Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Blog – August 08, 2013

Hello from London!

After a fairly uneventful flight we cleared customs quickly and made our way to Harrow school, which Winston Churchill attended. Due to traffic and our changed flight we had time to drop our bags off in our dorms, change our clothes and then hustle to the cafeteria for a quick lunch. (The staff here are extremely helpful and accommodating, which is great, as we would have had a hungry exhausted crew instead of just an exhausted crew!)

After lunch we trekked to the tube station, eventually making our way to Green Park, beside Buckingham Palace, to see the Canadian War Memorial. It was a lovely day here, and the monument – which has a fairly steep incline that has water flowing down it – was full of kids using it as a slide. There was some discussion about whether this was appropriate for a war memorial, but I think the consensus was that the soldiers for whom this monument was erected would likely love the fact that their service and sacrifice meant that young children would be free to use the monument as a mini waterslide. I convinced the participants to take their shoes and socks off and get in for a group picture. You can ask Nicole how slippery it is when she gets home …

We made it to Churchill’s War Rooms just in time for our private tour, and this group was as impressed as every group I’ve ever taken: the fact that the fate of the world was determined by the men and women who lived in that bunker for months never ceases to amaze anyone who has been in it.

We got a real sense of the tube today on our way back to the school as we timed it perfectly with rush hour …After pushing our way onto already-full cars and contorting ourselves in a myriad of ways in order to fit – and remain upright – we think we created a new yoga pose, which is either going to be called Subway Salutation or Upward Twisting One-Armed Dog. There’s nothing like being shoved armpit-to-face to help a group bond, and it also kept everyone awake for the ride home!

Our formal day concluded with a tour of some of the school’s famous rooms, including the Form Four Classroom which was featured in one of the Harry Potter movies (as well as being the oldest classroom at the school) and the War Memorial. We concluded the evening with a brief orientation and a curfew of 10:00, to which the group asked, “Can we go to bed before 10:00?” I am pretty sure that will be the last time we get that question this time around, and we are looking forward to facing tomorrow refreshed! We’re off to Oxford for some lectures by Oxford professors, and I know it’s going to be a great day!

Cheerio for now!

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