More School Daze...

pottssteve
pottssteve Posts: 4,069
edited April 2010 in The bottom bracket
Continued school days ramblings...

One of my first trips away from home was as a 15 year old on a school trip to Anglesey where the aim was to study the marine environment as part of our ‘O’ Level Biology course. As this was in the days before GCSEs we weren’t able to stay at home and get our parents to do the coursework for us, and attendance was compulsory. After driving for what seemed like a week, during which time we took it in turns keep our foot on the wooden panel in the floor of the minibus to stop it from lifting up and exposing the drive shaft and the road below, we eventually arrived at the youth hostel in Bangor with all of the excitement of a herd of teenagers who had been crammed into a minivan listening to Wham! for 6 hours, which is what we were. The smell of body odour, ripe bananas and feet was enough to induce the gag reflex, although anyone who stopped for long enough to fill their lungs with fresh air missed out on a top bunk.
Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. The next day started brightly enough, although if you are familiar with the coastal weather patterns of the British Isles you will be aware of the fact that it can turn nasty in the time it takes to unpack your sandwiches. So it proved, as by 10.00am when we arrived at the beach it was lashing down with rain. I say “beach”, but actually we had stopped at the top of a small grassy bank, below which was a huge expanse of wave cut platform covered in kelp. The only shelter for about 2 miles in any direction was a phone box and the minivan. By now the sky was the colour of lead and the rain was horizontal due to the fact that the wind was howling across the bay. We peered out through little holes rubbed in the condensation on the windows at possibly the bleakest coast in Britain. Our teacher said, “get out and start work”, and because this was in the days before we knew that students were protected under the Geneva Convention, we got out.
Since then I’ve often thought that that morning by the sea must rank as one of the most miserable of my life. For just over 3 hours we walked back and forth across the bay, knee deep in water and weed, bitterly cold, the only respite coming when the gale changed direction and blew freezing rain into our faces instead of down the backs of our necks. Some of the less well-equipped students had underestimated the ferocity of a Welsh spring day and were clothed in thin cagoules and jeans which, once drenched, wicked the rainwater downwards into their wellingtons. We looked like we were the “badly equipped” group on a training video for the Air Sea Rescue Service.
The aim of the exercise, other than survival, was to carry out an interrupted belt transect of the shore in order to create a zonation profile of the resident species. As every ‘A’ Level Biology teacher knows, this should involve carefully laying a 30 metre tape down the beach from the strand line towards the sea and then placing a plastic or metal square at evenly spaced intervals. By thorough and detailed search within each of these quadrats, the students should then identify and record the resident vegetable and animal species, thereby giving an indication of their distribution on the shore. However, as every ‘A’ Level Biology student knows, the aim of the exercise is to get it done as quickly as possible, guessing anything which you can’t immediately recognise so that you don’t have to waste time using the identification key, and to prevent the loss of peripheral body parts such as ears or toes, which may come in useful at a later date. Our efforts were made more difficult by the fact that it was too windy to get the tape measure to lie down, some of the group were developing hypothermia, and also because the weed concealed holes into which people would occasionally step, resulting in a boot full of seawater and much grim laughter from the rest of us. For most of the time we thrashed about in a vain attempt to locate and identify the invertebrates which, because they weren’t as stupid as us, hid very effectively amongst the rocks and the kelp. All for the fool who happened to be recording our group’s results to momentarily unclip the clip on the clipboard and send our data hurling off towards the Irish Sea. Back in the minibus, cold and drenched, we ate our sandwiches in sullen silence as the vehicle rocked violently from side to side in the gale. And just when we felt it couldn’t get any worse, one of the girls put on the Wham! tape.
Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs

Comments

  • skyd0g
    skyd0g Posts: 2,540
    :lol:

    Another gem of mid-seventies nostalgia. :D

    ...but what's all this pussying about in wellies? Where the Dunlop green-flashes back at camp? :wink:
    Cycling weakly
  • pottssteve
    pottssteve Posts: 4,069
    skyd0g wrote:
    :lol:

    Another gem of mid-seventies nostalgia. :D

    ...but what's all this pussying about in wellies? Where the Dunlop green-flashes back at camp? :wink:


    Cheeky b@stard; it was 1986! :lol:
    Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs
  • skyd0g
    skyd0g Posts: 2,540
    pottssteve wrote:
    skyd0g wrote:
    :lol:

    Another gem of mid-seventies nostalgia. :D

    ...but what's all this pussying about in wellies? Where the Dunlop green-flashes back at camp? :wink:


    Cheeky b@stard; it was 1986! :lol:

    Sorry I got the date out by a bit, but I'm glad to hear that some of the traditions forged in the seventies where sustained into the eighties.

    Still, Angelsey - that's almost abroad! Furthest I got was a day-trip to Speke Hall. :cry:
    Cycling weakly
  • Stewie Griffin
    Stewie Griffin Posts: 4,330
    edited April 2010
    Spent a week in Llandudno as part of O level geography, went to Anglesey too. The only parts I really remember of the whole week are pulling into the same Coach park as the snobs who had racially abused (chimpanzee imitations) my school friends as their much faster coach overtook our rubbish London Borough of Brent Schools rented coach on the motorway while on the way there. A few hours had passed since they had their laugh, Im sure that they had totally forgotten about us. I bet quite a few of them remember us to this day some 25 years later after we pulled into a Service Station and bumped into them. We ran them around the coach park administering our own form of justice/revenge. The funny thing was when they tried to persuade the white kids to stop our Black and Asian friends from hurting them, it was just a joke and they were very sorry. Actually, we are going to hurt you too :twisted:

    It felt effing good actually and I have no qualms about admitting that. Im no thug, havent been involved in anything like it before or since.

    The other thing I remember is having to break back into where we were staying, we didnt believe that they would lock us in at 9 o flipping clock, we were 15 Years old for Gods Sake.
  • Went to Paris with the school for a "historic sight seeing trip". Spent the week attempting (and sometimes succeeding) to buy French porn, alcohol and cigarettes, and sneak into the girls rooms as much as possible. As I shared a room with about 6 other lads, no one slept for the entire duration for fear of waking up with bodily hair missing, cocks being put in their mouths whilst they slept etc etc. We also ended up booting seven shades of shite out of each other as each practical joke got out of hand.

    Ahh, good times!
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015