Minute-by-minute updates from Year 4’s week-long residential to rural Essex

Monday 14th March 2016



After a largely uneventful journey (only a couple of sick bags required) we arrived safe and sound at Cardfields at around 10.45am. After a tour of the grounds from the site manager Helen, we sat down for lunch. This did not take long as the excitement to go exploring took over – chickens to terrorise, footballs to kick and a trim-trail to fall off! As I write, we’re just waiting to go orienteering. If we manage to work out how to use the compass, I’ll write later…


Well, I can hear a lot of excited voices… but no sign of the children. If the search party (Ms McIntyre) manages to find anyone, I’ll update you later.


So… we made it back. Largely unscathed but slightly exhausted. Now for the real excitement… the bedrooms!

Who will be sharing with who?

I want the top bunk!

Is there not a lift?!


Dinner time! Pizza, wedges, coleslaw, salad… mmmmm! Followed by jam sponge and custard. Everyone was stuffed (and everyone managed to eat too!) And then it was time for showers and some down time in the dorms.


PJs on – check.

Fluffy slippers – check.

Hair brush & cuddly toy – check.

Everyone meet in the sitting room for Despicable Me!


Hot chocolate before bed and a sing song…

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Carys, Happy Birthday to you!


Sssshhhhh. Everyone is in bed (including the adults). Not sure everyone is sleeping mind!

See you tomorrow, blurry eyed and all…


Tuesday 15th March 2016



Why can I hear children up and out of bed?! Don’t they realise us adults are on holiday?


Ms McIntyre does not look or sound well! Diagnosis: part sickness bug, part sleep deprivation. I think we’ll leaver her behind today.


Shower time – who knew children would be so reluctant to get out of bed into the shower?!

Anyway, first night negotiated and all the children survived. A couple of struggling/reluctant sleepers but nothing to worry about. Everyone looks (mostly) bright-eyed and bushy tailed!


By the way parents, those of you who were worried about your child eating have no fear. I’ve never seen so much food eaten – cereal, croissants, toast, fruit juice, tea… Energy levels are high ready for a long walk in the countryside. Speak later…


Busy, busy day today. The children are in bed absolutely exhausted whilst us adults settle down for some well deserved down time; Ms McIntyre is on the Night Nurse and Mr Kernohan the PJ Tips.


So, what have we been up to today? Here goes…


First was the walk, the long, long walk (I’ve never seen so many tired/complaining children!) This was the great outdoors – mud up to our ankles, farmers fields to negotiate, electric fences to climb over and streams to jump. Special mentions go to Connor, who managed to lose his shoe in every muddy puddle and Millie, who managed to cover herself head-to-toe in mud whilst still clutching on to her handbag. Finally we reached the top of Heather Hill, picnic out and then demolished within seconds. Next it was shelter building in the woods and then a hunt for bugs, creepy crawlies and any other poor unsuspecting moving-being.


We made it back around 4pm and sent the children straight to the showers. Evening meal was lasagne and syrup sponge with custard (I’m loving the deserts!) before we gathered in the sitting room ready for one last treat for Carys’ birthday yesterday. Mr Kernohan had lit the bonfire in the garden whilst we all gathered on the benches for toasted marshmallows and birthday cake. It was a lovely end to a tiring, yet fun-filled day. The children will not admit it but the best bit was when we, the adults, all hid in the dark and left the bemused children asking, ‘Where are the teachers…?’ ‘What’s happened to them?’ LOL – This was Ms McIntyre’s idea by the way!


On a more serious note parents, all the children are completely fine. We’ve had a few tears here and there as the children inevitably miss home and a couple of scrapes and grazes but apart from that, everyone is safe and well.


Hopefully I can report the same tomorrow, after we have visited the lions and tigers at the zoo!



Wednesday 16th March 2016



Scrambled eggs this morning!


Coach is picking us up to take us to Colchester Zoo. Luckily the children slept much better last night… otherwise we’d be swapping a few for some chimpanzees!


Well we made it back. Great day at the zoo, if a little chilly! We split the children into two groups and marched around looking at the animals. I could list them all but instead I’ll post some photos on here later…




So, it was a bit teary tonight as we opened the letters from home. Unsurprisingly, the children found it quite difficult to read the messages from their loved ones. We reminded them that they should feel grateful that they have people who care for them and love them dearly however some of them have found being away from home quite tricky. This has been an important learning curve for the children and I’m sure that they will come out of the experience stronger.


Despite the odd tear here and there, the children have had another fantastic day and we were lucky enough to get some great shots of the animals. These were my personal faves:


This evening, as well as reading the letters the children also enjoyed the games room. Lessons in the finer arts of table tennis, air hockey and pool were shared by Mr Kernohan and the children made their way up to bed with welcome smiles back on their faces.


Sssshhhh. All is quiet. Fingers crossed a good 10 hours from them all tonight. Speak tomorrow…


Thursday 17th March 2016



Last full day here at Cardfields and it’s been a really lovely end to the week – pond dipping, sketching and BMX bike riding. We stayed in the grounds today and the sun even came out to join us.

It was lovely to have Leo join us for the day and we even got to enjoy yet more birthday cake on the patio (I’m definitely going back to school more than a few pounds heavier!)

As I write, we’re just relaxing in front of a DVD (Coraline in case you’re interested) before settling down for our last dinner time. After we’ve eaten, the children are getting ‘glammed up’ (well, washing the pond water off at least) for our ‘Last Night Disco’ and limbo competition.

If I survive the excitement, I’ll update you later…


Disco was so much fun! We turned it into a pyjama party and the children boogied away, playing musical statues and limbo. The Great British Limbo Competition was won by Shireen and Oliver B with musical statue honours going to Joris (everyone was so excited that he won!)


Friday 18th March 2016



Last day! Children are in high spirits this morning, really excited to see their families.

As I write we’re just frantically showering, stripping beds and packing bags before breakfast. A few last minute team games and use of the Cardfields grounds this morning before we set off back for school just after lunch.


Just settling down for lunch and then it will be time to board the coach for the homeward journey.



Mr Robinson