An early start for the lady staff and girls. The coach is to pick the staff up by 7:45am and then transfer to Ascham to collect the girls at 8am. The first problem is that the coach is late, apparently it has broken down. All our coaches have been with a company called Murrays so far, they have been excellent. All 60 seaters, air conditioned and with comfy leather seats that recline.
The coach to take us to Tamworthis with a different company-Port Stephens. A replacement is called for and arrives 45 minutes late to collect at Miss Rushworth and Miss Jeffrey’s hotel. A good coach-but not quite of the same standard as the ones we have been having from Murrays. Mind you it is still a step up from Davies.
The male staff are picked up and then we collect the boys from Newington College. All say they have had a great time both in Ascham and Newington. All seem sorry to be leaving Sydney, it is a great city and I am glad we spent 6 days here.
We are on the Freeway heading north 425kms to Tamworth by 10am. The driver Adam tells me he hopes we will be able to make up lost time and arrive at Tamworthby about 4:30pm. I ring ahead to Joe Goldsworthy at Calrossy and he tells me that 4:15-4:30pm would be ideal as it would have given their school buses a chance to depart.
Wherever I have had the chance, I have spoken to and thanked the parents who have hosted our students and without exception they have been very complementary about them. Whilst we are travelling I receive an email from Mark Dickens at Newingtonwhich he had received and forwarded to me. It’s typical of the feedback I was receiving….
“We have had the delightful pleasure of hosting Rhys Cherry and Sam Grunhut in our home over the last 2 nights. A fantastic time was had by all of us and both Rhys and Sam deserve a big compliment. They have been terrific guests, actually better they felt like part of the family. We hope they have a fantastic rest of their tour and we will miss them. They have promised to come back and we will hold them to it !”
Ella and Ruben MacKellar
It has been nice to hear such positive comments and with the tour at its half way point I am glad to report that the students are a fantastic group of individuals who have bonded really well and apart from a few relatively small scale misdemeanours (I have hidden nothing that’s happened in this diary) their behaviour has been exceptional.
I rarely have to admonish individuals for ‘attention seeking’ behaviour which is unusual with such a large group of adolescent students. Whenever we stop at a venue I am quite relaxed and not constantly looking over my shoulder to check on them. When it is time to move on punctuality has been excellent and we never have to wait for someone before we can set off.
We stop for lunch at midday at a Freeway service station at Beresfield. We have 45 minutes before setting off again having changed our driver who is now Geoff.
He tells me we are on target to Tamworthby 4:30pm.
As we drive through the countryside we see several coalmines and many trains carrying coal. Mr Lewis counted the number of trucks on one train it had 3 engines at the front pulling 80 large trucks, it seemed to go on forever. There is also a lot of pastoral farming- mainly cattle with some sheep. We keep an eye open for Kangaroos but there are none spotted.
Miss Jeffreys organises the ‘Donkey of the Day’ and as usual there are a number of contenders.
Tom Wedlake was sorry that he had Mr Walters for Maths when he was heard to ask at the netball “How many quarters are there in a netball game?”
Alycia Carpanini had caused raised eyebrows when she wanted sauce on her sausage sizzler at Mater Maria, she held her sizzler under a nozzle she thought dispensed sauce but when she pushed it, it contained orange squash- “Well tomato or orange not much difference they are both fruit” she said.
Jayde Anderson (surprise, surprise) was nominated for crying on the jet boats, clearly tears of joy.
Morgan Curtis had fallen asleep on the bus- like many of the party, but his ‘mates’ had noticed he was dribbling and they were not going to let him forget it.
Mr Walters- In Mr Walters’ and my bedroom I was awoken by Mr Walters screaming “Dean Dean- quick I cannot move!!!!!!” I jumped out of bed panicking and thinking that Mr Walters was having a heart attack. I roll him onto his back and he eventually calms down and tells me “I must have slept awkwardly and my arms must have gone dead.” Anyway, drama over Mr Walters’ life is saved and I go back to sleep.
Elaine Tucker was the victim of a horrendous ‘sting’ from her friends. She had some Hong Kong Dollars that she wanted to exchange for Australian dollars. One of her friends (Molly Kabia) pointed in the direction of an office and told her to go and ask the man seated in there. He was not impressed “I am the assistant principle not a foreign exchange.” He retorted and Elaine turned around sheepishly.
When the votes were counted Alycia and Morgan achieved 6 votes a piece but Elaine’s ‘sting’ saw her with 40 votes and was a clear winner.
We stop at Scone at 2:50pm for a toilet stop and continue and arrive at the school at just after 4:30 pm.
It is good to see old friends Joe and Mark Gallienne who is head of PE. The students go off with their hosts for the evening. The staff store the kit at the school. Calrossy are really accommodating and they have arranged for us to have a school car to help us to travel around during our stay. It is very generous of them and will prove to be a great help to us.
Even more generously they have arranged to take us out for a meal with their staff this evening.
We travel to our hotel and check in. At 7:30pm we meet the Calrossy staff and enjoy a fantastic meal, steak, the nicest I have eaten for a long time and we also enjoy some Pavlova.
We are back at our hotel by 10pm and I switch on the TV for an update on the test match. Australiahave won the toss and reached 92-2 at lunch. The Aussies are already moaning. Usman Khawaja has been given out and he didn’t hit it. When I see they replay they have a case.
As we have travelled around Australia clearly Australian sport is at a low ebb, but they are very complimentary about our sport. The country had really enjoyed the visit of The Lions and they had clearly ‘warmed’ to our supporters. There only disappointment was that the Lions would not return for another 12 years. Certainly, their attitude is not that of the brash ‘Pom’ bashers that they are often made out to be. Perhaps it helped that The Lions side contained so many Welsh players.
I watch a little more cricket, England take another wicket and when I go to sleep, the Aussies are 130-3. I expect the England boys to roll them over for 250.
A big day tomorrow; a tour of Tamworthand our games against Calrossy/William Cowper.