Day 15: Monday 5th August

Before I had gone to bed last evening, I watched some cricket. My wife, Helen, had told me via Skype (what a fantastic innovation that is) that it had been raining all day in Swansea. However, the predicted rain had not reached Old Trafford yet.
Englandhad avoided the follow on and scored 368. Australia had shown their intent to push on quickly to force a victory. When I had gone to bed at 11.30pm they were 70 for 1.
I’m up at 6.00am. It is light and I get up to look at the area we are staying in. Our impressions gleaned in the dark had been right. We are in a fantastic environment. We are very lucky to be located here, as I’m sure photos and videos will show later. It is a much nicer, and safer environment than the Gold coast which is south of Brisbaneand where we had been in 2009.
The sun starts to rise over the Pacific Ocean at about 6.10am and I’m so excited that I ‘skype’ Helen to show her the scene. She tells me that I’m just trying to make her jealous because it had been raining all day in Swansea.
The forecast for today is for temperatures of 23°C, sunny and rising to 27°C by the end of the week. We can expect it to be even warmer when we get to Cairns which is 1,000 miles further north than Brisbane. We have certainly been lucky with the weather and I think our students will be able to ‘top up their tans’ for the rest of the week. We have advised them to remember their sunscreen.
I check on the cricket. Michael Clarke’s not happy!! The umpires had taken the teams off for bad light at about 4.00pm and the rain had arrived an hour later. The Aussies lead by 330. It could be an exciting day tomorrow-weather permitting.
I check on the blog, and it seems to be keeping people back home informed and has had an average of 2,500 hits a day while we have been away.
We have a little problem at the moment, in that Mr Long has taken so much video footage that his computer’s hard drive is full, the videos also tend to ‘crash’ while he is loading them. It has slowed us down a little in getting videos on to the blog, but we hope to have it sorted soon.
We have also been looking at the news station web site that did the item on our games in Tamworth. The news item has not been loaded yet, but we will put the link on to the blog when we have it.
The staff have breakfast at a café on the sea front and board the coach at 8.20am. We arrive at Matthew Flinders Anglican Collegeby 8.35am. It is an impressive school from the outside and Adam Ridgewell says that he will give us a tour after the students have gone home with hosts at 3.30pm. The school is similar in size to ours, but is an Independent day school with fees of $12,000 (£8,000) per year.
When we arrive, we are greeted by the students who are wearing ‘holiday garb’. The shortness of some of the girls’ shorts had been causing a stir as we had been travelling around Australia. That was for two reasons, firstly because many of them are ‘short’ and secondly because the locals can’t believe that they can wear them in such ‘cold’ weather. It seems ironic that having made the headlines in national and local press back home for not allowing shorts, we are ‘turning heads’ in Australia for the opposite reason.
We depart for Australia Zoo at 9.00am, our driver Jim is very helpful and gives us a short history of it as we drive along and tells us of some of its attractions. ‘Don’t miss the Crocoseum’ he tells us and whets our appetite for what’s to come.
I walk down the bus and check on the hosting situation. Everyone is ‘very happy’ which is great to hear. We have been very lucky with all 4 host schools. We arrive at 9.20am and pay, and are through the gates by 9.30am.
The incident in Hollister’s in Sydney has still not been ‘put to bed’. We gather the boys. Still no-one is prepared to accept responsibility so we keep all the boys in a restricted area for 30 minutes before allowing them to tour the zoo at 10.00am. We are to re-assemble at 2.00pm.
The students have many experiences that excite them. They hold Koala’s. They feed and stroke Kangaroos and feed the elephants. At midday we go into the Crocoseum where there is a wildlife show. Parrots, Macau’s, Cormorants, Cockatoos, a Condor and a variety of birds fly around the arena to the wardens. A variety of non venomous snakes are carried around. It is an impressive sight.
Then Graham the crocodile is released. He is 13 foot long and weighs 300kgs. He is an impressive hunting animal in the water, but the wardens tell us he is less mobile on land and doesn’t pose a threat to them. I’ll take their word for it!!!
We have lunch in the zoo, and generally prices seem a little cheaper in Queensland than they were in Sydney and Tamworth.
It doesn’t seem to matter to Max Harris. He is in my group and I still have 8 of his envelopes containing over $1200 (about £750). I ask him if he needs any money: he tells me ‘no’, he hasn’t needed to spend much money. His hosts must be looking after him very well. Perhaps he’ll be bringing some money home mum and dad!!
We assemble at 2.00pm and are on the bus promptly and back at school by 2.40pm. We wait for school to finish at 3.15pm and our students are collected by their hosts-a lot are being taken surfing by them this evening. Nia Devonald and Rachel Walsh are both a little under the weather with sore throats. We have given them paracetamol and bought some throat sweets, but there is no chemist at the zoo. I speak to both their hosts and ask them if they would be able to give them something at home. They say they will.
Adam takes us for a tour of the school. It is even more impressive inside than outside. It is carpeted with wide corridors and I feel as if I’m walking around County hall rather than a school. They have just built a new hall. It has 600 retractable seats and a sinkable orchestra pit. It is an excellent facility. It is air conditioned and can be used as an exam room in November at the time of the external exams. That has freed up the sports hall from exams-Mr Lockett would be impressed.
We then go to the sports hall. That is also a new building. It is at least twice the size of ours with two full size basketball courts, and an upstairs cricket net. Again, our facilities pale by comparison.
We return to our apartment by 5.30pm and prepare to go out for a meal on the sea front.

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