Every year Class 5 went on the same Geography school trip and this year it was our turn. Three nights in a youth hostel in Derbyshire with Miss Clark and Mr Simmons. It would be the first trip where I’d be staying away from home overnight.
Jake and Steph would be coming with us too. They were helpers we hadn’t met before. Steph was loud and got really excited. Jake looked like a footballer and he had a scar between his nose and lip. He whistled when he spoke. I wondered if the scar felt rough on his tongue. They were both younger than teachers but still old. Pete said they were learning to be teachers but Pete always made up stuff.
Dad said that the trip was costing too much money and that if I wanted spending money then I would have to earn it. I saved up £3.50 by cleaning the car and picking up Barney’s poo from the garden. Nan got me a wallet to keep my money in and Mom bought me some new pyjamas. She said she didn’t want me showing her up.
We left after assembly on Tuesday morning. All the moms were trying to show each other how much they loved us. Pete’s mom cried and waved as she ran after the coach. He said she was embarrassing and ducked down in his seat. Even Miss laughed.
The coach driver was a bald man with a red face and a fat neck. He said our bags were too heavy as he threw them into the boot on the side of the coach. He told us that if we gave him any nonsense he would lock us in there with them. On the drive back on Friday Miss passed around a tub to collect money for him. We all put coppers in to it. James dropped in a coin he’d had from holiday that looked like a five pence.
All the boys sat near the back and so did Emily and Janet. I sat near the front with the teachers so I could listen in to what they were talking about. Mr Simmons wore jeans with creases ironed down the front of the leg instead of a suit. His trainers had two stripes on them. Pete said they were crusty. Pete’s trainers had three stripes on them.
We waved at cars and got trucks to honk their horns at us on the way there. James was sick into his hands. He’d eaten all his corned beef sandwiches, half a packet of biscuits and drank a can of Lilt. Craig said it wasn’t fair that he had to sit next to James. The coach smelt of sick all the way there.
We slept on bunk beds in two large dormitories. One room for us and one for the girls. I had to sleep on the bottom bunk because by the time I’d gotten my bag out of the coach all of the top ones had been taken. Nobody slept below Carl’s bunk because he wet the bed.
After tea we all played a game of rounders at a park in the village. Jake and Steph were the captains and so they got to choose their teams. Jake picked me first out of everyone and said I was his vice captain. I usually got picked last for sports. When he smiled at me I got butterflies in my stomach, like when I went too high on a swing and the chains went loose.
That night some of the boys sneaked out to peek through the keyhole of the girls’ dormitory. Craig said he saw Emily dancing around in her pyjama top and knickers. The teachers stayed up late laughing and joking. Pete said he saw Miss smoking.
On Wednesday we walked to a ruined castle. We had to go through a farmer’s field and Janet slipped on the grass. She got sheep poo all over her coat. Steph said it would be fun if we all took it in turns to tell jokes. I couldn’t think of one and went red when they all looked at me. Jake told one about a man with a car on his head called Jack. Miss really laughed at it before he’d finished telling it. I didn’t understand it but I laughed anyway.
On Thursday Ben got into trouble for weeing up a tree. Paul got into trouble for taking a picture of Ben weeing up a tree.
In the afternoon we were allowed to go into the village and spend our money at the gift shop. I bought myself a pack of pencils that had my name on them, a leather bookmark with a church on it for Mom and a pen with ‘I Love Derbyshire’ on it for Dad.
We had to leave after lunch on Friday so that we would be back at school for home time. We had one last game of rounders after we’d packed all our bags. I was picked to be on Steph’s team. I got myself out on purpose to help Jake’s team win. I pretended to trip over running to first base and said that I’d twisted my ankle. Jake helped me up and said it was lucky for him that I was injured because I was the best player. I didn’t play for the rest of the game. I rested my leg on the pile of bags and coats that we had ready to load onto the coach. When nobody was looking I stuffed the bookmark I’d bought for Mom into Jake’s coat pocket. I’d drawn a heart on the back with Dad’s pen.
Jake said well played and hi-fived everyone when it was time to leave. I wanted him to give me a hug. I cried on the coach on the way back. I told Miss it was because my ankle was still hurting from falling over.
All the parents were waiting by the gates when we got back. I told Mom that I’d left the bookmark at the youth hostel and gave her one of my pencils. She said it didn’t matter and that she would share Dad’s pen instead.