Our last full day on the island - read all about it here.
7.40am Top of the morning all from one man and his orang utan sitting on the leather sofa in Sandown. First thing to report today is that the weather outside the lounge window has taken an unwelcome return to the grey mess we had on Monday & Tuesday. The wind also appears to be gusting quite strongly. It won't be a problem this morning as we are inside doing the theatre workshop but it could be interesting at the sea sports this afternoon. Despite the weather, the orang utan looks cheerful and full of life...at least that's one of us. Thursday mornings on a Year 6 trip historically begin in a semi-comatose state for staff and this year is no exception :-)
Upstairs I can footsteps in room 2, the troops are stirring. Earlier this morning the full significance of last nights bowling results hit me between the eyes. The individual competition was a clean sweep 1, 2, 3 for room 2. Samuel, Gabriel and Joseph have been in the eye of the hurricane all week; clearly it helped them play like demons in the bowling lanes. This may also explain why all the debris and carnage in there had been moved to the perimeter of the room the other night. They were either getting some secret practice in or Michael was laying out his gold bullion before putting a hefty wager with William Hill on a clean sweep. It's all starting to make sense now. Right, I'm off up the stairs to find out what pearls of wisdom the boys are sharing this morning. Back soon with further news...
I'm back after some amusing exchanges in in room 3. All the boys were standing in the middle of the room scratching their heads...all except for Salvatore who was completely out of it on his bunk. He was lying face down and completely still. Propped up against him was a copy of the bible. "We're trying to summon him with the power of the holy spirit" Caleb informed me. There was a twitch of the dalek's visible right hand...then nothing. "Keep trying" I advised them. I think that explains all the head scratching in the centre of the room.
"What are we doing this morning?" Niall asked. "The theatre workshop in Shanklin" I replied. "And where do we do that?" Niall continued. "Err, in the theatre in Shanklin" I said. I may be tired this morning but they can't get one past me. The others carried on scatching their heads...except for Amir who was rooting around in his bag which still happily resides in the spacious wardrobe. "Hey Amir, don't lean in there too far, you may end up in Narnia" I warned him. Amir simply turned and said "I wish..." Judging by the festering piles of clothes steaming everywhere on the floor in there, it doesn't surprise me that Narnia is a more attractive option.
In room 2 the carnage and debris appears to have migrated towards the bathroom; I think the clothes are actually looking for an escape route and are so desperate that they are willing to risk it. I did ask the question and the boys assure me that they will be able to pack their cases comfortably tonight; I wouldn't be wagering too many of Michael's gold bars on the right cases being comfortably packed with the right clothes. Speaking of cases and packing, the karate kid was kneeling on the floor of room 4 packing his case when I went in there. - it all looked very organised...and he never mentioned his lunch once :-)
I'm now back in the lounge and Caleb has appeared. I'm happy to report that the dalek has been raised by the holy spirit and is, apparently, 'in the bathroom splashing water on his face'. I'm presuming it's holy water...or maybe beer...I'd better check with Mateo when he comes down. The bowling champion has now arrived. He tells me he's feeling tired but still basking in the glory of victory. Thomas is explaining how he gets his bowling style 'from his dad' and giving free demonstrations in the centre of the room. Francesca has just sat down next to me and said "I don't have any bowling technique, I just throw it." This may be the case, but watching last night, Francesca's throwing possessed a grace befitting that of a talented gymnast. Salvatore has now appeared and is a picture of energy and life. Not only has the holy spirit raised him, it also appears to have fixed his throat. 8.30am, breakfast is served. More news later...
9.35am I'm back in Shanklin Theatre and the workshop has started. Two of the stars of the show (Butch & Cassidy) are leading the fun. Cassidy has done a dance warm up on the stage with all the children and now Butch is teaching them the opening dance & song for their show...which will be recorded for posterity on a CD-rom. We're now volunteering for something...I'm not sure what it is. Oh, it's the singing roles. It looks like we've got Carraghan, Izzabella, Rachel, Ella, Niall, a couple of others who disppeared back stage before I could see and, by popular demand, Amir. Cassidy is back on stage with the dancers...who are actually pretty good. The 'freestyle' part of the dance is especially entertaining - we've got Irish dancing, some sort of sumo thing going on to the left,Charlie who looks like he's fishing, Santi slalom skiing in the style of Freddie Mercury, there's an octopus and Thomas doing the worm. Oh, the singers are back - the missing links are Samuel bowling King, Mia, Eloise and Lazarus the resurrected dalek. They're all lined up, this should be interesting.
It's now time for the narrators to take the stage. Butch has just told Shae to count to 10 so they can set the sound at the optimum level for her microphone. "Ok, 10-9-8..." Shae began...which was quite funny. The sound desk then started playing around with the effects to create a very deep booming voice for Megan B and a squeaky chipmunk voice for Aidan and Caleb. Then, the orang utan took to the microphone which was truly hilarious "My name is Bertie and I'm the greatest monkey in the world." Top marks to Inspector Poirot for his quick thinking ventriloquism act :-) Following all this hilarity, the time came to find a volunteer panto dame. There were plenty of boys volunteering...but it was Mateo who got the prime role. Cassidy said "What type of show might you go to see around Christmas time?" "A Christmas show' someone wisely replied. Meanwhile, Mateo was pulling some hilarious faces and poses up on the stage. My sides were beginning to hurt; he should get his own show...Santi could join him with some of his classic one-liners. They could be the new Morecambe & Wise. As the make-up started going on, Michael suddenly piped up from the audience "Santi said he's feeling ashamed". You see, they're nailed on as the new comedy duo. Despite the apparent shame, Santi was desperate to name his new twin sister and the name Sessalina was chosen. The whole 10 minute farce was just about the most hilarious thing this week. Top marks to Mateo -what a superstar!
The workshop continued apace with information about lighting and smoke and special effects. "This smoke is not really smoke, it's harmless. What do you think would happen if we used real smoke on stage?" Butch asked. "You'd die" Niall replied. Very reassuring indeed...Niall is clearly getting the hang of this theatre thing now that he knows where he is. Following the backstage tour, Butch was doing a Q&A on the stage. He told the girls that all theatres are rumoured to have a ghost and the Shanklin ghost walks around in the balcony...although he's never seen it and doesn't want to as ghosts scare him. Shae spung upright and began rattling away like an agitated rattlesnake "Oh, I'm really scared of ghosts...but I'd really like to see one just to see what they're like. Me and Isabel saw a ghost girl at school"...all spluttered within one breath. "You didn't see one at school Shae" I said. "I swear, we did Mr Tindall, it was a ghost girl standing behind Mary in the prayer corner" she continued. "Wasn't it just Mary's shadow cast by the sun?" I suggested. "It was a ghost girl definitely" Shae concluded. Oh well, if the ghost girl is hanging around with Our Lady in the prayer corner I don't suppose we've got too much to be worried about.
The workshop concluded with the show performed on stage by all the children and led by Butch and Cassidy. All in all, a great morning of entertainment and learning.
5.05pm Good afternoon all, we are back from the adventures of today. It's just under an hour until dinner, which tonight is fish and chips :-) The children are showering and putting gel in the hair and spraying enough Lynx to kill 50% of the creatures in the Amazon rainforest...it's party time tonight. Ok,. let's rewind and pick up the action as we left the theatre at midday.
We made the obligatory stop at the rock shop to enjoy the kaleidoscope of colourful sweets, marshmallows, rock, fudge, biscuits and all other manner of sugary stuff that's delicious but not very good for you. There was a shopping frenzy but it was all done in a very serene and charming way; it did not surprise me at all that we received compliment number 8 from the shop proprietors. After the rock shop we got the coach back to the hotel for lunch and then changed for sea sports. Mrs Holt gave her pre-activity kit list check and Charlie had a problem "My day bag is not big enough to fit a towel inside" he said. "Well, that's because it's a man bag" Gabriel replied instantly before adding "Don't worry Charlie, I've got a spare one in the room, you can borrow that." Fantastic attitude from Gabriel...the true Holy Family spirit...although I'll be shocked if they can actually find it amongst the debris and carnage in room 2.
Apologies for the interruption...emergency DIY required upstairs in room 4 where one of the door hinges had given up on life as a door hinge. Right, where were we?
Mrs Holt then invited questions which was quite a risk with this lot. Mia asked "Will the sea be cold?" Mrs Holt sort of dodged any definitive answer to that in a rather clever way. I'm sure I heard her say " you'll be too busy surfing to notice the temperature" then she moved swiftly on to Ella who said "Can we wear earplugs?" If I'd realised Ella had packed some earplugs I would have paid good money on Tuesday evening for a 45 minute loan at the theatre. Then, one of the boys said "Are we coming back here for the party?" "No, we're having it in the sea" Mrs Holt fired back quickly. Question time was halted swiftly after that and we walked to Wight Water on Sandown Beach where another instructional talk was delivered, this time by one of the Wight Water staff. "This is a wetsuit, it will be inside out when you get it so you must deal with that first. The zip goes at the back. These are the arms and these are the legs. Have you got all that?" "Yes!" they all shouted keenly. The wetsuits were then handed out and the comedy show began. Charlie was first in strife. "Mr Tindall, I can't get my legs in here" he grunted as he hopped about on the promenade. "That's because it's an arm Charlie". Sometimes it's helpful being an expert on wetsuits :-) Not far behind him in the desperate trouble stakes were Luca, Josie and Caleb who all had the zip at the front. "Where does the zip go?" "At the back!"
Finally everyone was suited up with their body boards strapped to their wrists and they headed down to the beach. On the way, Michael shouted up to the promenade "Mr Tindall, please can you look after this stone?"
"Why, what's so important about that stone?" I asked him.
"Because it's see-through" Michael advised me. The mind boggles but I can only assume the see-through stone is part of his haul of gold bullion or the Rixon house has a very small pane of glass that needs replacing. In the sea, the first to catch the waves were Gabriel, Rachel, the karate kid and the bowling champ. Now that Josie had sorted out her zip issues, she was also surfing very nicely. Watching from the promenade it looked great fun...if perhaps a trifle cold. I decided to catch up with the Hawaii Five O crew as they came out of the ocean. "How was the surfing?" "Cold" Shae replied. "Yes, but apart from that, how was it?" I tried again. "Just cold!" she insisted. Santi appeared and said "I've got a mouthful of salt."
"Well, that will be useful for your fish and chips later" I suggested
"But I'm having jacket petito" Santi said.
"Is that a very small potato?" Mrs O'Connor chipped in. It appears that everyone is intent on being a comedian. Mrs O'Connor is clearly looking for a guest slot on the new series of 'Mateo & Santi live at The London Palladium.' Ok folks, it's 6pm and dinner is ready. There will now be a short interlude whilst we feast on fish and chips and small potatoes :-)
7.10pm I'm back, dinner was delicious. Before I continue with todays events, forget the general election - I have a major announcement to make later this evening about the tidiest room competition down here. Ok, back to Wight Water we go...
...Rowan shuffled along the prom like a rockhopper penguin carrying a cuttlefish. "That was brilliant, I loved it" he said. Then Hollie appeared and added "I didn't want to get out but all my fingers turned white and my nails turned blue...I think that means get out of the water." Meanwhile, Mrs O'Connor was moving along the wall offering cake and biscuits to the surfing stars. She arrived in front of Francesca. Suddenly Caleb appeared pushing an imaginary cart. "Anything from the trolley my dear?" he asked in a comical female voice. The best way to describe it is that it was like a mixture of Harry Potter and Julie Walters :-) Mrs Holt then made a late bid to get appointed as the vacant presenter on Countryfile with her ongoing theme of 'owners who look just like their dogs.' "Look Mia, even the man in the wetsuit looks like his dog!" I had a quick glance for a dog in a wetsuit...with the zip at the back but couldn't see one anywhere.
E-Bay product updates from Sandown Beach: a single blue Nike trainer size 5.5 and a single grey Nike trainer, size 4.5 which would make the perfect gift for a colour-blind person with odd sized feet. Also new in this afternoon - a blue towel with 'Michael' embroidered on it (I did look but there were no gold bars hidden inside), I pair of grey goggles which could be purchased as a stylish matching accessory for the single grey trainer and finally 1 purple Karrimor coat. Bidding for these items will begin soon :-) Ok, that's it for a short while. I'm heading upstairs with my gas mask and protective grey goggles to check out how the boys are looking. Oh, wait a minute...Amir has just arrived. What a shirt! Amir's Hawaiian shirt is brilliant. It deserves its very own blog page. Thomas is also here and is styling the orang utan's hair for the big gig coming up. He looks cool and is still smiling; he's really enjoyed his week away from Mrs Holt's cupboard...which is very understandable if you've ever looked inside Mrs Holt's cupboard. Rumour has it that you may come across Shergar and Lord Lucan in there if you're brave enough to venture inside...at least that's what the orang utan told me. Ok, back soon...
9pm - The disco is in full swing and 'everyone has just been walking the dinosaur'. The orang utan has changed his outfit for the second time and is looking remarkably cool. Rowan and Poirot are waltzing around together and I've just been on the phone to Strictly to bag an audition for the next series. I'll find a way to raise funds for the school yet. I'm sitting in the foyer and a cat has just wandered in through the open door to join the party. I asked him if he had a ticket and he promptly turned and left. He either didn't like to look of me or the sight of an orang utan in a psychedelic t-shirt, reflective shades and a backwards facing baseball cap was too much of a sensory overload. I guess it would be a close call...probably on the toss of a coin. Sessalina is now twirling around the floor with Santi back on his slalom skiis again. That reminds me - when we came out of the theatre this morning, the twins were chatting to me about their hilarious facial expressions. Apparently down on School Lane in Addlestone, it's known as 'The Marugan Chin'. It's fabulous and surely has to find a way into the stage production of Olivia next month. Don't miss it...these two are a comedy genius pairing in a totally natural way.
STOP PRESS: Only 2 hours until our news-busting announcement about the tidiest room competition. Don't miss it...it's quite possibly the most mind-blowing thing I've ever heard in my 10 trips to the Isle of Wight.
Goodness knows what this latest noise is that's currently playing but it seems to have ramped up the frenzy in there. Year 6 children are bouncing, juddering and jigging as is they've been plugged into the national grid. It's like a room full of electric eels after a visit to a generator factory in there. Oh here we go, they're now twirling and swirling to 'Timber' which was the central song in their theatre workshop show this morning. Addlestone's world famous glo-stick twirler queens are leading the madness..although Mrs Holt appears to be going one way whilst Mrs O'Connor goes the other. They're really going for it. I need to film the scene and forward to the DFE...it is the most defining evidence yet that SAT's drives teachers insane. They're bound to outlaw them forever after watching this. Carraghan is dancing with the orang utan...who now appears to have cast off his psychedelic outfit. This is what happens when you mix a traumatised post-SAT's teacher with an orang utan who has been stuck in a cupboard for 12 months :-)
Right folks, the disco has finished and it's time for the great pack up to begin. I'm heading first to room 2 to see if 'my ability to work miracles' prayers have worked this week. Back later...
9.55pm Quick update - room 2 is total carnage and I'm even more speechless than I was a few hours ago. The world has officially gone mad. More about that later. Room 4 on the other hand is incredibly tidy which provided a perfect blank canvas for Santi to work more of his comedy genius. "Mr Tindall, do you know Michael from The Source?" "No, who's he?" "He's this asro-physicist guy with his own You Tube channel, he's brilliant and I think I can be like him." "Oh yeah, how do you go about doing that then?" "Well, I just need to shave my head...and learn lots of stuff...oh, and age about 40 years. That'll just about do it" It's the stuff of legends. Get this boy booked in for a 10 night run at the O2. In room 3, they're also doing fairly well with the packing. Salvatore has been packed all week so was lying on the bed with the proverbial pipe and slippers. He even had time to tell me he's got presents for his whole family sorted. "My mum, my dad, my sister, my grandparents and my dog" he said proudly. "What about the tortoise?" I asked with as straight a face as I could muster at 10pm. "Oh...err...well, there's not really anything I could get for them" he replied. " You can just pop to Aldi tomorrow and get some lettuce" Mateo fired in. Yet again, when you need a Marugan wit, they appear right on cue. I was in so much shock about the announcement I'm tasked with making in the next hour that I popped my head in rooms 8 & 10 during the disco earlier. These are on the ground floor and are occupied by girls. Clearly having 8 to a room is a challenge for girls...I can sort of see now why the hotel owners ventured upstairs looking for a winner. I can sort of see it...but I'm still flabbergasted. I will be back before 11pm to share my bamboozlement with you all. See you soon...
10.30pm Mrs Holt has just set the clock ticking for the big lights to go out within the next 30 minutes so now is the time to reveal the biggest news story to ever hit the Isle of Wight. I've been around long enough to realise that sometimes it is better not to try to think too deeply about things. Just accept that, sometimes, bizzare things occur. Lou and her team had been round to judge the rooms whilst we were out. All I can think is that a team of fairies drifted upstairs moments before the judging took place...or that Michael traded one of his gold bars and jetted in the biggest cleaning team ever assembled on the continent of Europe. Room 2...the eye of the hurricane, place of carnage and debris where you tread at your own peril were announced as the winners. I'm still in shock and drafted in Mrs O'Connor and the local Soco team to forensically photograph the evidence. Room 2 wins the tidiest room competition...even a Jeremy Corby victory tonight won't push that off the front pages tomorrow. The children don't know yet as it will be announced in the morning so I've ordered in a team of paramedics with defibrilators to deal with the effects of the announcement. It will be the biggest shock seen on these islands of the UK since Marouane Fellaini accurately passed a ball to a team mate. Anyway, credit where credit is due - congratulations to Samuel, Gabriel, Charlie, Joseph, Thomas and Michael. Also to be announced tomorrow morning is the best table in the dining room competition. The winners of that one are table 3. Congratulations to Samuel (yet again), Salvatore, Callum, Rowan, Izzabella & Eloise. Time to draw breath now and reflect on what I've just written...room 2 the tidiest...unbelievable. I will be back later to begin rolling the movie credits as we approach the end of this epic adventure. The Ben Hur of blogs is beginning its final chapters. One more final post for the day later on...
11.50pm - All quiet on the Sandown front. Bertram Lodge is silent and the staff are reflecting on a very successful week. Despite the challenging winds, the weather has largely behaved. Yesterday was beautiful and this afternoon the clouds were high enough to make it acceptable. All in all, it could have been worse. This group have really gelled this week. They have been incredibly supportive towards each other from minute one; it's been a pleasure to spend the week with them. As always, the staff team have been sensational. Miss Hodson has slotted seamlessly into the team, formed very strong bonds with the children and proved an invaluable support throughout. Mrs O'Connor & Mrs Capindale, as ever, have worked tirelessly in their inimitable humerous way. The camera shutter has been working non-stop alongside the many jokes, funny stories and constant banter. Mrs Holt has led the trip in her usual enthusiuastic and superb manner dealing with the changes in itinerary without batting an eyelid. We are blessed to have such talented, committed and caring people within our school and I'm privileged to lead them every day; they are special people. It's now beyond midnight so I'm going to hold the movie credits until tomorrow morning. I will be posting before we eat breakfast then will record everything during the day on Word before posting onto here when we return to school tomorrow afternoon. I hope you have been enjoying the story unfold so far. For now it's goodnight and God bless from everyone here in Sandown. See you tomorrow.
The Blog Bloke