It looked like the boys had learned from yesterday as everyone was ready on time for our trip to Equitrek.
They prepared the ponies and then headed down to the corral for their first ride.
We were impressed with how easily they took to the ponies despite some initial uncertainties.
By the end of the morning all 12 boys felt brave enough to attempt the trot and described it as 'fantastic, amazing, bellissimo, fast and fun'.
Unfortunately by the end of the morning the boys' interest had waned somewhat and they were becoming rather restless and noisy.....
Luckily their manners had improved by lunch and we had a very delicious and very civilized meal at our favourite organic agriturismo: 'I Giardini di Ararat'.
The kids enjoyed looking at their surroundings after lunch.
On returning to the Hazelhut some boys baked biscuits for tomorrow, others learned to knit or went to the art room and others had a swim.
In the evening we ate home made pizza and watermelon and then the children made their final phone calls.
It's hard to believe this week has passed so soon. The boys have grown so much, their friendships are stronger and they are so much more independent, but is it also possible that they are noisier too......?
So today we learned that getting 12 boys ready for a trip is COMPLETELY different to getting 8 girls ready...... After a number of false starts, we finally made it to the fishing centre and met the owners who told the kids all about the kind of fish that live in their lakes.
Then they explained what kind of fish they were likely to catch and how to go about it.
Some kids took to it straight away, while others took a long time to get a nibble....
Sometimes it was a little boring waiting for the fish to find the maggots....
But all the children felt the pure joy of finally catching their fish.
Some children enjoyed the play park nearby almost as much as the fishing!
At lunch time we counted up all the fish that the boys had caught and we reached 34 in total!!!
The champion fisherman had managed to catch 7 of the total number of fish all by himself!
The owners have probably never had such a lively bunch of boys before, screeching every time they made a catch and getting all their lines tangled.... one boy even managed to get a hook in his trousers.....
Back at the Hazelhut it was time to get these boys in order and remind them how true Hazelhutters behave, so we stopped further wildness with a calm artroom activity instead of the Masterchef pancake contest.
Some kind boys helped James pick vegetables for dinner.....
While others played football and played in the woods. Now these matcho boys are all singing and dancing along to 'Mamma Mia!'
Today was all about survival and using nature and our surroundings for a range of purposes. We split the boys into 2 manageable(!) teams and headed off into the woods.
One group went to collect natural items for the art activity
while another went to cut down bamboo to make sticks. They learned the power of a good stick in the wilderness - it can help you to get fruit down from a tree, test the depth of a river, smash down tall shrubs, support you if you are lame and so much more besides....
In the art room the kids used their imagination to create many wonderful things from aliens to cats to robots with a range of found materials.
Before lunch James taught the boys how to put up a tent and then both teams did it quicker than him!
We had a delicious spaghetti lunch followed by lots of garden vegetables which some children enjoyed more than others.... After lunch the children swapped activity.
In the afternoon we all enjoyed some free time. Some kids swam, others went to the woods or played football or indoor games. At snack time we enjoyed listening to each others' stories.
In the evening we got ready for the campfire and burgers!
We had a few injuries trying to survive today..... starting with sickness in the morning, then scratches in the wood, a burnt thumb, a wrist twist and a big insect bite..... but luckily nothing was too serious and all is well now with 12 boys falling about laughing in front of the film! Many thanks to our student helper for her bravery with the boys yesterday and today! I'm going to miss you tomorrow!
What a lot of competitions we took part in today.... starting with points for the 'best room'.
For lunch the children prepared their own sandwiches and no sooner had they eaten them up, than they headed back into the woods, hunting!
There was a bit of free time where some of the boys enjoyed a dip in the pool and others played tennis.
In the afternoon there was the competition to find some treasure by gathering objects on a list.
Then there was the very important European cup competition which we had promised the boys that they could watch...... We didn't think that 12 boys could get any noisier than they had already been..... we were wrong!
Luckily the home side won, so there were no tears and we all celebrated with pizza and ice cream. After dinner the children played '11' and listened to a story.
Do you think they are ready for bed now.....?
They have arrived! 12 very lovely and very energetic, but very noisy boys!
They couldn't wait to get through the first meeting and to explore the grounds.....
They were also desperate to get out of the heat and jump in the pool!
The first snack was greatly enjoyed by all!
Later the children made signs for their bedroom doors in the cool of the art room.
In their free time the boys raced around the woodlands and played in the games room.
By dinner time they were all hungry again...... just as well because there was plenty of lasagne!
After dinner there was more racing around and so much noise!!!! Finally the film is on and all is calm again. But how long will it last......?
We started the day with more music and more cooking - this time baking for our families! These 2 girls made banana bread.
Then we went into town, which was sweltering hot, to take some team photos and see the sights.
Of course all these girls were desperate to do some shopping too!
Disgusting slime was bought and lots more besides! Then we heard the usual cry of 'I'm hungry!' - luckily Marilena made us yet another delicious meal!
Once we got back to the Hazelhut these children helped to make Anzac biscuits for the tea party.
Then mums and dads arrived and the long awaited winners of the Sports Day and Masterchef were finally announced. Certificates were handed out and then we sang the Hazelhut song.
It was with heavy hearts that we wished these 8 gorgeous girls on their way. Thanks for the memories. Come again next year!
A favourite day for many Hazelhutters; we headed off to 'Equitrek' this morning to meet Irma and the girls.
Throughout the day Irma kept a record of how the children felt. The day started with cleaning and preparing the ponies and 2 key words were 'ansia' and 'fuga'..... (worry and flight).
Luckily the girls fell in love with the ponies themselves a lot more, calling them 'bravissimi, gentili, calmi, rilassati, buonissimi, pazienti, forti, collaborativi and amichevoli' 'good, kind, calm, relaxed,very good, patient, strong, collaborative and friendly'.
There were a few fearful words when they were asked to describe their first turn on the ponies such as 'difficile, ansioso and emozionante' (difficult, anxious and emotional).
But by the end of it the horses had done their magic and all the words coming from the girls were positive: 'calma, rilassante, divertente, piacevole, bellissimo!' (calm, relaxing, fun, enjoyable, wonderful!)
As usual the children were 'starving' afterwards, so we headed to our favourite agriturismo for a truly fancy lunch!
When we got back to the Hazelhut the thermometer was hitting 32 degrees, so the children found a way to cool down indoors. Some made brownies with Ottavia, while others did a jigsaw or worked in the artroom.
Everyone wanted a swim and even a cool hot tub seemed like a great idea!
Of course we had to top off a day like this with yet another great feed: homemade pizza and plenty of ice cream!
The really hot weather has finally arrived, so it was the ideal day to spend in the cool of the art room, designing and sewing cushion covers.
These girls had great ideas and super skills and the combination led to some wonderful results!
All that thinking made us pretty hungry, so while Ottavia prepared things in the kitchen, James took the children to the vegetable garden to pull carrots and cut courgettes.
After lunch the girls returned to their cushion cover project and added more ideas, then later we all went to the pool to complete the Sports' Day with 'Pool Olympics'.
Then time for more relaxing by the pool in the lovely sunshine!
In the evening the girls enjoyed their free time drawing, playing happy families, games of ping pong, racing up and down to the animals and much more besides. We were so happy that we could finally have dinner outside in the lovely evening sun.
Oh what a beautiful morning!
Perfect to set out on a trip
to the forest and to meet a strange man and his performing dog!
A perfect morning to climb up rocks
and draw pictures of the stunning forest.
It was a perfect morning to make pasta too!
LOTS of pasta!
All these activities made us so hungry and we all enjoyed our lunch!
Oh, what a beautiful afternoon! So good that we had to take a dip in the pool.
So good that home-made viscole ice lollies were needed to cool us down.
Oh, what a beautiful evening - time to light a fire
and sing some songs!
Time for the much referred to Masterchef pancake contest (at last!)
Oh, what a beautiful day!
All good sports days begin with a good night's rest and a hearty breakfast.
Today's sports included..... the 2 team water race....
... chuck the welly (it's a Scottish thing!).....
....tennis volleys and 'juggle up'....
.....and all rounded off with archery.
The kids made their own lunch which was clearly delicious!
Miraculously they also fitted in gathering peas, trimming the daisies, climbing in the trees, about 8 visits to the hens and rabbits...
In the afternoon, despite the so/so weather, some braver (or crazier?) girls chose to have the first dip in the pool of 2016!
All of the girls loved the jewelry workshop in the afternoon
After a delicious pizza dinner, some of the girls took James on at 'Happy Families'.... the game was later abandoned in favour of the film of the night 'Marley and Me'. I'll leave you with an image of a Hazelhutter with the full moon between her fingers!