Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Brighstone, Isle of Wight

Good King Hal attempting to swap Barrington Court for a jar of chutney, while Matthew Applegate's wife Sue does a very good Tommy Cooper impression. Taken during Chutfest.
Vectis! Proud proud Vectis! Such memories! Childhood holidays in Lake, endless drizzle, kite flying on Culver Cliff and, more recently, staggering back to the mainland after slightly over-doing it in the Yacht Haven during Skandia sponsored Cowes week. Back in April I did my first school visit to the Isle of Wight when I visited Haylands Junior in Ryde. The deputy head that day, a very nice young blond lady, has since moved and is now one of the youngest head teachers in England and is at Brighstone School near Freshwater on the west side of the island. She had recommended me to the teachers of this new school, hence my booking.
I had booked my ferry on-line before half term (which was very pleasant by the way, including various long drives up and down the M4 to Wales and Essex and back again) and was due to catch the 6.45am sailing from Lymington to Yarmouth. I left Crewkerne at about 5.20am but my sat nav said I only had a slim chance of making it to the ferry on time. I did well though and soon after passing Dorchester I was ahead of time, only to be stuck behind a succession of incredibly slow drivers, but I still felt confident I would make it. Wrong! I arrived at the ferry terminal just in time to see my ship slowly easing out into the Solent. I enquired in the office as to the time of the next sailing - 7.45am was the answer. It would have been a lot sooner but they had just that week changed their timetable to the winter sailings, so they don't go as regularly (they should eat more All Bran). I think the expression rhymes with brass poles. I was eventually on the ferry and enjoying the bright morning sunshine as we slid out of the harbour and across the bottle green waters of the Solent.
I soon found the school after a short drive down the island. It was a delightful village school and I was warmly welcomed by the lovely and friendly teachers. I would be talking to a group consisting of years 2, 3 and 4, but in total, less than 50 children. They started off quietly, but by heck, when they got going there was no stopping them. They loved it, laughing, joking and really getting involved. It was a pleasure to talk to them. After a splendid lunch of roast pork followed by apple strudel, I was soon back in the hall for the afternoon session. More laughs, more riotous fun, especially when talking about the stocks. I asked the children what did they think the Tudors would throw at someone in the stocks - one of the answers was "a donkey" which for some reason left me helpless with laughter at the thought of it. The year one's came in to watch the final jousting tournament and it was one of the best for years. The final went to two tie-breakers before the gentlemen finally snatched victory. This now leaves the year long score as:
The results are looking more interesting now.
The journey back was dreadful. When I arrived at Yarmouth there was a ferry waiting at the dockside. About half an hour later the ferry was still waiting at the dockside, and so were all of us travellers. Finally we got on board. It was a fairly choppy crossing but we didn't dock in Lymington until nearly smack on 5pm. The traffic home was terrible and I didn't get into the flat at Crewkerne until near 7pm. Very tired. Watched CSKA Moscow very nearly beat the crap out of Manchester United, which was fun - if only they could have hung on. And then to bed, where I slept like a large piece of timber cut from a tree trunk.
Next appearance is on Friday at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent.

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