Our year at school had very few trips. I like to think that it was because we got ‘lost’ in the process of going comprehensive. Not at all that we had a reputation for being a bit “lively”.
However, just as we were about to leave school, it was as if somebody had said,
“Hey – those sixth formers – why are they so pale and pastey looking?”
“It’s because they’ve never been allowed out.”
So at last we had a trip to St Ives. We could go to the beach or the shops but there was just one thing we must not on any account do.
We must not take a motor boat out into the bay.
Hadn’t Mrs Stansfield seen any horror movies? As soon as she had said that, it became…inevitable.
It wasn’t me. I was with Gill worthily visiting the newly opened Barbara Hepworth studio, where the thing that left the biggest impression on me was an enormous spider with an abdomen like an unripe cherry tomato which lurked in the conservatory. So much for Modernism.
Meanwhile, by the harbour a lifeboatman was donning his sou’wester. Apparently a couple of schoolgirls had taken a motor boat out into the bay, the engine had cut out and they were in some sort of distress.
As the lifeboat slid down the slipway, Mrs Stansfield stood by looking thoughtful.
“Has anybody seen Jennie recently?”
In fact, everybody who was watching the drama in the bay could see Jennie and her friend Sheila frantically attempting to restart their engine.
Since then, Jennie’s been on hundreds of school trips, but has never got into quite so much trouble again. After all, she is the deputy head.