I don't do bucket lists but if I did....I've quietly always loved the magic of the Tour de France. Perhaps it's the Francophile in me, the fact that I remember French holidays as a child when you would occasionally come within touching distance of the Tour on your journey Gite-bound..the remnants of a village or a town's big day...chalk markings on the roads, signs...And so I've always wanted to experience it for real...to be on the Alpe d'Huez with a lovely French picnic and a cold rose, spending the day soaking up the atmosphere as the crowds reach their frenzy. First the break away riders sprinting for the summit appear and then the power of the peleton sweeps past.... and then join the villagers to celebrate long into the night, like they always did in my old Asterix the Gaul cartoons.
Well to explain to anyone who has not worked in a school, the end of the summer term can often make school staff feel like they are in their own Tour de France and are desperately trying to hang on to the back of the peleton as it starts another climb...and what a contrast to the start of a new academic year, just a few weeks later, when everyone comes back bright and breezy, smiley and tanned.
I had a wonderfully relaxing summer myself ...and for once, we were blessed with glorious sunshine. After a very demanding and taxing year, the break was most welcome.
Having made the somewhat questionable decision to get a puppy earlier in the year, this did dictate that we spent August in the UK and not venture to foreign climes. It must be the first summer for many years that we haven't stayed in France during August. I did manage a day trip, which I will get onto later.
Chloe started her holiday before I'd even broken up, going to Italy for a week with her school. She came back full of giggly tales having had a great trip which included white water rafting and a bag of dirty washing that could have been pulled from Lake Springfield!
Beyond an abundance of puppy walks,
trips to the sea
including several paddley walks on the Bay,
There were also numerous trips to London, that included........
The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy
The Serpentine Gallery
But by far the standout event was our week in the Yorkshire Dales with a few members of my family. As boys we spent much of our childhood there so naturally have quite a strong, nostalgic attachment to the place. This year we went with both my parents, one of my brothers and his wife and a jackapoo...that occasionally answers to the name of Yinka!
The Yorkshire Dales is a truly beautiful part of this island and one well worth a week of anyone's life. The weather was wonderful...warm and sunny every day bar one and the views as spectacular as ever.
I also managed to fit in a trip to France to do some research for our upcoming World War One topic next month. I went with a colleague who has been helping us shape our curriculum, to investigate how we might fit in the Battle of the Somme. We went to Arras and had a very productive day.
So here we are, already into another year that I am really looking forward to. We have been fortunate to have recruited some excellent staff over the summer who have already added much to our staff team with their expertise and enthusiasm. We now have specialist Art and Music teachers in Ms Kelda Storm and Miss Catherine Dillon and a specialist Maths teacher in Mrs Rachel Semmens who will also be supporting in other areas of the school. We also found ourselves having to recruit an additional Reception teacher over the holiday and were delighted to recruit Miss Jenny Lawrence who has lots of experience and a wonderful calm way with some of our youngest children. We also have our new School Business Manager Mrs Melanie Puttock joining us on Monday.