For the next few days there will be a series of special blogs dedicated to the trip I took recently with my school. It’s a great laugh and every year the children come up with new ways of entertaining us, so I thought I would share 😊 Enjoy!
5:45am: Arrive at school. Am first one there. This is not normal.
5:46am: Realise I’ve forgotten headphones and suncream.
5:50am: Bus arrived at school. Driver struggles to get coach through school gates wide enough for school buses to come and go every day.
6am: bus scheduled to leave school. Students do not show up until 6am.
6:35am: All present and correct, no crying, bus leaves.
6:37am: Children playing Pokémon on bus.
8:45am: Arrive at motorway services. Get Starbucks #1. Most children buy Subway footlong sandwiches. Children from middle-class families buy lattes. One child complains that they wouldn’t give her a drink in a ‘real’ cup instead of a takeaway cup. Receive many dirty looks from people who do not like their quiet coffee break interrupted by 39 12-year-olds.
9:35am: First child asks if we are in France yet. Other children laugh. Bus driver reveals he is a train enthusiast.
12:10pm: For the first time EVER, we get stopped by customs on the way out of Dover. Six children are taken from the bus and their suitcases are X-rayed. Second child asks if we are now in France.
12:30pm: Ferry leaves and trip leader drags us up onto the top deck. I hate the deck. Head back downstairs after a few minutes and get Starbucks #2.
3pm: Dash into a supermarket to buy suncream and get caught up in a random conversation with a lady who realises I’m not French and is convinced I’m Japanese. I’m not. Obviously.
3:15pm: Tour of a WW2 museum (this was MUCH less interesting than it sounds. I love WW2. Seriously I spent most of my university life studying it), culminating in a 20-minute film about bombings and landings. Most children (and some staff) fall asleep.
5:30pm: Arrive at beautiful hotel. Children are too tired to cause trouble, so we have a peaceful hour to unpack and sit out on our balcony. Apply new suncream as the temperature is still almost 30°c.
6:30pm: Dinner time. Hotel has very kindly given all staff a glass of Kir Royale with dinner. Beautiful 💛 Shame the kids are now so hyped and excited at the thought of going to the beach, and staying in a really nice hotel that they cannot eat at an acceptable volume of noise and we have to make them eat dinner in silence. Bus driver talks a lot at dinner and I accidentally call him the wrong name.
7:30pm: Head down to beach. My sense of direction is not excellent (and the last time we were there was 3 years ago) but I’m pretty good at remembering if food is involved, and there is a churros stand on the beach. I notice fairly early on that we aren’t going the usual route but don’t question it. I’m not in charge, and everyone else on the trip is older than me so I tend to respect whatever decisions they make. Kids are thrilled because walking steps helps them to hatch Pokémon, apparently.
8:45pm: Arrive at beach. Other staff puzzle over long route. I shrug and enjoy sand between my toes 🌴☀️. Children walking everywhere with phones in front of faces trying to catch Pokémon.
10:45pm: As the sun sets we collect our students who are tired but happy and head back to the hotel. Get lost again on way back. It’s too dark and the hotel isn’t signposted. Kids decide to give bus driver new nickname which he seems to like.
Midnight: Lights out. No complaining, no crying, no homesickness, no arguments. This has gone better than anticipated. Staff head downstairs to outdoor seating area overlooked by children’s balconies to keep watch for a while and have some peace and quiet. We eat Camembert (because when in France…) which has stunk the bus out all day.
1:15am: Head to bed. I leave the balcony door open all night (probably not safe but to be honest by this point I’m too tired to care) because it’s so hot. Heatwave is promised for the next day and the temperature doesn’t drop below 25°c during the night.
2am: Woken by fridge in room making cracking sounds. Think it’s rats and panic. Fridge appears to be freezing. Turn temperature up a couple of degrees. Room now smells of Camembert which is stored in fridge.
4:10am: Woken by dripping. Fridge is now thawing and creating a puddle on floor. We now have our own private swimming pool. Turn fridge down a couple of degrees. Fall asleep too exhausted to care, too hot and smelling of Camembert.
*** TO BE CONTINUED***