Communications for return journey

A note about the procedure for Friday.

We will give you updates via Twitter as we progress, however after we have left St. Pancras, our arrival time in Wanborough is largely determined by traffic getting out of London.

Therefore we will send a text from Mr Woodman’s phone when we pass Reading, when we will be about 40 minutes away. The text will be sent to the primary number on the school text system, so please pass on to others if required.

We had an enjoyable, relaxing final evening, and now everyone is getting packed and ready for breakfast at 8am, for a 9am departure.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

And so to Futuroscope…

Ah Futuroscope.

First I have to say that this is always a great day and we’re so lucky that the centre is so nearby, as we can arrive first thing in the morning, after only a 20 minute coach ride. Many school groups and holiday makers travel across France to go there, often staying in the numerous hotels around the site.

It was opened in 1984 and was initially a slightly worthy, educational park showcasing the technology of the future, hence the ‘futuristic’ buildings. I can’t really improve upon the Wikipedia description: “based upon multimedia, cinematographic futuroscope and audio-visual techniques. It has several 3D cinemas and a few 4D cinemas along with other attractions and shows, some of which are the only examples in the world.”

We split into three groups with the pupils from CM1 & CM2 at Ecole du lac, each group visited slightly different attractions, but all went on “Danse avec les robots” – see reaction below:

At the end of the afternoon we had to say “Goodbye” to our correspondents as our schedule on Friday morning this year will not allow us to meet at the centre before we leave. The staff and children, plus our other contacts in France have been excellent hosts once again. As we gain experience, each year seems to have more depth and range in the activities that we carry out, so we’re looking forward to 2019!


Wonderful Wednesday

Wednesday was a perfect day for the visit to La Rochelle: Sunny in the afternoon, not too hot and bit of breeze.

First to the Aquarium, which is excellent, then to Ernest le glacier, about whose ice-cream it’s hard to find adjectives that do justice. All the children REALLY liked it! (as did the staff!)

From the the ice-cream stop, we walked around some of the battlements of the fortified harbour in La Rochelle (which really is a lovely place to visit – and no, we’re not being paid by the tourist board to say that).

A stroll through the old part of the town and then back on the coach to the Auchan Hypermarket near to Futuroscope.

The children proved themselves very able to do shopping (so don’t let them tell you otherwise) although it has be said that fresh fish, charcuterie and patisserie weren’t high on their lists!

Returned to the centre by about 6.50, in time for a session of journal writing in the classroom and ‘question of the day’ – we keep them busy, it’s not all ice-cream eating you know (although that would be nice!).

Dinner at 7.30, maybe some evening activity. Futuroscope tomorrow, when weather looks pretty good.


School Day… like no other!

Tuesday, the day we spend doing activities at Ecole du Lac is always packed. This year was no exception.

After walking to the school we split into 4 groups with French partners to take part in 4 ateliers (workshops):

1. The Four a pain (bread oven) making tarte aux pommes and the Forge museum in the village.

2. Various sports at the village recreation area.

3. Producing clay animations linked to our ‘Idioms’ project.

4. Food tasting including escargots.

In the middle of the day the children had school dinner and at the end of the afternoon we enjoyed the fruits of our labours, with our tartes.

In the evening we have been to the lake for rounders and general relaxation.

The pictures below are a tiny fraction of the story, but they’ll give you feel for the day.

Up a bit earlier tomorrow to go to La Rochelle. Expecting nice weather.

Monday in St Cyr and Poitiers

The grim forecast for weather on Monday morning proved to be only too correct. Heavy rain overnight left some houses near the centre flooded, which was sad to see. Fortunately the centre was unaffected.

The day started, as all days should, with a good breakfast.




After breakfast we walked to L’Ecole du Lac, where we were reintroduced to pen pals and made new friends, particularly through the medium of action songs (Ms Hingley you would have been proud of the bungalow song!).

Presentations were made and petit dejuener 2 was enjoyed.

The children explored the school with their French partners, even the rain couldn’t curtail the activity.

It was then back to the centre for a leisurely, French style, 4 course lunch and a bit of relaxation before catching the coach to Poitiers.

Our long time contact in St Cyr / Poitiers, Barbara Richard guided us around, taking us first to a building that houses the local education inspectorate (sort of Ofsted), where our work was on display as part of a project about idioms in different languages.

Then it was onward to look round the town, including ice-cream buying and ‘The’ macaron shop, where some purchases were made.

Dinner beckons, so that’s all for now.



A game of two halves…

First the important news: we arrived safely and everyone seems to have had a good night’s sleep!

So to the journey.

After leaving Wanborough just after 6.45, we had an easy run to St Pancras, arriving in plenty to time to check in and get installed on the train, ready for its on time departure at 10.14. The ultimate destination of our train was Disneyland, so the carriages were well populated will with small children sporting Micky Mouse ears, Princess dresses etc., especially after the stops at Ebbsfleet and Ashford.

Arrival at Lille was on time and we walked to a park near the Lille Europe station for our lunch.








A short walk took us to Lille Flandres station, where we boarded the train to Poitiers, which also left on time.

Dangerous phrases such as ‘it all seems smooth so far’ were heard to fall from the lips of a certain head teacher.

At Massy TGV station, the stop for Orly Airport south of Paris, there was a long delay for some sort of technical reason (18 minutes behind schedule). Shortly after leaving the station, we stopped on the line due to (if our translation of technical railway French is right) a problem with the overhead electrical equipment on a train in front. (60 minutes delay).

By the time we arrived at Poitiers we were about 70 minutes behind. We were met by Stephane from the school, who took us around to the coach station, to find that the coach was ‘en panne’ (the dreaded phrase) – ‘broken down’. The driver had been running the aircon and flattened the battery.

A new coach was summoned and after about 20 minutes we were on the move again.

The welcome at the centre from our friends Martine and Barbara plus the staff was predictably warm, and after a short delay we were able to eat!

Most of the children seemed enjoy most of the food, amazing what hunger can do!

Everyone was in be bed and lights out by 10.45 local time (9.45 to their body clocks on UK time).




It’s nearly time to go!

Lots of packing is going on as everyone gets ready for the departure.

Don’t forget that we would like to be ready to go on Sunday morning at 6.45. The school gates will be open at 6.20.

It’s an early start, but it means we can get earlier connections all the way down the line, so we should be at the centre in St Cyr in time for an evening meal at a comfortable time, then get a good night’s sleep before meeting our French correspondents on Monday morning.

The weather outlook for the week is not as hot as previous years, highs around 20-22C, slightly more comfortable for some of the activities, but with showers likely early in the week, so lightweight waterproofs and suitable footwear will be essential.

See you on Sunday!