So yet again the dawn broke, quietly, across the mountains. We were expecting it this
time so it wasn’t really a surprise. It must be pretty fragile though if it keeps breaking like that. However, this morning the sun rising was followed very closely by our pupils rising too. When we told them that there were two six o’ clocks each day we’re not convinced they believed us. Now they know for certain. Some of them enjoyed waking at six so much they thought they’d try being woken at 6.05, 6.10, 6.15, 6.20 ……………….. This morning’s Lie-in King – Andrew. Still down for breakfast in time but five wake-up calls.
Breakfast was consumed and lunches were made in record time. It’s amazing what the prospect of chocolate will do. On to the bus and off to le Beauveret Aqua Parc, Switzerland’s premier water park. Greatly enjoyed last year, we were really looking forward to it because they had been building a new section last year and it was only opened a couple of months ago.
The bus journey was uneventful, Going over the Col de Forclaz was as spectacular as always. There’s a point where there is one of the most fantastic views down a valley – almost 4000 feet of a drop (1300m in new money). Kerri, stop asking. I am NOT going to mention you in this blog and that’s final !
We arrived at the Aqua Parc just before it was due to open and it was even better than last year. New flumes, perfect weather for being in the open air (hot with enough cloud to minimise the risk of sunburn) and flat calm. Everyone had a great time. So much so we had to use the ultimate threat to get them out. “Mr Whatcott’s coming to tell you jokes” – a very effective weapon indeed. The alternative would have had to been to blow them out of the Parc with Semtex. The jokes are a more powerful threat though. Next year we may just try spending the whole day there.
A quick lunch and it was back into the bus so we could go to Broc to the chocolate factory. Have you ever heard stories about buses and lorries being led into impossible places by satnavs. Well, they’re true. The bus’s satnav took us out of the Parc and down a road which rapidly narrowed to a lane just about wide enough for two bicycles side-by-side. Oh well, it’s a good job you spend about a third of your time in bus drivers’ school learning to reverse. You get plenty of chances to practise once you’re carrying passengers.
Anyway, we still arrived at the factory on time. The exhibition and film were dutifully endured with good grace and well-contained excitement, as was the viewing of the old machinery and the factory. Then they arrived in heaven. A long table piled with chocolates of all types was spread out in front of them and – even better – there were staff with even more chocolate in boxes ready to replace that which was eaten. However, with Miss Angus and Mrs Hogg there, doyennes of the Healthy Eating School, I can report that the children remembered all that they have been taught about responsible eating. They all behaved impeccably, looking but neither touching nor eating – merely admiring the art of the chocolatier whilst reaching into their bags for fresh fruit to the total amazement and tumultuous applause of the factory staff who took pictures of this strange behaviour.
OK, I lie like a cheap watch.
They tried lots of different chocolates and really enjoyed the experience. Then it was into the shop to buy presents to take home to their families. Of course, it is really hot here and they may have to take pre-emptive action to ensure the chocolates don’t spoil so – if the chocolates don’t actually reach Scotland – please be understanding. The children wouldn’t want you to experience anything less than perfection.
Thus it was, after the visit, it was back on the bus and the journey home to the hotel. In this part of the world there are slopes – with roads on them – where even mountain goats fear to tread. Equally there are roads where buses fear to go. Some are even in the hillside towns and villages. We were passing through one such town and a small pick-up truck was parked on the inside apex of a tight corner. It was awkward and tight and, unfortunately, the bus touched the pickup truck as it manoeuvred around it, causing minor damage to both vehicles. Miss McCredie – translation duties once again please.
Now, normally this would be completely of no interest. Kerri, stop asking – I told you NO. However, knowing how Chinese Whispers work, with every rumour growing a pair of wings and four legs, we can assure you that WE ARE ALL OK – NO-ONE WAS HURT. Any stories you hear about bodies everywhere, police, ambulances etc are just poetic licence (a bit like this blog really).
We weren’t too late for dinner which was a really tasty turkey stew. Of all the meals so far it disappeared most rapidly, faster even than the pizza.
And so to bed.
Quotes Of The Day
“Is this a bridge or a tunnel we’re going through ?”
(Well, having been going through a concrete tube with lights in the walls and roof for the last three minutes might just be a clue)
“Can you try before you buy ?”
(Interruption into a conversation the teachers were having about travel sickness tablets)
“I’m only going to speak French till we reach the chocolate factory”
(Oh good, It’ll be a quiet and peaceful journey then)
“Do you think they’ll have chocolate here ?”
(Arriving at the chocolate factory)
“Is it racist to call a pig ‘Ham’?” (????????????????)