Friday, 21 November 2014

Mr. Dixon's Reflections on the best visit ever!

It's early afternoon on the M25 and we're coming home 10 mph! I'm just reflecting on the many amazing and unique experiences and opportunities we've had on our European adventure. We have talked about career-defining moments this week and this week is up there with the best of them. In fact I think this has been the best school week ever!

The events of the week have been catalogued on our blog so admirably by Mrs. Edwards and we all owe her great thanks for that. What an amazing record for everyone to share - almost as it happened. In fact, people have followed the blog from all over Europe and it was actually the biggest internet railway news story in Germany with thousands and thousands of hits!

From the initial request from Brian the Bull for some PG involvement for something to do with Citizens' Rail to Mrs. Ennis's creative and inspired efforts in Year 4 last year to open Manchester Road Railway Station in Burnley to Uwe Mueller's invitation to Aachen, Germany from that same Year 4 presentation; this has been an extremely well-organised and well-co-ordinated effort from well before the start to ...a bit further along the M25.

I have so many people to thank: from our ever-reliable and brilliant PG link in Mrs. Ashton for keeping our parents at home informed of up-to-date information from Mrs. Ennis and to everyone back at PG in whom I had every confidence. So many thanks to Mr. Klee, Mrs. Gardiner and Mrs. Atkinson for all their expert leadership in holding the fort; to all our Year 5 parents for sending positive and supportive messages via the blog that Mrs. Edwards always passed on.

Huge thanks to Richard Watts, Rail Development Team Manager at Lancashire County Council and all our sponsors for making it all possible:- Citizens' Rail; Interreg IVB; Community Rail Lancashire; Abellio; DCRDF; and UK-German Connections for all their contributions and efforts on our behalf.

Brian Haworth, Marje Birch and our resident artist, Alastair Nicholson who accompanied us and they have provided superb support and have been a great help. Thank you.

Special mention and thanks to the very generous Paul Altzer for our most special day in Heerlen in the Netherlands. What a truly amazing day!

The Mayors of Padiham, Burnley and Aachen have all been so interested in our project; Moorhouse's Brewery, Padiham TESCO, Farmhouse Biscuits, Lancashire Tourist Board and Burnley Football Club have all been very generous and supportive and we appreciate it all. Thank you.

The Burgermeister von Aachen...that's 'the Mayor of Aachen' in German (Check me out!), of our PG children said, "You are an excellent example of 'living Europe' in the 21st century" and she asked us to; "Keep this European feeling close to your hearts and pass it on to other young people." Wunderbarr!

Our German PG Team have worked together tirelessly all week (Seriously!) and I'm incredibly grateful for all the love and encouragement that has totally surrounded our group of 29 youngsters all week, keeping them safe and well, night and day. This has been a 24 hour a day project from a very early Monday morning to probably a late Friday night.... and we all deserve a weekend off! I desperately hope the children's 'real' parents appreciate the efforts our two dads and four mums have made this week. At school we pray: 'Thank you for our happy school at Padiham Green'. This has been a happy week! Mrs. Ennis, Mrs. Edwards, Mr. Wright, Mrs. De'Ath and Mrs. McGowan have all made sure of that. They have all been immense and we have all been incredibly proud of the way our children have conducted themselves in the many arenas they've been exposed to this week. I've seen emotion and pride in every eye and in every smile and I'm proud to work with people like that and as Mrs. Atkinson observes: it's the Padiham Green Way.

But just like you've missed your children, we've missed ours too and I want to extend my thanks to all the people in our families at home who have stepped up to fill our boots - thank you for this wonderful support - and we need you too!

This week an anonymous blog stated:

'Best school. Best kids. Best teachers. What more can I say? THANK YOU!'

I agree. Mr. D. X

Nearly there...

We are about 20mins away! Huge apologies that texts aren't coming through but hopefully word is getting around quickly. See you soon, we are on the M65.... x x

White Cliffs...

Here we are at the White cliffs of Dover and about to board the ferry!
After a switch in driver at Watford service station we settled down to watch frozen then ate our lunch. The children have already been commended on their exceptional behaviour and manners, doing us proud.
All those who need medication have been seen to and we are ready to go!

All aboard!!

We're back!!!

Here we are at passport control...we were all allowed through luckily! We drove our coach onto the train which was so exciting. The carriage we were on had windows and until we went into the tunnel under the sea we could look out.
Once in the tunnel we could walk around and had great fun running to the toilets and pushing buttons through to each carriage!

...and we are all changing our euros at the Bureau De Change!
I'm not sure the lady behind the counter has ever been asked to change €1 before!

Alastair's Collection

Mrs McGowan

Mr Dixon
Mrs Edwards

Aachen 2014 (the out takes)

Oooh ......

2 hours into the journey and we were stopped by the Belgian Politie! It was just a random security check and several other coaches were being checked too. Our driver Eddie had to show his driving papers and they checked we were following correct procedures such as stopping every 4 hours for breaks and making sure we weren't overloaded. The police here carry guns. That was exciting!
...let's hope we don't miss our shuttle...

From Aachen to Padiham (The Return Journey)

Check us out in France! we've travelled through Belgium for a number of hours and finally reached the Shuttle here in France. Our plan is to drive the coach onto the shuttle and shoot through the tunnel in a speedy 35 minutes :)

We are all looking forward to spending our last few euros in the departure lounge and using a third language to say please, thanks and goodbye! How cool are we?!

Sleepy Heads...

It's 8am and we've been travelling for half an hour....all is quiet on the PG coach. We are really looking forward to seeing our loved ones now. It's been an epic adventure full of memories, but we've missed you all and we're on our way home!!
Some children fell asleep in Germany and woke up in France...they slept right through Belgium!