Today my six year old son went on his first school tour. Now having four children, you’d think I’d be fed up with all the palaver surrounding such events. Not so! In fact I practically led the Mammy Brigade in running alongside the bus, waving, until the end of the path forced us to let our little darlings go.
Seeing his little excited face this morning made me remember my own school days and our yearly foray into the great unknown. I can still remember the feeling of waking up on a glorious sunny morning (‘cos it was always sunny in my day) and realising that today was the day. I’d head off armed with the compulsory jam sandwiches and banana that never seemed to survive the journey intact and a bag full of sweets that would ensure I’d be fighting back the urge to spew!
Now one particular year our teacher announced that in three weeks time we’d be going to Drogheda where we’d see the head of St Oliver Plunkett. A gasp of disbelief rippled through the room as our seven year old brains tried to digest this information. We were going to see an honest to goodness, dead person’s head. How cool was that? And who said history was boring? Well that day was anything but boring as four girls threw up on the bus, one peed in her pants and two got themselves temporarily lost. I think I saw our teacher crying at one point, but I couldn’t be sure.
It seems that today’s school tours haven’t moved on much from those days. I’m still giving my children the sandwiches which will inevitably become soggy and the sweets that will make them sick. When my eldest son was eight, I gave him a plastic bag to bring with him as it was a long bus journey and he wasn’t a good traveller. On his return, he announced triumphantly that he’d been sick on the bus.
“Did you manage to use the plastic bag then?” I asked hopefully.
“Yes,” he said. “But Mammy, why did you give me one with a hole in the bottom?”
So what are your fondest memories of your school tours?