Year 6 French Residential Trip
We have had a very sombre day today, reflecting on the sacrifices of the many thousands of people who gave their lives during the first world war for the freedom that we all enjoy today.
The boys spent the morning at Talbot House, located just over the border in Belgium, which was set up as a respite centre for all soldiers of any rank to recuperate and recover from the trials and endeavours of the war. After looking at the artefacts and spending time in the museum, we took the short walk through the town to the cells and the shooting post. It was here that soldiers who suffered from what is commonly known as shell shock were shot for their offences. It was a very solemn and reflective experience for all.
During the afternoon, we drove to Ypres and spent time in the Flanders Field Museum. We sheltered from the cold wintery weather in the café for lunch, and were then able to spend an hour looking through the museum and finding out about the military personnel and their equipment.
After walking through the Menin Gate and seeing some of the 55,000 names commemorated on the walls, we finally went to Tyne Cot cemetery and laid a wreath in memory of those soldiers who had passed.
We all sang Happy Birthday to Akshay in the evening, and the boys are currently packing their bags and having a final bit of downtime before heading off tomorrow, en route to the bakery and chocolate factory.
Another substantial breakfast set the boys up for a long day out away from basecamp. We started the day with the opportunity to do some shopping and practice some French phrases at the town market in Boulogne. Going around in their groups, it’s fair to say some of their purchases were a little questionable, but everybody seemed to be pleased with what they bought. Whilst the weather was bright and blue skies were to be seen, the air temperature was incredibly chilly so everyone was pleased they took some warm clothes.
We then took a little walk down to the waterfront to have lunch before spending the afternoon in the largest aquarium in Europe. We had plenty of time to meander around the attraction, seeing many different fish and marine wildlife ranging from tiny fish at the bottom of the food chain, to giant rays and sharks.
Inevitably, for many, the highlight and most eagerly awaited part of the trip was visiting the shop. So parents, do not be surprised if you have some more cuddly toys to find a home when your boys arrive home on Friday.
Dinner was leek and potato soup, followed by beef lasagne and lemon cake for pudding.
In preparation for our journey into Belgium tomorrow, the boys are having an evening talk about the first world war.
The staff were all pleased that the boys slept well through the night, and after such an early start yesterday, there were many tired eyes. Our second day began with a wake up call at 7.30am before a continental breakfast at 8am. The boys enjoyed the pastries before making their own baguettes to take on their day trip travels.
The first destination was to the fascinating Bee Museum. The boys were engrossed learning about the roles and life cycles of the worker, drone and queen bees within a hive. They listened well and asked some really pertinent questions. The boys were then given some tasters of three different delicious types of honey, which were made by bees collecting their pollen from those flowers. The three options were carrot honey, wild flower honey, and heather honey. All of which were very different, but all delicious. Many of the boys then proceeded to buy some to bring home.
We stayed at the museum for lunch under some shelter to keep away from the wind, before departing to Le Touquet for the town trail. Unfortunately, we disembarked the coach under a deluge of rain and driving wind which soaked us through. Thankfully it did not last too long and the continuing wind helped to dry us all off whilst walking round town.
The evening activities are crepe making.
After a sleepy start and a quiet coach journey, we arrived at Folkstone without any delays. We had a little time to have breakfast and stretch our legs before getting on the train and heading into France.
Our first stop was at a small sweet factory. The boys were given a fascinating demonstration on how both hard-boiled and jelly sweets were hand-made, before having their first opportunity to spend their euros in the shop.
We had a final coach journey across to the chateau where the boys unpacked and had some time out in their dorms before dinner.
The boys have been practising their French at various points during the day and have just finished an evening quiz where the staff were impressed with their levels of general knowledge.
The wifi signal is very poor, so pictures will be uploaded as and when we can.