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Sunday, May 15, 2011

NVR Codes for the Eleven Plus

Water diviners used to play a large part in the lives of many. After all the ability to find water is a skill not held by many. It is as skill, however, than can be acquired. Of course there are degrees of attainment – the real water diviner will keep divining while it is likely that a casual learner may lose interest. Like any job – sometimes looking for water can be hard and unrewarding work.

I can remember walking for hours behind a water diviner holding onto a quince divining rod. This is a Y shaped rod made from a single quince twig. Some, less pure diviners, use two strips tied together. In England I understand that water diviners are inclined to use twigs drawn from hazel, hawthorn or cherry. We used quince because the sticks are whippy and supple – and very responsive to water.

You hold the spring rod with the tip pointing away from you – and the arms of the Y need to be clasped reasonably firmly – with the palms face up. The rod reacts by moving up and down – and the reaction is the strongest where there is lots of water.

It takes a bit of practice to learn to recognise if the rod is moving because you are walking – or if there really is a reaction to water. As you move over water the twig twitches in your hands. It is an extraordinary sensation as the elements conspire to tell a story.

You need to concentrate on finding water. The mind can not wander. After all finding water is a bit like cracking a code. Follow the rules, follow your heart and persevere. The anthology `Songs of a Sourdough’ by Service has the poem about `The Cremation of Sam McGhee’. Here a trapper promises to cremate a friend as soon as possible after death. We had to learn this poem at school when I was eleven years old. I can easily recall the words: `A promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.’

Remind your child that unravelling a code is sometimes a bit of black magic, a bit of luck, a strong desire to find the answer and a realisation that any help in solving a code implies that a debt has been created. “Once you have cracked the code you can move on with the paper.”

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