Six years of age, year two of primary school, we are off on a school outing,
The outing was to Cassiobury Park, near Watford, with a huge paddling pool,
The cost was sixpence, a tanner, the unmovable rule, no sixpence no outing,
Rich kids in our class paid the next day, we paid one penny a week, hard times.
Three pence into my outing, we were told we had to bring a packed lunch,
That was a real blow; my sandwiches always had meat in them, a sort of beef,
Nobody would ever swap, as they were full of chewy gristle, dry as a bone,
Biting, on my sandwich, hard meat came out in one go, and hung out of my mouth.
Meat hanging down your chin, two slices of empty bread in your hand, hard to swap,
Anyway my outing card had six crosses on it; I was going to go on an outing,
Each day seem long, but I was happy, something to look forward to, a day out,
My father would come home drunk, nearly every night and told me I could not go.
After a wait the outing day finally arrived, we stood outside school for the coach,
Loud noises and a heady smell of diesel, the coach pulled up against the pavement,
We had to wait in line, two by two as we got on, allocated to seats, no moving about,
The fat driver turned to us and shouted a load of rules, we sat there listening hard.
The coach was an old one, as it pulled away; plumes of black smoke followed us along,
People stopped in their tracks as this ancient beast made its way through the estate,
Soon we were on a larger road on the way to Watford, the screaming engine died down,
We all looked out of the window pointing out anything unusual as we thundered along.
After a while we reached the park we got off the coach and ran about like excited rats,
A teacher shouted and clapped her hands, loudly to tell us to come back and be counted,
Soon it was established we were all present and correct and off we went into the park,
I could smell water, fresh water with chlorine being filled up as we walked on grass.
It was time to sit down and eat our packed lunches; I chewed my sandwiches for some time,
Spitting large pieces of gristle into my hand, when the coast was clear, I threw them.
Some of us had to be taken to a water fountain as we had no drinks with us, Warm water,
Back to the picnic area to clear up our mess, put it in bins, it did not take very long.
We stripped down to our underwear for a paddle. If you could only see some of the pants,
Some of the pants had been tucked in and sown up as they were a hand me down from a father,
Others had large skid marks in them, big baggy leg bits, with splits in them, years old,
Looking at the teachers faces they were surprised that kids had to wear rags, these days.
As we all splashed and paddled, kids ran wild with one hand holding up baggy underpants,
The other hand was used to scoop water onto the others in the pool; soon we had to get out,
All of us standing by the edge of the pool, some could pull there pants up to their shoulders,
Shivering as we waited to be told what to do next. finally we dressed and got on the coach.
We were all quieter on the way back as we were tired and hungry, looking forward to tea,
I had a mouthful of orange from a rich kid, warmed by the heat of the sun in a plastic bottle,
The nicest drink I have ever had, the smell of orange, plastic, rubber will always be with me,
I will never forget my outing; I still cast my mind back to those days with a lump in my throat,
The kids that were there are scattered across the for corners of the earth, some have passed on,
I often wander if the day that will haunt me forever is the same with the others on the day out?
I can see the children in the pool, their faces, creased with happy laughter and unrivaled joy,
One small event, means so much, it was my day of days, it was my past, it was how it should be.