Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Back in December, before the school Christmas break was upon us, my son went on his first trip away with the school. Not just a day trip, but a full on activity holiday involving the kind of dampness which can only be truly achieved by going to Wales during the winter. Dutifully, I bought him a new rucky and some ill fitting strides, pairs 2, muddy waters for the absorption of. It was suggested he take plenty of spare clothing. We packed it all, including wellies strapped to the outside of his backpack.

On the morning he was due to leave, the bag became the focus for all his pent up excitement, as he carried it around the house in preparation to go. He was driving me nuts with it up and down the stairs like Sherpa Tensing on speed at least half an hour before we were due to leave, bumping into the furniture and just generally getting in my bleary eyed way at what is best described as a part of the day when I'm not at my most organised or patient.
But leave we did, astonishingly on time, down to meet the bus outside the school. Dozens of other parents were there seeing off their excited and some slightly anxious kids. I suppose there was a little twang of 'My Baby is going away' stuff, but I just thought of all that spare time and peace and quiet, and what fun he was going to have compared with yet another week of school. Besides, one week away from a T.V. blethering on about impending Christmas was gonna be good for this kids soul and probably my bank balance.
There was a slight feeling of apprehension as the bus was late, then showed up looking like this.
In the early hours of the morning (before ten am anyway) I'm easily confused, and my first thoughts were that the bus company name had been written by an artistically very talented dyslexic. Perhaps I've been doing too many crosswords of late, because my next fleeting cogitation upon the matter was that this must be an anagram. Reaching swiftly for my pen and paper, (which I always carry for quick note emergencies, a trick learnt whilst tracking the movement and locations of urban skips) I established the obvious reason this particular coach had been sent, the anagram emblazoned on it being "Ya cab must wif". Well I expect that'll be years of pukey kids and fat arsed drivers in it, I mused.
And then, as my grey matter lurched into slovenly action, things stated to add up.

Welsh! Aha! Of course, what an oaf I felt. Send a coach from Wales. Why not? Much easier to keep your carbon footprint maximised by sending a coach from Wales over the bridge and then drive back to Wales with some kids.

Bit by bit, child by child, the vehicle loaded to just about it's full potential. I thought I'd use this valuable time to check the credentials of the cabin crew. What better recommendation could they have than this.

A 'Hendy men' can do anything. They're always reliable and so my mind was put at ease by this comforting sight.
And so the time came for the bus to roll out toward its destination. Final hugs and kisses ensued until even the potential bed wetters were crammed in and the doors were closed on a bus full of over excited youths destined for a foreign land.
This is the last view of it disappearing.

And from that moment until four and a half days later, my house was quiet. And I came home to write a poem which you can look back to if you want. (Leavings, Dec 10th 2007)