ECOLE PRIMAIRE DES BEALIERES DOES LONDON

Luckily no-­‐one was superstitious (or at least no-­‐one was admitting
it!) when we set of for London with 30 children from the Ecole
Primaire des Béalières, Meylan on Friday 13 June. The kids had
spent the week at Ladygrove Park Primary School having lessons
and going on local trips with their English class mates, a trip to see
the sights of London was the grand finale before heading home on
Saturday.
In addition to the French children and their 3 teachers it was felt
some local knowledge would be helpful so Emily Hall (a teacher at
Ladygrove Park), Marilyne Marchal, Sue Totterdell and myself (from
the Twinning Association) joined the group.
A great deal of planning and organising had gone into the trip by
the French teachers (with the help of Marilyne) and we went up to
London by coach which was much easier for such a large group
than going by train and tube. However the downside was that
because of the amount of traffic in London we were an hour late
reaching the O2 arena, our starting point for the rest of the day. The
kids were remarkably patient, there was very little “Are we nearly
there yet?” or rather “Sommes-­‐nous près encore là?”!
First stop (once we were all wearing our regulation red baseball
caps) was to catch the river bus at Greenwich. This is no slow little
boat but a high speed hydrofoil which gave us a white-­‐water ride
without the need to go to a theme park! Along the way there were
good views of Canary Wharf, the Globe Theatre, Tower Bridge, the
Tower of London, etc. The only downside being it’s very difficult to
take photos when bouncing along the river at goodness knows how
many knots.
We disembarked at Westminster (no-­‐one lost overboard!) and
headed for a restaurant not far from the London Eye – breakfast
had been a long time ago and glucose levels were falling. Having
recharged the batteries with fish and chips and cans of coke off we
headed on a short walking tour. This was where Sue and I came into
our own acting as the broom wagon or whippers-­‐in, making sure we
didn’t lose anyone off the end of the ‘crocodile’, keeping the slower
kids moving along and snatching them from under the wheels of
cars and buses as they dawdled on the crossings long after the
green man had gone!
First stop, Parliament Square and the obligatory photographs of the
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Next, Westminster Abbey
Souvenir Shop for those essential gifts to take home to parents. I
suspect that for a few this was the highlight of the trip – those kids
could shop for France! When we had finally extracted the last one
from the shop we headed for Buckingham Palace. Sadly the Queen
didn’t come out to see us but there were guards marching around
and lots of photo opportunities. Unfortunately it was now getting
late and we headed alongside Green Park and Hyde Park for our
rendezvous on Park Lane with the coach.
It had been a great day, we had seen a lot and the weather gods had
smiled on us, but we were now all hot, tired and ready for home.
The journey back was uneventful, if a little slow getting out of
London, and the final stretch coming into Didcot was rounded off by
a resounding rendition of a song the children had been working on
during the week back in school.
!
Geoff Oldham

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