French Trip-Day 1 Monday 25th April 2016
Bonjour from France! After a very early start, we set off at 5:00am with the Year 7 pupils, Mrs Ellis, Mrs Roffe and Mr Cole. We arrived at Maidstone services at 7am whereupon the adventure started! The coach had unfortunately developed an exhaust problem. Despite David (our driver’s) best efforts, he could not fix the problem and it had to be repaired. Thankfully we met another school on their way to the Château du Broutel who were able to drive us all the way to the château. Although we missed our visit to Nausicaa (rescheduled for another day) we arrived on time, ready for dinner followed by a Scavenger Hunt.
Tomorrow we are making mayonnaise then heading to a local supermarket for a supermarket questionnaire in French, then to the goat cheese farm and the chocolate factory. Children (and staff) cannot wait!
The photo is of the boys ready for their Scavenger Hunt at the château.
French Trip-Day 3 Wednesday 27th April 2016
After an early start, we left the château at 8 am and drove for an hour and a quarter to the Lochnagar crater; the largest crater created by man-made explosives, which when exploded on 1st July 1916 was heard in London! Harry H gave an excellent summary of the event and then we drove on to Albert where we spent a few hours exploring The Somme 1916 Museum. The boys successfully completed an interesting booklet about World War 1; the guns used, the uniforms worn and other essential facts. After an ice cream in the sunshine, we moved onto The Ulster Tower followed by The Newfoundland Memorial site. Before entering the memorial, we sat on the grass and ate our packed lunches; baguettes, crisps, yoghurt and biscuits. We entered the memorial and were able to spend a couple of hours there exploring the trenches. The boys were fascinated by the visible trenches and they were able to walk through some of them! They were also intrigued to see a ravine which the Germans had used as their trench; for the wargamers this was a real treat! Thiepval was our last destination of the day and whilst it was surrounded by scaffolding, the boys could still understand the impact of the 73,000 names of the missing engraved onto the walls of this impressive memorial. Adam and Alfie shared their information of the site and the boys spent fifteen minutes moving through the mostly unmarked graves. In order that the boys had a full understanding of the day, they were asked to present (in groups) one of the sites to the others. These were informative and enjoyable to listen to and the boys now have a clearer understanding of the events that took place on the 1st of July 1916. We returned to the chateau for a 6pm dinner (potatoes, pasta, carrots, chicken and dessert) and the boys took part in an evening walk and visit to the local restaurant for a well-earned hot chocolate. We are now looking forward to tomorrow’s trip to Le Touquet market, the Etaples cemetery in the morning followed by the Rue town trail in the afternoon.
French Trip-Day 4 Thursday 28th April, 2016
What a lovely bright day we had. The sun was out and off we ventured to Le Touquet market where the boys completed worksheets about the market, prices and products. Some enjoyed a croissant from the bakery and they all enjoyed having a look at what a typical French market has to offer. After an hour we headed towards Etaples and the WW1 and WW2 graves of nearly 12,000 soldiers, nurses and civilians. The boys were astounded by the enormity of the Cemetery of those who lost their lives in both world wars. The day ended with a town trail of Rue with a short stop at the local church. We walked back to the château where we had our final supper of fish, hamburgers, cassoulet, chips, peas and a muffin for dessert. The boys were also given the opportunity to try frog’s legs and snails, and those who did, really enjoyed the experience! The boys enjoyed ‘Tracking and Camouflage’ in the evening followed by the awards presentation for the tidiest room and various other activities. They are all sad to be leaving France and several would like to return on next year’s trip!