Monthly Archives: June 2016
Hi all, today was our last full day here Normandy and the children certainly made it count with a day of culinary and cultural visits topped off by the finale to the week’s events – the DISCO!
I have just come from the disco to write this and it was certainly a lively affair. I’m pleased to say that things have moved on from my day when boys and girls would stand tentatively at either side of the dance floor, this was helped greatly by the centre staff who led lots of ‘dabbing’ and ‘nay naying’. I’m also pleased to add that the Macarena is still going strong – the girls still know all the moves and the boys still don’t.
One particluar dance move that caught my attention was from a group of boys, who, as far as I could see, were just shaking violently from head to toe; it was quite a strange sight but it seemed to go down well.
Earlier in the day we visited the Neufchâtel cheese farm where the children had a talk in French about how cheese is made. I’m pleased to say they followed the talk really well without too much coaching from the teachers – they were helped greatly by our two French speaking children who translated questions with aplomb. We then visited a calf who was three days old which the children loved, one child even remarked that she’d like to spend the night in the barn cuddled up to the calf – I said I’d speak to the farmer to see what he could do. We then went onto purchase over 70 Neufchatel cheeses as presents – Twickenham cheese boards will be soon full of Normandy’s finest heart shaped cow’s cheeses.
In the afternoon we headed to the cider farm which is a short walk from the chateau, we looked at how our guide Adrian’s family grew their apples and turned them into various apple products. The children also had a chance to sample his cider vinegar which Andrian then suggested was good for clearing spots. One child gave this unusual French remedy a try by dabbing it on a spot. Unfortunately, it didnt work as quickly as she had hoped, I’ll check for further results in the morning before I declare this miracle cure a success 🙂
Tomorrow it’s a visit to a beach in Mer Les Bains for an ice cream before we head back to Twickenham, keep an eye on Twitter for when we arrive back on British soil.
As ever, all children are happy and it has been a really superb week.
See you soon.
Hi all, I am currently sitting observing the last of evening sun here in Criel sir Mer, we have had a couple of down-pours today so it feels like a welcome reward to finish with some sun. Despite the rain, nothing was to stop us today as we visited the port of Dieppe, visited a market, went to a hyper market and completed archery and fencing sessions on site.
Dieppe began with a trip to the creperie which was appropriately called ‘Tout Va Bien’, all children tucked into a chocolate crepe and their confidence to use French with our waiter was nice to see.
After a short tour covering the history of Dieppe, we visited another market street and, despite some drizzle, the children’s appetite for glorious tat was evidently undiminished. Amoungst the purchases of must-have brand new pink aviators came some shopper’s guilt. One child remarked ‘I just feel I want to buy my parents something, all I’ve bought is deodorant and sweets.’ This deodorant was promptly sprayed onto his friend’s wrists for them to sample as if it we’re Chanel’s finest.
Another lovely moment came when one child purchased two scented candles for his auntie, what a lovely gesture. I just hope his auntie has a problem with insects as it was two Citronella candles. It’s definitely the thought that counts.
A word for Mrs Goalen, her tremendous enthusiasm knows no bounds, from random spot quizzes about the history of Rouen to two of the hardest high fives I have ever received. She helps to make all our day trips such fun.
As I sign off, the children are currently enjoying ‘scrapheap challenge’ which looks a bit crazy, they are making something out of cardboard boxes, no idea what they are supposed to be creating but they all seem to think it’s great fun.
Tomorrow is a visit to a cheese farm, a beach walk and a trip to a local cider farm. As ever, all children are happy and are squeezing every last opportunity out of their week away 🙂
Hi all, day 2 is drawing to a close here at the beautiful Chateau Chantereine and the children are taking part in mini olympics and the trail of mystery as I write this.
Our day began with the usual breakfast of cereal/brioche/fruit or yogurt and then children are asked to construct their own baguettes as part of a packed lunch before we set off for our day trip. There was plenty of pork going into most baguettes; ham and salami were being thrown in at will, and, of course, no one forgot the little French galette for pudding.
The tour of Rouen was really great once again and our guides were superb, they are extremely knowledgable and are sure to focus on the gorier side of history to keep young minds interested. One such story was based around the use of ‘ lucky cats’ to ward off the Black Death, unfortunately these ‘lucky cats’ did not meet a happy end – much to the disdain of our animal lovers. The end to this tale was a chance for the children to see one of these mummified ‘lucky cats’ that was found beneath the streets of Rouen some years ago. One of the children remarked how cute the cat looked – I wasn’t so sure.
The children then had a chance to visit a market in Rouen and one child managed to spend 11euros on pic and mix with another boy buying some rather fetching bright pink nail varnish which was ‘for his sister.’ I look forward to seeing his handy work at the disco…
After Rouen, we had the chance to stop off at a former Nazi bomb factory and it was a great chance for the children to see some history as it was left 70 years ago. They were able to see where the bombs were stored and transported; there was also a life size replica of a V1 missile to capture the imagination of eager boys.
So tomorrow it’s off to Dieppe for some more French history and a chance to buy some more ‘interesting’ items at another market. I’m anticipating a large array of garish sunglasses to be added to our luggage 🙂
As ever, all the the children are happy and are really into the swing of life at the Chateau, keep gazes onto Twitter for some pictorial updates of Dieppe and I will blog tomorrow.
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 🙂