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Today started at the only moderately unsociable hour of 7:20, meaning most were awake around 6. In the male staff bedroom there was a certain sense of relief. Mr Farinha had assured Mr Gaskell that he would sleep like a baby. Mr Gaskell has assumed that this meant Mr Farinha would be awake every three hours screaming and crying until he was fed. Happily, as it turned out, Mr Farinha sleeps like a father!
The group quickly assembled for their first challenge, the ever eventful baguette making. This is the simple activity of buttering and filling a baguette that would be their dinner. When presented with the essential tools (a baguette, a knife, butter) many appeared a little lost and confused. Some used the butter as a spread, some attempted to use it as a topping and others used it as grout! On to the next station where they were to fill their baguette which, particularly for those who had buttered the outside, was to be a challenge. Trying to stuff salad, hams, cheese and (of course) tuna it what was a culinary bar of soap took dexterity and no little amount of concentration.
Dinner created, breakfast devoured we headed to the bus for our journey into Paris. The journey was by our drivers admission remarkably clear, no doubt due to Obi Lynne’s influence, but still allowed the children to demonstrate their dubious general knowledge through a number of ‘quizzes’. First up was a film quiz where Mr Farinha demonstrated a very impressive, if rather concerning, knowledge of ‘chick flix’.
Next up general knowledge. Question “What does the ‘e’ in e-mail stand for.?” First response from unknown child “internet” (Captain Drake makes note to check spelling levels of all year 6 pupils!). Response 2 (shouted with great confidence if little accuracy/thought) “e-mail”! Mr Gaskell suggests that we try the next question. “Where to mosquitoes lay their eggs?” Response: “ In a very small nest” Can we change the theme of the quiz? We did and their responses to questions about chocolate bars and sweets were considerably more accurate.
On arrival at the Eiffel Tower all were amazed at its sheer size. Jess was aghast at the prospect of climbing to the top. She was certain she couldn’t do it. She was adamant she didn’t want to do it and, a couple of hours later she was standing at the top, lapping up the vista and declaring to all that she’d do it again tomorrow! A proud moment for all as we witnessed her challenge herself and ultimately manage her fear of heights to succeed so brilliantly.
The progress for all the children was slow and steady and our arrival at the summit was tremendous achievement for all. This was only tempered slightly by constantly having to duck under ‘selfie sticks’! It would appear that every other tourist at the tower was armed with one of the god forsaken devices. Mr Gaskell decided they should be renamed the narcissist stick! A far more accurate description I must agree.
A quick descent from the tower and Mrs Warrener was glad to find herself back on terra firma, the more firmer the less terror, and we found our way to the Champ du Mar where we sat in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and ate our dinner.
The afternoon was to see the group walk to The Louvre where, outside the building, the children and staff would take photos of the magnificent museum, the modern glass pyramid and a two hundred year old statue that appeared to be ‘dabbing’. Proving that all fashions have routes in the past.
Onward to Notre Dame with Lina and Lauren testing Mr Gaskell’s rather limited understanding of French. A brief stop to admire this wonderful structure with its weird gargoyles and massive circular window and then back toward the bus. Our route to the pick up point would take us past a number of souvenir shops which tempted the children in with a veritable smorgasbord of delights. And the children did give in to these temptations! Very soon Manasseh was adorned in Paris baseball cap and 70s style shades and doing a passable Parisian Gangsta rap impression. The ever adorable Eiffel Tower key rings were purchased, along with a Parisian Flamencos fan which is either a fantastic statement of togetherness between France and Spain or just proof if you print images of the main tourist sites on anything it’ll sell.
Returning to the chateau we assembled for dinner and were happy to surprise Matilda with a birthday cake, a rendition of happy birthday sung by all in the dining room and a lovely birthday present from home. She was truly surprised as a: she hadn’t suspected anything and b: it wasn’t actually her birthday…. I jest, it was and I am sure it will be one she remembers for many years.
Our evening event was ‘Wacky Races’ with children facing a variety of challenges within team rallies. There were a number of Oscar potential performances (provided, of course, they read out the correct result) with Pavel’s ‘chicken laying an egg’ and Manasseh’s ‘run like a dinosaur’ worth special mention. However the most impressive performance required no acting what so ever. The award for ‘person looking most terrified as they realise that their about to be involved in a nigh on cataclysmic collision’ goes to Lauren. Let me explain. Race 2 instruction: the first person runs to the first cone and curls up on the floor to be a hurdle. The second person runs, hurdles the first person, gets to the second cone and stands, legs astride, to form a bridge. Third person hurdles first, passes through the legs of second, reaches 3rd cone puts out arms to be a turnstile. All is going well. First person, group 4 makes hurdle, 2nd person (Lauren) hurdles first, gets to 2nd cone adopts leg bridge stance. 3rd person (Peter – minus hat) hurdles first, ducks low to pass unhindered through Lauren’s leg bridge and reaches third cone. Fourth person is Manasseh. He thunders down the court, launches himself over the first person and continues (with considerable inertia) toward Lauren. It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. If I could have created a picture of Lauren’s face at this point it would have said only two…… “Oh” and “hell!” Manasseh, it must be added, had also realised that the immediate future looked destined to be…. painful and took the Titanic approach e.g. more speed and made a token effort to duck. Thankfully Lauren has a: quite long legs b: a considerable athletic/gymnastic ability c: a passionate desire to live and all these combined to help her vault over the incoming Manasseh. I hasten to add it was this attitude and determination that ultimately saw team 4 win the overall competition.
Now, the hour is late and the corridors quiet. Dreams are filled with the heady heights of today’s successes and perhaps wonder at what lies ahead.
Tomorrow will be a new challenge. A visit to a local market to buy the ingredients needed to make their own dinner. I can see Lina, a fluent French speaker, being in high demand. Not least by the staff.
But that will be a tale for another day and until that day arrives I remain,
Ever yours,

Hugh Jabellie

5 Responses to “Paris day 2 – Reach for the skies”

  1. Maman de Lina says:

    Thank you Hugh J 😉 for this most vivid and enjoyable account! 😀

  2. Mrs Duynstee says:

    Very good Hugh Habellie, very good! Glad Mr F is getting his beauty sleep 😴. I recall the adventures of the baguette making exercise – pure entertainment which you have descriptively captured! As for the quiz – I should think that by now the Yr6 staff have already penned it into a SATs practise question! 😂Have fun today 👍🏻

  3. Evie's Mum says:

    Hoping everyone had a fantastic and memorable day and that Evie successfully purchased Mum’s souvenir Eiffel Tower which her sister failed to do last year as she was too busy buying chicken. Good luck to you all with the next baguette buttering challenge. Who knew the butter went inside and not outside? One of life’s little mysteries 😉

  4. Lina's papi says:

    Encore un récit qui se lit avec un grand plaisir et donne beaucoup de charme aux activités des enfants et des “bébés-adultes”. Ils ont bien de la chance d’avoir près d’eux des accompagnateurs comme Hugh Habellie. Découvrir le monde avec un oeil malicieux et curieux est une qualité à transmettre aux enfants. ON peut apprendre en se faisant plaisir et il faut savoir regarder les autres cultures et modes de vie avec bienveillance et respect.
    Bonne journée au marché de Melun. Je crois que Lina va pouvoir apprendre les noms des bons produits français à ses petit(e)s ami(e)s.

  5. radrodro1 says:

    Thank you Hugh Jabellie for the updates and Hoping everyone have a lovely time and enjoyed Today’s beautiful moments in there.

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