Arrival was as easy as ever. Thank you goes to the very nervous Mr Deffley for arranging the coach and the sleepless night wandering if his first coach-booking would turn up! You did good!
The first day is always a strange one - finding rooms, deciding on the right clothes, getting the footwear sorted, avoiding biblical amounts of rain - it was the gift that kept on giving.
Highlights so far: Mr Hill falling over, Flora being a complete hustler on the buggies and lulling everyone, Andrei being unhealthily bendy on the assault course and Mr Hill falling over again.
Tea was great - home-made and stone-cooked pizzas, followed by cake! Result.
It's all quiet now - a real first for this time of night. Chances are I might be posting again at 3.23am and really eating my words.
Officially known as 'Wet Day'. Very, wet day. Very, very, soaked through to the skin day.
AND IT WAS BRILLIANT!!!
The children were amazing on the Bell Boats and the paddleboards. The river was swollen due to the rain yesterday and overnight, and this increased the river levels by about half a metre and upped the current-flow too.
Bell-boats are very similar to Dragon boats, and involve some coordination and teamwork - moderately successful throughout. It might be worth someone asking Andrei (yes, he of the bendy-body), how he managed to fall out of a boat, whilst keeping his feet in the boat at the same time.
Paddleboards are an absolute hoot! The balance required is nothing short of superhuman, so if you see anyone stood on one of those risk-assessed-death-traps, then congratulate them (I'm in the red t-shirt, red helmet and black shorts, if anyone's looking).
I would like to thank Luke for being a superb shipmate. Obviously, me tipping the paddlebord over three times was entirely deliberate. He's a good sport and a great paddler.
After the paddle boarding, it was a free-for-all jump-a-thon. This really brought out the dare devil in some of the children and the photos are a real treat.
Tonight’s activity is Smuggler's Run, which whilst a fun activity, it's not a great one for photos, so there won’t be any others for Day 2.
I cannot thank the children enough for their effort, and Mr Hill and Mrs Roddis also did themselves proud. The Centre Staff were surprised that we all got stuck in 'that doesn’t usually happen' apparently!
Roll on the ropes tomorrow.
If yesterday was about going under, today was a definitely ‘up and over’.
Two words that struck terror in some, excitement in others and a ‘meh’ in the rest – you can’t please all the people all the time, as
the saying goes.
The groups were spilt into three – zip wire, High ropes and climbing wall. Of the three, the zip wire was the less physically challenging, and provided some much-needed time to acclimatise to the challenges ahead.
The climbing wall proved little challenge to some, with many children almost flying up the wall!
The high ropes brought out the very best in all the children. They encouraged each other, dragged each up and over the top of the platform. They hugged each other at the top (fear and balance in equal measure) and they all did themselves proud.
Special mentions today to Ellis (like a rat up a drainpipe was Mr Hill and my assessment), Kay’leece, Milani and Emily. Overall, it was a 9-5 win to the girls on the high ropes- well done ladies.
And so, we all trudged wearily back to the house and for our final lunch.
I would like to personally thank Mr Hill and Mrs Roddis – without whom this could not happen. Not only in terms of being there, but also taking an active part. A big thank you to those parents who took the time to offer a few kind words to us as staff. We don’t do it for the thanks, ut it’s always nice to know we are appreciated.
Finally, a thanks to the children. For having a go. For facing up to fears and overcoming them. For dragging their mates over the line, and for being the children we all knew they could be.
I hope that they all sleep tonight and do so with no regrets. We try to tell them that it may be the last time they get the opportunity to do this, and to make sure they ‘don’t leave anything on the pitch’ – to give it their all and not leave with a ‘wish I’d tried it’ on their lips.
Note on Photos:
These are all uploaded 'as is'. They are not filtered, doctored or selceted. To my knowledge, all consents have been given - which makes the process a whole lot easier! Thanks all.