short story entries from Year 8 for the Young Writers Competition.

They had come without warning, but they knew what they wanted and that was us. I was running: legs burning, head pounding, breath coming in ever shorter rasps. But I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t let them catch me. I know what they did to the others, to my family: I heard the screams, saw the bodies, felt the loss. They were gaining on me now, their bodies better suited to the pursuit of prey. I stumbled, didn’t fall, but it was too late. A skeletal hand grasped my shoulder and everything went black.

I looked up at them falling endlessly against the blood red sky. They were burning a bright white with what appeared to be a green exhaust. My family were frantically scrambling towards the shelter; I knew I had to move soon if I was going to join them. The bombs continued to come thick and fast. I turned and walked deliberately towards the shelter, closing the door firmly, blocking out the distraught look on my mother’s face. I had to face this alone. As they struck, a white cloud emanated from the bombs, engulfing me. A strange nausea started building inside of me, filling me up until I could no longer breathe.

Cryptozoology: Myth or Reality?  

February 13, 2019 • torch2018

What is cryptozoology?

That’s probably the first question that comes to mind when you see the title. Cryptozoology is a field of study that aims to prove the existence of monsters from various folklores. Some examples are Bigfoot, Amarok, Camazotz, the Jersey Devil, Thunderbird and the Wendigo.

One cryptid that we’d like to talk to you about today is the Wendigo.

The Wendigo is rumoured to be a lost hunter stuck in the freezing cold, alone in the forest. The excruciating hunger led him to become a cannibal. Native American tribes believe that humans turn into Wendigos if they ever resort to cannibalism and therefore this acts as a deterrent. The Wendigo is a cold weather cryptid, meaning that the cold weather and a harsh environment have no effect on it at all. It is said to have massive eyes like an owl, and incredibly sharp claws. Some people say that it looks like a werewolf, but some say it is a relative of Bigfoot.

A rough translation of the Wendigo is ‘the evil spirit that devours mankind’. Another translation is ‘spirit of lonely places.’ Another rumour has it that the Wendigo can mimic human voices. The tale goes that a man was stranded in the woods, and he heard a human voice. Thinking that it was civilization, he followed the voice. However, instead of fellow humans, he came across a beast with flaming eyes, looking to devour all and the man was instantly struck with fear. Needless to say, the Wendigo devoured him with much delight!

William Wolton and Jayden Seributra

Images: http://cryptozoologycryptids.wikia.com/wiki/Wendigo

 

 

Animal-napping – aka trafficking

February 13, 2019 • torch2018

Each year, thousands of wild animals are smuggled into different countries to be sold into ‘slavery’. The main reason people choose to trade animals illegally is for money. One animal alone can be sold for millions of pounds.  

Asia is the most common continent for animal smuggling. This is because it has a wide range of very rare animals. The types of animals traded include many different species: from a beautiful tiger to a colourful parrot.

Pangolins are another example of creatures that have been poached or smuggled and as a result, there are now only a few left. It is thought that the pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the world. However, the current population of the pangolin is unknown. 

One thing that often happens is that a wild animal is sold as a pet. This is dangerous for both owner and animal, since the animal could suddenly snap and attack the owner. It might be a tiger or a lion, maybe even a fox, but it will always follow its instinct in the end.  

In February last year, a US teenager was caught smuggling a tiger cub across the Mexican border. The cub was only 6 weeks old when it was brutally and inhumanly snatched from its mother. It was found in a box on the floor of Luis Valencia’s car. That is only one of many illegal operations that cause harm to young animals. He has now been sentenced to six months in prison.  

This threat to animals is rising but if we learn and educate others about the effects of animal trafficking we can stop this crisis. 

Ameline Poussier

Rollable TV? HOLY MOLY!

February 6, 2019 • torch2018

Recently revealed by LG at the world-famous trade show CES is the rollable TV. This incredible technology turns a 65” Television into a soundbar. There are 3 different modes; fully up, fully down and a sort of half up mode where the TV will only show the weather or play music. This OLED screen has incredible support machinery, so it isn’t at all flimsy. There is no definite sales price but considering this is going to be released as part of LG’s Signature line, we can expect the price to run into several thousands of dollars. For those of you who care about the ‘Smart TV’ functions, this television will likely be featuring Apple AirPlay© 2 and in-built Amazon Alexa as well as the usual Netflix, Prime Video, etc. Obviously, as expected for a TV of this calibre, it will be a 4K screen, offering a super HD option for videos that support it. I’m sure that for people that can afford it, it will be on many wishlists. This development in the industry can only leave us wondering, ‘What next?’

Considering that we have made the link from straight TVs to bending ones in such a short time, the sequel to this article could be about a holographic television, or even one that can make itself bigger and smaller at the touch of the button.

William Wolton

Images ©Linus Media Group

Christmas Crackers…

December 9, 2018 • torch2018

Top 10 Christmas Jokes to lighten up even the Scrooge of your family, try out these and banish the Grinch until next year.

  1. How much did Santa’s sleigh cost?

Nothing, it was on the house.

  1. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

Frostbite

  1. Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?

A mince spy!

  1. Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars?

Because their days are numbered!

  1. What do you call an elf who sings?

A wrapper

  1. What do you call a boomerang that does not come back?

A stick

  1. Why was the snowman looking through the carrots?

He was picking his nose

  1. What does Miley Cyrus have for her Christmas dinner?

Twerky

  1. Why are Christmas trees very bad at knitting?

Because they always drop their needles

  1. What did the snowflake say to the fallen leaf?

You’re so last season

 

 

 

Palm Oil: Destroyer of Rainforests

November 26, 2018 • torch2018

What is Palm Oil? Where does it come from and what does it have to do with the environment?

I’m sure these questions aren’t top of your list when you are wandering around the supermarket but thanks to Iceland’s latest Christmas advert, more and more people are asking them!

 

The advert highlights the destructive nature of our quest for palm oil, showing the impact of our actions on orangutans.

What is Palm Oil?

Palm oil itself is a type of vegetable oil that is found in African oil palms and because of the high demand for this product, huge areas of rainforest are being cleared to make way for more palm oil trees.

Did you know that an area of the rainforest the equivalent of 300 football fields is being destroyed every hour!?

Which products contain it?

Shockingly, palm oil is in almost HALF of the products we buy in the supermarket! These range from lipstick, shampoo and soap, to ice-cream, chocolate and pizza dough.

What can we do about it?

Palm oil is in so many things that it seems quite unrealistic to stop using it completely. Instead, we need to make sure that products are made with certified sustainable palm oil. This just means that the oil has been produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way. We, as consumers, can put pressure on companies by either simply refusing to buy their products or by calling or writing to them to encourage them to source their palm oil responsibly!

A law was passed in 2014 to force manufacturers to state whether a product contains palm oil so it should be possible to check what you are buying. Supermarkets will only sell items that are in demand, so we can use our consumer power for good and force manufacturers to be more responsible!

Stop the Destruction. Save the Animals

Make a Difference

‘Fancy-giving’ these a try?

November 15, 2018 • torch2018

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Whoopie Pies 

(Recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.co.uk – tried and tested by our very own bakers, Jess and Jemima)

Ingredients – Makes 36

  • 400g dark brown soft sugar
  • 220ml vegetable oil
  • 375g pumpkin – cooked, mashed and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground ginger
  • ½ tablespoon ground cloves

Filling

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 155g butter, room temperature

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Lightly grease baking trays, or line with baking parchment.
  2. To cook the pumpkin, either bake or steam it, then peel and mash. Allow to cool before using in the recipe. Shop-bought pumpkin puree may be used instead, if available.
  3. Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the cooled pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarb, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.
  4. Drop mixture by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking trays. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. To Make Whoopie Pie Filling: Beat egg white and mix with the milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 125g of the icing sugar. Mix well then beat in the butter and the remaining sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
  6. Let cakes cool then make sandwiches from two cakes filled with the filling.

The Unreturning

November 15, 2018 • torch2018

Following our school Remembrance Day memorial service on Sunday, we thought it would be fitting to tell you a bit about a recent GCSE Drama trip to see a play called ‘The Unreturning’, a Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth Production.

What has this got to do with Remembrance Day, you might well ask?

Well, the play focuses on the effect war has on people and how ‘home’ can be a very different place for soldiers returning from time spent at war.

It follows three soldiers, all returning home from war: one is from 1918, the second is from 2013 and the third is all the way from 2026!

The story of the soldier from 1918 explores his struggle with shell-shock upon his return home after WW1, as he tries to recover from the horrific events he has witnessed.

Racial stereotypes and social media’s influence are the focus of the story of the soldier from 2013, after he’s discharged because of a terrible atrocity he has committed.

Finally, the 2026 soldier’s futuristic story is set as England is in the midst of civil war and he’s a refugee in Norway trying desperately to get home.

Each of these stories is intertwined, as the play explores what ‘coming home’ really means, giving a haunting insight into the horrors of war and the damage it inflicts on those who have experienced it firsthand.

BE WARNED: it is intense, overwhelming and subsequently emotionally exhausting, but also beautiful, cleverly choreographed and the set itself is a masterpiece!

A must see!

https://www.franticassembly.co.uk/productions/the-unreturning

For the Fallen…

November 7, 2018 • torch2018

UP

Up, down, up, down.

Over and over again

Day in, day out

Wondering each night, what tomorrow will bring

BANG!

Wounded.

Next to me, bodies

A blanket of red blood covers my arm

I close my eyes,

Praying to see my family.

The pain peels slowly off.

Where is my signal?

Who are my enemies?

Who are my allies?

Let’s go up

Up, down, up, down

Gun shots ring like a school bell in my ear

Pillows of smoke fill my lungs

I’m struggling

Struggling to breathe

This is my time

Up…

 

By Jemima and Jess

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