The Europaskolan Strängnäs students from first and second years set off early from Arlanda arriving in Reading by train from Gatwick. It was an excellent sized group this year-19 students with 4 adults in charge.
After a meeting, the afternoon was left free for students to settle in and explore Reading until the evening when we met for pre-dinner drinks at Jamie Oliver’s and then to a traditional roast dinner with full trimmings in a local inn. The boys in particular seemed to enjoy the varied choice of joints available. They all seemed to appreciate the central location of the hotel the super beds and tea or coffee- making facilities in their rooms! The girls were fascinated with the traditional clotted cream teas which some tried to make on return to Sweden.
The first day was spent at the Roman Palace, where Joakim found himself elected “emperor” by his classmates, having to adjudicate a gladiators’ bout in front of the “madding crowd”. We then went on to see the majestic Arundel Castle, dating a few centuries later, from medieval times.
We had good weather for the prehistoric historic sites and thanks to Professor Berry and his wife who hosted us all in his riverside house in Stratford on Avon, we were all able to understand the complex plot before the evening’s Shakespeare play Henty IV. They plied us with crisps, Coca Cola and later coffee or drinks. However we had a slight hitch when Christine found the keys had became locked inside one of the minibuses and had it not been for the ingenuity of “Calle and co.”, who managed to climb in through a tiny window, we might all have been camping out in the Berry’s garden all night!
The change of venue ( and change of weather) in Devon did not deter our wonderful group. The boys were delighted to find I had put them all in a slightly remote farm house under the watchful eye of Christine and Johanna with 3 responsible girls. There was great glee as they rushed round the house in amazement at the facilities choosing their rooms and beds. A wonderful old slate built farmhouse with a barn in the country garden for games and socialising. Owned by a famous BBC documentary presenter.
We dined at the local pub in Widecombe village in the heart of Dartmoor which had virtually booked us all the dining tables, supplied traditional home made Devon food including pasties, pies and clotted cream. There the students completed a quiz with the full support of the locals in the bar area whom they were obliged to question politely for answers. Only one answer per person. The locals really enjoyed the fun and were offered a rendition of the famous song “Uncle Tom Cobley” fom Widecombe fair, on leaving.
We were faced with apalling rain next day for the hike with a local guide to explore Bronze Age settlements and relics on the moor. Not to be deterred, our fine bunch of “positive thinkers” even added a trip up a tor before being forced to return to the buses and change out of their sodden outer ( and sometimes) inner garments. Luckily I had come prepared for all events and had brought a bag of rainproof jackets and trousers, even appreciated by Gunnal S!
We returned to Rosalind’s Reading house via Stonehenge after lunch and had a party with some of her friends ordering Chinese food from the local take-away. A lovely evening and reparation for the final day – London!
A tiring but very satisfying day which covered a lot including a river trip on the Thames and the first sighting of the now-famous ceramic poppies which were made for Remembrance of World War I at the Tower of London and are due to fill the moat numbering the soldiers who fell in the war. This is to be completed by november 11th this week and will be left to view for several years.
The students were fantastic, well-behaved, appreciative of everything and helped out readily when needed.
Here’s to another next year 2015!
Rosalind Lindroth Oct 2014