St Chad's trip to Dorset
The school made three field trips to Dorset where we were based in a guesthouse. The video was taken on the second of these visits.
Before coming to this I have to mention the first of these. The guesthouse was run by a lady who went out of her way to make us welcome. In fact we were spoilt. This can best be illustrated by what happened on one of the visits we made. I’d arranged for one of my former college lecturers to meet up at Lulworth Cove. He brought with him a group of his degree students at Exeter University to work through with the kids a series of exercises prepared by them to explain the coastal erosion that formed the Cove. When we broke for lunch the students settled down to sandwiches while we unpacked the five boxes that were to feed us. These contained drinks, ingredients to make salads, packets of crisps and the necessary paper plates and plastic cutlery to eat in a civilised manner. As I said, we were spoilt.
Another example of this came out of the blue on the Thursday of our week in Poole. Dinner was over and the tables cleared and I was ready to go through the day’s work with the kids when our host appeared at the door and accused me of working the kids too hard. “Besides,” she said, “the coach is waiting outside.” It seems that this bunch of pupils from Tilbury had so impressed her with their general behaviour and work ethic that she’d booked us all into a water show in Bournemouth as a special treat.
As I indicated, three field trips were made to Poole, but none matched this first one. Shortly after this she sold the business and retired. However, that didn’t stop her inviting the party the next year to her retirement home where she entertained us with cakes and drinks. Sadly, she died before those on the third Dorset party had the opportunity to meet this remarkable lady.
For the second trip we borrowed the Torrels School minibus and Mrs. Edwards with Bernardette Hughes (later to become Mrs. Terry) made up the support staff. The new head teacher came along as well. George Fry became Head on the retirement of Jack Preece. George can be seen in the video relaxing by the Saxon wall in Wareham with the two ladies. He was the best Head that I served under. He had enough sense to say what he wanted done and then left us to get on with it in the way we thought best. It made a welcome change to be trusted to do the right thing without interference and micro-management.
The statutory visits were arranged as were real fieldwork. We made visits to a stone quarry, a clay mine, and a farm. It was at this latter that some of the problems facing the farmers in Dorset were revealed including how the fine nature of a sand layer clogged up drainage pipes and how an occasional trip to the local supermarket to buy a couple of pots of double cream was necessary to top up the fat content of the milk before it became acceptable to the Milk Marketing Board.
More regular geographical work included a trek across Purbeck to do a field use survey, a beach study of long shore drift at Swanage and of the sand dunes at Studland, a shopping survey at the Arndale Centre in Poole, a study of the Central Business District (CDB) in Dorchester, a building use survey in Wareham and a village survey in Corfe Castle. At Wareham I have to admit that whilst the kids tramped the streets collecting the required information the staff did their own survey sampling the delicious cream cakes in Nellie Crumbs.
Also we managed to fit in a trip to Portland Bill. Along the way we stopped off at Chesil Beach before continuing to a disused quarry where we liberated a piece of limestone that had the ripples of a 250 million year old seabed visible on its surface.
All in all it was a busy week. However, it was not without time for amusement. Whilst in the Arndale Centre one of the party (Robin Vetch ?) severely embarrassed Miss Hughes by sidling up to her in Woolworths and in a loud voice said, “Mum. Can I have an ice cream?” The teacher’s face went almost as red as her hair!