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Hollowford 2017 Day 4

Cavers’ Fashion Week hit Hollowford today, with many of our children choosing to get involved: Christopher, Erin, Katie, Jodi, Elsie F, Jessica A, Kian, Phoebe, Declan, Elisabeth, Jessica T, Amy and Grace all took the catwalks sporting fetching all-in-one outfits, accessorised with black belts, green wellies, hard-hats, and lights. Caving itself suits some children (Kian, Christopher, Phoebe, Elisabeth and Declan) more than others, but all impressed their group leaders and guides by descending ever deeper and going to the very end despite rising panic. Erin, Katie and Jodi were especially wonderful, conquering their fears in ‘the Hippodrome’ by singing hits from the Wizard of Oz. Christopher, Elisabeth, Phoebe, Kian, Declan, Elsie F and Jessica A performed a science experiment far beneath the ground using a polo mint; they had been told that, in absolute darkness, a polo gives off a tiny spark when it is snapped in two. So, having turned off all head torches and allowed their eyes to accustom to the dark, a polo was duly snapped by each child and… nothing happened. No light. Science aside, the children were incredible, disappearing down the tiniest of tunnels and commando-crawling through muddy puddles on their tummies with me slithering behind desperately trying to keep up.

Other activities today included the High Ropes and, again, this activity suits some more than others. Step forward Elsie F, who raced up the ladders and pegs, sprung confidently off the Leap of Faith pole and was chosen to try the lean-out-challenge. She had to balance on the top whilst others climbed up, then hold on to Flis from Worlingworth and lean out as far as they both could go – impressive stuff. The other person who stood out was Grace who spent 25 minutes wobbling on the top of the pole, trying to gather her courage for the leap off. Her determination to do everything, despite her fears, has been impressive all week.

Elsie C, Nathy, Bella and Edward were also very pleased and impressed with the raft they built today which they rowed to win two races.

Many of the children have enjoyed getting to know others. Amy has really enjoyed making friends with children the children in her group and her sportiness has also been noticed; she was first up the high ropes. Mr Hepburn has talked about her cheerfulness and the way she has got involved with everything.

This evening saw the return of the Hollowford Talent Show with a variety of different ‘talents’ on show, including singing, poetry, dancing, doing the worm, throwing a bottle into the air (!), magic and ballet. I’m pleased to say that Phoebe and Elisabeth came joint first with their poem – it helped that it was very flattering about one of the judges (me!).

Fressingfield girls – Grace, Amy, Erin, Katie, Jess T and Jodi are also the overall winners of the tidiest room competition. The Fressingfield boys, despite a sterling effort to improve the chaos in their room – and a noticeable improvement in standards, came last. Oh, well.

And now, the drying room has been emptied of wet clothes, the walking boots have been given back to the centre, the caving gear has all been hosed down (by the children) and hung up to dry, the children’s things have been packed into bags and they are all tucked up asleep. Tomorrow we leave after breakfast, exhausted, proud of our achievements and happy.