Wednesday, 22 September 2010

DDSS When It Comes To Urban School Trips

"How are you today?" one driver asked another.

"DDSS." He replied

"DDSS? What's that?"

"Different Day Same Shit," came the answer.

Indeed, in my case it had begun exactly like that. Not much happened on the usual school run until a buzzard flew out of the trees and into the side of the bus. The air was full of feathers, but it must have been a tough old bird as it recovered and disappeared back into the wood. Perhaps it was an omen of the shape of things to come.

Having dropped the children I had 45 minutes to get to another school in Tyneside for a trip to an outward bound centre. Turning a corner through some woods a taxi was on the wrong side of the road, overtaking a tractor. Idiot. A close call tends to wake you up and I was alert for the rest of the journey.

Urban school and urban children are a law unto themselves. Once we were loaded up, the teacher said that I had to reverse the bus past the school fence so that the children and parents could wave us off. I refused as reversing buses with children on board is a thorny issue. It is a grey area in law and ill advised unless absolutely necessary. So a great British compromise was arrived at and I turned round and did the drive past. It was like feeding time at the zoo, with lots of little arms poking through the fence.

We hadn't gone more than a mile before the teacher yelled down the bus: "Jimmy. Shut yer mooth. It's constant. And I've got to put up with it for three whole days."

"Miss. Miss." shouted an anxious voice.

"Yeah. What is it?"

"Jason's just been sick all over Courtney's shoes." The children trilled "Ewwwww" in unison and the teachers disengaged from their involved gossiping and rushed to the back of the bus.

Before they had got halfway, the anxious voice added: "just joking.

And so the trip continued. "You're a monster the boy sitting directly behind me shouted in my ear. "You've just run over a dead bird. I'm going to report you. And for frightening them sheep too."

I later heard him discussing with his friend what sort of birds were sitting in the fields. "I don't know what they are. Are they some sort of dove or pigeon?"
"Are they some sort of game bird, driver? Maybe they are chickens."

"Pheasants," I said.

"Oh really? They look like doves."

We past a medieval castle in the middle of some woods and the teachers perked up.

"Look out the window at the castle children. You might like to know that is where Miss Rigsby, your teacher at school, got married in the summer."

The silence was broken by another small voice. "You don't tell me that Miss Rigsby had to get married in the woods, do ya?" The children laughed.


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