The Isle of Wight 2018
A very happy and tired group of pyjama-clad children are clutching teddies and waiting for storytime to begin. We have had a fun-packed day and the pupils can't believe how much we've done already. Some delays made the journey a little longer than expected but everyone was patient and very relieved to arrive at Queen Elizabeth's Park where we stopped for a snack and a quick play. On the ferry, everyone was extremely well-behaved, making the staff feel very proud.
Once at the Medina Valley Centre we started activities straight away; some rifle-shooting, some trying their hand at archery and others working together in team challenges. Carisbrooke Castle was our next destination and here we walked on the ramparts, visited the museum, played in the bowling green and met Jigsaw, one of the donkeys who walks on a wheel to bring water up from the castle well.
Dinner was very welcome and the mashed potato was a big hit! Our evening activity was a team scavenger hunt with 7 lists of challenges. The team who won are only the second team to ever complete all challenges.
We are now calmly listening to a story before bedtime.
More photos will be in the gallery.
Today has been another brilliant day with our intrepid explorers who have had adventures on the river and forays into the Amazon Rainforest. This resilient lot have built rafts, working in teams to build a structure and learn a new knot; they have learnt to paddle well enough to play team games on the rafts; they have canoed and, again, played team games from the canoes. After this exhausting and exhilarating morning, we took the short journey to Amazon World and enjoyed a couple of hours looking at animals and playing in the park. Several of us had lemurs on our shoulders and we all saw the newest addition who is only 5 weeks old. The red pandas were much admired and it was a treat to see an ocelot gracefully padding around his enclosure. The birds must have heard about our tuneful (?!) coach karaoke because they were extremely vocal today - possibly trying to ensure none of us started yet another rendition of "Football's Coming Home..."
We have had a busy, fun-packed day at the Centre being pushed to our limits with new experiences. Some groups have been canoeing and raft-building; others have completed a Scrapheap Challenge making water bottle rockets and Mrs Hemsley's group were so good at team challenges their leader was able to give them 'stretch' tasks which were even more demanding. Nicole and Chloe are obviously potential engineers/inventors because their rocket won Scrapheap Challenge - go girls! Our pupils are alarmingly good at rifle shooting; some of the teachers could consider an alternative career in the army with their sharp shooting but Mrs Martin will have to stay at BGPS because she had to do the walk of shame twice to collect empty target cards (not sure where the bullets went but nowhere near the target!). Look in our gallery to see photographs of our talented archers - Robin Hood would have been impressed!
Evening entertainment was, of course, pre-arranged for us by FIFA... how kind... but the result left a few of us devastated as you can imagine. There were a few tears at bedtime on the boys' corridor and breakfast conversation tomorrow will, no doubt, be a bitter evaluation of performance and dodgy ref decisions. As you can see, Mrs Martin is learning a thing or two about the beautiful game so the week has given us all new experiences and taken us out of our comfort zones.
You may know that Eva provided us with some alternative entertainment for those who weren't interested in football! She is happy and well this morning (Thursday) after sampling the island's steri strip application skills and will rate Osborne House's shuttle bus service as she and Gaby are escorted to Queen Victoria's private beach in style - nothing but the best for BGPS students!
Osborne House, the summer residence of Queen Victoria, was our destination today. Year 6 were impressed by the Queen's extravagant collections of china, statues, paintings and furniture. The Durbar Room with its stunning white plasterwork ceiling was a favourite and we walked past a particular portrait several times to marvel at the optical illusion which made it look as if the man was moving to face our direction as we passed. We learnt that ceilings were highly decorated because walls had to be plain to be a background for the Queen's many paintings and portraits.
After our tour inside the house, we walked to the Queen's private beach and had lunch. The boys showed off their skimming skills and many bought ice creams. A walk through the woods took us to Swiss Cottage which Albert had built as a play house for the royal children; of course it was larger than most of our real houses! Here we dressed up, played with Victorian toys and saw the unusual collection in the museum which included a 9-legged spider and a 5-legged deer as well as the world's smallest scissors. Apparently our children asked the most intelligent questions any school has ever asked!
We had time for playing in the two parks before returning to Medina Valley for our campfire evening entertainment. Around the fire, we sang extremely silly songs, told extremely silly jokes (a competition won by Caleb) and roasted marshmallows. The evening ended with a lovely walk along the river back to the centre for bedtime.
The Centre staff complimented our children on their tidy rooms but we have to say this accolade was mainly achieved, surprisingly, by the boys; the girls took a LOT longer to pack cases and clear their rooms. This may also have been due to the fact that some of the girls were also operating on far less sleep than the boys! Of course, it could also be that some of the boys either had very similar outfits or had only worn one all week to save the bother of taking things out of their cases at all! But don't despair, parents, your children gained many skills this week including making their own packed lunches so you will have to do far less for them from now on.
We had one final activity before leaving: rifle shooting, archery, raft building or scrapheap challenge. Then, sadly, it was time to say goodbye. Year 6 did us proud on the ferry when over-booking meant there weren't enough seats for us all and the coach journey home was a rather sleepy affair.
Year 6, you have been delightful company this week and have thrown yourselves into every activity, tried new foods and worked together brilliantly in many challenges. You coped with the unexpected and showed patience, resilience and kindness to each other and your teachers. A huge thank you to Mrs Martin, Mrs Davis, Mrs Hemsley, Mrs Quantick and Mr Wellstead for surviving a week without their families, with little sleep and with no time for relaxation; we couldn't have this much fun without you.