3d are currently on their language week in Barnstaple, North Devon. After an early start on Saturday morning (3:15 am) we travelled to Vienna and onwards to Heathrow together with 3f, before our ways parted at the coach meeting point, which was about as easy to find as the proverbial needle in a haystack. On the long trip down to Devon we stopped off at Stonehenge, which was almost certainly the most exciting collection of stones the kids had seen all day… Actually, I’m pretty sure they enjoyed it much more than they were willing to admit, especially once it became clear that they did not, as originally planned, have to walk back to the visitor centre, but would be allowed to take the shuttle bus instead.
From there it was just a couple of hours to Barnstaple with a short break at some services to have a bite to eat and stretch our legs. We were greeted at Barnstaple by the school staff and the host families, who promptly whisked the pupils off to their homes for the week.
It is always an excellent sign when the teachers hear absolutely nothing from the pupils on their first night – yes, no news really is good news!
Sunday 19th May
On Sunday we had what is known in England as A Grand Day Out. Our first stop was at Bude, a lovely little seaside village with a canal and a big, sandy beach, which was of course a huge attraction for all the pupils. Our 15 minute walkabout ended up being considerably longer…
From there it was a 45 minute trip to Tintagel, where we went for a scenic walk, which involved negotiating treacherous graveyards full of poisonous snakes, narrow clifftop paths and hungry seagulls that would stop at nothing to secure a piece of tasty sandwich, even one that was about to be eaten by its rightful owner.
Having survived these challenges we moved on to Boscastle, where the pupils discovered to their undisguised joy that there was yet more walking to be done. Despite some initial reluctance, everyone enjoyed the amazing views and the almost endless Instagram opportunities they provided.
The journey back to Barnstaple was accompanied by some highly enthusiastic singing, some of which almost bore a passing resemblance to the original songs. Oh, and what about the famous English weather, I hear you ask?