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5.45am: Good morning everyone from the red leather sofa in Sandown for the final time this year. It’s eerily quiet here at the moment but, then again, it’s an unearthly hour to be up after such a long week. 

I wanted to do a quick post to put right a bizarre mistake from the room list credits from yesterday. It’s very strange because two boys’ names mysteriously dropped off the lists! They were typed then disappeared in the copy & pasting process. Anyway, I can reassure all of you that Oscar (Room 6) and Robbie (Room 3) are well and truly here with us. 

The biggest rush of all time will be hitting the starting blocks in the next half hour or so which means I will be gone for a while. Before I do, I just wanted to complete the conversation I had with Mrs Rawlinson last night about the newly found mega-predator dinosaur on the Isle of Wight. A Year 6 residential journey is tough, tiring work and the best way to counteract this is not via Nurofen but via the medium of laughter. There has been much laughter, humour and funny banter this week that has kept the staff batteries fully charged. 

After describing this new dinosaur to the rest of the staff last night, Mrs Rawlinson then said “I wonder how it got here?” 

Obviously, there are many different options for dinosaur travel across The Solent but I’m putting my money on an early morning ferry crossing with Wight Link from Lymington to Yarmouth. This is for a couple of main reasons: 

  1. This is a slightly shorter crossing than from Portsmouth to Fishbourne and it is well known that dinosaurs are not that keen on ferries. 
  2. I’m sure the dinosaur would have much preferred to overnight in the New Forest rather than Portsmouth prior to sailing to his new home on the island. I expect the palaeontologists will soon announce they have found the fossilised ferry ticket, confirming the route, very soon. Mrs Rawlinson can then rest happily. 

The sun is peeping slightly from behind the clouds and I now need to start the wake up circuit. We will see you all later this afternoon, back at school. 

Until then, it’s over and out from The Blog Bloke 


As we sit in the parking area at the Yarmouth ferry terminal, I can get everyone up to date with events since first thing this morning.

We launched the ‘Great wake up’ operation at 6.30am sharp and, yet again, the children’s response was top drawer. Despite failing to find my collection of lucky charms last night, and the SAS phone line being engaged, we were all packed and loaded on the coach by 7.23am. This group have pulled up some trees this week, but this feat may have topped them all. We enjoyed our final breakfast of the trip together and the hotel owners announced Room 16 as the winners of the tidiest room competition. Congratulations to Ellie, Grace, Maycee and Willow L…they’ve had a particularly successful 24 hours after the construction of the Shanklin Sand Stadium yesterday afternoon. After a team photo on the steps of the hotel, we boarded the coach to depart for the final time. Tony, our coach driver said “You are the most organised and the best school I’ve ever worked with. If you come back next year, please ask for me as your driver again.” That wonderful comment means that everyone we have interacted with this week has loved being in our company. One of the key targets of the trip has been well and truly nailed.

We made the drive to Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s holiday home by the sea where we arrived on time for our VIP entry slot at 9.30am. Maia, who has been luxury house spotting on the island all week, was suitably impressed, particularly with the sea views. Once inside, our volunteer guide led us around the house on a somewhat whistle-stop tour. I could see Blossom S eyeing up various artefacts, vases, statues and antique furniture in each room. “Are you thinking of putting in an offer?” I asked her. She smiled. “No, I’m just thinking that my mum would love it in here, she’d spend all day cleaning.” Blossom is not wrong there. There were plenty of things to clean, dust and polish…and three beautiful glass chandeliers for Del Boy, Rodney and Grandad to restore while The Queen is away.

Continuing on the tour, we came across Queen Victoria’s lift which was powered by servants pulling ropes to haul her highness up and down between floors. I could see Mrs Rawlinson’s cogs in the brain turning as she absorbed the information. I’m fully expecting her to request this be written into her contract for the lift at Shanklin Beach in 2023.

Editor’s note:   As we left the room, I did spot both Mrs Rawlinson and Mrs Capindale peeping very carefully into the lift. They were definitely plotting their escape route from the steep Shanklin hill next summer. After the tour of the house, we strolled down to the private beach in the sun for a 30 minute relax. For some, this was sitting on the sand chatting, for others, it was hurling rocks into the sea. This is why I advised Robbie on Wednesday to steer clear of buying any rocks. Back up by the house we enjoyed our last picnic lunch together before jumping on the coach to Yarmouth.

“Are we all present and correct?” Tony asked.

“Yes. 30 children and an alien upside down in the stairwell” I replied.

We arrived at the ferry terminal 20 minutes early and waited to board. Maia took the opportunity to check out the luxury speed boats moored in the harbour. Clearly, it’s not only property where her ambitions lie. Good on you Maia is what I say.

 Mrs Holt said “Charlie, have you been eating sweets?”

“No” Charlie replied.

“Are you sure? Because, if you haven’t, I’m going to think you’re very ill.” Mrs Holt added.

“Why?” Charlie asked with a puzzled expression.

“Because you have blue and orange lips and a red tongue,” our group leader informed him.

For once, young Charlie was left speechless. He has been great fun and superb company all week…he’s kept me chuckling the entire time since we left school. What a star.

He wasn’t speechless for long however. “Mrs Rawlinson, can I have my Paddington Bear 50p now?” he asked. This is probably the 50,000 time he has asked for his 50p since Wednesday. There is no way Mrs Rawlinson is escaping to The Caribbean with that 50p while Charlie is on this coach.

On board the ferry, I took the poll for the ‘Dream Day in the IOW’ itinerary as voted for by the Year 6 children of 2022. We’d all be completely exhausted by the end of the day and would probably have to come home, but it would be the best day ever. Here is their schedule:

7.30am Breakfast

8.30am: Wight Water Sea Sports

10.30am: Good leaf Tree Climbing

12.30pm: Lunch

1.00pm: Robin Hill Country Park

3.30pm Robin Hill Country Park

6.00pm Dinner

7.00pm: Crazy Golf

8.30pm: Bowling

10.30pm Bed and lights out


It is now 5pm, we are home and all children are safely delivered back to parents. It is time to draw the Isle of Wight 2022 blog to a close. It's been great to be back running the Year 6 residential again; this feels like another major step forwards in bouncing back from the pandemic. The children have bonded and supported each other all week. Their manners and politeness has impressed everyone we've met and, right up to the end, we had members of the public approaching us to praise them. This includes two couples on the ferry back to Lymington, one lady who was a retired teacher. It is fair to say the trip has been a resounding success. I hope the memories stay with the children for a very long time.

Until the blog returns in 2023, when a couple of families will be subjected to my inane ramblings once again, it's goodbye and goodnight from The Blog Bloke.