What an amazing day!!! Today we headed to the Ranch to ride and work with ponies. All of the Hazelhut children learned to groom the ponies and then worked in pairs to perform gymnastics. They were all very brave and clearly loved Caterina, the gentle pony who was our companion all day.
After a long lunch and some games in the shade, we all got into the coach and poor Caterina took us on a lovely tour of the local woodlands. Then we went to meet a new member at the Ranch - a young black foal, before heading for Soriano for a delicious local ice cream. All the girls had a good shower before dinner, which was risotto and cotoletta alla milanese - they were all very hungry! We continued with the DVD of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before bed time.
"I have never done so many new things. In only 3 days, I stayed away from Mummy, made my own bed, went on the back of a horse, tried new foods and even stroked a dog!" - Jasmine
Today was our sport's day and we discovered that we have some talented kids here! The first game was the water race where 2 teams had to carry water carefully across an area to fill a bottle as high as possible. Jasmine was great at this!
Then we had the archery contest and Isotta won by a mile with a whopping 50 points!! Eve showed that she was an excellent skipper and all the girls managed to jump the rope at the same time for 4 whole jumps.
Maddalena and Imogen were both very good at the limbo - finding special ways to creep beneath that rope!
For lunch all the children made their own sandwiches and we headed into the woods. There was so much to discover, as some mushrooms had appeared and many flowers were in bloom. The afternoon was still hot so we decided on synchronised swimming as the main sport - what a fantastic routine we created to a great music! All the girls were very talented at this activity! In the afternoon James took the group orienteering and they found some real treasure hiding in the pizza oven! We were so impressed by how well they cooperated to reach it.
After a delicious dinner AND a pyjama party, there is not a sound from upstairs. We know some kids who will sleep well tonight!
A whole new week has begun at the Hazelhut and this time, let's hear it for the girls!!!!
Today was hot, hot, hot as we welcomed everyone at our opening lunch. Then everyone raced to cool off in the pool.
After our first meeting, the girls went on a short walk around the grounds, learning all our danger areas, but finding out more about the fabulous nature here at the Hazelhut.
Everyone tried their best to eat up all their dinner and then it was time to watch a film: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Today we visited the local town on foot. There was so much to see in such a small place. We toured the medieval and eighteenth century districts of the town and the children noted six of the nine churches. We had a competition to draw the central fountain then went in search of things to buy.
We had lunch in a beautiful restaurant and took the time to write postcards to our loved ones. Then we headed back up the hill to the Hazelhut.
Luca and Sam had to pack their bags on returning and then took a final dip in the pool. Their parents arrived and everyone was sorry to say goodbye, but we all felt sure this would not be the last time we all met at the Hazelhut.
Thank you for being such a great first group!
Today we couldn't make it to the usual agriturismo, so the children visited the organic farms nearby. They saw a range of farm animals and birds, including new born rabbits! We even bumped into Sam's grandmother, brother and cousin at the fruit and vegetable farm shop.
We had lunch at the Hazelhut and then a huge thunderstorm broke and the rain poured down. James took the opportunity to make some headway with a novel the boys began a few nights ago.
When the storm finally passed we headed to the picturesque town of Caprarola for a little tour and a delicious local ice cream. We spotted a pig on the return, grazing on the lush green at the side of the road and even found some wild plums to bring home.
Back at the Hazelhut the children set about planting flowers from the farm shop and they have certainly brightened things up.
Thankfully the weather held in the evening and we all enjoyed the much anticipated camp fire, lit by flint! We toasted marshmallows and baked chocolate bananas on the embers, then listened to many fireside stories before bed time.
Today at the Hazelhut we were mostly being artistic. In the morning all the children had the chance to get behind the lens and take some photographs. They did this as we gathered materials for developing our own photographs from the sun.
James led the next activity making puppets out of bamboo. Luca preferred to make boats that actually sailed!
We had an outdoor lunch and then the kids set off on an orienteering treasure hunt in the Hazelhut grounds.
That made everyone very hot indeed, so most of us took a dip in the pool, followed by a relax in the hot tub. The luxury!
In the evening we made pizzas and James cooked them like a real pizzaolo in our outdoor oven. Before bed, we were sharing card tricks and other magic tricks!
Today the children set off for La Pinieta Ranch, where we learned about caring for horses and some of the children tried out dressage moves on a pony called Caterina. Luca and Sammy really impressed us by getting past their fears of horses and Annabel clearly demonstrated her expertise!
By lunch time we were all very hungry and everyone enjoyed eating at a big table under the chestnut trees.
After lunch, the ranch owner, Gianluca, took Annabel and Miss Moll out for a woodland trek - it was breath-taking! The boys returned to the Hazelhut for a swim.
After dinner - risotto, fish fingers and peas - James and Ottavia read some stories to the children. All is quiet above
We have had a spectacular day of Sports and fun! We began with Ottavia's game 'Magic Can', where you have to knock over a can blindfolded to see if it reveals a trick or treat beneath! Next was tennis games with James. Will the next Murray come from the Hazelhut? The final morning activity was archery. Luca won the championship by a hair's breadth, but Annabel was not far behind.
All the children made their own sandwiches and we headed into the chestnut groves for a picnic lunch. James invented 'splat the apple', which involved all the children trying to whack an old apple from a stick..... this led to many other new games besides.
After a little rest, all the kids were ready for a swim, but a bat had fallen in our pool! We rescued him and he is sitting in a box now feeling, or at least looking, a lot better. There were races up and down the pool, breath holding contests, noodle games and much more besides, but a thunderstorm loomed, so we headed for the hot tub.
We were so happy to welcome Nathaniel back now that his arm is better. The storm broke in the afternoon and wrecked our plans for a camp fire, but we didn't get too down and had an indoor barbeque dinner instead. All the kids made T-shirts to celebrate the Hazelhut. Annabel says: 'It's very funny and the first day you'll see that you'll like it a lot.'
Luca says: 'I loved the archery'
Nathaniel says: 'I like this camp because it's nice and there are nice games and nice teachers.'
Sam says: 'It's the best camp of the school.'
Viva The Hazelhut!
The Hazelhut finally opened its doors to the first group of families today!
After getting to know each other and looking around the property and all it has to offer, we planted a cherry tree. This beautiful tree represents our start as an enterprise and all our hopes for the future. It was a special moment recorded in these pictures:
The children waved goodbye to their parents and got stuck into some of the games on offer. Then James took them on a tour of the grounds with their new bamboo walking canes in hand. They all ate a hearty dinner of pasta, chicken and roast potatoes, with sweet local melon for dessert. We got together for a game of Top Trumps before bed time. All is quiet at the Hazelhut tonight.