Battlefields, baking biscuits and the Bayeux Tapestry

Year 7 spent most of last week in Normandy, exercising their French and learning about William the Conqueror and the D-Day landings. One of the pupils, Edward R. had this account for us:

Year 7 left school mid-morning on Monday to go to Portsmouth to catch the ferry. We were all very excited as some of us had never been on a ferry before. There was lots of entertainment on the ferry, the highlight being the limbo competition which was won by Jack R. and Tasmin J. We arrived at the hotel late in the evening and went to bed ready for our exciting week ahead.

After a continental breakfast, we visited the 360⁰ cinema at Arromanches. We experienced the true scenes of war during this very humbling film. The cinema was followed by two different activities. We split into our activity groups; half of us made and ate biscuits at the Biscuiterie, whilst the other half explored the town with a quiz (Eliza’s group got lost). The afternoon’s activities involved visiting the war cemetery in Bayeux which touched the hearts of many. We laid a wreath from Clayesmore on the graves of unknown servicemen. Shortly after, we visited the mighty Bayeux Tapestry. Everyone enjoyed the storytelling from the audio guides we were given. Afterwards, ice cream was eaten in vast quantities (apart from Tasmin who dropped her ice cream on Mr Smith’s foot!). We had an enjoyable evening on the beach in the sunshine.

Day two’s breakfast was improved by the addition of some jam, setting us up nicely for the day. This was market day, and our job was to buy our own picnic. Nobody trusted me with the group’s money, but the members of staff were shocked to find that I hadn’t lost it. We all made our best attempts at speaking French, although two groups actually bought Welsh cheddar whilst attempting to buy French cheese! The picnic was enjoyed back at the hotel. We set off to Falaise Castle shortly after. We were lucky to be given the opportunity to trial a new set of iPads giving us an interactive tour of the castle and showing it as it was in the 12th century, which was intriguing. The evening was spent on the beach again, with a sand castle competition.

On the final day we visited the beautiful Bayeux Cathedral and explored the paintings, in particular the story of Thomas Becket. Shortly after, we had an opportunity to show off our independence with the Rallye à Bayeux, which included buying our own lunch in a café. Many embraced the French culture and visited cafés. The final activity of the visit was a trip to Sainte-Mère Église. We visited the Airborne Museum which is all about the American Airborne Division, one of the first groups to liberate areas during the D-Day landings.

We all had a fantastic week, including the staff (I hope!).