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Tuesday 6th June

All news will be posted here


Morning everyone from a gloriously sunny Sandown. As I look out of the window there is not a single cloud in the sky and we’re set fair for another spectacular day of weather. Before descending to the lounge, I went on the rounds of the 3 boys’ rooms where there were many bleary eyes and confused looks, but all are well.

Let’s start today’s tall tales with a very positive report of life in Room 6 where some of the boys have shocked me. Last night during room inspection, the floor was utter carnage. There were shoes everywhere which leads me to believe they must be sharing with a small family of octopus however, the wooden rectangular box thing with 5 drawers was actually being employed for its desired purpose. I only opened the top drawer to make a point…and discovered a single t-shirt, neatly folded. Encouraged, I ploughed on and to my utter disbelief realised that the other drawers were completely full of clothes, some even neatly arranged. Gold stars were immediately awarded to William and Edward whilst James got a silver star as he’d adopted slightly more of a ‘throw it all in there and hope for the best’ tactic. Nevertheless, he was as delighted as I was. “Silver Star…I’ll take that” he said.

They’ve also got a triple decker bunk in there which they are thrilled with. Gergo is on top deck with his suitcase operating as a wardrobe in the sky, William is in the middle bunk and Oskar inhabits the ground floor apartment. He’s very happy as he explained he can ‘simply lie his suitcase on the floor next to the bed and take his clothes out each day’. This is what independence is all about. Interestingly, the boys from room 6 have arrived downstairs in the lounge and they are currently having a minor domestic about the number of shoes strewn across their floor. There is much finger pointing going on; it is only a matter of time before they realise the octopus family are to blame.

The delicious aroma of bacon has begun to drift from the kitchen which means breakfast is being prepared. The children placed their orders after dinner last night and there was plenty of choice. I’ll be interested to see how many can remember what they ordered. Today we’re scheduled to be climbing the giant oak tree in Ryde from 9am and visiting the donkey sanctuary after lunch. A day marvelling at the beauty of nature sounds just perfect to me. More of the boys have arrived in the lounge and the Uno card school has struck up again. It is wonderful to see them playing a game that involves no techie gadgets but lots of communication, strategy and conversation – this is what a Year 6 residential is all about.

Ok, with the girls beginning to filter in to the lounge, I’ll sign off for now as we get them all ready for breakfast and a sharp exit to the coach afterwards. Next post will be at some point this evening. This may be late as we’re bowling from 8pm and the Wi-fi connection in there is notoriously bad so I’ll try to put up a short post before dinner.

Until later…when I will be able to reveal all the room line-ups complete with their chosen room names.


Good afternoon everyone, we’re back from a fabulous day of activity and fun in the sun. This will be a very short update as we have dinner at 5.30pm before we head off to tonight’s IOW sporting championship as we get in the bowling lanes at Ryde Superbowl. Recent years have been dominated by the girls so the big question being asked here in the lounge is can one of the boys step up and make it a double after Charlie triumphed in the golf? Check back here later for all the news.

Today has been a bumper extravaganza of trees, sand and donkeys with a cracking football game in the park thrown in for good measure. Miss Hunter was in robust defensive form for the opposition but is now sitting next to me on the red leather sofa claiming she has picked up an injury. More about that later. The best news of all? More compliments from everyone we’ve bumped into today…including the donkeys 😊. From our point of view, it’s been a delight to witness Year 6 in such relaxed and convivial mood, sharing a multitude of smiles and moments of genuine camaraderie. It’s all good here in the Sandown sun.

Before we eat, I’ll leave you all with a flavour of one man’s mood around 9.15am this morning. William clearly enjoys his food and after polishing off a hearty breakfast, his first question to Miss Hunter as we approached the tree climbing zone in Ryde was “Are we having lunch before we climb the tree?” Nothing like getting your priorities right.

We’ve also got the official room line up and names ready to roll…so here we go.

We were sitting in the lounge before breakfast discussing the wooden-clad extension/annex that houses the girl’s main room and the penthouse apartment occupied by Mrs Holt and Mrs Capindale. Several of the girls were in the lounge so I asked “Girls, what room are you in?”

“It’s a shed” Mia replied.

“It’s not a shed, it’s a bungalow” Naisha responded.

I looked at Ruby for clarification. She shrugged and said “It’s definitely a shed.”

“Ok, do you have a name for your room?” I asked them.

The girls have named their room ‘The Shed’. They’re obviously using their creative minds and sticking to their guns. ‘The Shed’ it is. Mia, Ruby, Erin, Leah, Claudia, Pepper, Amy and Maisy seem delighted.

Meanwhile, Naisha, Freya and Maya are occupying a separate part of ‘The Shed’ described by Naisha as “Our own wing” (I bet you are now rapidly re-drawing the image of this building in your head). They’ve named their wing ‘The Cosy Cottage’.

Completing the ground floor is room 1 occupied by Siobhan, Florence, Darcey, Amelia & Amelie…who were all invisible 10 minutes before breakfast apart from Siobhan who had arrived still looking half asleep.

“You’re in room 1 aren’t you?” I asked her. She nodded.

“Good, what’s your chosen name?”

Siobhan looked at me with a puzzled expression as if I’d taken leave of my senses.

“Siobhan” she replied…before the penny dropped and she hurried off to room 1 before we got the name plaque nailed to the door. Clearly 7.36am is too early for her incredibly talented brain to function efficiently. The Shed crew, who were wide awake, really enjoyed that one.

It’s dinner time now so check back later this evening for the full story of the day…


I’m sitting in Ryde Superbowl so time to continue where we left off with events from earlier today…

Siobhan eventually returned with the name for room 1 which is ‘Timmy 2’, apparently named after Amelie’s Lego tortoise. Don’t ask, this is a Year 6 residential and all manner of unexplained things go on. I’m sure Siobhan, Amelie, Amelia, Florence and Darcey are having a great time in room 1 in honour of the Lego tortoise.

Upstairs we find the carnage of the boys’ rooms where entrance at any time of day or night is done without insurance premium cover. Room 2, named ‘Perry the Platypus’ is the abode of Nicholas, Charlie, Louie and the Jack’s. They also have a spare bed in there which takes up most of the route to the bathroom, further enhancing the likelihood of serious injury to the lower limbs when going to clean your teeth. Tito would have no chance if his RNLI pager went off in the dark.

Next door is room 3, named ‘Shrek’s Swamp’ by Theo, Beau, Max, Riyad, Leon & Frankie. Fair play to this lot, at least they’ve recognised their shortcomings. I’ve ordered some radioactive-proof waders and heavy-duty wellies just in case I need to enter in a hurry at any time this week.

Across the hallway is room 6 where Edward, William, Gergo, Oskar, Jacob, James and Tito have set up camp, including the impressive use of the chest of drawers. Their room has been named ‘The Goofy 7’. I’m still trying to work out why but I’m sure they will enlighten me by Friday.

After breakfast we boarded the coach and headed off to Ryde where we were met by Paul from Goodleaf Tree Climbing. We walked up into the park and located the giant oak tree with the climbing ropes all ready for the intrepid tree creepers to get in motion. Mrs Holt divided us into 3 groups and I got ready to cash in my bet with Ladbrokes as she called out the instructions:

“Group 1 to the tree climbing first with myself and Miss Hunter. Group 2, you can do orienteering…”

‘Here goes’ I whispered to myself, my finger poised on the ‘cash-in now’ button. “Mr Tindall, would you like to take the orienteering?”

I know a rhetorical question when I hear one. Mrs Capindale smiled and gave a knowing nod. I was set for another couple of hours of wandering around the huge park looking for clues amongst the trees, long grass and prickly stingy things. Oh well, small mercies, at least it wasn’t soaking wet this time like it was last year…and I could be quids-in with my Ladbrokes bet. As I set off into the undergrowth with group two, I caught a glimpse of Mrs Capindale and Miss Forsyth both looking resplendent in shades, strolling off to the beach with a bag of buckets and spades.

I fairness, my group smashed the orienteering. They were ace, particularly Amelia and Naisha, supported by Leon’s James Bond pen telescope, which he handily found in his pocket. When we arrived back at the giant oak, I caught a glimpse of Ruby high up in the canopy like some spider monkey in black. Not far away, Erin was also excelling and Charlie, Tito, Jack B, Frankie, Darcey and Claudia were also impressing the instructors. Amongst all the climbing, there was lots of grunting, groaning and straining of sinews as the determined Year 6 crew hauled themselves up the ropes. It was all very impressive stuff. Down on the ground, there was still no sign of Mrs Capindale and her sunbathing group.

Eventually, after the groups had changed and an impromptu game of football had broken out in the park, Mrs Capindale’s group reappeared from the beach and headed straight for the biscuit supplies.

 “Orienteering now Mrs Capindale?” I asked.

“Have you seen Leah’s amazing King Crab shell?” was the reply. I’ve done the orienteering course every year, seemingly for an eternity, and it’s never taken me to the habitat of the King Crab. I took her reply as a ‘no way Jose’ so went to join in the football where Miss Hunter was tearing around like Kyle Walker after several cans of Red Bull. It was impressive stuff, which made me wonder why I didn’t give her a school kit and put in defence for the girls’ team this year. No-one would have got past the Mia and Miss Hunter centre-back pairing. Somehow, at some point, after the football, I found myself being asked to take a group to the beach with Miss Hunter so off we went. Strolling along the prom with Louie, he pointed towards a huge cargo ship sailing past, laden with shipping containers stacked high and said “Is that a cruise ship?”

“Technically yes…if you’re a wardrobe or a chest freezer” I replied.

In future years, if you’re planning a luxury, once in a lifetime holiday with ‘Louie’s Gold Star Cruises’, I’d suggest you check the small print very carefully before confirming your booking. Definitely don’t hand over any money.

Down on the beach, Jack B and Riyad were digging a hole and burying a football…which I found immediately intriguing. “We’re hiding the ball” they said. This is a genius idea that could make us lots of money if we patent it, sell to 19 of the Premier League clubs next season and tell them to use the tactic when playing Man City at home. At least it may stop Pep and Co taking the ball off them in the first minute and handing it back after 90 + injury time. It’s definitely the future and you’ve heard it here first in the IOW Blog.

At the end of the morning, the Goodleaf tree climbing instructors praised the effort, support, behaviour and manners of the class and said they always love their morning with Holy Family. Fabulous praise indeed from 3 guys who have school groups twice a day throughout the summer term.

We boarded the coach and drove to the Donkey Sanctuary near Godshill where Mrs Holt was beside herself with excitement. As we disembarked the coach, I began to wonder whether we’d be gaining an extra passenger for the rest of the week and indeed, whether it would eventually end up sharing the black hole of Mrs Holt’s cupboard with two very traumatised orangutans. The tour guides gave us an A4 sheet with photos and names of all the donkeys displayed. The eagle-eyed quickly noticed we could search the paddocks for Nick, Charlie, Ruby, Frankie & Geraldine. Game on.

The volunteer guide shared some fascinating facts about donkeys as we walked around. This included the fact that donkeys’ fur, unlike horses, is not waterproof so they get soaked to the skin very quickly. This explains why you don’t see many donkeys strolling down Deansgate in Central Manchester. They’d definitely need a mac to survive.

Before long, Nicholas was delighted to find Nick whilst Frankie kept scurrying around every area “Looking for me” and asking “Where am I?” Happily, we eventually came across Frankie the donkey which made Frankie the scurrying boy very happy indeed. “He’s cool” Frankie said. Indeed he was.

There was still no sight of Geraldine on our travels but presumably she was off at the photocopier collating scores of donkey assessment booklets and pieces of homework whilst putting the paperwork together for the next donkey residential trip to The New Forest. Over in the paddock housing the youngest donkeys, things were getting a bit feisty. I’m not sure who started it but there was a fair amount of pushing, shoving and kicking going on which led Jack J to say “Whoa, look at him. I bet he’d be sick at volleys from the edge of the box.”

It was a sharp observation as it was an impressive show of aerial scissor kicking by the young donkey. I contemplated phoning Erik Ten Hag as a scissor-kicking donkey can’t do any worse scoring goals than Man Utd’s current forward line. The Glazers have signed a few donkeys over the last 10 years, I guess one more won’t make much difference…and ours may actually be good 😊

Whilst we were looking for Charlie, a rather unkempt, solidly-built white/grey donkey with a messy mane suddenly appeared making a lot of noise and shaking its head a lot.

“Look at him, he looks like Boris Johnson” said Oskar.

“Sounds like him too…although he talks more sense” I replied. The jury remains out on whether this donkey is indeed a doppelganger of the former PM or the real thing on a midweek seaside break. I’m starting to make some sense of all the braying by MP’s in the House of Commons now.

We headed back to the hotel via ice-creams on Sandown Beach where we received another compliment about politeness and behaviour from the ladies in the gift shop. The praise is racking up this week. A very tasty dinner of Tomato & Lentil soup, Cottage Pie or Vegetable Curry followed by cake and custard was devoured by everyone before we boarded the coach again for the trip to Ryde Superbowl. We watched the 7.30pm hovercraft from Portsmouth coming into Ryde then went inside for the tenpin bowling championship 2023. Scores for individuals and lanes will be available soon, once the judges have checked the scorecards. Please check back later for an update…


Welcome back to the red leather sofa in a now quieter lounge of The Wighthill Hotel. It has officially passed lights out time so the staff are hoping for silence in the next half hour or so. They’ve walked a long way today so fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, here are tonight’s tenpin bowling scores live from the HFS videoprinter:

1st place and 2023 champions with a joint score of 107 are Florence and Amelie. The girls reign supreme yet again in Ryde Superbowl. It’s another chastening sporting moment for the world of the boys. I’m sure there will be some harsh soul-searching currently going on upstairs in rooms 2, 3 & 6. Never mind, the boys can roar back in the tidiest room competition later this week.

3rd place with 104 points was Jack Johnson

4th place joint were Max and Pepper with 102 points

In the team competition, the champion lane with 510 points was Lane 10. Congratulations to Jack J, Oskar, Amelia, Nicholas, Pepper & Siobhan.

Stop Press: I had to visit The Shed with Mrs Holt whilst the children were in the lounge. Sadly, the boys have a less than zero chance of winning the tidiest room competition. In The Shed, not only do they have their shoes neatly lined up by the wall, they are lined up in size order and in rainbow colour order. This is on another level. Room 6 and the small family of octopus have some serious work to do. I think it’s time to create another competition. Talking lots may give them a chance. I’ll see if I can get that past Mrs Holt tomorrow morning but I’m not holding my breath.

Day two is now drawing to a calm conclusion. It’s been another day of wonderful organisation by Mrs Holt and fabulous teamwork by the staff team…with the possible exception of the disappearing volunteers for the orienteering 😊

Tomorrow we have a fantastic day at Robin Hill Park to look forward to. With the forecast for sun all day, it should be spectacular. Mrs Capindale is already gearing herself up for the Bird of Prey flying display which is likely to make her disappear even quicker than the orienteering. Check back tomorrow for the report on that one!

Everyone is in good sprits and all are healthy. The sun cream has done its job and now it’s time for rest. Until tomorrow morning, it’s over and out from the staff team here in Sandown.