Friday, 10 April 2009

From police to ambulance

Tamil Tigers (Sri Lanka) protest outside the Houses of Parliament

My trip to London started with the police, because as I arrived at work, I noticed money lying around and locks being forced open. After the police had arrived, they found that the other side of the building was hit even worse: a complete chaos! Doors kicked in, small change on the floors, stuff knocked over etc. So, whatever I wanted to do before leaving was now not done, because I had to get someone over who could deal with the police.

My dreamhouse in the grounds of Wimpole Hall. Perfectly symmetrical.

I managed to get to the school on time though and after about ten minutes the first people started arriving. Five teachers and fifty-two students (16-18 year olds) piled on board and off we went: towards Calais where we would catch the ferry. The students were mostly quiet, until right after the first stop, one of the boys became ill. He had had a party the night before and was quite hung-over. No need for an ambulance though...

The Globe Theatre

We made it to London (Bromley) in good time and after all the students had left with their host families, it was time for me to find a parking space and make it back to the hotel, where the teachers and I were staying. After finding the parking space (where I wasn't allowed to park by the way) and parking my coach, I went back to the hotel, changed and we went out to dinner.

Living Statue on the South Bank

On day two the students would visit Greenwich (I didn't get the chance), after which I would pick them up and drive them to Buckingham Palace. From there they would walk back to the Tower, where I would pick them up again before driving back to the host families. So, in the afternoon I was basically free to do as I pleased. I bought a quick lunch, took the Underground to Westminster and walked all the way back to the Tower. On the way I had an ice-cream and some cotton candy, climbed the 311 (!!!) steps of the Monument and wobbled my way back to my coach. Ambulance not needed...

One of the planes in the American Hall of the Imperial War Museum in Duxford

Day three saw us driving out of London and towards Cambridge. Our first stop was the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. Flying machines from the Spitfire to the Concorde were on show there and some were still in flying mood! We only saw one little one and I don't have a clue what that was... After the museum we went to Wimpole Hall, a few miles up the road. A lovely great big house with a bathroom that would probably hold my entire house! The bathtub alone could hold an elephant, it was just huge. It was a lovely house though and I saw my dream house as well. Then it was on to Cambridge, where there was some time to do some sightseeing. If it hadn't been for that girl who forgot her inhaler and was squeaking and whistling away. So, I took a taxi back with the teacher and the student to get her inhaler from the coach. Still no need for an ambulance...

311 steps in the Monument and I climbed them all!

Day four was another day in London. This time however, most of my driving would be done between 8 and 11 in the morning and 9 and 12 at night. Nearly a whole day off! I dropped the group off at the Science Museum, drove my coach to a coach park and took the Underground again. I wanted to visit the Imperial War Museum London. I wandered around that musuem for a few hours, before walking (limping, wobbling) back to Westminster Bridge to get some nice shots of the Houses of Parliament. My sister was in town as well, so after she had finished her training for the day, we met up and went out to dinner. We have a shared passion for books, so since we had some time left, we browsed around in a couple (I came away with one book). And then it was back to my coach so I could pick up my group again. By then however, I could barely walk properly any more, I had blisters and my ankles had swollen up something terrible! But I wouldn't need an ambulance for that...

A very fishy windvane on the top of Billingsgate Fish Market

The last day had arrived and after loading we drove back to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais again. The trip went really well and even our most feared area (Antwerp) was relatively easy conquered. We stopped at the Dutch border for dinner and I arranged with my colleague where he would take over. And that's where we needed the ambulance. One of the 18-year olds had been drinking neat wodka for about an hour and a half. Most of the students knew but didn't really know, especially since he had poured the wodka in waterbottles, so nobody realised. However, after downing nearly a liter, he was so drunk, he started passing out. By the time I stopped and handed the coach over, he was incoherent and refused to say anything in Dutch. In the end the ambulance was called and they decided it was better to take him to hospital! What an idiot!!

The Underground (above ground in this photo...)

My trip was good though: fat ankles, blisters, my sister and lots of sightseeing. Oh and a pretty much restored faith in teenagers (apart from the wodka-swilling idiot of course...).


  1. Ohh no, what a moron! I'm glad the other teenagers were good for you though.. sometimes big groups of teenagers can be such a nightmare.

    This must be a really fun part of your job - getting to travel to other countries and then having several hours or even whole days to yourself to sightsee. Do you get to do it often?

  2. From April to December I do get to go on trips quite regularly, grown-ups, children, teens. The trips go to Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and occasionally some other countries. I love it!


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