The Journey Home

Copthorne Prep Ski Trip 2017 - Headmaster and 4TC's Mascot JefferyAll aboard and departed from the hotel. Next stop the layby with the Total petrol station on the French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel to drop off LL, OG and AN who have another weeks skiing! Successful rendezvous with the Nabar’s, Griffin’s and L-Leech’s so 42 is now 39! Swapped 3 children for 2 bike wheels! Franz thinks this is a very good trade off (although not necessarily for the right 3 children!). Watching “Storks” on DVD! Much hilarity – especially from LG now sitting far too close to Franz who has now resorted to the sanctuary of Bruce Springsteen via his headphones!

It’s 04.13 and Franz is counting children in his sleep! We have just stopped to change drivers and allow WM to go to the toilet again (too much chilli oil on his pasta- probably too much information for this time in the morning!). The stop has woken some children up who now need ‘shushing’ to stop them making too much noise and waking everyone else up.

For my DIBNY (Do It Better Next Year) I need a large stick as suggested by a parent – useful for herding chickens, prodding awake sleeping children, threatening noisy children, and helping Franz to walk after 8 hours cooped up on a seat designed for someone only 5 feet tall!

Alternative DIBNY – leave all the children behind and ski with Mrs Franz! We debate this option every year but somehow the magic of watching children grow and develop away from home and school seems to win.

Yes, they all improve their skiing (all except Franz who fell over more times this trip than in the previous 10) – but the trip is about much more than the skiing. Children have learnt about banking, (and running their own account), washing themselves (with soap and shampoo some of the time), organising their own wardrobe, and wearing the same top all week in some cases. Some have learnt how to sleep in beds with sheets. They have learnt to sit at a table without any electronic gadgets at mealtimes – a first for some it seems. They have spoken basic Italian (or Spanish in NA case!). They have learnt to pack their cases themselves – it may not be all their stuff in their case, but I know there was nothing left in their rooms! They have learnt to remember their helmet, gloves (check left and right hand), goggles (preferably with lenses JTD!), sun cream in tube and on face, ski pass, Medicard, EHIC cards (still in their ski jacket waiting to be removed by parents), lunch vouchers, pocket money, skis and poles – a lot to remember but they did! Shame some of them can’t remember their tables or spellings in the same way.

We have seen more of the children on the trip (20% of the entire Prep School) this week than we would do in an entire term of school, and know far more about them – although in turn, they also know far more about us!! We won’t tell you everything they did, if you don’t believe everything they tell you about us!!!

Franz now exhausted after such an essay – going back to counting children to try to get some sleep! 1 – LG, 2 – FT, 3, 4, 5 – OF, CF, WF, 6,7,8 – MD, JD, ED it’s working, Franz is asleep and dreaming of the 2018 trip. Now taking bookings!

Franz is having nightmares – can only count 39 not 42, and then remembered the trade (3 children for 2 bike wheels)! DIBNY take more bike wheels and less children next year as they are far less hassle! ( but have limited personality).

Nightmare#2 – Room keys! If I have heard “we think we have locked the room key inside the room” once I have heard it 100 times. “Go and ask the manager for the spare room key.” “We think the spare room key is already locked in the room as well”. “Well go and ask the manager for the spare for the spare key – I’m sure he will have one!” Fortunately he did!

Nightmare#3 gloves and goggles! – The image of JTD wearing goggles with no lenses was amusing! The number of lost, misplaced or invisible goggles and gloves was not amusing, especially when discovered at the top of the mountain after at least 3 “helmet, goggles and gloves” checks. Top marks to Interski for always providing spares, and then spares for the spares and then spares for the spares for the spares! Not to mention the skis that came up the mountain and then immediately went back down again!!

Franz had enough of nightmares so resorting to Bruce to help with a few minutes sleep before we get to Calais!

Safely arrived in Calais and been through passport control. Minor panic when JM has misplaced his passport within 2 minutes of being given it – eventually found on the floor. WM questioned intensively before being allowed through – no undesirables allowed!!!

Estimated arrival is now 10.00am – but will confirm shortly via Clarion.

Copthorne Prep Ski Trip 2017 - The White Cliffs of DoverFranz’s view from the bridge!

The Last Leg.

WC is a very luck boy! Too obsessed with asking silly questions and eating sweets, he left his iPad on the boat. A lovely P&O steward brought the iPad down to catch us up on the wrong stairs. Fortunately, the History department had taken us down the wrong stairs so the steward caught up with us and fortunately WC had his name on his iPad case.

A big fat thank you to the P&O steward, but I need the Geography Department next year to navigate us back to the coach!!

10.15am back at school – please don’t be late!!!!!

The last blog before Franz hangs up his racing salopettes for another year. The ferry crossing was calm, breakfast (four items from the breakfast bar, toast and fizzy, full sugar coke for most, meant that most children were not calm. Coke for breakfast is wrong on every level.

The trip to the shop was relatively calm. – “You don’t have to buy anything just because you have some money in your pocket (try telling that to my youngest daughter!); don’t buy rubbish, don’t copy each other; don’t buy too many sweets; don’t leave your wallet/purse behind. You have 12 minutes!”

Staff sent into position! LC manning the toll area, CJ manning the alcohol, MA manning the bubble gum and silly rubbish aisle. Ready steady go! 12 minutes later everyone was back chock a block with chocolate- some of it may make it home although not a lot!

The WC iPad escapade was a lucky break – the only break we have had all week  (I hope the English Department are impressed with my figurative use of speech!).

On the coach now heading for Maidstone Services to drop off our two Polish drivers Andreas and Andreas (Alias Pringle). Then home to deposit the children back to doting parents and Franz can morph into Donald, ready for the Year 8 trip to France in June.

Relief driver was waiting which was a relief! Said good bye to the Poles and hello to Kevin, who was supposed to be going to “Harry Potter World” until a last minute change of plan. He’s got “Popcorn Prep World” instead – he’s reserving judgement over whether he’s got a better deal or not!

Franz’ battery getting low (could also be a metaphor if I really wanted to impress the English Department), so this is your intrepid skiing correspondent Franz, signing off for another year. Chow!!

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4 thoughts on “The Journey Home

  1. Wow, lucky iPad escape…secretly quite relieved as a very francis thing to happen. Thanks loads for all the blogs Franz, for keeping our little treasures safe and for giving them such wonderful memories. I shall look forward to meeting Donald in June 😊 Xxx

  2. Great updates throughout the week. Thanks to you all for looking after them. Clearly had a great time. Enjoy the rest of your peaceful Easter break. πŸ˜΄πŸ˜‰

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