Wednesday, May 18, 2005

When the carriage turns into a pumpkin and Cinderella has to walk.

It was a day that promised much but delivered little! I have kept away from the first year field trip for the last few years. For the most part it hasn’t been intentional, but I tend to loose the form we have to fill in and with reports and new timetable changes, I tend not to look too hard for it.

This year I didn’t loose it. I filled it in, adding lots of provisos – I was willing to do this bit, but not this bit, and only this bit, if they were desperate. Then the spanner really got thrown into the works with Patrick and Shannon added to the equation. In the end all I was required to do was to be around at Loch Morlich for the water sports activity.

I have known other teachers have this “cushy” deal – sitting on a beach watching the pupils bobbing around in the water in canoes and kayaks. There was no sitting around on the beach this time on account of the wind, the rain, the hail and the sub zero temperature outside the cafĂ©! It was freezing. I did manage to walk along the beach and got battered to bits by hail. I drank my way through too many cups of hot chocolate.

The pupils had it rough. They bobbed around in the water, but it was very cold and the instructors had to keep bringing them in to thaw them out with hot juice. One of the other teachers, with the responsibility of filming the pupils, was trying to find a cheerful face to focus the camera on. I am sure they will look back and think they had a nice time but right there and then they were not smiling!

The real “fun” for me was the homeward journey. I had an inkling, a gut feeling, an intuition that something would happen. I thought it would be the windscreen though as there is a crack slowly creeping downwards. It was the flat tyre. The good news was I just coming up to a layby when it happened. The bad news is that the mobile phone was dead and I decided to walk into town to find a phone. Inverness was just in the distance. The weather had brightened up so it was not so bad. I took a short cut down a farm path. I am not as fit as I used to be, but I thought climbing over a fence was like riding a bike – something you never forget how to do. My head might have known how to do it, but the body wouldn’t comply and I fell from a not very great height. I didn’t break anything essential, though I am nursing bruises. I am more concerned that no one saw me take a dive over the fence!

The AA were finally contacted, the flat tyre replaced. Now before you start telling me that I ought to be able to change a tyre – I couldn’t agree more! In this case however, I am glad that it was the AA man seeing as there was something more serious than the tyre to deal with. The bar that sticks out that the wheel slides on to – it has a proper name – that thing is very worn out and shaky. I wouldn’t have known that if I had changed the trye. I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t supposed to shake like it did.

He told me I was very lucky – lucky that the tyre burst and the sticky out bar didn’t break! Lucky that the police didn’t see it and fine me £2000 and take points off my licence. I add to that - lucky that there was a layby nearby and it all didn’t happen as I was overtaking some big lorry. Lucky that I don’t know how to change a tyre. Lucky that I was within walking distance to Inverness. Lucky that….

Actually, I don’t think it is down to luck at all. I think that God’s angels were just doing their job. I have to admit that I don’t think I make it easy for them! I did think last night that I might just be on Satan’s list of “most wanted”. I am not sure how I got on to it – just by putting one step in front of the other and keeping walking with Jesus.

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