Monday 18th April - Woodlands OEC - Residential Blog - Day 1
'We have arrived!'
Dear All - you will no doubt have heard by now that we arrived safely at the Woodlands OEC - Glasbury-On-Wye at approximately midday today. The journey, I have to say, was one of the calmest and most peaceful ever thanks to Tappins - luxury coaches and the magic of a DVD player showing 'Despicable Me' and 'Despicable 2'! One scheduled stop at Starbucks on the M50 (toilets - children) & (coffee - staff) and all in all it was relatively pleasant experience.
The children then spent the next hour orientating themselves around the centre, collecting boots, water proofs and fleeces for their stay here and then unpacking. I use the word 'unpacking' in the loosest sense of the word, in the case of some of the dormitories (mostly boys - sorry to sound gender-stereotypical), unless you count unpacking as turning your suitcase upside down emptying it in the nearest available space and then running off to play football! The children all seem very happy with their room allocations (thanks Mrs M) and are currently trying to play knock and run in an effort to get a good look at where everyone will be sleeping tonight - Mrs Sutton and Miss Majithia are working on solving that one even as I type.
The rest of the afternoon has been working in activity groups, taking part in problem solving and team building activities. There should be pictures of this at the bottom of this entry if Mrs Roberts can ever manage to teach me how to upload pictures to this website - argggh! Some of the highlights were: trying to get your entire team through a magic spiders web without touching the ground; helping your team to scale a wall to reach a platform on the other side; carrying a 'radio-active' football from one post to another with only the aid some ropes and a square of wood, navigating your way across shark infested waters using stepping stones; and my personal favourite 'the holey pipe' in which all participants have to make a Ping-Pong ball reach the top of an eight-foot drain pipe using only the power of water to displace the ball, while at the same time trying to plug the holes in the pipe with their fingers to stop the water escaping - I never can quite resist the temptation to ask the children to see what happens if they take their hands away and watch in near hysterics as water squirts from all directions soaking everyone.
All the children (and I really mean all) have eaten really well this evening (fish, chips, peas & jelly with fruit in it, for those of you who appreciate 1970s retro desserts). They are just about to go out on their evening activity which is photo-orienteering. This will finish at approximately 8:30 - when there will be time to clean teeth and carry out all the normal pre-bedtime rituals before lights out at 9pm! We expect there will be a few first night jitters so wish us luck - so far though, everyone seems really happy. The children are very excited and have taken part in everything very enthusiastically with the customary Dr Radcliffe's gusto!!!
Tomorrow has the promise of caving and canoeing for some so I will fill you in on the highlights as soon as I get the opportunity.
Take care - GUY BRIGG