Things you never realised you had signed up for when you did your teacher training: being woken up at midnight by children because it's 'too hot to sleep'; trying and failing to think of a solution to the problem and then finding yourself up again at 5:45am trying to invent ingenious ways of cleaning sick out from between the slats of a bunk bed to name just two! It does seem as if I am rather preoccupied with the subject of vomit and I should make it clear that this is not the main function of this blog. You can rest assured that we don't have a stomach bug epidemic going round - this was more the function of too many sweets and a bit too much excitement, and for lack of a more suitable choice of words, I just thought you might be interested in a taster of the start of my day today.
While we're on the subject of ingenuity, it turns I am not as organised as I purport to be. When I checked my case this morning I had completely forgotten to pack a towel...Doh! However, necessity is the mother of invention and not wanting miss out on my morning shower I made use of a bath mat that I found in the cleaners' cupboard - how's that for quick thinking!
Anyway onto more important matters, as promised in yesterday's blog here is a brief glimpse into Day 2 of our 2018 Woodlands adventure. Mrs Sutton and Mrs Roberts have been deep beneath the Brecon Beacons today in Porth Yr Rogof caves. The cave itself has a magnificent entrance and then leading off from the main cavern are the various tunnels and smaller caves containing the obstacles and challenges that are the stuff of legend amongst ex Dr Radcliffe's pupils - with names to conjure up trepidation in even the bravest souls: The Worm Hole and The Letterbox! As usual, Dr Rad's rose to the challenge and both Becky and Hannah reported that even the most nervous of the children were able to complete all that they came up against. Those who had been looking forward to the whole caving experience supported their friends and everyone had a terrific sense of achievement when they finally emerged, covered in mud but elated at the end of the day.
My group (along with Mr Fane's) have spent the day on the River Wye, canoeing from Glasbury to Hay. The day started early, collecting all the necessary equipment (including 20 litres of water) that we would need for a day in the sunshine. When this was complete, the next job was to gather together all the paraphernalia needed to propel 12 full size Canadian canoes almost 8 miles along one of the most beautiful stretches of the River Wye imaginable. It is worth noting that the children are involved in every aspect of preparing for a day's canoeing including loading the canoes on and off the trailers (no mean feat) and very exhausting after almost 5 hours of paddling down the river! I have to say that the children worked like Trojans, just to give you an idea of how tired they were, I overheard one Year 6 child saying in a slightly frustrated tone, 'come on guys if we get this done quickly, we can back to the centre, have tea and I can get to bed!' it's not everyday that you hear this from someone in my class especially when they're known for their marathon drumming sessions! All in all it was a brilliant day and the children remained good-humoured and determined to the end.
Mrs Brown and her group spent the day at the centre tackling the climbing activities. When you consider that the climbing wall itself is almost 25m high this is a huge achievement and seven of them made it all the way to the top!
The children have finished dinner (vegetarian pasta and chocolate mousse) and are now on their evening activity which is an orienteering exercise and involves an enormous amount of shouting and running around frantically waving pieces of paper. Incidentally, last night's walk was fabulous (and I did do it in my Birkenstocks!). We walked for 3 miles and climbed nearly 150m to the top of the valley over looking the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons in the distance. While we were at the top everyone was asked to sit in complete silence for 10 minutes and just have some time to take in the sounds of nature and have a chance at some mindfulness - it was a profoundly moving, almost spiritual experience. Well it was for me but then I wasn't sitting next to the two boys who were trying to stick grass in each other's ears or the group having a quiet game of flick the sheep poo. Seriously though, how many times in our busy lives do we ever get the chance to sit really still and just 'be'? I can highly recommend it!
Anyway I'm signing off now, more excitements tomorrow - keep your eyes peeled for the next blog.