Having unpacked our things, we went on our first exploration of the Tolmers site. With a small amount of trepidation, we headed into the woods.
We have learnt that the glorious summer weather was brilliant for holidays, but not so good for hilarious anecdotes. There were no muddy puddles for us to splash in; there were no slippery slopes to slide down; there was no stream to fill up our wellies. Yes, there were the wonderful sights and smells of early autumn, but nothing that would get £250 on You've Been Framed!
After lunch, there was some free time to play in the grounds - building dens, playing football and playing 'Wookie It' (whatever that is). Some volunteers spent some time picking blackberries, which ended up in our apple crumbles. The crumbles were especially delicious this year.
In the afternoon, we had a go at the coconut tree climb and archery. There were some bullseyes hit, but nothing to trouble Jessica Stretton. Mrs Woolley and I got the joint top score of 31 points. Jake was best of the children with 29 points, with Harry close behind on 26. The fastest children on the trees were Thomas with 18 seconds and Madeeha close behind on 19 seconds.
The night time hike gave us a chance to use our torches in the dark. The night sky gave us a clear view of the constellations. There is way less light pollution in Cuffley than in Hemel.
And then it was bed. (All things considered, it was a fairly quiet night.)
This morning saw the usual classic of children trying to spread butter on their toast. It makes me cringe and laugh in equal measure, and it never gets old! Hopefully, they'll get the hang of it by the time we head home.
We're about to head off into the woods again - this time to build bigger dens and make up some stories. Who knows what they'll come up with?!
If Channel 4 struggle to keep the audience for The Great British Bake-off, I have a suggestion for a slight change of format: children buttering toast. Seriously, it would make for compulsive viewing - especially in slow motion.
Anyhoo, we've had another massively busy day. Task one was to build mega-dens, make up stories about them, and then tell those stories to the rest of the class. We had tales about swamp monsters, a poor family living in the woods and an evil curse. There was also an epic tale which would have given 'The Neverending Story' a run for its money - in terms of length.
We then came back to base to begin writing our Tolmers diaries. The focus was on using fronted adverbials, adjectives and adverbs. (We shall continue writing those when we get back at school on Friday, if we are awake enough to put pen to paper.)
The afternoon saw the children have a go at canoeing and Rope-a-Phobia. According to Splodge (the canoeing instructor), Alfie and Ella are both 'Supreme Beings of the Universe'. I think it was something to do with a rock/paper/scissors game, but maybe he knew something that I don't. All the children managed the rope challenge without any fuss or incident - fantastic for the class, but not great for anecdotes.
Dinner was a pasta/hotdog combo, which went down very well, followed by homemade banoffee pie. And here are three words which don't usually go together: squirty cream moustaches!
The evening activity was a night-time torch-lit quiz challenge (really must come up with a snappier title for next year). In small groups, the children had to hunt around the grounds in search of paper clues (and myself and Mrs Woolley). The winning group was Kyle, Luis, Karlan and Ted.
And that is all!
Annoyingly, the photos are in the reverse order. Please skip to the end and work your way backwards.