The best school trips are the ones you spend the journey there and back with your mates singing and having a laugh on the coach, much better than being in class.
It’s the History school trip today and we are all lined up at the school carpark waiting for the coach.
Mrs Hughes calls me over to stand with her and the other teachers, “Gordon you will be sat at the front where I can keep an eye on you, I don’t want any tomfoolery on this trip”.
Great! Stuck at the front, I can’t have a laugh and no one to talk to either, also what is ‘tomfoolery’ and who is this Tom that is a fool.
The coach pulls in and Mr Morris calls out “right children, on the coach in an orderly fashion”.
Orderly fashion what the hell is an orderly fashion, it’s embarrassing the way these people speak.
At the front, the journey is hell and takes an age to get there, wherever it is we are going. I can hear everyone else talking, singing and laughing while I sit like a prisoner with invisible shackles tying me to the teacher.
We arrive at some castle ruins, I don’t have a clue where we are and I don’t really care, maybe we were told where we are going but as usual, I didn’t listen.
Once we are off the coach, I run to my mates excited to have someone to talk to, only to be recalled by Mrs Hughes, “I’m not having you running about and causing mayhem you can stay by my side”.
I follow the ‘orderly fashion’ of students with my chaperone, this is rubbish! and I feel stupid. Everyone else is enjoying themselves and I’m stuck next to this old biddy.
Inside the ruins we are gathered in not such an orderly circle and handed clip boards with plain paper attached.
“I want you to walk around and draw sketches of the ruins and this mound in the middle” says Mr Morris.
Mrs Hughes adds “the mound you can see is called a motte, you may remember our study of motte and bailey castles”. In my head all I can think of is the rude meaning of ‘mott’.
Mrs Hughes allows me some freedom to do my sketches and warns me not to be the class clown. If I had a pencil or my half pen, I probably would have sketched something but it’s much better to climb the motte with my mates who are doing their work.
While my mates are sketching the view from our motte, I sit on my clipboard and I decide to slide down the damp grassy mound and as I slide, I let out a gleeful shout “I’m sliding down a hairy mott”.
This got Mrs Hughes attention “Gordon Williams not even five minutes and you’re the village idiot, get over here immediately”.
My short taste of freedom is over and I’m back in my position beside the teachers with new title of village idiot. I don’t know which I prefer, village idiot or class clown.
I often wondered what a village idiot looked like and why villages needed idiots.