Day 1 Great Waltham to Sandown
A slightly delayed start but we beat the Chelmsford traffic. All good until after the bridge. George Wallis-Jackson's rugby tour experience came in handy for a sing song, backed up by a song from Mrs Wilson that spread quickly.
Driver had to stop at the services for a 30 minute rest break. Whilst other schools were tucking into ice cream from McDonalds at 08:45 Great Waltham children kept their cash for more suitable venues!
Onto Portsmouth, we made the 11:00 ferry and some very excitable children tucked into an early lunch (they had been up for a while) and took photos out on deck. Mr Burden could not catch anyone out with the old 'Look you can see France' joke.
On to Carisbrooke, we all assembled in the 'Well House' to watch Jack the donkey turn the giant wheel to raise water from the well. Groups then spent a leisurely 2.5 hours touring the castle and grounds. The bowling green, the keep, the museum, great hall and the bedroom where Charles l was imprisoned. The gift shop purchases varied from swords and postcards to fudge and sweets!
Onto the hotel, all checked in with no fuss. Dinner at 18:00: soup, roast turkey or pasta, followed by ice-cream or chocolate pudding and custard! Happy kids, clear plates.
Even though some children were flagging, we took the very quick stroll to the sandy beach. Cricket, paddling, very large holes in the sand and lots of fun. Home in time to catch the end of Italy v Belgium and then lights out. Breakfast at 08:00 tomorrow, time to refuel after a long first day.
Children have been well behaved, we received one compliment from a member of the general public which was nice. But......they are they forgetful! Wrist bands, hats, cameras and one rain jacket left at Carisbrooke give an insight into the benefits of this trip in getting the children to take a little more responsibility for things. They love to put stuff down and then walk off!
Good first day, Roman Villa, Robin Hill and a storyteller tomorrow.
Day 1 Gallery
Day 2 Robin Hill and Storytelling
Another busy day!
After a night's sleep the day started a little too early for a small number as they were up and about before 6! This was not greeted with joy by all so they were sent back to bed very quickly.
The official part of the morning started with a hearty breakfast, lots of bacon and sausages were demolished. Then there was time for a last minute room tidy before the first room inspection, the standard was high for day one!
Our first visit was to Newport Roman Villa where we were able to see the remains of the bath house and had an exciting time in the activity room making mosaics, making herb salads and having a go at weaving. Some even dressed up, Eddie Morella made a very smiley kitchen slave! The children enjoyed hearing the stories of two murders, one solved, one still a mystery, the skull in the museum was intriguing too.
Next stop, Robin Hill Country Park, the rain stayed off and we walked from one activity to another. A simulator ride, the traditional maze (no one was lost!) the pirate ship, a quick tug of war, crawling through the rabbit warren and on to the falconry display. We saw Zahara a beautiful but temperamental buzzard and Patrick, a talented and speedy peregrine falcon. Some of the children nearly had their hair parted as he flew so low. Mr Paugh took some fabulous photos which we'll share as soon as possible.
As usual, the toboggan was very popular! The high slides encouraged some friendly competition and 43 weary children trudged to the gift shop to empty their purses and fill their rucksacks!
After a tasty cottage pie or nuggets, chips and peas, ice cream or apple crumble, we listened to Sue the Story Teller as she revealed some of the island's historical stories and a few tall tales too. Ask the children why dogs smell other dogs bottoms, I dare you!
By now, lots of the children were obviously really tired and all were given the option to walk down to the pier or get ready for bed. Lights out at 10.15, we have another busy day tomorrow as we're off to The Needles, the weather doesn't look too cheery, fingers crossed.
Day 2 Gallery
Day 3 Alum Bay: glass blowing, sweet making, a boat trip to the Needles and a chair lift, phew!
The day began with an early 7:45 am breakfast and then room inspections where unlike yesterday towels were no longer on the floor and clothing was beginning to be hung up. Hooray! Money for the day was handed out at breakfast and some children enjoyed their Full English so much they left £10 tips on the table.
With motion sickness tablets taken, children were ready for our longest and windiest coach journey on the island. After 50 minutes, Cameron was the first to see the Needles on our approach driving along the beautiful coastal route. Upon arriving at Alum Bay, the children set out on a 2 mile coastal hike above the bay. We stopped for our first group photo near the old battery and then visited a small museum about rocket testing which used to take place here.
The second stop began with more walking, down to the beach. At last a sigh of relief from the tired children as we sat down and ate lunch while watching the waves crash onto the stony beach. Our geography lessons came to life as they could see real life cliffs, caves, erosion and deposition!
Next was the boat trip for an up close view of the Needles. Sea legs were needed as the water was rough. For some children this was the highlight of our journey as it was their first ever boat trip (excluding the ferry). There was plenty of excitement when the boat turned and most passengers were sprayed with a stream of water.
The excitement and anticipation grew as we queued for our return journey on the chairlift and I am please to tell you that every child rode it to the top. Mrs. Robertshaw won the step count today as she brought the lunch boxes back climbing the hundreds of stairs!
Time for some educational: visits to the glass making workshop and sweet factory. The children were fascinated and in disbelief watching tiny pieces of glass being turned into an amazing vase. Sweets, sweets and more sweets! It seems to be a common theme throughout the trip. Be warned that some children are looking forward to using their newly learnt skills to make some interesting flavours of sweets for you at home.
You may want to use the next few days de-cluttering as the children have been gift shopping. Some interesting purchases from squidgy bananas to stress balls.
After all of these exciting activities the children were treated to some asparagus soup and fish fingers. To end our day they played cricket, football, took part in long jump and splashed in the water at the beach.
I would love to tell you that there was nothing to report on the lost property front but unfortunately a few wristbands, hats and cameras were left behind.......again! A great day was had by all!
Day 3 Gallery
Day 4 Shanklin Chine, Osborne House and lots of walking!
Last full day on the Island saw a group of tired children set out to Shanklin Chine. After the initial cries of 'my legs hurt' & 'not uphill!' they soon became distracted by the path snaking up the narrow jungle like gorge of the chine. 'Chine' being local word only used on the island referring to a deep narrow ravine, formed by water cutting through soft sandstone leading to the sea. Despite its fabulous flora & fauna, 45ft waterfall & P.L.U.T.O pipeline (ask your child) it was the talking squawking parrot that won the show. He seemed to take a particular liking to George O by the commotion that came out of it's beak!
The coach was waiting at the top of the climb to whisk us off to Osborne House but unfortunately slow traffic meant we went at a snails pace so losing some of our precious time at the house. After swiftly distributing lunches into backpacks the children route marched down to the beach with a glimpse of Swiss Cottage to settle next to queen Victoria's bathing machine to eat a well earned lunch. However it wasn't long before we were off again walking back to Swiss cottage to look at the biggest children's playhouse they had ever seen including child size war trenches and a museum displaying strange artefacts such as the World's smallest scissors.
With everyone gathered together the children's weary feet walked swiftly back to the main house and, in their groups, start the tour of Queen Victoria's favourite home. The size and grandeur amazed the children with Poppy finding it fascinating that she was walking where Queen Victoria had stepped. After a visit to the shop and a lot of well deserved ice creams for good behaviour we had a much faster journey back to the hotel for burger & chips.
With bags packed, rooms inspected for the last time (results tomorrow ) it was KARAOKE TIME....& of course Mr Burden's tractor joke as a bedtime story....