Hinning House - March 2017
Wednesday 8th March 2017
After 9 hours of driving up and down the M6 over the last two days, Mrs Davies arrived safely this afternoon to be greeted by … silence!! The children had all gone out for the day following the River Duddon from its source on Hard Knott down to the sea at Haverigg. Never one to miss an opportunity Mrs Davies managed to sneak a crafty afternoon nap after the sleep deprivation on Monday and in preparation for the next two days of fun and activity.
The peace was broken around 4.30pm when 24 very wet and noisy children returned from “paddling” in the sea. After showers (these are the first group of children in the history of J and I “holidays” who actually do shower and amazingly seem to like doing so) everyone sat down to a delicious dinner of beef casserole and dumplings. The new potatoes, still with their skins on, appeared to be an unknown veg to some and as one concerned child asked “Mrs Davies are you so tired you forgot to peel them?”
The children were all desperate to do “The Alien Head Hunt” as the evening activity so Mrs M and Mrs F were dispatched to hide 20 pictures of aliens with a 6 digit number underneath them, in the fields around Hinning House. The aim is to find the pictures and then return to Mrs Davies, in the mothership, and recite the name and number. Despite desperate tactics and attempts of sabotage by some teams, Mary-Jayne, Anise and Isobelle managed to find all 20 in the quickest time whist running around pretending to be unicorns! Whilst this is genuinely seen by the children as the best activity ever it also has the hidden bonus of burning off lots of excess energy.
Supper was eventful as Mrs Mills, in an effort to make the crumpets cook faster, flattened one so much it got stuck and smoke and the odd ember started to float out of the toaster. Mrs Mills blamed Mrs Davies for the smoke alarm going off until she realised it was her extra flat crumpet that was the real culprit.
The table has been set for breakfast and the children have gone upstairs. Kai and co have been given strict orders that there is to be no noise before 7.00am – after all Mrs Davies is on holiday and needs a lie-in:-)
Thursday 9th March
The final full day dawned sunny and warm in the Duddon valley. The tables had been decorated overnight with balloons, banners and blowers in honour of Annaya’s birthday which meant breakfast was not the most peaceful of meals!
The staff learnt a valuable lesson this morning that if they want to maintain any semblance of authority they need to put the previous day’s clothes away before the children commence their over enthusiastic round of tidying the house – it’s not clear the teacher’s bedrooms have ever been on the job list but this morning they definitely got the once over.
It was with dawning trepidation that Mrs Davies realised the infamous self-lost walk had not taken place in the two days when her presence was required elsewhere but was, in fact, this morning’s planned activity. How this simple and straightforward activity always manages to descend into mayhem is one of the wonders of Lowton J & I Outdoor Education weeks. Much to the delight of the staff the children managed to negotiate their way out of the field in front of Hinning House and set off up through the forest. Bogs were safely negotiated and no wellies were lost in their dark, dank depths, everything seemed to be going so very well….or so it was believed. The babble of the children’s chattering suddenly changed and screams and shouts got louder and nearer. All of a sudden the very distinctive red rucksacks came flying over the farm gate to be followed closely by the children. Insistent they had been charged at by an angry goat, not any ordinary goat but the goat leader, the children refused to re-enter the field. Luckily Mrs Fitzroy, AKA the goat whisper, was on hand to save the day. Mrs Davies, Mrs Fitzroy and the children all made their way safely through the field. There wasn’t a goat in sight just sheep grazing peacefully. Where the charging goats disappeared to we may never know but they will no doubt be bigger, angrier, and more frightening by the time the coach pulls up on Newton Rd tomorrow.
There have been many valuable lessons learnt on today’s self-lost walk and the afternoon bike ride, namely:
- He who shouts loudest does not always know the right way to go (and invariably gets the group lost)
- If you want to enjoy a drink of hot chocolate when you’re out on activities, you need to remember to pack the cups too
- Wellies will keep your feet dry as long as the water you walk through is not so deep it goes over your knees
- Using a dry stone wall as an alternative to breaking is not advisable
- Gloves need to be on hands not handlebars if you don’t wish to lose them and then spend an hour looking for them
- Waterproofs do keep clothes dry – well that is if you remember to put your trousers on underneath and not on top of them
- If your chain comes off, you need to be in Camden’s group
- And finally a river with lots of slippery boulders may be the quickest way to return to the house for tea but definitely isn’t the easiest and safest on a bike!
A fun and memorable day has been had by all :-)