Sunday 23rd June day twenty-three: 7.00pm – Eiffel Tower, and lamp-post Up at five. Leave at six. School at twenty-five past in record time. Dad waved me off as we settled down for our coach journey to Paris. Travelled many of the roads Mum and I took yesterday, and was overtaken by Dad as he drove to Canterbury to pick up Rosa (and the entire contents of her house). Stopped at a service station (“Is it bad that, right now, I’m genuinely more excited for coffee than France?”). Watched ‘Midnight in Paris’. Queued for the ferry. Mostly sat in the café but Eleanor, Amy and I brave the breezy deck for a few minutes. Listened to Bruce, then The Killers, then Frank. Watched ‘The Hangover’. Watched ‘Enchanted’. Sat in queues for a long time – traffic into the capital was manic. Our drivers decided not to take us to our hotel before we headed to the river for our planned cruise (“What are you if you fall into the Seine? INSANE.”) and instead we stoppe to look at the Eiffel Tower, first from a distance, along with what felt like a thousand other tourists… Eleanor taking in the Tower …and then close up, with even more visitors. Wondered how many photographs I’m in the background of. It was coming up to nine pm local time when we headed to the river. Bought some food (the vendor said he knew we were British because none of us had the correct change) and joined yet another queue. By 9.30 we’d had enough, and decided to do it another day. Back to the coach, and Springsteen. Rosie checks her photographs on the bus I don’t want my photographs from this trip to be typical tourist snaps – at least not all of them. I’ve considered a ‘Journeys Through Paris’ stop-motion; Rosa told me to photograph people and make up stories about them; Mum suggested shooting shop windows and streets. I did a bit of all of them today. As we journeyed towards the B&B, I stopped looking at the towering architecture and focused on the streets and the people walking them; the tree-lined boulevards, spoking out beneath the bright shadow of the Tower. That family dining in the golden glint of a café; this couple walking their dog at dusk; tiny glimpses of humanity – slices of life that I began to train my eye to see. Even in the cloudy, rainy evening, I could oh-so-easily comprehend the magic that this city holds for so many people. Just as we disembarked the coach, the rain stopped and the sun began to glint We arrived at our hotel and Harriet, Gabriella and I found our cramped-but-clean room, You might expect that we would stay up chatting for hours – but lights were off within forty-five minutes, and we were out with them.

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Saturday 22nd June day twenty-two: 2.10pm – winners of the Bunn Leisure Derby Trophy, Geir Gulliksen and Vennoot (Norway) Up at five. Left later than I’d have liked but had a fun journey with Mum down to Hickstead (minus a CD player – “We have to… talk to each other?!”). Parked a long way away from the showground but at least we didn’t have to be pushed through the mud this year. Meandered around the shops; bought a book and I found a gorgeous riding coat for under £30 which I was exceedingly pleased with. After a while we decided we hadn’t paid for tickets simply to go shopping, and ought to go and watch some horses. Caught the jump off for the Bunn Leisure Derby Trophy whilst eating some delicious cheese on toast. Smiled to myself at the young girl, around nine years old with her long brown hair in two plaits either side of her shoulders, who looked at her mother and, motioning to the rider who had just gained a clear round said, “That’s going to be me one day.” It was like looking back in time. Camila Mazza de Benedicto and Tilithyia (Brazil) Bunn Leisure Derby Trophy – 1st place: Geir Gulliksen and Vennoot (Norway) Shifted seats in time for the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Driving Championship, which is always huge fun. Pairs of ponies must be directed through a course of pairs of cones; the cones all have tennis balls perched on the top, and if they are knocked off, four seconds are added to the final time. Then, the team with the fastest time wins. Mum and I adore scurry driving because it’s so much fun – and the ponies are all so gorgeous. Chris Orchard with Touch and Go scurry driving can get particularly dramatic… Alison Tucker with Woody and Buzz (Mum and I adored this pair) Once the Scurry course was cleared away, there was the presentation of the Supreme Hack Championship, won by Jayne Ross and Broadshard Simplicity. Supreme Hack Championship – 2nd place: Adam Winbourne and Primitive Dazzler II And then it was time for the main class of the day – the LED Sport Europe Speed Derby. Shane Breen and Ominerale Courcelle (IRL)  Harriet Nuttall and Highland Cruiser II (GBR) Joao Charlesworth and Hartleymanor Venues (GBR) – love the crossed legs! Steven Franks and Gold Crown (GBR) The Speed Derby is always lots of fun because it is (as its name would suggest) all about speed. However, this can lead to mistakes from riders, for instance if they try to cut a corner too tight, and this makes it a really exciting class to watch. Hickstead is fantastic as well, because some of the fences are more like cross country obstacles than ordinary show jumping fences, such as the famous bank. There were electrifyingly quick rounds and a tumble or two, and there are so many more photographs I would love to show you all but I’ll stick with these for now. Once the…

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Friday 21st June 11.30pm day twenty-one: 11.15pm – anchors Woke up late. Lessons were shortened today as Sports Day was taking place in the afternoon. Talked about propaganda and advertising in History and spent my free writing my JCR application as well as proof-reading various others, before making my way down to Music. Our lesson was being observed by some other staff members and we spent it listening to this lovely piece by Beethoven, and analysing it. I love the violin melody in the first subject (at 1.26) , after the introduction, and am tempted to try it at some point. Lunch was also shortened and I stayed in Music discussing various instrumental exam disaster/success stories with Beth (such as the time I told my examiner I “hadn’t learned that scale”, or my last violin exam when I managed to turn a Bb minor scale into C major…), which was a laugh. Dad picked me up at one – I hadn’t the patience to stand in the cold (because, even though it’s the Summer Solstice, the day was chilly and overcast) and watch people running around a track. We stopped off for a spot of shopping on the way home, and when I got home I suddenly realised just how tired I was – I crawled into bed and slept for three solid hours, and spent the evening tidying up a little, and starting to pack for my trip to Paris on Sunday. Thought about the many journeys that I have made since this time last year, and then about my anchors, and wondered how I would balance those in the years to come. Today is Luke’s birthday! His blog is here.

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Thursday 20th June 11.00pm day twenty: 8.30pm – FEHS Orchestra Long day. Started A2 harmony work in Music and spent my free down there as well. Continued watching a film in French and then headed to the computer room to get some work done, before meeting Will in the Maths block, where we got to see the final mock-up copy of the Magazine before it’s all bound together. There really is something quite special about seeing one’s writing and photographs all there in print, especially after nine long months of hard graft to get it to this stage. The afternoon was a little depressing; concentration camps in History and the end of Othello in English, but was in a good mood heading home. Tonight was Mum’s school’s Summer Concert, so we left quite soon after getting back home. I helped set up and handed out programmes as people wandered in, and spent most of the evening taking photographs of her Orchestra, as well as the various singing groups and the rock band. A lot of fun; Mum’s school normally is. Tortie reminded me I need to do my JCR application; panic, and a late night.

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Wednesday 19th May 11.00pm day nineteen – 8.15pm: license to kill… Double English this morning was interesting but, as ever, took a while to finish. Walked to Music at break to see the Year 13s come out of their exam and give Mr D his present – a calendar filled with staged photographs illustrating various in-jokes within their class – and steal a doughnut, which Sir had bought for the occasion. Walked to History with Beth and Jenny and did more work on the extended project. Walked back to the Sixth Form building with Will before being dragged over to a table to discuss various rumours and suchlike with some of the girls. Saw Alex (from day eight) randomly sitting in the corner – considering he left the school at the end of last year it’s odd for him to be in. He told me he was picking somebody up; awkward. When they appeared it got worse. Dug my nails into my palms and waited for them to leave, but they took a long time. Felt sick and sad and sorry and walked away, too late. Jamie called; he was also coming in this afternoon. All I said to him was ‘hello’ and he heard there was something wrong in my voice straight away. Looked forward to seeing him but had some things to do first. Harry gave Miss W a drum lesson (Chris and I listened in through the window – much entertainment) and I read a little. Eventually made my way back to the Sixth Form building and sat with Eleanor for a while before going to find Jamie, who offered me a lift home – even though it would take him forty minutes away from his own house, miles out of his way. Gratefully accepted and left school an hour early to enjoy a highly entertaining car journey. Was weird to see Jamie behind the wheel but felt right somehow too. He came inside for a bit, and after he left I got ready to go to County Strings. Hard rehearsal – in two weeks’ time we have two fairly high-profile concerts in the space of three days, so rehearsals are growing intense. Billie was back in the leader’s chair so I took up my ordinary seat next to him and enjoyed catching up – he finished his final GCSE exam today and was in a very pleasant mood. We must have been reprimanded for talking at least four or five times; I’d missed him. During the break we left Zac outside and Billie ran through the corridors in some kind of James Bond fantasy – but he can be serious too, honest: Skyped with Jamie and edited photos, but little else. Need to sleep earlier; I don’t know why I’m not, but it’s making school really difficult.

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