St. Michaels School Blog
And sadly, to the end of the trip. However, in true fashion, we do what we can to keep it exciting. Booked on the 20:50, the solo driver whizzed though check-in and passport control only to receive a call from the bus saying that they had been moved to the 20:20. Thinking quickly, he sprinted into the terminal and somehow managed to convince the clerk to issue a new ticket and without further delay he was off down the ramp to board the train. At that moment, messages from the coach begin coming in which confused the matter somewhat.
The communication continued yet one half of the bus was conveying one message while the other half a completely different one, somehow, they hadn’t thought to check with each other even though only separated by 10 rows. Depending which half was to be believed, they were on the same train / or not, were going to arrive in Braintree at 22:05 / or 22:15 and could / or could not sent ParentMails from their respective phones.
However, whether by God’s grace, good old luck or the fact that the driver just got on with the job, they announced their arrival in timely geographical locations and soon the children were all returned to their parent’s loving arms.
You would think that some of the children hadn’t eaten all week by the plate-loads they served themselves. Carb-overload. Maybe some need a bit of an education about not having chips, mash potato, rice and pasta all on the same plate.
Highlights of this meal though were the arrival of 30 or so armed officers – stunned faces all round when a table behind a group was occupied by two female officers sporting a baton and pistol each. Not that our children needed any encouragement to behave well but it was quite a sight to behold all of these officers tucking into steak hache etc nonchalantly while armed to the teeth.
The other highlight was the video screen and wall which reacted to participants. One staff member gave a great rendition of YMCA unaware that he was being filmed, some children equally oblivious, followed unseen routes around the moving floor images recreating Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalk” or created their own unique moves which defy characterisation.
Having watched the children all week, we were able to award each of them with their own certificates in recognition of their special qualities. While many were serious: Best dressed for dinner, Best smile, Most thoughtful, Best language skills, Most aggressive sand-sailer or Most appreciative…some may need a little more explanation than can be provided here: Rocking the crocks & socks, Most emotive, Best conversationalist, or Best way to amuse oneself while waiting in a queue.
Bowling has become our traditional ending activity and this year, the children amazed us in so many ways. Most impressive was the way in which all the lanes supported and cheered each other on while maintaining a healthy competition for the highest scores. When the first child reach 100, everyone cheered and clapped. More meaningfully, this was repeated every time another child achieved the same (and this year group can bowl! There were many scores in the 90 and at least ten over the 100 mark).
A tense competition took many twists and turns; early contenders pushed themselves too hard in the latter stages while some of the quieter children amassed their spares and strikes. In the final end, the “Strike Master” looked to have it won; he’d begun slowly, blaming that fact that he had broken his glasses earlier that day so could not see, but then finished with an impressive 4 strikes and a total of 121. His only remaining rival managed a spare on the last end meaning she had one more bowl…tension mounted as she stepped forward, surely her steady approach would see her to victory. Alas, her bonus bowl took out just 4 pins and she fell agonisingly short with 120.
Thanks we think to our final comment last night, today we were inundated with comments from many parents and some staff at school. We took the opportunity to read these out to the children while lunch was being unloaded from the coach. They lapped up the feedback, feeling loved, missed and sometimes embarrassed by your comments.
The vast majority of the children changed and waited without incident much to the delight of the staff. However, a group of 7 girls thought this was too easy and proceeded to cause a minor panic by claiming that they had seen some random man picking up and walking off with their bags. Security was called to investigate while another staff member went upstairs to see if there was any way of buying some outfits for the girls in case the bags really had been stolen.
After much questioning and detailed, forensic investigation, it turned out that the girls had placed their bags in a completely different zone to the rest of us, in lockers that needed to be paid for so an attendant had removed them to a safe place. Relief all round – not least for the girls who now had their own clothes back but also for the lone shopper upstairs who was quietly stressing at the cost and limited options to clothe the seven girls.