13th December 2019
The last weekend of the Michaelmas term is always my favourite, not because it is the last but because it’s Christmassy and magical! I love the carol service and think that this year was one of the best – the children sang, read and behaved beautifully.
Afterwards we got the boarders’ Christmas party ready. Games included the chocolate game; eating a doughnut with no hands; Jubby Bunny – how many marshmallows can be squashed in your mouth in one go but you have to able to say ‘Jubby Bunny’; pin the carrot/nose on the snowman and many more. The children danced and ran around playing with balloons!
Sunday morning was very quiet as the children had a well-earned restful morning. They had breakfast and brunch in their PJs before heading off to The Devonshire Theatre in Eastbourne. We had great seats in the stalls and everyone really enjoyed the panto ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. I think some of the slightly ‘blue’ jokes went over their heads – just as well but made us oldies laugh a lot!
We came back to school and the Gappers made the children ham and cheese toasties for the last time. Miss Buckley, Miss Grundy, Mr Ryan and Mr Daley are all leaving to go back to Australia this weekend. We will miss them; they have been great to work with and get to know over the year – and we wish them every bit of luck and success with their future lives!
I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and peaceful new year!
6th December 2019
The penultimate weekend went very well. On Saturday the children chose prep first (!), then we all had some fresh air on the Astro followed by a relaxing time playing games or watching TV. A few opted for more exercise in the sports hall. Our new PS4, kindly bought by the FOV, was also put through its paces.
Mrs Barrett is making Tuesday nights ‘games night’ – the old traditional board games will come out and the children will have a chance to play the PS4 games too.
Excitedly we set off for Bluewater on Sunday morning. The M25 was kind to us and we arrived in less than an hour – much to the children’s delight! As ever everyone behaved impeccably, returning to check in on time. Mr Coles cheered up a bit when he saw there was a new bike shop in Bluewater. Everyone managed to get all their shopping done by 4.00pm when we re-grouped and headed back to school.
We were feeling festive this week so we made Gingerbread Christmas biscuits with icing and decorations. Sadly, this was Jenny, William and Miss Grundy’s last cookery club ever. Thank you for your help Miss Grundy; we will be sad to see you all go.
29th November 2019
Everyone returned on Sunday evening rested and raring to go after a much needed exeat.
The next few weeks are very busy so we will need all our stamina to make it to 13th December 2019 in one piece!
This weekend we will have a quiet Saturday and reserve our energy for our annual Christmas shopping trip to Bluewater on Sunday (Mr Coles’ least favourite trip but the boarders’ favourite!)
(If you have any spare board games at home it would be lovely if you could donate them to the Boarding House – Monopoly, Battleships, Scrabble, Cluedo, Connect 4 etc would be fun for the children. Thanks. Quelli Coles)
Our termly pizza making was in full flow on Wednesday with lots of kneading, turning and stretching and cries of “Can I stop doing this now, my arms are hurting?” Despite this, the pizzas all looked and smelt delicious.
22nd November 2019
Last weekend Mr Coles and I were excused from any spiritual duties as Mrs Powis took five girls to Catholic Mass on Saturday, where I believe they behaved impeccably. Then on Sunday Mr Powis took the rest of the brilliant boarders to Mountfield Church to their family service. That left me able to go for a quick run whilst Mr Coles took Woody for a gentle stroll!
The last prep assignments were completed then the children had free time to play mat rounders or relax in the house. After lunch we drove to the Sovereign Centre to enjoy their Aqua Challenge pool (a huge inflatable assault course). This is an excellent way to wear out children! Once dressed and changed the children chose an ice cream and headed back to school.
Actually the boarders were not as exhausted as I thought as they requested a game of Dracula after supper. My apologies to the neighbours if you were disturbed by the screaming!
Jimena S and Jenny D came up with the idea that we should make Mini Oreo Cheesecakes and Summer Fruit Slushies – so that’s what we did! I still can’t see the fascination of drinking a freezing cold drink like that on a cold evening!
On Saturday they also had the chance to make Chicken and Noodle stir fry.
15th November 2019
I love the Autumn for the colours and bright sunny days but can’t bear this rain and mud; I seem to be permanently hosing Woody down! The front lawn took a bashing on Friday night at the fireworks but surprisingly it’s recovering well. The firework display was excellent; our Aussie Gappers likened it to a Sydney Harbour display – well done FOV!
Saturday was spent quietly. Prep was done, games were played, movies watched and whilst it was dry everyone had an hour on the astro to blow away any cobwebs.
On Sunday Izzie, Nono, Zuriel and Daniel led our chapel service. They talked about Remembrance Day, poppies and wars, giving us some interesting facts and figures. They asked the other children questions and read some poems. Poppy handed out poppies at the door!
After lunch we headed for Hastings to watch ‘Maleficent’ which was very good with amazing special effects. Then we piled into Pizza Express which was also very good.
When we returned to school the children wrote letters home – a nice tradition that we sometimes forget.
8th November 2019
Everyone returned from half term happy and relaxed.
The Year 8s have been excellent at settling down to revision in the evenings and were rewarded last night with an ‘extra’ movie night. I think they surprised the governors’ meeting when they marched into the boardroom to use the TV!
We had lots to look forward to this week including Iciar, David and Alex’s birthdays!
We have a very busy weekend ahead, including fireworks, cinema and pizza!
18th October 2019
Half term has come around very quickly – not that I am complaining; and nor are the children who have been very excited and rather noisy in the last few days! Who can blame them?
The Halloween roller disco was an overwhelming success; we had 66 children roller blading in the sports hall in Halloween costumes! Everyone was really well behaved and very good at going to sleep (the house was quiet by 10pm) and they were also very good in the morning. I am sorry to anyone who missed out – please book early next time!
On Saturday afternoon the Year 8s requested to watch Titanic (a 3-hour epic) so we had an early tuck shop and they settled down. The other children watched a movie and had some phone time too. Games of chess and battleships also took place in Hurricanes. After supper Mr Coles took everyone for a swim and a game of water polo.
On Sunday our chapel service was about hope and choice. The children had to pick a tree – 1, 2 or 3 – before leaving the chapel. We then walked down to three huge, beautiful horse chestnut trees. Two had conkers and one didn’t, so some were a little disappointed by their choice! Anyway the children all collected conkers and came back up to the terrace to play with them.
After lunch we headed off to Urban Jump in Heathfield where the children bounced for a couple of hours! Thoroughly exhausted we returned to school for toasties and showers.
I hope you all have a lovely half term!
On Saturday my cooks made meatballs with homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti. The children have been pestering me for over a term to make Sushi. Finally, I relented and went down to Hastings to a brilliant Oriental Supermarket to buy the ingredients. The results were very professional and looked great in the bamboo boats.
11th October 2019
After another exeat the children returned in high spirits.
It’s been a busy week in the boarding house. All the children lucky enough to go on the Naples trip spent the night and disappeared at 2am like little mice!
Joshua G celebrated his birthday on Wednesday with a party. He invited Victor J for a sleepover which was exciting.
Izzie S, to my delight, was made Head Girl this week. It’s so nice to have a boarder heading up the school.
So, that just leaves the fact that we’ve got 66 children boarding tonight for our annual Halloween Roller disco!
4th October 2019
The highlight of last weekend was Woody winning the fancy dress class in the pet show! However, I should say it was thanks to Izzie and Azilis for being so clever and not only dressing up as The Lion, The Witch and The wardrobe but also making the wardrobe!
The boarders always love the pet show and this year didn’t disappoint; every time I looked around I saw boarders with different dogs on the end of leads. The cake stall was a hot favourite with the children!
Once all the visitors and their four-legged friends went home, the boarders settled into the usual Saturday routine, culminating in tuck shop and movie for most. A little later there seemed to be a new craze emerging – chess. Boarders were challenging gappers and the competition heated up!
On Sunday we took the children ten-pin bowling in Eastbourne; afterwards, as we are so democratic, we gave them options – McDonalds or KFC! It was a 50/50 split, my bus going to McDs and Mr Coles’ bus going to KFC.
Happy and full we returned to school for showers, nit check and bed!
During the week the boarders joined the book fair and on Tuesday night gymnastics practice in the girls’ dorm was followed by a few chapters from Beaver Towers, much to the girls’ delight.
The children made some extremely tasty Spare Ribs with BBQ sauce and Vegetable Fried Rice this week.
27th September 2019
After a much needed exeat, the children returned in good spirits and very excited to see each other.
After a very successful taster boarding week for Year 8s, our numbers are already increasing. Our next exciting event in the boarding house is the annual Halloween roller disco – beds have been going like hot cakes and I have only three beds left!
This week I will be rewarding everyone with extra tuck on Saturday as the white board which usually displays ‘early beds’ and ‘boarding strikes’ is pleasantly blank! We have got such a lovely group of children who are all utterly charming and well-behaved.
We are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead. I’ll be washing, brushing and polishing Woody in preparation for the pet show on Saturday!
20th September 2019
The boarding house has been very busy this week, with extra Year 8s sampling a full week of boarding. I hope that the children (and parents) can see the wonderful benefits of weekly boarding – prep is done, fun is had, friendships are strengthened and confidence and independence have grown!
Having mentioned the benefits of weekly boarding, I constantly hear that the weekends are the best! Last weekend was no exception. We had planned Battlezone and ‘eat all you can’ Chinese for Saturday, which all went well and according to plan. It was a lovely day – Hastings looked pretty and the sea was flat calm and blue! The children behaved immaculately and were congratulated on their manners at the restaurant. I would like to add that this group of boarders are excellent at thanking the boarding staff after trips and activities, which is always heart-warming!
On Sunday, another beautiful day, we went to Catsfield Church to their family service, where again the children were as good as gold. After this and some lunch we put the vote to the children – beach and ice cream or games at school; obviously the first choice won. So off we went to Bexhill, where most children and staff went for a swim, followed by ice cream!
With still more energy to burn we returned to school where the children played outside before and after supper.
We now have our first exeat to enjoy – I think the children have all earned a welcome rest.
13th September 2019
I am pleased to report that we have a very happy boarding house, as everyone has settled in really well.
I have appointed four boarders to a new committee – Izzie, Azilis, Nono and Curtis. The committee will represent the rest of the boarders, help with activities and put forward ideas and suggestions; they will look after our younger boarders, undertake duties and be generally helpful around the house. I am certain they will rise to the challenge!
We spent last Saturday at Rye Windsurfing Centre; although the weather wasn’t that great, the children had a wonderful time. They all had a go at sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding. We were very well looked after by Richard Sawyer (Vine 2014), and his mother Jenny cooked our delicious BBQ lunch.
Once back at school we had supper and opened our tuck shop, to the delight of our new friends! Then everyone settled down to a film.
Sunday was very relaxed. After a PJ breakfast and Chapel, the children pretty much chose what they wanted to do. This was a mix of cycling, football, chilling in Hurricanes and a new game that Azilis taught the girls (not sure if it had a name!)
We are looking forward to another busy but relaxing and enjoyable weekend ahead.
6th September 2019
We had a steady flow of boarders returning from Wednesday from around 2pm through to Thursday afternoon. It is lovely to welcome new and old boarders back into our extended family. Within a few hours I could see new friendships blossoming.
We have been joined by Poppy, Eleanore, Marina, Isabela, Changi, David, Gustave, Umi, Iciar, Joshua and Jemina.
We had our supper around a large table in the Boardroom as a treat and Chef joined us to ask the children what their favourite meals are – he wants to plan a menu to suit their tastes.
The boys are very lucky to have a new state of the art washroom with masses of showers and very trendy Dyson hand dryers!
It’s lovely that the sun is shining still and the boarders can play outside after school. The bikes are still very popular *
We’ve got a lovely day planned for Saturday at Rye Watersports – windsurfing, sailing, paddle boarding, BBQ lunch; and fingers crossed the weather holds.
More news and pictures next week.
*Any unwanted bikes, (even if they are in need of attention/servicing) would be very gratefully received! Please clear your garages…!
5th July 2019
The final week has been as frenetic as ever and with wonderful weather! The boarders have been enjoying long balmy evenings outside on bikes, playing cricket and kicking balls around.
On Saturday we set off early to Rye Water sports for a morning of windsurfing, sailing and paddle boarding. It was perfect weather for this and the children had a lovely time; so much so that the boarders have asked to do a whole day there with a BBQ lunch next term!
Vines’ Day was also a lovely day. The Leavers’ service is always one of my favourite events of the year – tinged with sadness and pride at how some of the children I have looked after for the last 3-4 years have grown up into such wonderful young adults.
Mr Coles and I spent the afternoon watching the cricket – another favourite of mine. It is no nice to see the old boys back playing for the Vines.
A while ago we told the Year 8s that they could run the boarding house for a day. After Vines’ Day they reminded us of this rather rash promise. So on Sunday night the Year 8s ran the house and I have to admit they did it very well and made us laugh a lot. A few quotes from the children – Miranda: ‘Right – all the Year 6 & 7s are in bed with lights off!’ Miguel: ‘I have just given Curtis a strike.’
So, sadly we will be saying goodbye to Will, Aron, Miguel, Royce, Dima, Henry, Clovis, Melisa, Isabel and Isabel, our wonderful Year 8s, who have been one of our nicest years! We will miss them and wish them every happiness and success in the future.
I will be heading home to Catsfield for the summer; my hammock is waiting for me!
I hope you all have a restful summer.
21st June 2019
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Jane, a lovely lady who has served our suppers and looked after the boarders in the evenings so well for the last 2½ years. Jane always greeted everyone with a smile every night and took the trouble to learn all the boarders’ names. Jane is carrying on working with children as a volunteer helping underprivileged children. We will really miss her but wish her well for her new ventures
Ice creams on the beach didn’t sound very appealing last Saturday as the grey clouds scudded across the sky! So Mr Coles and Miss Buckley took some Year 8s to Tesco’s Extra or (Terminal 5 as Mr Coles likes to call it) to buy ice creams.
We had a very relaxing day all in all – it was good for the children to recover from their various trips away.
The excitement grew on Sunday as we drew nearer Thorpe Park. The weather was kind to us and no rain fell once we actually arrived. I parked myself on a comfy sofa in a café and the children went off to scare themselves on the rides. Mr Coles and the gappers went on a couple of rides and Mr Coles returned slightly green announcing he was ‘too old for all this’. Mrs Barrett escorted the juniors on various rides; they all had a lovely time, including Mrs B!
When we returned to school the children ran around outside, rode bikes and played games – such endless energy! I just hope they’ve left some for Saturday’s Sports Day.
14th June 2019
To read more about the Junior Taster boarding experience please click here
7th June 2019
The boarders returned in high spirits after half term – all excited to be back with their friends.
The Year 8s seemed to be keen to get on with CE so they could enjoy their last few special weeks at Vinehall. They have been brilliant at knuckling down in the evenings for extra prep whilst the rest of the boarders have gone out to ride bikes and let off steam.
We have been busy checking and packing their bags for their various residential trips next week. The excitement will grow over the weekend as their departure dates arrive!
We will have a mixture of down time and a couple of fun trips out this weekend so the children are well rested for next week.
Rather than having a quiet week with all the boarders away, I will be entertaining Year 3s and Year 4s on a special Harry Potter themed taster night and the Year 2s will be coming to make wands, play games and have some tea with us too!
24th May 2019
Last Friday the lucky Year 2s, 3s and 4s had a visit from ‘Hedwig’, a Great Horned Owl, who delivered an invitation to a Harry Potter evening and sleep-over at school while all the boarders are away on their trips. There are games planned, a feast in the Front Hall, a movie (Harry Potter!) in the theatre with popcorn (don’t tell Mr Whitehead!)
On Saturday we repeated the pattern of 40 minutes revision, followed by an hour playing outside. The Gappers arranged games of kick the can and hide and seek. The children decided to take their Saturday night tuck outside and carry on playing rather than watch a movie.
Mr Coles asked some volunteers to do some litter picking around the grounds – they filled three or four bags. We then had a conversation about plastic as they thought it was wrong to pick up plastic and put it in a plastic bag. Good point!
Izzie S read in Chapel and Mr Powis talked about being fair and kind to each other. We had one more revision session before lunch and then headed off to Hastings for Battlezone and All you can Eat Chinese. The children really enjoyed their afternoon and returned to school for showers, nit checks and a good night’s sleep ready for exams!
It’s unbelievable that it is half term already but I am not complaining! I have been itching to plant out my veggie patch!
Have a lovely week’s holiday!
17th May 2019
Rest Revision and Bluewater… Click here for the round up of last weekend
10th May 2019
Everyone had a lovely extended bank holiday exeat and came back refreshed.
I know the gardeners say we need it but that’s enough rain now isn’t it? Luckily it stayed away whilst we had the whole school and boarding house photos taken. The boarders helped Mr Coles get Woody ready for the photo shoot!
This is the time in the term where I become ‘Mrs Unpopular’ as I make the boarders to an extra session of revision after supper. They’ve been very good each night, quickly settling for 30 minutes so that they can fit in normal fun evening activities as well.
The weekend ahead will be rest, revision and relaxation, together with the dreaded trip to Bluewater!!
3rd May 2019
Our first weekend back, although the weather was cooler, was a good one. On Saturday the children made the plan for the afternoon. They sensibly decided prep should come first, followed by play outside, followed by some ‘gaming’ time. This was a good mix and everyone was happy.
After supper we introduced our tuck shop to our new boarders; they were very excited when they saw what was on offer!
On Sunday in chapel Mr Powis talked about new beginnings, spring and his favourite flowers – bluebells. Melisa read the lesson and we all enjoyed singing together.
After lunch we headed off to Bedgebury Pinetum for our biannual mountain biking and walking. The weather was kind to us and everyone really enjoyed their afternoon. My group of walkers loved playing on the swings and climbing equipment. Matron Nicola joined us with her dog. There were two cycling groups: one hard core group, who had their share of spills and thrills, including Mr Ryan who hurt an already damaged shoulder – ooops! And one slightly more sedate group who got lost a few times! We all met up at the café where everyone had an ice cream.
Back at school the children begged to go outside again after supper; I am not sure where the energy came from but it was lovely to see them out having more fun.
Now I’m busy making the children’s travel plans for the first long exeat! I hope you have a good weekend; I’ve agreed to get on the back of Mr Coles’ motorbike and join the 1000s of bikers in Hastings on Monday (#midlifecrisis?)
26th April 2019
I’m hoping the lovely weather over the Easter weekend is a sign of what’s to come this term – the best term of the year in my mind. The children returned in good spirits and went straight out to play.
We welcomed Adriana, Beltran and Ines (sister of Andrew who was here a couple of years ago) from Spain and Agnes from France. They have all settled well and seem to be enjoying Vinehall life very much.
Mr Coles and I had the most amazing three weeks in Australia; not only did we pack in a lot of travelling – Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Melbourne – but we caught up with our gappers from the last eight years! We were totally spoilt by them and their families with parties, dinner at the Opera house, sailing in Sydney harbour, theatre and zoo trips and tours of Sydney and the surrounding areas.
We also met next year’s gappers who I’d appointed the week before we left (hope we didn’t put them off!)
I’ve included photos of them all – see how many you recognise! – Click here for story and photos
29th March 2019
It really felt as though Spring had sprung this weekend. The bikes were dusted off, tyres pumped up and oil squirted in the right places!
On Saturday the Easter bunny paid us a visit and the boarders then ran around the lawn finding little goodies which he’d left behind!
On Sunday after Chapel the children enjoyed more time outside on the astro, zip wire and bikes again.
After lunch we headed off to Southborough to Temper Temper Chocolate. This is a wonderful outing where the children got all creative and made things out of chocolate. The idea is that these are gifts for families, but I think quite a lot of it has been eaten!
Well, all that is left to do is get the boarders packed and ready to go and then Mr Coles and I will be heading to Heathrow for our long-awaited holiday to Australia.
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!
22nd March 2019
Last weekend was quite an unusual one. We had a lovely group of taster boarders on Friday and they were treated to a disco and games run by the Gappers. There was an Easter theme to the evening and mini eggs where hidden in the drawing room for the children to find.
Saturday was spent here doing our usual mix of prep, play and relaxing.
Here comes the unusual bit – our plan was to go to Catsfield Church for their family service but we got the timing wrong. So finding ourselves with an hour to waste in Catsfield, Mr Coles and I had the slightly mad idea of taking 27 children to our house in Skinners Lane! Some of the children thought we were mad too – Will S said ’Sir you’re going to regret this’. I can honestly say the children were as good as gold; they took their shoes off and settled in front of the TV for an hour. We then went to church where they continued to behave impeccably.
As a treat for being so good when we got back to school they had some gaming time on their phones, something that is normally rather restricted.
After a delicious roast beef lunch we headed off to Urban jump in Heathfield, where the children bounced for a couple of hours.
Thoroughly exhausted we got back to school for toasties, nit checks, nail cutting and bed!
Now it is full steam ahead to the end of term. Mr Coles and I are very excited about our impending holiday in Australia, where we are meeting up with most of the last eight years of gap students who have worked for us!
8th March 2019
The children loved last weekend’s outing so much that they have requested we do it again next term!
We had a peaceful Saturday with our usual favourites: astro, sports hall, movie and tuck shop.
On Sunday Mr Powis took Isabel T to The Conquest hospital to entertain patients and visitors with her amazing musical talents. We had planned to walk around the grounds appreciating God’s creations but the heavens opened and it poured with rain, so I thought I’d spare the children a soaking wet walk!
We did prep and music practice, then games in the sports hall. After lunch we headed off to Hastings for Battlezone. Battlezone is an outside battlefield where the children run around with laser guns. The weather still wasn’t great but the children loved their two hours of fun. We then walked along a very windy seafront to Eatto, a Chinese restaurant where the children could eat all they can and they DID!! They loved it, although there were a few tummy aches on the way back to school!
Now I’m planning the children’s travel for another exeat; they seem to come round so quickly but we’re not complaining!
1st March 2019
True to form the children returned on Sunday night in good spirits, happy to see their friends.
What amazing weather we have had over half term! Now we have a return to real February weather – rain!
It’s been a fairly quiet week in the boarding house, with no illness – HOORAY!
We are all looking forward to a fun weekend.
To see the boarders cookery club updates please click here
15th February 2019
Firstly may I apologise for the reduced Vinelines from the boarding house last week; illness and the impromptu exeat took over normal proceedings!
The children enjoyed their trip to Tunbridge Wells and Wagamamas on 3rd February. I stayed at school to look after two poorly boarders but Mr Coles, Mr Powis and the gappers made sure the outing went ahead. I did asked Mr Coles to take photos but I think that was one task too many for him!!
We also had to postpone our trip to Urban jump, which will happen later in the term; also the taster boarding disco, which will have an Easter theme now rather than Valentines.
This week I have been making travel arrangements for the boarders’ half term – a timely break to give everyone a chance to recover and knock these pesky bugs away!
I hope you all have a lovely week and enjoy the sunshine!
8th February 2019
It was a snow weekend at Vinehall and for the boarders that meant plenty of opportunities to get out into our 50 acres of grounds. With all manner of sports equipment taken out onto the slopes we soon resembled Val-d’Isère rather than Robertsbridge. It was lovely to be joined by the families of our day children after the Headmaster sent a call out for everyone to enjoy our snow!
It was Chinese New Year on Tuesday and Carole in the kitchen made us an amazing Chinese banquet for supper. It was delicious. We even ate with chop sticks! The challenge by the end of the meal was to see if we could pick up a lychee stone with the chop sticks; not many managed!
Many thanks to the catering staff from all of us in the boarding house.
1st February 2019
Our exeats are timed so well! Just as everyone is suffering with bugs and in need a break, we all get some time off. Unfortunately the weekend didn’t stop the spread of germs; hopefully the impending snow will sort out them out.
We will be taking the boarders to Tunbridge Wells next weekend for another meal out and shopping – lucky things! You see can how much they enjoy a meal out with friends from the photos taken in Simply Italian.
25th January 2019
Our second weekend was another relaxing and fun time.
After lunch on Saturday we headed off to the Tunbridge Wells Odeon to see Bumblebee and Mary Poppins – which sadly was very disappointing. Bumblebee was a hit for those that watched it.
We had booked a table at Simply Italian in Battle for our supper. They are so good there, always so accommodating and friendly. The children were perfectly behaved and ate really well.
By the time we had finished it was straight back to school and into bed!
On Sunday Mr Powis took Year 7 and Year 8 to Mountfield Church for their Eucharist service, whilst I took the juniors around the golf course with Woody for a brisk walk. We re-convened in the library for prep, followed by lunch.
The afternoon was spent making model aeroplanes and tanks and painting ceramics. There was a lovely peaceful atmosphere in the dining room whilst they all got stuck into their various projects. This was followed by tuck shop, supper and some football on the flood-lit astro!
A good weekend for all!
18th January 2019
Our first weekend back was lovely.
On Friday night there was a swim, Wii dance or floodlit Astro on offer – something for everyone!
The children enjoyed roller blading for a few hours in Eastbourne on Saturday afternoon. Once back at school we had supper and then introduced the tuck shop to our new gappers, who though it was ‘really cool’. They enjoyed being shopkeepers and helping the children with their maths by adding up the sweets they’d bought.
On Sunday, after a much-needed lie-in, we went to chapel where Will read very well and Mr Powis centred his service on the three kings; the boarder who found silver under his seat was duly crowned king for the day. This happened to be our reader, Will, who was given the chance to choose the boarders’ activities for the rest of the day.
Will was a very popular king as he chose football on the astro, followed by an hour of gaming, followed by tea and movie.
We taught the lucky gappers how to do nit checks on Sunday night so now their induction is almost complete!
11th January 2019
Mr Coles and I collected our new Gappers Mr Daly, Mr Ryan, Miss Buckley and Miss Grundy, very early one morning last week. The poor things were shattered and couldn’t keep their eyes open on the way home, despite us both talking non-stop to them! They were then duly wined and dined by Mr Gregory, Mr Powis, Mr Borrows, Sister Kate and Mrs Payne over the week and have all now settled in very well and look very smart in their new boarders’ hoodies.
We have one new full boarder this term – Alex – who seems very at home already. We also have three converts to weekly boarding – Henry, Connie and Sam – so the boarding house continues to thrive.
Our lovely new matron Nicola has found her feet and is whipping everyone into shape! Mrs Barrett will do her first nights next week and I expect all the children to behave impeccably for her!
The children (and staff) will all be tired this weekend so we are having a fairly quiet one – just an afternoon roller skating on Saturday, then a lazy Sunday after Chapel.
14th December 2018
We had an excellent and very busy last weekend. After the wonderful Carol Service we had the boarders’ Christmas party. The children played good old traditional games such as the chocolate game, Chubby Bunny (filling your mouth with marshmallows and saying ‘chubby bunny’) and eating doughnuts with no hands! The gappers got the disco revved up and they danced all the sugar away!
On Sunday we had a very quiet morning; the children stayed in their pjs all morning. Then after lunch we went to the panto in Eastbourne to see ‘Cinderella’. This was great fun, typically cheesy and highly entertaining!
It’s a sad day in the boarding house as we have to say goodbye to our four wonderful Gappers today. Mr Arnold, Mr Kellick Miss Viney and Miss V-T have all been AMAZING! Hard working, huge fun and brilliant with the children. We will really miss them. For Mr Coles and me it is not goodbye for ever, as we will be visiting them down under next Easter; in fact we’ll be catching up with most of the gappers who have worked with us over the last seven years!
It will also be very sad to bid farewell to Genie, Mariana, Eugenia, Jacob and Rafa, who will all return to Spain speaking amazing English and having made lifelong friends here!
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and happy new year!
7th December 2018
On Friday night most of the children disappeared to the flood lit astro for a game and a few put on the Wii Dance in Hurricanes. They then had hot chocolate and toast in Hurricanes before bed.
On Saturday the children had a relaxed afternoon, choosing either games in the sport hall, swimming or chilling in front of the TV. After tea they decided the whole house should play sardines, followed by hid and seek! The evening was lovely – very happy and peaceful.
It was very busy at Bluewater on Sunday but the children didn’t notice and buzzed around buying presents. Mr Coles and I even managed to buy a few bits for the family. Laden with shopping bags we returned to school for toasties and soup.
One more busy weekend to go; this is one of my favourites as we have the Carol Service – which is such a magical event.
Mr Coles has finished painting Squirrels, which looks amazing; please feel free to come up and have a look!
30th November 2018
After a much needed exeat, the boarders returned with their usual excitement; it really is heart-warming to see smiling faces coming back into the boarding house on a Sunday night.
Thank goodness it’s nearly the 30th November; I have been looking forward to this date primarily because Mr Coles and the gappers can shave all the horrid hair off their faces!
My boarding committee have been helping to plan our weekend activities for next term; they do make it easy for me by choosing what they’d like to do! I also helped all the boarders choose their after school clubs, so that’s another thing ticked off my list.
We’ve got one of their favourites this weekend and the one that adds a few years and wrinkles on – Bluewater!
I’d like to say a big thank you to Aly O’Sullivan for all her hard work in the laundry looking after the children’s clothes as she leaves us to go back to her law firm. You will still be able to find her in pre-prep twice a week. Nicola Evans joins us on Monday to take over the reins. You can find her here every day for second uniform but please call or email her to make an appointment.
23rd November 2018
I am very sad to announce that Dalene Viljoen is retiring from her Assistant Housemistress role at the end of this term but delighted to announce that Louise Barrett is taking over. Louise knows the boarders very well and will be a welcome addition to our family!
On Saturday night Louise and I took Year 7 and Year 8s to Benenden School to a disco. The children love this event and come back with phone numbers written up and down their arms.
On Sunday after lunch the children spent a couple of hours racing round the Aqua Challenge at the Sovereign Centre in Eastbourne. Most spent more time in the water than on the inflatable assault course!
This week my boarding committee have been busy planning next term’s outings and activities, as well as conducting food surveys for Chef.
We are all looking forward to the exeat and a big thank you to all of you who have invited our overseas children to stay this weekend – I know their parents really appreciate it!
16th November 2018
We had 57 children sleeping in the house on Saturday night after our ever more popular Halloween Roller Disco. Out came the costumes, on went the face paint and roller blades then the party began!
Tim Wheels (yes that is his real name!) ran the evening superbly, with his various games, prizes, lights and loud music.
Thoroughly exhausted and with a few blisters, the children scrubbed off the face paint in the showers and flopped into bed. All our guests and regular boarders were very good and the house soon fell silent. However I gather there were ‘dorm raids’ first thing on Sunday morning – all part of the boarding experience!
Once we had said farewell to our guests, we all walked around the golf course with Woody to appreciate the beautiful Autumn colours and God’s creations.
The rest of the day was spent ‘chilling’ – watching TV, playing games and eating!
A perfect Sunday!
9th November 2018
Fresh and rested, the children returned ‘full of beans’ on Sunday night – I loved how excited they all were to see each other!
Woody was excited to see the children too – he’s had a very quiet half term with me and Mr Coles. We did lots of very long walks together and I couldn’t get enough of the amazing Autumn colours.
Jenny and William joined our busy boarding house on Sunday; both are delightful children and I am sure they will soon make lots of friends.
Year 8s came back straight into exams, poor things! They have worked very hard all week and are looking forward to a relaxing and fun weekend.
The photos that were taken at the photo shoot before half term have arrived and look brilliant.
19th October 2018
Whilst Mr Coles was travelling around the war memorials and graves of the Somme and Ypres in a 1911 Thornycroft, we had a lovely time here in the glorious autumn sunshine.
On Saturday the children got their prep done after lunch then spent the rest of the afternoon outside playing. After chapel on Sunday I took a few children down to a horse chestnut at the bottom of the golf course tree to collect conkers – Mr Powis’ drill and string was found and conker matches began again!
Around midday we set off for Frankie and Benny’s and the Odeon in Tunbridge Wells. We had a good lunch and the children were very well behaved; we then strolled next door to see ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’. It was such a funny film; I managed to stay awake and actually laughed out loud.
Now we are on the home straight towards a restful half term. I hope you have a lovely break!
12th October 2018
I had a particularly exciting exeat weekend. I went to London to see Sister Kate’s eldest son James’ latest play ‘Hedgehogs and Porcupines’, which was performed in a pub in Islington. It was brilliant; a great script performed by two people in a tiny theatre. My two children met me there as they’d known James since they were in the Vinehall Pre-Prep together.
All the boarders retuned on Sunday night in high spirits.
Eugenia celebrated her birthday on Thursday with a party and cake in Hurricanes.
The boarding hoodies arrived this week and look brilliant. The refurbishment of the two dormitories are continuing and there will be a big reveal of Eagles soon.
We’re all looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend ahead.
5th October 2018
We had four children to stay for our Open Weekend to experience the delights of Vinehall boarding.
The very popular Bubble Boys returned on Saturday; thankfully the weather was perfect so we were able to use the Astro, which is ideal for this activity. The children had two hours of fun in the bubbles.
After a swim, free time and supper, the children enjoyed shopping at our re-stocked tuck shop. Movies were chosen and the house fell silent. I was able to nip into my flat and catch up with a bit of ’Strictly’, which is very exciting as one of my school friends is dancing this time – Susannah Constantine!
On Sunday the children made the most of their lie-in and devoured a huge breakfast. David J read the lesson very well in chapel and Mr Powis talked about ‘fighting the good fight’. This was very fittingly explained with conkers; we then joined him on the terrace where he had a huge box of conkers, a drill and string and explained the rules of conker fighting! It was a lovely scene, with all the children having such fun with this great traditional game.
We had planned a creative morning with Airfix models and art & crafts; sadly the models didn’t arrive in time but it didn’t matter because there were plenty of arty crafty things to be made. The children got so engrossed it was difficult to stop them for lunch!
The parents of our four guests joined us for a Sunday roast and then we said farewell; it was lovely to hear comments such as ‘this school is amazing’ and ‘I love it here’ as they left!
We had a fairly quiet afternoon; the children finished their prep then chose between Wii games, swimming or just chilling.
28th September 2018
After a much-needed exeat, the boarders returned on Sunday night refreshed and excited to see each other.
During the week our senior boarders attended the revision talk held by Mr Borrows in preparation for their forthcoming exams. We will be using the suggested techniques in the revision/prep sessions held every night.
We have an exciting weekend ahead with six new children coming to stay for our Open Weekend to experience the delights of Vinehall boarding.
21st September 2018
Last weekend the weather was perfect for all our outdoor activities. Saturday was spent playing football, table tennis, swinging on the zip wire and riding bicycles. We had a new order of tuck for our shop which the children enjoyed after supper. Mr Coles and Miss VT took some of our children to Catholic Mass in Battle. The house then settled down to watch a movie.
On Sunday everyone enjoyed a nice long lie-in and a cooked breakfast was devoured at 9am. Will read very well in Chapel and Mr Powis talked the children about being kind and considerate to each other.
After lunch we set off for Bedgbury Pinetum where we split into 3 groups; 2 cycling and 1 walking. I took the walkers off with Miss VT and Woody, and they played on the adventure play things around the forest. The cyclists had a great time too. We all met up at the visitors’ centre and had ice creams before heading back to school.
Kayden celebrated his 13th birthday on Tuesday with cake and treats.
It’s been a very busy start to the new term and staff and children are quite tired and looking forward to the exeat.
I hope you all have a relaxing weekend – I know I will!
14th September 2018
We have had a very busy first full week in the boarding house. I forget how much there is to learn for our new boys and girls but they all seem to get it relatively quickly!
Our first weekend was spent largely outside. On Saturday the children played in the grounds, enjoying the zip wire, football pitches, ping pong table and bikes. After supper we opened the tuck shop and the children settled down to watch a film in Hurricanes and a football match downstairs.
On Sunday we had an early PJ breakfast then set off to Groombridge where the children learned to rock climb. We had three excellent instructors and the children all had a lot of fun. It was lovely to see the children scale very sheer rock faces; sometimes they thought they couldn’t do it but, with encouragement from their friends, they managed to get to the top.
Some of the children wanted to try and climb all the rocks and would have carried on climbing all day if we hadn’t dragged them away. The sense of achievement is quite addictive.
Rather dirty and totally exhausted we shipped them all back to school for a lovely hot lasagne, showers and bed!
7th September 2018 Vinehall welcomes its new boarders
Another record-breaking start to the Michaelmas term, with 33 full boarders in the house!
We welcomed back Isabel dl L and Azilis dl T. We also have siblings of ex boarders Lucas A, Jacobo C and Miguel F. The other new boarders joining our happy house are Thomas C, David J, Eugenia D M, Eugenia G, Mariana D, Jeffrey H, Helen T, Clovis T, Rafael T, Kayden W and Jason X.
Their first supper, which is usually a quiet affair, was very buzzy with lots of excited chatter! We spent the first evening showing the children where everything is, such as fire escapes, Sister Kate and her dispensary, how to find an adult at night etc to ensure they all felt happy and safe.
The excited chatter carried on a bit after lights out, but they soon nodded off. Everyone looked so smart on the first morning in their new uniform, though we had to give a few lessons on how to tie ties!
The weekend ahead will be a mixture of relaxing at school and exploring the grounds and fantastic facilities on Saturday. Then on Sunday we are going rock-climbing in Tunbridge Wells; we did this last year and it is a great team-building activity and also very challenging.