The sun came out as we drove through Dartington at 10:10am and stayed out, making our first day at Grenville House the best start ever to our residential trip. We arrived just before 11am and once we'd carried, dragged and heaved our bags into the house, we had a tour and introductory talk from Stuart.
We then collected our bedding and headed off to 'make' our beds - a pretty good job all round! After a very successful fire drill (always reassuring!), we settled down at the picnic tables and enjoyed our packed lunches looking out at the boats in the harbour.
At last it was time for our first activity! Some of us pulled on wetsuits to go coasteering, others put on their brave faces and faced the challenge of the high ropes whilst the third group headed off with their maps into the sunshine to do some orienteering. Everyone had a great afternoon, collected lots of points for their teams and came back with good appetites, ready for dinner. Dinner was delicious - chicken with cheese and bacon with savoury rice and peas/sweetcorn - as much as we wanted... and some of us had thirds!
Some of us then had time to play and to make friends with the children from St Peter's while others washed and dried the dishes and prepared sandwiches for tomorrow. I just hope they made enough!
Finally, off to the beach to practise our skimming techniques. Some us even made pebble angels!
Back to Grenville House, into pjs and down to the dining hall for hot chocolate and a biscuit.
The plan at this moment in time is to get the children into bed, lights out and sleep, sleep, sleep. I will let you know how that works out tomorrow!
A beautiful morning, earlier for some than for others as Mrs Scott, Mrs Westlake and two members of staff from St Peter's were on breakfast duty. By 8 am everyone was sitting down for breakfast and tucking in to as much toast as we could eat! After breakfast, the children made sure their dormitories were ship-shape and ready for inspection at 9:20 - most groups scored top points; their rooms were absolutely spotless with clothes neatly stored under their beds in the crates provided and their beds all neatly made - well done! At 9:30 we gathered in the lounge to meet the instructors and hear about the day's activities. Then we were given a couple of minutes to race around and collect the kit we needed!
For Group 7 today, it was kayaks and we were very excited as this was our first water-based activity. But before we could get into the water... wetsuits!! The biggest challenge of them all even with the magic plastic bag (you'll need to ask your children about that!). Life jackets, helmets and paddles and we were ready for our lesson! It was wonderful - sunshine, fabulous setting and happy, smiling faces everywhere I looked! Once we'd mastered how to paddle and control our kayaks, it was time for some fun - we tried lots of different positions (including ... falling in) and three different splashing techniques (which got me a lot wetter than I had anticipated being) and we even played 'kayak polo'. Group 8 were with us too and the other groups were doing High Ropes and coasteering so by lunch time we had all developed big appetites. The sandwiches were devoured and then we were off again. This time, for Group 7,8, and 9, it was the High Ropes and for those of us who feel nervous of heights, this was one of the biggest challenges. To get us used to heights and to 'dangling', we had an activity which involved building a tower of crates but which ended more like 'Human Jenga'! Funny video below! And then... the 'Leap of Faith'. Every single child had a go and tried their very best and with the encouragement and support they gave each other, they overcame their fears and nervousness and as they were lowered back to Earth, their smiles were the biggest I'd ever seen. During the feedback session at the end, when they shared their feelings and their thoughts about what they and their friends had done, I couldn't have been more proud of them: Group 7 and 8 won a huge number of points for their teamwork and empathy this afternoon! As you can imagine, we were worn out (in a good way of course) and famished by dinner time and the sausages and mash were just what was needed. After dinner and a little 'down-time', when all the jobs were done and the sandwiches had been made for tomorrow, we headed to the lighthouse at the end of the pier. Along the way, we chatted amongst ourselves and to the local fishermen; we touched the lighthouse (local superstition) and performed an amazing Mexican wave on the sea wall (video clip to follow hopefully!). Back to the house for hot chocolate and our de-briefing session to hear how wonderful all your amazing children were today and to award points before heading off to bed. Let's just say, there wasn't much time between lights out and total, blissful silence this evening.
A grey morning with a slight drizzle greeted us this morning as Mrs Walker, Mrs Lewis and myself prepared the breakfast (early start for us!). Apart from one batch of burned toast, we did quite well and everyone was fed and ready for the day's activities. Room inspection showed a slight decline in standards but I am sure they will sort that out by this evening. Six of our nine groups were water-based today so lots of wetsuits - agh! Groups 7,8 and 9 headed off to get going with our raft building and learned how to tie lots of interesting knots so be careful your children don't tie you up when they get back- you'll never escape! Into wetsuits and into the water to test our rafts and yes!...they did float! We had a very exciting race and lots of people gathered to watch and clap as we fought our way to the finish - well done Group 8!
The other groups went kayaking and paddle-boarding so all the visitors to beautiful Brixham had lots of exciting things to watch. Mr Farr from St Peter's took the waterproof camera today so hopefully we will some good action-filled pictures to share with you later.
The sun came out just in time for our picnic lunch and luckily, as we were continuing with water-based activities this afternoon, we were able to keep our wetsuits on and just peel them down to our waists so that we were more comfortable. It was great to see Mrs O'Connell and Mrs Derrick who had just arrived but sad because it meant that it was time for me to go back to school. As everyone got ready for the second activity of the day, Mrs Lewis and I packed our bags and said our goodbyes(with lots of hugs!). Group 7 were heading off to coasteering so I was more than a little envious! When I checked in with everyone last night, I was assured that the afternoon had gone well and that the children had enjoyed their roast dinner - yet another reason for me to be envious as I had to cook my own dinner! They all had a good sleep and no doubt dreamt of all the wonderful things they had done...yet again!