Monday 8th May 2017.
Well, what a lovely first day we have had. Safely on the bus, we made our way towards Devizes passing all the landmarks we have studied in art and then we arrived. Very excited and with bags of energy, we got off the bus and wheeled the suitcases to the stables for storage – and what an achievement that was – some of the cases were bigger than us! Goodness knows what’s in them but we think there might be some parents tucked inside ready to pop out later on!
Anyway, we got our bearings around the beautiful grounds and met our helpers for the next 3 days – Yousef, Lee and Keith. They are brilliant and make everything really exciting so we are in good hands.
Splitting into our two classes, we then headed off for the day to complete our activities – the town trail, canoeing and pond dipping before swapping over after lunch.
The town trail involved a lot of walking and our legs were a little weary by the end of the day but we had brilliant guides in the names of Mrs Puffett and Mrs Calthrop who told us all about the various important buildings and sites in Devizes. We were all really great at spotting the blue plaques around the town and understanding a little more about why Devizes was built where it is and learning about the different buildings and monuments. Fortunately we were all good enough not to get shut in the lock up, none of us went for an unexpected dip in the canal and thankfully times have changed since Tudor times in St John’s Alley and the boys escaped a smelly result from being gallant to the girls! Next time you are in the centre, see if you can spot the famous statue of Ceres and savour the fresh hops from Wadworths (not a pleasant smell!)
Our other activity for the day was canoeing and pond dipping. After a lovely walk in the sunshine along the towpath (but sticking to the risk assessment guidelines and keeping well away from the edge!) we were fortunate to see a variety of barges on the canal as well as some adorable tiny chicks. We were so excited to get started and spent the next couple of hours literally ‘messing about on the river’. Canoeing was amazing and we all conquered any fears we might have had and descended the bank with a little push and a splash before we were off, paddling around like, well, proper canoeists! We listened really carefully to the instructions to play a variety of games and fortunately, despite a few wobbles and some seriously dodgy steering, none of us capsized or ended up paddling down the locks towards the sea!
Pond dipping was really exciting because we found so many different creatures living in the pond area and we were able to identify them using magnifying glasses and classifying charts. Pond skaters, tadpoles, mayflies were just some of the amazing little (in)vertebrates we found and after careful examination, we gently returned them to the pond to escape. Most of us remained dry apart from Sophie Butcher who decided to step off the bank and take a little dip up to her waist! Fortunately she thought it hilarious and we had a good giggle. Unfortunately we didn’t catch it on video to send off to You’ve Been Framed!
Returning to the house, we are now playing in the gardens, playing ping pong, football, doing acrobatics on the lawn and generally enjoying the lovely sunshine and before we head indoors to find out who we are sharing a room with......da da dah! Lots of happy little faces and excited chatter, squeals of excitement and hugs and now we are off to find our bedrooms, lugging our cases up 4 flights of stairs (and regretting packing ALL those clothes and teddies!)
After unpacking, arranging our teddies and bouncing on the beds to check on the comfort levels we will then change into our smart clothes and head for the restaurant where we are sure to enjoy a delicious meal from the lovely cooks who always serve up a treat for us. We are all quite hungry! Our final event of the day, the night time orienteering will be really fun as we all get to run around with our torches seeking out letters to spell a hidden word. We are also going to write our postcards to you – we hope you get them before we come back! We can’t wait until tomorrow when we will hopefully get some more letters from you. If today is anything to go by, we will end up having our own post lorry! We have a slight inkling how Santa might feel but it is really lovely for the children to get letters, so thank you for writing. Please post any final letters first thing tomorrow so they get here by Wednesday, thank you.
Finally, we will settle around the lounge for hot chocolate, biscuits and stories before heading up to bed, the first night away from home for some of us and a big thing to get through. Once safely tucked up after a brilliant day, we will have more stories before we go to sleep...... at which point I am sure the tiptoeing will start...... the trips to the bathroom and of course the endless hushed chattering! Night night everyone. Yes, we miss you but we are all safe and well and looking forward to another busy day tomorrow. FYI – we walked 6.56 miles and 14,315 adult steps……and they still had the energy to run around! Photos will follow later.
Year 4 team and 56 happy monkeys! Xx