After the festivities of the night before with the Jazz Band playing until late at night and then the annual award ceremony with the now infamous ‘of the week’ certificates Dave was hoping for a nice slow start before departing for the water park! Alas no …….. 45 excited musicians, cases packed, luggage sorted, all rooms tidied (with a bit of help from Mrs J!) all before 8am! Coffee was needed! Thanks to the Hotel staff for the amazing food and the way they looked after us followed and then departure!
Coach loaded with everything ready for the flight; a bit of a trundle up the hill with all the gear but Trundle Monkey led the way and Bails avoided the acute embarrassment of another dog poo dance!
Off we set, heading towards Siam Park which boasts to be the best and largest water park in Europe! Would it live up to expectations? We sailed through the group booking door despite a fearsome guard (Even Dave and Jukes trembled) and headed towards the ‘beach’ where we found a multitude of sun loungers opposite the wave pool and settled down for the next few hours.
Miss D drew the short straw and was to remain at the base for everyone while Mrs I, Bails and Mrs J leapt excitedly into the wave pool with most of the team with cries of ‘put sunscreen on’ from Miss D! If only they had all listened ….. Ferg and Ols!!! There were over 4000 people in the park and the queues for the rides could be long so it wasn’t long before the team leapt out of the wave pool and headed off to find some rides!
Several groups split off to explore the area before it got too busy; multiple water slides with tubes to whet the appetite, before an exhilarating ride down the Volcano (pity the solitary lifeguard sat on a wall inside the huge caldera getting splashed all day). Lazy River proved popular as a more sedate float round but the more adventurous headed for the Tower of Power, and the Dragon, an almost vertical drop! Miss D was glad she had drawn the short straw as she drank coffee with Basso (hmmmm!) back at base as the tales of the rides were carried back by the excited musicians!
Lunch was purchased from the nearby concession vans, Hettie was warned to leave something for the other park customers and then more rides experienced before the inevitable instruction from Miss D …… that’s it, time up, get dried we leave in 15 minutes!
Oh the trauma for the ladies of the choirs. Where could they wash their hair, shower properly, how could they even contemplate flying back without looking their best! No time for self indulgence said Dave …. get a move on! A long check in, a flight then an overnight coach journey would soon put paid to any preening that was about to take place! Cue Millie Green to the rescue, who erected a temporary cubicle using two towels and a corner fence to beat the huge queues at the girls changing area; no such issues for the boys #powder_room_problems.
All were ready to depart when the pleasant afternoon ambience was punctuated with a muffled grunt from Granite Skull Ollie as a parasol toppled from its stand onto his head felling him like an ox. (as if a light shade bouncing off it on the first night wasn’t bad enough!) The granite skull withstood the parasol attack and soon we were all on the coach having said goodbye to our fabulous tour manager Basso. Without him the tour would definitely not have been anywhere as successful!
Arrival at the airport caused much amusement as suitcases were unloaded and wet clothes then packed into them. First in the queue at the airport and Dave thought “Great! Lots of time!”
Never, ever think ‘lots of time’ when you have to get 50 people,a drum-kit and a double bass through a Spanish check in! Two hours later we had got everyone through check-in but barely 20 minutes to get through security and to the gate! Fortunately there was a flight delay of around an hour to allow a more leisurely security journey and give the students time to get a bite to eat and last minute souvenirs.
However this would not be a music tour if everything went perfectly. No sooner had the squad been sent out in all directions like an army of soldier ants to procure sustenance when the flight board suddenly changed to boarding at gate 9!! In the ensuing chaos of scrabbling to complete food orders and return to the meeting point, Mini Stinch misplaced both her phone and passport. Anna Slaz to the rescue and said items were located and returned! Thank goodness ……. we certainly didn’t want to think of the alternative! Mind you, Dave did fancy another few days in Tenerife – we could get those invitations to perform organised and further cement the growing reputation of the Music Department.
Flight boarded, BA were fabulous yet again. The captain explained the delays and how we would be scheduled for take off – we had 4 minutes to fully load and complete checks or we would miss our window. Our gearts sank somewhat a few minutes later when the Captain announced that we had just missed our slot and now the flight was delayed at least two hours due to incredibly busy airspace. The team were amazing and settled in for the long wait but it wasn’t long before we had taken someone else’s place on the schedule and take off came soon enough. A drama free take off and before much longer all but Dave and Bails were fast asleep as they could be heard giggling like naughty school children as they constructed the previous day’s blog!
Arrival in Gatwick was smooth and on enquiring where the instruments would come out Dave was informed that they’d come out the normal luggage conveyer belt! Nooooooo! the double bass can’t get round the corners of the carousel.
Jeffers and Dave headed swiftly to luggage belt as amps, guitars, drum-kit all came out on the belt followed by Bertie Bass! By this stage the beleaguered and somewhat tired Dave was assisted by amused passengers who all grabbed instruments to help.
Off we trundled again to meet the coach, time now approaching 2am and everyone feeling a little jaded. The coach arrived half an hour later and the luggage was hastily packed by some far too awake musicians and then the long journey home began.
A stop at services was ignored as everyone slept on and the coach drivers from Stagecoach safely drove us home to the welcome party of smiling and awake parents.
And so all things must pass and that was it ……. all over for another year! A fabulous tour where St Christopher’s had once again broken new territory for Club Europe with resounding success! If this pioneering behaviour continues Bails is going to by a stetson for the next time. Time to put your feet up and recharge those batteries ready for the concert on Monday Dave!