Kingswood archive

Kingswood blog from Mrs M 2014

Sunday. 22:05

I am currently sitting outside the boys’ dorm having just read them the riot act, but am wondering whether I should in fact be relocating to in front of the girls dorm who I can hear from down the corridor… Hmmm.

I’ll start at the beginning.

The journey itself was bizarre. Never before have I ever completed the entire three and a half hours in sunglasses. This bodes well! Coupled with the fact that no one was travel sick- I’ve got high hopes for this week!

On arrival to Kingswood we were welcomed by a bevy of instructors and introduced to our group leader, Sam. A site visit followed and then the class were shown the dorms…

They were allocated bunks and given some time to make their beds. The girls were sorted in record time, however some of the boys appeared quite clueless and puzzled by such a simple task. Fortunately, after much collaboration, most have some sort of sheet scenario on their beds and covers on the duvet. Most…

Hang on… Just going to have a word with the girls. They are making more noise than I thought humanly possible.

Job done.

Anyway, both groups have had a Dance EJ session which they enjoyed. It’s no doubt the quietest they will be all week… It’s like a music studio so they all had their headphones on and we’re listening to their creations.

Dinner was Sunday roast. Chicken (not free range) or beef were the two meaty options, and there were stuffed peppers for the veggies… Followed by apple crumble. Everyone had a good fill, some topped up their dinner with a trip to the salad bar and several slice of bread too!

Apologies for the static writing but I’m constantly being interrupted by voices and giggles that seem to emanate from within dorm territory…. That and after the late dash for my laptop before boarding the coach, I left it on the coach so am text-style-typing away furiously on an iPad which you can appreciate is less ergonomic and somewhat clumsy.

The activities finished with a movie night and all who had onesies wore onesies! I have photographic evidence which you will be able to use in another eight or so years to suitably embarrass!

Right. That’s me done for today. I’m tired, and shortly I will be cranky.

Night night zzzzzzzzzzz (with any luck)

07:00 All are up, and some of the boys are showered! In fact one of the boys’ dorms smells delightful! I kid you not! We are ready and raring to go following our breakfast, there was loads to choose from- full English options,cereals, fruit and yoghurts, everyone has had there fill and should be well set up for the day. We are outside all day really, and have activities ranging from bushcraft to crate stacking today… Fun, fun, fun!

Currently watching group H building dens. They’re on bushcraft activity, which I keep mistakenly calling Bushtucker! There is less insect eating going on compared to Bushtucker trials…. For which I am thankful.
Group G are on crate stack – they seem to have built exceptionally high stacks and I can see them from our shelters down in the bush.
Despite the sunny forecast, the West Runton microclimate is doing its own thing! Boy, I’m glad I packed my ski kit! Although it is dry, the cold is biting: cheeks are red and noses are running… All are wrapped up.
10:45 And I’m off to crate stack with group H, G are in the outback… PS I’ve only eaten one kitkat so far (rationing).

Episode 2: post lunch 14:22
What a fun morning! All groups have been thoroughly entertained with crate stack. It’s the hands down favourite amongst them all so far with a 100% participation rate. Group H have been whittling and made tent pegs (in a fashion – for really small tents maybe?!) and I’m relieved to say that they all have all their fingers and thumbs still intact. Group G have been bonding in problem solving and team challenge… Very entertaining watching them scale a seven foot fence!
Everyone ate loads at lunch with some children going up for thirds! I think it’s fair to say that the outdoors has made them hungry!
This afternoon both groups have got night line…. And have we got treats in store for them! Ben is also a newbie so is oblivious to the terrors that Mrs B and I will be unleashing… I’m off now to collect pine cones and feathers…. I have every intention of wreaking havoc… Mwaahahahahahaaaa *cackles wildly

Episode 2: a new hope 21:50 Sorry, can’t blog tonight, I’m sleeping… And so are all the children!!!!!
Hallelujah! Sweet dreams

Episode 3 07:18 Just to let everyone know-I have the most perfect class in the whole world… In bed and asleep for 21:45 and no sounds until 07:20. Perfect. Just perfect.

Episode 3:
Refreshed and regenerated the groups have got to face challenges and demons this morning.

Both groups will be braving the dark, gloomy depths of the Kingswood caves and facing the climbing wall before lunch. Waterproofs are ready and they are all prepared for a very muddy future!

It is a slightly warmer day than yesterday, although the sun is still neglecting to make its presence known to us here in west Runton. We are outside for most of today, and so are very relieved to have slept well. The centre is filling up and there are a number of other schools here from around the country, but the bliss kids are standing out as the best mannered and well behaved, I am pleased to say!

100% of the class went down the caves! there were some nerves and anxieties but I’m so pleased that they all made it… Add they are fully war painted up to the max. I have to report that colourful coats went in, but only brown coats emerged! They’ve all gone off to their next activities with their painted faces, some are bouldering and others are apparently going to be learning how to build and light fires Bear Grylls-styleee. Outdoor living at the extreme!

Episode 3:

Tuesday 22:11 So once again I find myself sitting outside the dormitories on the floor listening for any hint of a giggle – How mean am I?!?! This evening has been great fun. Entertainment came in the form Singstar, boys v girls, instructors v children, individual battles and even dance offs! We rocked out to Bruno Mars, Queen, Coldplay, The Killers, the High School Musical Cast and to whoever sung Eye off the Tiger! The children bopped the night away, so much so that half of them had to have a shower when we got back to wash off the sweat and excitement!

With Tom’s arrival, the children have had a chance to reflect on the activities that they have done so far and discuss aspects that have challenged them and talked about how they would feel about repeating some of them.

Btw… I can hear snoring! And this time it’s NOT Mrs Bastin! Excitement it’s 22:22 and I think everyone is pretty settled, a game of Banangrams awaits me…. I wonder if Ben and Mrs B have fixed the letters – they’re awful cheats you know…

Episode 4:

09:00 I seem to have hit a bit of a wall… Lack of sleep is starting to catch up with me and I’m looking haggard (more than normal) and feeling drained… I’m sure it’s nothing a bit of chocolate can’t sort out, maybe I’ll raid my snack bag!
Everyone slept really well last night, although I think we all could have slept a little longer, but unfortunately the Elephants that reside upstairs are up at 06:30 – they really are a very heavy footed school (teachers included – we couldn’t believe the stomping of the teachers!)

Today will start inside, one group has got bouldering and the other has got laser zone. I don’t think we are going to mind being outside today though, as despite the frost on the ground, the sun is out and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. I’m not sure what’s happening after that as I’ve lost my sheet (again) but I’m pretty sure Nicky and Hayden will have it covered – they are so organised! By the way, Benny wanted me to let everyone know that he’s had three showers since he’s been here and is very proud of this fact!
Signing off at 09:22


Kingswood blog from Mrs M 2013

Monday morning 9am:
So – morning! I am not sure I am able to qualify the morning with the prefix ‘good’ due to the fact that I was awoken by several exuberant boys, at 4am, running amok through the hallways. Needless to say I put pay to that activity fairly quickly! The perpertrators at least had the good grace to apologise at a more appropriate hour!

Anyway, back to last night – we arrived after a lengthy and somewhat aromatic journey – organised dorms and made beds. Bed maker winner was Ethan, who made his without fuss and drama and was indeed the quickest! We met up with our instructor, Joe, who already knows everyone’s names (and quirks) and went to our first activities. One group partook in archery, whilst the other did some fencing. Great fun was had by all.

Last night both groups united for Scrapheap Challenge. They made junk rockets and attached them to a hydraulic system to send them sky high. Most did! One, however, like an errant firework – shot across the quad causing Mrs B to perform a quick star jump as it hurtled underneath her! Hysteria ensued!

Children were treated to hot cocoa after the excitement of Scrapheap, and then prepared for bed. Several of the boys even had a shower before story time. Most settled for bed quickly and quietly, there were no homesick tears. There was a steady stream of laughter and giggling emanating from the boys’ dorm – so much so that I positioned myself right outside the door until eleven when I was sure that they were all asleep!

….UNTIL 4am!
So, today – what joys behold? Well, both groups are caving, both groups are crate stacking – there is snow in the air, the temperatures are plummeting – I predict a riot!

Over and out.

Monday Morning 10.42
Group A have survived the boggy depths of the Kinswood caves. I have it on good authority that it is the wettest year ever down there! Mrs Bastin looks like a drowned rat after having spent the last hour down there – she is also doing the Group B caving session later today – but we did have a trade off over beds, and she does have the best one, so she’s paying the price with caving! I have braved the sea winds on the cliff face, crate stacking with Group B. I have no fingers, no toes – oh, mistake – I do have them I just can’t feel them! All have participated in all activities so far – and loved them! The internet connection here is dodgy at best – so you may never get this message and you may not get any more blog updates – but it’s the thought that counts!

Over and out.

Monday 13.43
Yet more outside activities for us all… and what fun! Group A and B have been bonding over low ropes – building trust, developing team work and improving balance, with a madcap game of camo ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf’ thrown in.  Group B has been Go Karting – remind me to stay off the road when Thomas and Amelia hit 17! Lewis Hamilton eat your heart out!

Lunch consisted of a delicious homemade sweet potato and tomato soup, served with pizza baguettes and potato cubes.  All children have consumed their body weight in potato derivatives.

SO there you have it… as I type I can hear the constant banging of the dorm doors as the children go in and out of the rooms – ah such a lovely sound!

Monday 21:37
The little treasures are in bed, hopefully taking that fantastical trip into the land of nod!  It’s been an outdoorsy sort of day and they have all excelled themselves.  Each and every child has met personal goals today, achieved firsts and pushed themselves further than they thought possible.  A real positive outcome from day one.

Following on from a mammoth roast dinner succeeded by firsts, seconds and in some case thirds of sponge and custard, the children came back to dorms to get ready for the evening entertainments. The girls saw seized the opportunity to shower, change into a varying assortment of onesies, gather their duvets and then head over to the cinema room.  The boys, not so keen on the showering option, just donned their onesies!

Kingswood is such seen as a rite of passage for the Year 6 children at our school.  For the weeks prior to the trip, they plan and replan every last detail in preparation for the trip.  The bus, the seats, the dorms, the beds, the activities… they discuss in detail and at length what it may be like and what the experiences may hold for them.  But so much of their enjoyment depends on the instructors and group leaders when they get here.  As a seasoned Kingswood visitor, I have seen them all – male, female, excitable, quiet… they are all individuals yet they all share a common trait – they are always cheerful, supportive and caring.  Our instructor Joe and his partner in crime, Alice, made tonight really special for the group: they extended the session to fit in the entire film, they bought popcorn for everyone and made hot chocolate topped with marshmallows to distribute.  A great night had by all.

As I type this I am sat on the floor outside the boys’ dorm where only the faintest mutterings can be heard.  It is now 21:53 and I fully expect the hushed murmurs to be silenced within the next seven minutes.  I am certainly keeping my fingers crossed for that.

Tuesday 09:01
Last night was relatively uneventful.  There were no sounds from the dorms, the children evidently were all snuggled in their beds whilst visions of sugar plums danced in their heads! Last night I was subject just to the gentle snores from Mrs B – tonight I will store items next to the bed that I can use as missiles to jettison across the room if she repeats these orchestral antics again!

So… a new dawn, a new day.  I’m not sure there has been a dawn – that would infer that there has been a sunrise, and in turn that means that there must be a sun.  I have sighted no evidence of the existence of the aforementioned phenomena whatsoever!  Anyway, both groups will be braving the fresh sea air as everyone has got outdoor activities this morning.  Abseiling and problem solving both take place on the back field overlooking the beach, and then together we will be making our hike down to the shore in search of sea creatures.  Bless the little critters!

We have all had a hot breakfast this morning – most children having consumed beans on toast – that’s going to make for a fragrant dorm!

Tuesday 21:48
It’s been a long old day!  We’ve just had time to reflect on all that we’ve achieved and the children reeled off all that they’d done.  In fact they’d done so many activities since this morning that when we discussed the beach trip they thought that it had been yesterday!  Today has been a day of highs – very high!  Abseiling was on the agenda for Group A.  Nearly everyone took part and those that did (including those who were anxious about it) absolutely loved it.

The beach was cold.  Very cold.  A bitter wind, that blew nobody good, shrouded the shoreline where we rock pooled.  Children, armed with mini nets, charged about the beach leaving no stone unturned.  By the end of the session we had found a variety of crab’s legs, several whole crabs (alive and dead), periwinkles and seaweed.  Crabs of varying sizes littered the ‘specimen’ box, including a bizarre species that David Attenborough would have been interested in – we are yet to find out its correct genus!

After lunch, the groups had a variety of different activities – some did Aeroball, others partook in circus skills and a spot of fencing, and all of us enjoyed an evening of Karaoke.  After all the singing/screeching I now sound a little like Rod Stewart – I’m just hoping I don’t look like him too!

All in all, it has been quite a high octane day, and again, I am positioned outside the dorms to ensure that they all get the beauty sleep that they so require!  I’m not sure when I’m going to get mine – and I sure as heck need it!

Over and out.

Wednesday 08:00
Morning!  And I think it may even be a good one!

Over and out.

Wednesday 10:55
It’s turning out to be a great one!  The sun is making fleeting appearances, but the appearances are in the plural – so it’s a huge positive.  Even I ventured out in only five layers this morning therefore it must be positively tropical!  All the children slept well last night by their own admission, and even the light sleepers said that they were feeling more refreshed and energised.

The entire of Group B had the faith in their leap… each and every one climbed the pole – some got higher than others, but everyone had a go – including Mrs B.  Having just spoken to them they were beaming with pride after their accomplishments.  Group A have been whizzing around the quad bike track with considerably less crashes than on the go kart track, so maybe after a few driving lessons in later life they won’t be such liabilities after all!

Group A are on some sort of orienteering treasure hunt challenge as I write this; Group B are going to take their turn on the quads.  And me? Well, I am busy plotting my moves for 11am… as one of the groups has nightline.  This is a trust based activity where they wear blindfolds and are lead through an outdoor obstacle course – I did this once, on my first trip to Kingswood and the instructors took great delight in moving me off course and disorienting me.  It’s now a little trick I like to play on members of Class 6!

The children are really making the most of every experience, grabbing every opportunity with both hands.  I can’t believe that we are already more than halfway through the week… and we’ve still got a whole host of exciting activities to come.

Right, I really shouldn’t be blogging any more… I’ve got pine cones to collect!

Over and out.

Wednesday – 22.20

A slightly later night tonight and despite this there are restless signs. Cheeky mutterings, stifled giggles, whispers – I can hear them all and really hoping that they settle soon (or I’ll be dead on my feet tomorrow.)

Both groups completed the nightline challenge in great humour, they were a little soggy by the end but their smiles stretched from ear to ear! Fortunately they warmed up and refuelled at lunchtime; feasting on pizza, wedges and pasta.  They also had an opportunity to visit the shop and I have seen a plethora of new teddies adorning the dorms. This afternoon both groups had an indoor based session as a follow up to the Science/beach session. Although these sessions don’t have the same adrenaline rush they are welcome respite from the weather.

This evening’s entertainment was provided by the children themselves, although I’m not sure that they realised this.  We headed to the sports hall for some Mini-Olympic fun.  I think they were expecting something along the lines of athletic challenges, ranging from sprints to hurdles.  And boy were they shocked. Teams were selected and Mrs B and I took part as well but it wasn’t a traditional Olympics as activities ranged from the unusual to the downright bonkers! I must say that their acting skills are second to none, I had no idea that I had so many talented performers – their portrayals of chickens laying square eggs were quite astounding.  The mind boggles!

Anyway, storytime was quite eventful – as I tried out an Irish accent (the book I’m reading is based in Ireland – it’s not quite as random as it sounds, you see there is some method in my madness).  Despite my best efforts I still ended up sounding a little West Country (must be the company I keep) much to everyone’s amusement – the general consensus amongst the children was that I shouldn’t give up my day job! Anyway, we all used this time to discuss the day and to provide our own thoughts on our experiences.  So many children used the word ‘pride’ which goes to show that they really value their achievements. They have enjoyed the opportunities here immensely and I am so pleased that I am able to witness their successes.

It’s 22.47 and it’s a little quieter. Dare I leave my watchtower and head for bed? I’m desperate to catch a few zeds tonight, I’m leaping with faith tomorrow!

Over and out.

Last blog entry: Thursday night 22:40
Sorry about the radio silence today. It’s been manic! Group A had THE LEAP-and they loved it! I got to do it blindfolded (character building)… Both groups had a computer composition session, making their own dance music tracks… That went down brilliantly and they’re all looking forward to hearing those again when they get back to school. Even the most unlikely candidates loved it! Group B abseiled and they too were delighted with their achievements and continued to excel during rock climbing.

For the first year ever we took part in environmental art… Some interesting sculptures were created, worthy of the Tate modern I feel…

I’m writing as we speak from my usual late night spot. And it’s silent. We’ve bopped the night away at the disco and I am delighted to report that I won the dance off, however my challenger was a very worthy contender… The best for years in fact: never before has a rival done the worm and a cartwheel whilst wearing a Mohican! Good times! Additionally, I’m so pleased I learnt the Gangnam Style dance in the kitchen at home before I came so I didn’t embarrass myself at the disco… Oh, wait… I did?

We had our final cocoa and tonight, I’m afraid to say there were tears. The first of the week! Tears of sadness, alas. Not for home… But tears of sadness for it is our last night and tomorrow will be our last day. Needless to say it was not I that shed these tears!!!!

I may blog in the morning, but it’s unlikely. We’ve got packing to do and beds to strip before and all before 9am… Tomorrow we will be zipping… Zipping home! See you at 4.30ish!

Thankyou class of 2013, it’s been a blast. For the last time…

Over and out.

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