Ecole primaire des Béalières 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 2014. 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!
Next 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.