Returning to Germany once again, and we find ourselves on Friday morning. The boys arose bright and [unfeasibly] early, and we launched ourselves off from Leiden once again. My choice of verb there is entirely intentional, as our first destination of the day was the European Space Agency in Leiden. Unfortunately, this did mean another coach journey across Germany. I say 'unfortunately', as we didn't have much luck on German roads: about a mile from the border with the Netherlands, a familiar set of flashing lights appeared in our rearview mirror, and once again German officials flagged down the coach and we were ordered to pull over. Getting familiar now with uniformed German beauracracy, the boys protested more in the cessation of their film than at anything else. This time it appeared the officials were from the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Motor Transport Authority), and their concern was with the maintenance of the coach. They checked tyres, fire extinguishers and, again, every possible bit of paperwork, and once again we were eventually passed with flying colours (many thanks indeed to Graham and Bowen's Coaches for being so organised!), and we were allowed to drive on once again. I can't be the only one who breathed a slight sigh of relief as we eventually crossed the border, as there was apparently one further authority that could have pulled us over for questioning, but with the wind behind us (a telling phrase on a coach full of small boys....), we got away without further incident.
Calm and collected, if slightly late, we arrived at the European Space Research and Technology Centre, where the boys were excited to see large signs advertising a performance by the 'Famous Boys Choir'. The extensive security clearance we had to go through to enter the building addded a certain sense of occasion to the performance, and if the AV team are anything to go by, these researchers know their stuff: the eagle-eyed will notice the boys are performing beneath an image of stained glass from All Saints. We didn't supply these images..... These guys are good.
Following their flying (geddit?!) visit, the boys piled back on to the coach (now equipped with significantly more tut than the gift shop itself: parents, we apologise), and we set off for our final concert destination, Zoetermeer Oude Kerk. The church itself was stunning, with many echoes of All Saints, and a polished practice followed, before the generous hosts took us all out to dinner - spaghetti bolognese, if you were wondering, our fourth of the tour!
Whilst the practice had gone well, we were completely blown away when we returned: the Church was packed. I mean, absolutely full, to the extent that the boys were asked to give up their seats so that audience members could sit down (a request that I am afraid we politely refused!). The locals were out in force, and a fabulous concert followed, made even more exciting but the completely unexpected addition of several large-screen projections of the choir onto the walls of the church. Here you see Mr DofM working the crowds, one of the many large screens visible just behind him, and the parting image as the boys processed off stage:
For now, it is good bye from me, and good bye from them, as we leave all things snowy behind us and return to our regular pattern at All Saints, with some exciting times ahead, and a new vicar on the horizon: