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France – Day 1 – Part 2 – Nausicaa etc.

Hi all, I am currently pressing quietly on my keys as I sit outside dorm 51 on the boys side, I’ve done quite a bit of ssshhhing but after 10minutes or so they seem to be settling down after a busy day 1 of their school journey.

Mr Sadler is at the other end of the corridor where he has 10 boys in one dorm, good luck with that, he’s opting for the shhhhing tactic and he seems to be getting some joy.

Our crossing was as smooth as I’ve known it and we arrived promptly in France (just did another shhh towards dorm 52), it always surprises me how many children don’t realise that we ACTUALLY went under the sea to get here. As I said earlier it’s quite a throwback on the coaches and the girls behind me were engaging in some judging of each-others drawings, one drew a banana and one drew some cherries, they gave each other very nice concise written feedback on the drawings so I decided to join in and submit my own drawing of a ‘chochon’ or pig. The girls said I should have joined the ears to the head a bit better and the eyes were a bit funny – I don’t think I’ll submit another one.

Nausicaa was great once again and this year they have a brand new building for us to visit, it only opened in May and it houses the biggest tank in Europe. It’s fair to say it’s big, 60x30x8 to be precise and the tour ends with a spectacularly huge, immerse glass screen to children to marvel at. Despite this wonder, my group seemed happiest when they realised they were stood under fluorescent lights in the deep sea section, those wearing white started to glow and they were simply beside themselves with excitement – it’s the simply pleasures in life I guess.

Dinner tonight was savoury crepes to start, breaded fish and vegetables for main and chocolate eclairs for desert – the accompaniment for all of these fines courses was of course – baguette. I’m pretty sure even Napoleon’s army didn’t eat this much bread. The eclairs were a particular highlight and the diplomacy involved in deciding who gets a second one would put certain world leaders to shame.

I have now stopped my shhhhing and Mr Sadler is bravely leaving his post at the end of the 10 man dorm. I think, finally, they are asleep.

Tomorrow is visiting WW1 battlefields in Albert for coach 2 and Rouen for coach 1 so should be good fun.

As ever, all children are happy and it was a brilliant first day.

Mr Powell

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France Day 1 – Part 1 – We Have Arrived

Hi all, this is where you will find my daily blogs from France, we have just arrived in France and it’s been a really smooth journey.

We had some ‘seagull issues’ during lunch where Folkestone’s finest laid siege to our leftovers, a seagull is a pretty intimidating bird when you see one up close and judging from the girl’s screams – they clearly agreed.

Our crossing was all on time and we are in the capable hands of our coach drivers Malcolm and Andrew who have been superb so far. Coach one is brand new and I asked the children to guess its price, one boy suggested £10,000 which was about £240,000 short – he best get saving if he wants one for when he’s 17.

Things are quite oldy worldy on the coach (we even had a spontaneous rendition of ‘pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’) with travel monopoly and travel cluedo proving difficult to play with four players across two sets of seats, one girl said to me ‘It’s hard because the girls behind can’t see the board’ – you wouldn’t have this trouble with iPad app. Pass the Pigs is also getting an outing but it’s more like ‘lose the pigs under a seat’ – I haven’t seen any leaning jowlers yet.

As ever, all children are happy and are looking forward to Nausicaa aquarium which has been renovated/extended for 2018 so that should be a bonus.

Mr Powell

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Day 2 – Dieppe and The Organic Cheese Farm by Mr Williams

Being woken by the pitter-patter of tiny feet is something you get used to when on school journey, particularly at 6.00 in the morning when the first flurry of movement starts. Today was no exception and by 7.45 the boys were all up after a good night’s sleep, dressed, washed (honestly), rooms tidy (really honestly), inspected and ready for breakfast. The girls matched the boys in timing and effort and we all met together outside the dining hall to go into breakfast as a school.

It was another bluebird sky, the perfect weather to go to Dieppe. The trip there was easy and we were soon by the harbour learning about the history and economics of Dieppe. More importantly the Cafe Tout va Bien was waiting to serve 63 crepes of different beautifulness – chocolat, citron ou sucre. All delightful and by the end the remnants covered the faces of every child (and staff members). A quick tour around the town which ended up at the memorial for an attack by Canadian forces in 1942 against the port, which was held by the Germans. Unbelievably the attack was plotted by no other than Ian Fleming (he of James Bond fame).

The visit to Dieppe ended up us all having a picnic lunch in the wonderful sunshine – the perfect spot.

Once watered, we got back onto the bus and made our way into the interior and visited a goat farm (welll there were cows as well but it was the making of chèvre (goat’s cheese) that we were there to enjoy). The farm had 73 goats, all of which were stroked and petted by the children. We then got chance to taste new cheese, less than a week old, and an older cheese, at the enormous age of one month old – both delicious and totally different tastes.

At last we made our way back to the chateau, not to rest but to play a 27-a-side football match. As Mrs Turner walked onto the pitch she was surprised to hear Mr Brampton and two boys talking about the relative merits of the Chinese system of government and whether it was diverse enough to promote change and development. Needless to say, the conversation stopped from time-to-time as one of the conversationalists got up to hoof a ball that had got within kicking range off in the direction of goal.

Dinner was accepted with open arms and mouths; an excellent tomato salad followed by fish and ratatouille and a chocolate desert – just what the doctor ordered.

Is it time for bed, I hear you cry? Oh no, not by any stretch. Off for mini Olympics and a lot of races and competition Everyone loving it.

You never know after today the pitter-patter of tiny feet may not start until 6.05 tomorrow! We can but hope!

Mr Williams

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Day 1 – The Journey Begins

Hi all, sorry for the late post, we have been busily helping our lovely year 6s get their bedding sorted. It’s fair to say some have had more success than others but with a little coaching from Mr Williamss, all was well.

Mrs Goalen has been briefing the girls on her dorm points system; her idea consists mainly of French pastisserie for dorm names and a complex points system for inspections. I look forward to seeing what the girls have in store for their inspections – dancing, bows on beds, singing are all not unheard of. It still feels a bit strange to be yelling across the field –  ‘can everyone in millefeuille dorm come over to me please!’ But I’m sure we will get used to it.

As regards our journey, we had a slight delay getting over but the ferry was an exciting way to kick things off, the children got to see the white cliffs of Dover disappear into the distance as we sailed away, at this point a child pointed said cliffs and asked ‘is that France?’ – I politely informed them that we had only been travelling for 5 minutes and we still had to cross a small pool of water called the English Channel.

Nausicaa aquarium once again went down really well and the cries of ‘wow ‘ and ‘woah’ when the sea lions swam beneath us was a really nice moment.

Spirits were high on the coach thanks to our superb drivers Stuart and Ian, Stuart has come armed with a mountain of Haribo products which acted as suitable motivation for a good old fashioned game of bingo. We had two lucky children yelling BINGO to bag themselves a prize.

I will leave you all for now as I’m going to check in at the boys dorm – all of the children are happy and raring to go for the week.

Tomorrow  it’s a tour of Rouen in the morning and we are going to visit a Nazi WW2 bomb factory on the way home, this is a first for a St Mary’s France trip and promises to be of great interest to us all.

I will try and blog tomorrow and hopefully I can make it a bit funnier!

Keep your eye on Twitter for pictures from tomorrow’s missions 🙂

Mr Powell





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craft fair

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singing comp

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The Cupcake Shop

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