Hinning House - January 2015
Friday 30th January
Revenge is a dish best served cold – so the saying goes and it was definitely a snowy and frosty morning outside when Mrs Davies woke everyone up bright and early at 7.00am. A lot of very sleepy and grumpy children had to be cajoled out of their beds on this last morning. Beds had to be stripped and bags packed quickly if there was to be enough time to fit in a morning’s activity before the party left this idyllic part of Cumbria.
The morning was spent in the woods on the hillside behind Hinning House, building shelters, making hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows. There are some obvious potential estate agents in Y4 at Lowton J and I. Pitches as to why their shelters were worth the most on the housing market were unbelievably imaginative, swimming pools, 4 bedrooms and hot tubs were mentioned. The children from both schools worked together seamlessly as they have all week.
Back to reality and the final push to pack everything away and ensure all bedrooms were empty of clothes, shoes, towels and the odd dish cloth or two. It never ceases to amaze the staff how everything fits into the children’s suitcases on arrival and yet they need numerous black bin bags as well as suitcases to get all their possessions home. Well that is if they actually admit to the muddy and wet clothes belonging to them. After the famous parade of shame the drying room was finally emptied. By the end Mrs Davies and Mr Woodford were laying bets as to whether that particular piece of clothing belonged to Toby, Dylan or Ewan. It is a complete mystery how these three had suitcases bursting at the seams and yet after their cases were put in the trailer the entire content of the drying room was claimed by them. Well claimed is perhaps a loose way to describe it, more “who does this belong to?” – silence – “well it’s got your name in Toby” – “ oh yes I remember it’s mine!”.
The journey home was longer than normal due to road works and overturned milk lorries but Lowton J and I children are resilient little humans and not one fell asleep until the final few miles. It’s a shame the same can’t be said about Mr Woodford who merrily snored his way home.
It has been a brilliant three days with so much fun and laughter. There have been many highlights and personal triumphs. The children who went to Hinning House were a credit to themselves, their families and Lowton J & I. Mr Woodford and Mrs Davies are extremely proud of them and hope the children all had a fantastic time.
Have a lovely weekend, here’s to Low Bank Ground next year – it may well take the adults until then to recover!
Thursday 29th January
Well the 7.00am alarm call came rather earlier than planned this morning (the best laid plans of mice and men!!). A loud knock on her door woke Mrs Davies with a jolt at 5.30am, don’t worry there was no medical emergency rather Ewan virtually dressed for the day’s activities with a dishcloth in his hand! The previous evening’s discussion on the difficulties caused by mixing wet and dry clothes had obviously hit home. The explanation of why Ewan was fully dressed at 5.30am and why he had a wet dishcloth in his drawer will probably forever remain a mystery. After a short discussion, peace resumed until the alarms went off at 7.00am.
Following a good breakfast everyone got dressed and ready for a morning of orienteering. For those unsure, orienteering is an activity whereby you get lost with the use of a map! The enjoyment of running through bogs whilst trying to find orange and white flags was enhanced by the prolonged hailstone storm.
The announcement of the afternoon’s activity was treated with cheers from adults and children alike. A short minibus ride up the very icy Hard Knott Pass brought us to the bottom of Hard Knott Ghyl. Mr Woodford was overheard telling his group how lucky they were to be going Ghyl scrambling in a blizzard, Mrs Davies reserved judgement on this comment. Hard hats on and off the party set.
Feet didn’t remain dry for very long and for a few, neither did the top half of their bodies. A great time was had for the first 40 minutes with everyone scrambling over rocks, under fallen trees, through deep pools and laughing at Mrs Davies as she managed to fall flat on her face into the water. It was a physically and emotionally challenging climb for some. If a video had been made for Justin Timberlake’s “Cry me a river” the afternoon in Hard Knott Ghyl would have been a perfect accompaniment. The group photo of Mr Woodward’s group taken at the end paints a picture worth a thousand words. On the other hand the Lowton J & I contingent in Mrs Davies group were in their element. Even though the water was up to Ewan, Daniel and Luke’s waist at times, they never flinched and threw themselves into every challenge with the utmost enthusiasm. The final highlight for this group was sliding down the now shut Hard Knott pass on their bottoms back to the minibus, sadly for Mrs Davies she overshot a corner and ended up upside down in a snow filled ditch.
A fantastic roast pork dinner and sticky toffee pudding for afters, was followed by an evening of board games and laughter. Mr Woodford was shocked to find “Uno” was so called as it is the Spanish for one. Mrs Davies is beginning to rethink her recruitment strategy. Everyone was ready for bed early and the vain hope is that no other wet items are found in the boys’ bedroom – at least until after 7.00am tomorrow morning!
Wednesday 28th January
The coach hadn’t reached the M6 before the first shout of, “Are we nearly there Mr Woodford?” was heard. The rest of the journey passed with the children taking it in turns to ask the same question in as many different ways as possible.
Even though the final 9 miles was, according to Matthew, like being on a rollercoaster, and much to Mrs Davies relief, we arrived at the house without anybody being ill - despite the numerous bags of jelly babies and fruit pastilles consumed.
After eating our packed lunches we set out on the self-led walk. As always this activity lived up to its Lowton J & I nickname of the “self-lost” walk. Mr Woodford’s running skills were quickly put to good use as he set off at a pace after Dylan, Matthew and Toby who took the wrong route. The intrepid trio weren’t put off by the tall dry stone wall they came up against and merrily scrambled over it to continue with their adventure. Happily they were shortly reunited with the rest of their group.
Mrs Davies group fared no better and can actually go down in Hinning House history as being the first group to get lost in the field directly in front of Hinning House! Not for the first time, Mrs Davies has a group with a liking for going in bogs; the smellier, muddier and deeper the better! Ewan found an especially good one and disappeared up to his waist. He also found himself in great demand as the high school children have worked out he is the perfect height for holding onto with one hand whilst they take their wellies off with the other.
Thankfully all 12 Lowton J & I children, Mr Woodford and Mrs Davies arrived back at the house in time for tea.
Mr Woodford was very proud of the boys in his class who had tidied their room immaculately, that was until he and Mrs Davies discovered that not only had they put all their clean and dry clothes away but they’d also put their wet and muddy clothes and towels in the same drawer. Toby had gone one further and added his walking boots to his, as “they were in everyone’s way” and he didn’t want anyone to trip over them in the night. As Mrs Davies remarked, “a lovely thought but …..” The drying room is now bursting at the seams and we’ve only been here half a day and Mrs Davies who thought she had escaped washing and ironing for a few days has a huge pile waiting for her.
Fingers are crossed for a good night’s sleep and the children have all promised not to disturb anyone until 7 at the earliest !!