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Posted on: Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Remember those? Residentials? A.K.A. School trips where y'all sleep over?

Dorms. The air heavy with the scent of Impulse bodyspray. Copious amounts of salt-and-vinegar chipsticks. Midnight makeovers with a poor selection of cosmetics pilfered from mums and sisters. Conversations about which boys you fancied the most. Yup. They were ace.

'But I thought they didn't exist any more!' I hear you cry. Didn't they happen back in ye olde happy days before where-there's-blame-there's-a-claim and health and safety went bonkers?

Well, you're wrong. I'm on one. With Year 8. Destination: Ullswater, the Lake District. Objective: tucker those little so-and-sos out.

Yesterday we walked ridiculous numbers of kilometres with heavy packs on. It took 7 hours. Then we camped, cooked some hideous packet food and slept. Woke up in the pissing rain. Got dressed and packed up in the pissing rain. Sang happy birthday to Kirsten (aged 13) in the pissing rain. Walked for 2 hours in the pissing rain. Clamboured up a gorge. It'd stopped raining but I was up to thigh-depth in freezing water so it didn't really matter by that point.

But who am I kidding? I'm loving it. It's ace. It's a bit like Stand By Me up here. The kids are coming-of-age and growing up and going through emotional turmoils and enjoying the outdoors and gaining confidence and learning stuff. Woah. Seriously, I might shed a tear before the week is out. Lying alone in a tent with no mobile signal or light or book (it got soaked through) allows you just to... think. And mebbes get a bit philosophical. I might post more on that later.

Oh yes. School trips are just as good as they were. Even though these days the minibuses have seatbelts - no more cries of 'link arms, kids!'. And the teachers aren't getting blotto on wine like they were back in the day. Well, not completely blotto anyway.

The picture: lo! The view from my tent this morning. Getting a brew on, inniiiiiit.


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