Willo Talk: Didn’t we have a lovely time...

REMEMBER the days when we all used to go on school trips?

They were brilliant.

We used to get a note to take home in our schoolbag, your mam had to sign it saying she was quite happy for you go to and even happier to pay a couple of quid for the privilege if it meant you were getting back late and she wouldn’t have to do your tea.

Depending on where you were going you would take a packed lunch, you could wear your own clothes – although if I remember correctly my school uniform was actually mine as well but that’s splitting hairs – and you would have no bother getting up that particular day as you didn’t want to miss the bus.

The teachers also used to wear their casual gear, normally a pair of stonewashed Geordie Jeans and trainers which at first glance looked like Adidas but on closer inspection actually had four stripes on them instead of three.

They always used to sit in the important seats at the front, making small talk with the driver and probably slagging off the teachers who weren’t allowed on the trip and had to stay behind with the kids whose mams hadn’t filled their form in or failed to get their giro through in time to pay.

The bus driver was always a miserable so-and-so and his bus would always stink of tabs as he’d clearly needed half a dozen smokes before opening his doors to 50-odd hyperactive kids high on life and full of Wham bars.

Having gone to school in Whitley Bay, I remember one particular trip back in the 1980s that took us to the glorious surroundings of Hartlepool Power Station.

I can’t remember what subject it was linked to, I’m guessing it must have been science, but I do recall it took us ages to get there.

It’s funny how life works though, 20-odd years later I’m living about two miles away from the power station, regularly writing stories about the place and even when I’m not at work I wonder whether or not to shut my windows before I go to bed just in case it blows up during the night.

Kids don’t just go to power stations on school trips now though.

They go to more exciting places on smoke-free buses.

The teachers have (half) decent gear on and rather than slagging off their absent colleagues they’ll send mocking Facebook messages from their phones telling them just what they’re missing.

Most of the bus drivers are still a bunch of miserable so-and-sos though, but hey, kids, you can’t have everything.