Normandy October 2016

I was asked by former colleagues at school to accompany them on their annual trip to Normandy, the main purpose of which was to immerse the pupils in the French language and French Culture. Amongst other things, they were encouraged to order things in French at the market in Trouville Sur Mer and goats’cheeses from a nearby farm. The children were also taken to see the Bayeux Tapestry and on a visit to Paris. I was particularly interested in the sites relating to the D-Day Invasion of 6th June 1944 and to the subsequent Battle for Normandy.

The biggest attraction at Trouville Market was the stall selling ‘Fondantes Aux Pommes’, which are a local delicacy and yes indeed, I can recommend them. Continue reading

Somme Trips 2016

It being the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, I was eager to take a party of my year 9 and 10 pupils on a memorable journey to the battlefields. I was determined that our field trip would be individual, unique, memorable and meaningful for my pupils, especially so as it was to be the last battlefield tour I would lead as a full-time history teacher, because I was due to retire at the end of the year. I planned it well in advance and at the end of May, during the school half term holiday, took my wife on a four-day trip to the province of Picardy in Northern France in order to reconnoitre the walking routes. We stayed in the picturesque village of Heilly and enjoyed the local gastronomy and countryside as much as the battlefield visits. It was the wettest May and early June in France for many a year and my belief that it never rains all day was proved to be ill-founded. However, I am a great believer in persisting with one’s plans to walk the Western Front despite the weather, as I think we should sometimes be made to feel uncomfortable in order to feel a bit more more empathy for the soldiers who served in those conditions during the Great War. The following images were taken during that preliminary visit.

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The Golden Virgin in Albert, close to where we stayed.

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