Rucstall Primary School

A caring, fun loving, learning community


Chapter 1 – Mixed Emotions


Basingstoke was a tad dull & drizzly this morning when we boarded the coach and hit the road bound for the Isle of Wight. We all set off with a rowdy cheer and lots of excited faces – well, the children anyway. The adults are not really talking to one another this morning; some of you may have detected the tension amongst the ranks before departing. I'm not really sure what I have done wrong. Suffice to say, I got my golf clubs out of my car (like I’d done on the previous trip!) which then ensued into an argument. Apparently, it's not acceptable to play golf whilst the other adults are looking after the children. So, Mrs Healy confiscated my golf clubs, Miss Radford my fishing rods and Mr Fifield my tennis racket (thank goodness they didn't spot the brand-new inflatable kayak so at least I’ll get away with that.)  Anyway, I digress...which tends to be a theme on these rambling Isle of Wight blogs. For those of you brand new to ‘The Blog’, welcome! You might be wondering what on earth is going on here…I’ll be honest, nobody knows. The easiest thing to do is to gloss over the innate ramblings and scroll straight to the photos. For those of you who have followed my blogs before - thank you for returning although goodness knows why you have!


It’s a strange week to be on residential with the General Election on Thursday. The coach feels like a political party campaign bus – and although I have been tempted to get all the pupils to display slogans and posters on who the public should be voting for…Miss Radford reminded me that I was forbidden to express my political viewpoints. You’ll notice we have pushed the boat out for an executive coach – only the best when touring the country trying to gain voters. We have also been informed that Green Day were on this exact coach last week as part of the Isle of Wight festival – Miss Radford has gone round hugging every seat. So, instead of campaign posters, we’re all wearing red. Other colours are available. Except blue. Blue was banned as the campaign bus headed towards Southampton.


First thing to report is the sweets were immediately opened, and in some cases, finished before we reached the Holiday Inn Hotel roundabout. Shortly after, the trip took its second dramatic turn as we approached the motorway. Mrs Healy suffered a spontaneous draining of facial colour as a dreadful realisation struck her. “Oh no, I’ve forgotten the sun cream” she spluttered. This was not a good start. For those of you who have followed previous blogs will know that Mrs Healy is someone who regularly forgets to pack something (bedding in 2023 and underwear in 2022). Ironically, her red cheeks right now is how she will look all week without the sun protection. Mr Fifield, worried the red sun burn might be construed as supporting the Labour party, kindly donated some of his sun cream to Mrs Healy. How very ‘liberal’ of Mr Fifield.



Chapter Two – The ferry that could not fly

At 9.30am we arrived at the ferry port – although one child, who shall remain nameless, announced we’d arrived at the airport. So, following the aviation theme, we’d checked in all 32 suitcases and then headed through security. The children put their liquids (all less than 100ml) into clear bags and then progressed into Duty Free. The children remained sat down in the waiting area whilst Mr Fifield went shopping for Toblerone, Miss Radford for Chanel No. 5 and Mrs Healy some much-needed sun cream. The children were impeccably well-behaved, or so I am led to believe; I had booked myself into the No.1 Lounge and was enjoying a mid-morning breakfast whilst reading the newspaper so I can’t comment on the accuracy of the children’s behaviour.


The gate number was announced so we left the departure lounge. The children were so excited when they saw the ferry – sorry, I mean aircraft on the runway. The children had secured their seatbelts, listened to the safety announcement, the aircraft headed down the runway and we were away. Oh, how I wished we were jetting off somewhere exotic. Alas, the adults were brought straight back to reality as the coach drove onto the ferry. 


This year we are using Red Funnel. Red being the colour of the day: Red for the campaign bus and red for the colour of Mrs Healy’s face (mixture of being cross with Mr Mills and sunburn)


Miss Radford is adamant she saw a red-headed hippopotamus as we crossed the Solent. Amusingly, whilst most children rolled their eyes at the obvious joke, they all could not help but secretly keep looking in the hope they might spot Donald Trump.  


After a safe and timely ferry crossing, we arrived on the island in high spirits. None of the children were seasick – or at least nobody owned up to throwing up in the Solent. As far as we can tell, nobody fell overboard but we will do a second head count later on just to check. Denis was incredibly excited to be travelling on a yacht. Despite Finley telling him twenty-two times it was a ferry and not a yacht, Denis was not having any of it. Denis was obviously hoping for a yacht like the television series Below Deck.


Admin notice! To the parent who accidentally left their car keys in their daughter’s suitcase – these have been found and we will keep them safe for the week. A sad state of affairs when your car keys will have a more exciting week away than the owner.



Chapter 3 – Amazon World Zoo

The children enjoyed their time at Amazon World Zoo. Larry the parrot was in true form, as was Trumpeter (the bird who loves his neck stroked). The children were able to feed wallabies, get up and close to a flamingo and tempt the lemurs with food.


Over lunch, Miss Radford was sorting all the children’s rubbish into different bags so they could be recycled: How very ‘green’ of Miss Radford.



Chapter 4 – A Bear Encounter

We've arrived at the hotel although I really need to stop calling it that! We've arrived at the very budget accommodation. I won't comment on the accommodation standards but...well, you know. If you are struggling to visualise, imagine Fawlty Towers meets Solana Hotel in Benidorm.

The rooms were allocated and all were happy; I had no doubt they’d be happy as their free choice of seating on the ferry was virtually identical to the rooms Mrs Healy had organised. There is a teacher who knows her children very well. Unfortunately, not all adults were as fortunate. I had found myself in a surreal version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears for as I entered my room for the week, I was greeted by a rather confused gentlemen sleeping in my bed. Worried he had been testing Mrs Healy’s bed finding it too hard and Miss Radford’s too soft, I quickly went to check that there had not been a mistake with the room allocations. Once the staff had reassured me that I had the right room, I was faced with the harrowing realisation that I had to once again approach the stranger in the room.


What was it Bear Grylls said when confronted by a bear? Punch it on the nose? Or stand up really tall and look menacing? I couldn’t remember.

I tried desperately to think of the best solution:

-Winnie the Pooh would suggest honey

-Paddington would suggest marmalade sandwiches

-Baloo would say look for the bare necessities

There was no point thinking of Yogi Bear as he was smarter than the average bear.


Just as I had mustered up enough bravery to turn the door handle to my room, a genius idea sprang to mind. I had the school credit card with me! 30 minutes later, I found myself trapped in a spiral of trying to find the most luxurious of accommodations. I had narrowed it down to a resort in the Maldives or a grand villa in Mauritius when Mrs Healy became cross and told me not to be so ridiculous. So, with that idea out the window, I requested the accommodation block on the other side of the estate. Not quite Downton Abbey grandeur but it beat sleeping next door to the Year 6 boys.


As we approached dinner, there was a broken chair in the corner. Once again proof that we were in a real-life story of Goldilocks. I quicky headed down to the kitchen to check on the breakfast porridge which appeared to be untouched; at least Yakub will be pleased with this news.


Right, off for dinner!


You'll be pleased to hear EVERY child ate their dinner. 

"I wish my mum could make chicken like this!"

"My dad is a rubbish cook, this is awesome"


...were some of the highlights.


After dinner we headed for the swimming pool. After a rather heated and very competitive Year 6 vs Teachers water polo match, we are delighted to announce the final score was 11-6. There will be a re-match tomorrow. Mrs Healy is absolutely furious that she's broken a nail – and so is the child whose nail she’s broken. Joking aside, Mrs Healy has only got herself to blame for the injuries she has sustained to herself.


We strolled back for drinks, showers and medicines…although not all at the same time. I caught up with a few of our intrepid travellers for their thoughts on how it’s been so far:

Jamie, “This is the best trip ever. I’ve had such a good day.”

Charlie, “Today has been so fun”

Marni, “Super fun!”

We will encourage them to expand and elaborate on their answers throughout the week.


Sweepstakes will be taken by staff later regarding wake up times in the morning. Knowing we have an 8am breakfast slot, and it takes Mrs Healy several hours to wash her hair, it will be interesting to see who is first up. 


Whilst I am sat here now looking at the spectacular views across the Solent, I can't help but wonder whether the stranger has finally left my bedroom. There’s a spare room in the lodge on the other side of the estate but this is quite far away from the noisy children. It would be a great shame to be so far away….