Où est Monsieur ………?

A lighthearted look at the QES Year 8 trip to
Paris, July 2013

This trip started well, but for one minor hiccup,
Which happened just after my Maidstone, Kent, pick-up.
The Shuttle was plagued by certain disruptions
Which in our placid group caused minimal ructions.

Loo-stops were made in a leisurely fashion –
By the size of the queues there was nobody dashin’,
But, out of the blue the light suddenly turned green
And then the quickest embussing that I’ve ever seen.

“Are we all here?” I cried, asking teachers
Who we know are always the most perfect of creatures.
“All present and correct.” came the cry from the back –
Of children, quite right, there was surely no lack,
And one, two, three staff, we even had four,
But suddenly realised we needed one more

The cry of panic went up: “But where’s Mr Jenner?”.
Mrs Cross simply said “We all know what men’re
Like, don’t we all, ladies, it’s what you expect!”
Trying in the crisis some calm to inject.

Two minutes later the crisis was over
As, casually, appeared our Bahamian rover
With an escort to boot in a smart Shuttle van
And a slap on the wrist from the Shuttle van man.

From there it was easy, a real piece of cake,
With a brief stop at Vimy, World War 1 to intake.

Our 3-star hotel we reached at eight–twenty –
Twelve hours in a coach is, for most, more than plenty.

Our programme in Paris was just like last year,
For the details of which, please to my last ode refer.

In short, you went swimming or charging down slides –
A bit like a theme park but without the big rides.

Next, to Montmartre and the old artists’ square
Where the prices you paid to me seemed quite fair
For your caricatures or portraits, which were also quite good,
After which we walked down to the Flunch for our food.

The trip on the boat was our mid-evening outing
Where the commentary was drowned by the waving and shouting. 

At Versailles came the market and crêperie too
And the world-famous Palais, but just a quick view.

Then a miniature France with models galore
Like the port of St Trop.. and the Mediterranean shore.
Some childish fun too to let you wind down
Before we returned to the tower in town.
No, not Mr Eiffel’s, that’s always too busy,
But the Tour Montparnasse where everything’s so easy.

Wednesday was science, at least for a while
Before we embarked on a walk for a mile
Up the wide Champs Elysées, right up to the Arc,
Then up 300 steps, like a snail, in the dark.

From there to the Cemetery of Father Lachaise
Where many of the tombs have seen better days.
It houses the famous, like Chopin and Bizet,
But finding your way was not at all easy.

Back at base, after supper, which was taken outside,
At French fancy dress your talents you tried:
Chorus girls, sailors and frogs selling onions,
One or two serious, but most of them funny-uns.
After which came the game of Mr and Mrs,
Which must be the silliest of all silly quizzes.

Today, as I write, you are sampling the rides
That are bound to play havoc with your tender insides,
Or else getting wet on the log-flume or Splatch,
The excitement of which it’s quite hard to match.

It was then on to Ypres, for the bugles at eight
At the solemn remembrance in the huge Menin Gate.

Well, that’s about it, and we’re all still intact.
It’s been a great trip and, as a matter of fact,
Of all trips I’ve done, we’ve had the best weather,
Which, combined with Year 8 and staff put together,
Have contrived to make this, and with Dave at the wheel,
One of my very best trips, and I mean that for real.

When I leave you at Maidstone I’ll wish you Bonne Chance,
Bon Voyage, Bon Retour – and Au Revoir France.

Written mostly at Parc Astérix and completed on the coach journey to Ypres and in Room 10 of the Flanders Lodge Hotel.

Ben Sykes
July 12th, 2013