The children have returned from their daytime activities and, although most of them had been dreaming about the hot showers for several hours, they were committed to their end-of-day duties first, such as putting protective wax on the walking boots if they’d been rock climbing, or hanging the caving suits out to dry.
They had showers, drank the welcome hot chocolate provided, even wrote a memory or two in their diaries and then raced around the field chasing a football (for many) or sat quietly in the common room, reading. While the children were fitting all of this into an hour, the instructors and St Francis staff met to celebrate each individual child’s achievement and progress – we are all very proud of our year 6s in Wales and the values they have demonstrated so far. We have been hearing wonderful news about those remaining in Swindon and the marvellous work they are putting in with Mrs Hawkins and Mrs York. Good luck with your cake-baking and fundraising on Thursday.
6:00pm and the dining room filled with hungry 10- and 11-year-olds, once again mixing with a varied tableful and regaling each other with tales of achievements and triumphs. Chicken Korma (with rice and naan bread) was a widespread favourite, but the bowl of Arctic Roll was even more popular, sending adults into frenzied recollections of childhood (some more distant than others….Miss Hall received a lesson in ‘puddings of the 70s’).
Now fully replete, the children were kitted out for the Dingle Descent. In their original groups, they were attached to one piece of rope per group and they had to work as a joined team to navigate in the dark down the gulley adjacent to the house, holding onto fixed ropes to guide them all the way down, all the while communicating to the person behind them what was up ahead – helpful advice such as ‘slippy rocks ahead’ or ‘flowing water on the right’. This potentially frustrating negotiation of nature’s obstacle course helped to bond teams together even more securely and to further cement their communication and listening skills. Once the water had seeped into the depths of wellies or, worse still, the inside of leggings, there were a dew ‘are we nearly there yet’ comments ; however, the children were beaming with the satisfaction and pride in overcoming any nerves, tiredness or fears as well as coping with any damp (to say the least) footwear. A new, previously unheard phrase emerged ….’I am soooooo ready for my bed.’
Just before lights out, Doctors Walker and Hall opened up their walk-in Medical Centre and administered a whole host of medication; they should now be acting as advisors to the NHS in both efficiency and bedside manner.
Tomorrow – Blues, Reds and Oranges are caving and the Yellows and Greens are rock-climbing. In the evening the Barn is open for Table Tennis, Table Football and the Tuck Shop…..this is mentioned frequently by many, giving it the air of the most important event of the week. The adults of course would NEVER use this as a bribe for the children to go to sleep….However, the gentle sound of silence from 51 children has filled the hearts of the 5 adults…the reward for them being to indulge in tea, coffee and some lovely chocolates (gifted by Mrs Walch- thank you) in peace and quiet. Bliss!