Royal Naval College Field trip on Friday
My surprise field trip, (I was only informed I was going the day of), I must say was a total blast. It was so much fun to be with the Amethyst class kids outside their regular enviroment. It's nice to see them let themselves relax a bit instead of being hemmed in and rule bound in school. The people from the Old Royal Naval College who gave us the tour were really cool too. They had tons of neat stories about the place when it was a hospital and living grounds for naval pensioners and disabled seamen. I really adore that area of Greenwich. There's so much to do there what with the beautiful old buildings to see and the museums and old Observatoryn and my faovurite market in all of England. It is definately worth going. There is a church there too that is so old that the faces of then cherubs outside look all freaky and melted.
As part of the tour we got to sketch parts of the painted hall. There is a really nice view of the domes outside through the arched window of the hall. They did a role play where they dressed up the kids as different historical people including naughty pensioners that had to wear "the yellow and red coat of shame." They had quite a fun time banishing the kids who played the unpopular kings to France. It was quite a laugh.
The best part of the day without a doubt was when they let us into the secret area of the College in the basement where there was an old wooden bowling alley they made to keep the sailors busy and which the naval officers training there used to use. The pins were all rough wood and the ball was wooden too, with no finger holes. In the old days it would be a practice cannonball of wood. I quickly volunteered to be a pin monkey for one of the alleys. There were two alleys so groups could compete against each other. There was a place on burlap bags where I and the tour guide lady had to stand where the pins would fall when they were knocked down. They call bowling pins "skittles" here like the skittles characters who were always knocking each other down in those old Noddy books. The neatest thing was that when the balls would roll down the alley and hit the pins and the pins would all fall over it literarily made a sound like thunder. Seriously, the ball going down the alley sounded like the first crack of a thunderclap and then when the pins knocked down it sounded like the big crash-boom sound that comes a few seconds after right before all the rain pours down. In an instant I finally understood where Washington Irving got the idea for the giants in the Rip Van Winkle story who made thunder by playing nine pins in the mountains! But the best part was yet to come... at the end, after all the kids had a turn, the tour guides said it was time for the adults to bowl against each other. The myself, the other TA, the class teacher and the parent chaperon all got a turn. Can you guess who beat the pants off all of them? ME! Yes, my time at Bathurst Bowlerama was not spent in vain. While everyone else had bowled with the ball between their legs using both hands, I sauntered up to the line confident as you please, (I don't know why as I always sucked at bowling in comparison with my siblings, friends, enemies and everybody else I knew and I hadn't bowled for about twenty years), with the ball in one hand, I bowled a near strike. As the pins went flying the kids cried "Yay Ms. Rotstein!"
"At last I have arrived," I thought.
As we trooped out of the bowling room, a certain adult said sourly, "I've never bowled before in my life." It is odd, but I don't think I've ever seen this particular person smile or act pleased with anything anyone does. It is hard to judge her reactions though, because her type of British accent has a particular sing-song quality to it that doesn't vary much in tone or pitch no matter what is being said. She also calls me "my love" and "my dear" all the time, words that you'd never use with a person other than one's child or lover in Canada, but I sense no affection in her tone. Had I been in her place, after the bowling, I would've stooped to congratulate the new girl. Oh well. As the older adult disappeared around the corner of the hall, I contented myself with surreptiously accepting the children's high fives, while hoping they didn't get yelled at for being out of turn. It often happens this way with me, the children end of liking me, while the administration or higher level teachers don't. At least the administration at this school seems Adira-friendly, and I hope it continues in that vein.