Tag Archives: school trip

I Spy …

The 5 year-old Rhinos class invited me to join their school trip. On the way back I was invited to play ‘I Spy’ by Jake.

‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with B.’

— Hmm, Let me think.

— ‘It’s bus, it’s bus! I got that one, so now it’s my turn! I spy with my little eye …’

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My Last School Trip 10: The Crossing of the Red Stream

Great Elms School Trip to Wales

Transcript of Scene 15

The Crossing of the Red Stream

Edited by Paul Thompson and Emily Miles

Camera: William Turnstone

Scene: half way down the mountain, by a stream. Mr Kipling on the far side, everyone else on the near side.

Mr K: Right then, listen all of you. You want sandwiches and hot drinks? You’ll have to cross this stream to get back to the car park. Just take a running jump, one at a time. It’s only two metres across, you won’t get your feet wet. You show them, Mr Cockle.

Mr Cockle: runs, jumps, slides down the bank on all fours.

All: Ragged cheers.

Mr K: Darren! Darren jumps, lands well up the bank; Scruffy runs through the stream, then shakes water all over Mr Cockle, who is not amused.

 

Mr Cockle: * bleep *.

 

Mr Turnstone: walks carefully across on boulders. I’d better keep the camera dry.

Mr K: continues calling students until all are over, bar Ollie and Gemma.

Mr K: Gemma, come on now, no holding back. You do want some lunch?

 

Gemma:  I don’t want to jump this stream. I can’t jump to save my life. Oh hell!

Gemma lands with a splash then falls backwards, and is wet to her waist.

Mr K: Up you get, Gemma, just get on with it. If you’d jumped properly, that wouldn’t have happened. Now this time you can pole vault back to the other side! Groans.

 

Gemma: That’s not fair! I could have stayed over here!

Mr K: Not if you want your lunch! Here we go! Dean!

Dean: Yes, Sir.

Mr K. You run up, plant your pole just there, by that red stone, and jump. Got it?

Dean: That red stone Sir, or that one, or that one? There’s more red stones than by the Red Sea, Sir.

Mr K: grabs the pole: Mr Cockle! How do you put up with this idiot? Give me that pole! That red stone, this red stone, any red stone, look, like this! Vaults over, commando style. Ragged applause. Returns same way. Got that Dean?

Dean: Yes sir. You did say that red stone, didn’t you Sir? Jumps quickly, punches air, pirouettes, tosses pole to Darren. Scruffy runs through the stream after Dean, then back to Darren, shakes himself dry over Mr K.

 

Mr K: Will someone control this * bleep * mongrel!

The rest of the students vault over without mishap.  Meanwhile Ellis and Nerys are busy with ropes and poles. They are constructing a zip rope bridge.

Mr K: Ollie! Thought we’d forgotten you? This is how you get across. You’ve got strong arms!  We put you in the harness and you pull yourself across. We’ll let Nerys go first.

 We admired Nerys’s first trip across the stream and back, then watched as Ollie was hoisted into the harness and shown how to haul himself over. We need not have worried.

 

Ellis: Right Ollie, that should be you balanced nicely. Comfortable? I’ve got the safety rope, but you won’t need it. You pull yourself along with this one. Ready?

Ollie: Here goes!  Wahay!

Ollie swung gleefully across the stream, then turned around to come back to us.

How was that, Nerys?

Nerys: Excellent! Trouble is, we need you on the other side now! Ellis has carried your chair over, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Ollie: panting Right, let me get my breath; ready, and off!

We eventually got everyone across by zip wire, and I had action shots from either side of the river, from the boulders in the middle of the river, from the base of the bridge, and facing the oncoming traffic. Whatever the Highway Code may say, this was not the best place to be when Dean was coming across. I was watching the viewfinder, not the view.

Dean: Oh Sir, Sorry. Is the camera all right?

Mr T: Don’t you mean, “Are you all right?”? Well, no broken bones, thankfully Dean, but the lens is pretty muddy.

Mr C: If you’ve messed my camera up, Dean, I’ll send you home with that dog. Come to think of it, where is the darned mongrel, Darren? If he’s chasing sheep!

Darren: I left him asleep by that tree. Scruffy! Scruffy! Come here! Oh, he never runs off like this! Scruffy!

Mr C: I’ll send you both home with him! I mean it.

Stacey: Shut up, Sir. Here he comes now, look!

Scruffy runs up to Darren, runs round, whining, then makes short dashes back the way he came.

 

Mr C: Get that animal on its lead! Now!

Darren: Something’s wrong! Scruffy, what is it? Show me.

Everyone ignores Mr C, as the students follow Scruffy.

 

Mr C: Where are you lot going? Come back here now, all of you!

The students continue to ignore him. Mr T and Ellis look at each other, then follow the students. Scruffy leads them to what looks like a bundle of clothes beside the stream. It is a man with a broken ankle, almost unconscious and very cold.

 

Darren: Well done, Scruffy! Good boy!

My Last School Trip 5 – Incident Report on Darren Hogben by Mr Kipling

Wickenden Mountain Centre

Incident Report

Student name/school:                                       Date:

Darren Hogben,  Gt Elms                                                       Saturday

What went before:

Darren & other students decoached. Darren’s bag was acting suspiciously.

What happened:

Darren was requested to open his bag. It transpired that he was smuggling his dog into the centre.

Staff action:

Darren sent to exercise the dog before sending Darren home with him.

Parents informed?

Mr Kipling attempted  to ring Darren’s mother whom it transpired was out of the country. A ‘text message’ was left on her mobile phone. Next of Kin, Darren’s grandmother, Mrs Hogben, did not answer her phone. Mr Turnstone felt that to send Darren home unaccompanied and across London could be deemed irresponsible if there was no-one expecting him. Mrs Hogben Snr was not expecting Darren and was unable to accommodate him. As Darren’s form tutor in loco parentis he could not agree to such a course of action. Darren had to stay the first night at least as no contact had been made with Mrs Hogben Snr before the last possible train had departed Abergavenny.

Outside Agencies:

Unable to contact Mrs Hogben Snr.

Signed:

Robert J Kipling

 

My last school trip – 2

Oh yes, Dean and Darren. Cousins, all-but twins, best of friends. We tried splitting them up in year 8; it was hell for everyone while it lasted: about a fortnight. Having them together is purgatory, but sometimes it’s magic.

I treasure these essay plans and have their permission to include them here. Just so you know what sort of lad they are.


 

English Assignment Plan

Name: Darren Hogben

Form: 8WT

Title: A day with my best friend

Characters: me, Dean, my mum, anty June

Where? When? Home, bus, shops.

What happened first? We went round Dean’s

Who did/said what? Anty June says we would miss the bus but we never. We got off at the bus station and went for lunch at Anselmi’s café. Dean got his rat out on his lap and fed it on chips.

Then what happened? Some stupid woman saw it and began to scream and then the waitress come over and started to shout and she got the manegeress and she got ratty and we got chucked out.

How did it end? Trouble. It weren’t my fault but anty June and my mam both blamed me. I got grounded agen.


 

English Assignment Plan

Name: Dean Hogben

Form: 8WT

Title:A day with my best friend

Characters: Darren, me, my mum, aunty june.

Where? When? Dazzie’s house, bus station, town

What happened first? We went round Aunty May’s because it was our birthdays and they was going to take us up town to get our new Rovers shirts and get a nice lunch.

Who did/said what? Mom said no rats allowed. Dazzie said okay we’ll be good. We had our lunch then the old girls got chatting to some old woman in the café so me and Darren legged it.

Then what happened? We nicked their butter because they was losing weyght and me and Darren plastred it on the handrail of the moving stares. The people got it on their hands and one old lady gets really cross about her white gloves that were not white any more and she called the maniger a blithering idiot because he was blithering at her like nothing. We got found out because the CCTV showed Darren doing it. Really it was Aunty May’s fault because she would not go home when we said.

How did it end? Trouble as usual. The security man and the manager went banananas. We both got grounded.


 

I had been Dean and Darren’s form tutor and English teacher since Year 7. You see how full my hands were! Their writing may lack polish, but I give them high marks for speaking and listening. Once I’d persuaded them to take notice in class they became adept at asking awkward or cheeky questions. I got used to it, but they always play up the student teachers that get wished onto me. They also have a great time when other pupils do their little prepared speeches about anything and nothing, but I have house-trained them enough to allow even shy-boots like Gemma to get through their recitals of poems or passages from Shakespeare.

Their class stayed with me until Christmas of year 9. Then the Deputy Head went on maternity leave and I took over her form and exam groups, and said goodbye to the Hogbens for six months.

Or so I thought.

Then came the cloud no larger than a man’s hand, the fly in the ointment, the stone in my shoe: Year 9 residential trips.

I avoid these like the plague, letting the young and fit, like Ms Trilby, (Deputy Head, Pastoral and inconveniently pregnant) go along to bond with the little blighters. I had done enough bonding with Dean and Darren, thank you very much, but then the call came from the head. My apologies for his rudeness.

“Ah, Will: your application for this new pay rise. Interesting! You must be in with a chance, but one in three to get it, the ministry says, just one in three. I’ll have to write my report to the governors, of course. Contribution to the ethos of the school, blether, blether, blether. By the way … Since Ms Trilby can’t go climbing mountains now, with her belly, I thought maybe you’d like to go to Wales with Mr Cockle.”

I thought, not with my belly, the result of careful attention to Belgian Abbey beers, but I hadn’t done any sort of school trip for years and I did want the next pay rise. One last effort to get out of it: “What about Miss Jackson? She’s young, single, and gets on well with year 8.”

“Gets on well with them?” Three times this week I’ve had those Hogben boys up here, working in my office, because she can’t handle them! She bores them stupid as well with that infantile Jacky Treacy book! What’s it called?  Calling All Cards? Why can’t the English Department lose it?

“Anyway, I can’t ask her to swing at the end of a rope with Dean and Darren at the top. The woman needs a rest before she gives me a nervous breakdown, never mind herself. To cap it all, she tells me she’s already booked into an English lit conference somewhere.”

First I’d heard of that, but Tracey Jackson always did keep herself to herself, off home before 4.30 every day, never lingering in the staff room, hardly the life and soul of the English Department.

Meanwhile I could look forward to a dry week in wet Wales. Not just with Dean and Darren, but Charlie Cockle as well –  failed footballer, fitness freak, diet freak; no smoking, no drinking, no fun; smell of sweat and aftershave – and no doubt his beefy spouse Cecilia,  sometime shotput champion of Salford under-16 girls, and still wearing the vest to prove it, or so my daughter tells me. Jenny goes to Almond Hall School, where Cecilia C is head of PE. Sorry. This was not meant to be a poetry book, so my apologies. It will keep on coming in. I can’t altogether control it.  We had enough trouble with controlling the dog.

But I was coming to that.

I’ll spare you the build-up to the trip. I’ll spare you the ill-concealed glee on my wife’s face at the prospect of getting our bedroom decorated in my absence. I’ll spare you the colour charts and swatches of hideous green cloth, the grins and giggles passing between her and Jenny. I’ll spare you the scene when Dean threw a wobbly because I said he’d have to leave his rat at home. I’ll pick you up at the school gate on Saturday morning, as the bus is being loaded. Dean and Darren rolled up at the last minute, after Charlie had taken his superfluous register. With Dean and Darren, everyone was here!

I forgot to tell you – Charlie C appointed me official video cameraman to the expedition, even if all the students, but not their English teacher, had video cameras in their phones. I guessed Charlie wouldn’t want his precious camera ruined by being dropped off the wrong end of a waterfall, so I could safely stay at the bottom and watch. I seized what looked like my best chance of staying on terra firma for the week even if it meant being best buddies with Paul and Emily from sixth form Media Studies and helping with their project. But they have helped me no end – where would the story be without them?

Water Music

It’s said that our ancestors lived in caves, indeed Bridgnorth in Shropshire still has a few cave houses that my father could remember people living in. Is there some primal urge to retreat into the shelter of Mother Earth’s womb? My family have enjoyed visiting caves from Tenby to Tuscany, and finding bats and spiders and graffiti inside them, not to mention a viper at the mouth of the Italian one – which was once a shepherd’s shelter.

This April we were in the Lake District when we came across Rydal Caves on Loughrigg Fell. The first time we passed was soon after heavy rainfall that had swollen the river, covering over the stepping stones. In the cave stepping stones were still usable and drew us in to hear the music created by the drops of water seeping down through layers of rock to the ceiling before falling into the shallow lake that covers the floor. The splashes echoed around the cavern which had the acoustic of a cathedral. By no means silent, but beautiful and peaceful.

 

And despite days of dry weather there was music the second time we passed that way, music we could hear even before we saw the cave.

Now there are two organised threats to the tranquillity of Britain’s wild places –first the military, who had already overflown us that day with Hercules, Chinook and a Hawk jet trainer – and second, our old friends the geography field trip, frisbying their quadrats from Lulworth to Loughrigg. They it was that we met at the cave, singing their hearts out, a song without words, filling the chamber with the joy of being alive in the springtime and pouring out across the fell to enchant walkers like us, if not the disgruntled teacher who scowling said, ‘I must apologise!’

Not at all! If anyone recorded that moment, I hope you post it on the school’s website for all to share! It was far more inspiring than the over-amplified loop of Pachelbel’s Canon we once cringed to in a show cave that shall remain nameless.

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