The Prescotian Webzine

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The trip I went on was to Weisstannen in Switzerland....a pretty little place up a glacial valley with a population of about 300 - mainly long haired cattle!

We caught the coach from outside the school gates at about midnight - around 35 of us, I guess, including Geoff Handley and David Griffiths (both 2 Kappa - like me). Can't remember who else went, but Harry Hardwick, Des Roberts and Dougie Swain supervised. We travelled through the night, ending up negotiating Central London by 7.00 am en route to Dover. Quite why, I don't know, but it was the first time I'd ever seen the capital city, and my first memories of it were down-and-outs huddled in doorways, massive, overflowing bins outside various premises, and the Thames was nearly as filthy as the Mersey.

We caught a ferry at Dover - roll-on; roll-off - I expect. it was a Townsend Thoresen, and was marginally faster than the boat on Taylor Park lake. By the time we reached Ostend, few of us had slept, and at 13, didn't much care. We had a great trip through Gelgium en route, eventually to Koblenz, where we stayed in a dodgy old place with put-me-up beds. Breakfast was bread rolls and jam. More common now, of course, but alien to my Ready Brek palette. After chucking stones into the Rhein, and sussing out that the local cinema was still peddling propaganda movies ("Stukas uber London" - for gawd's sake), we carried onto Weistannen, which can just about be located if you have a world atlas detailed enough to also include places like Pex Hill!

It was a wooden chalet style place, and I managed to get myself another put me up bed (which, on my return, entitled me to a 2 refund on the 42 outlay). Des and Harry kept our 'spend' and eeked it out over the holiday for us. This included money for the ten pin bowling alley under the hotel, where we managed to upset other guests, as well as the staff, by bouncing the balls. we attended a village fayre, where we saw cattle slaying, Swiss wrestling and huge consumption of lager (not by us). the hotel had a juke box with a fine mixture of tunes, including I'm The Urban Spaceman.

We had a day trip to one of the local lakes, to Leichenstein, and shopping in St Gallen where I bought my mum a locally hand crafted suede handbag. When I got it home, the newspaper stuffing was pages of the Hackney Gazette!

What I remember, apart from all the meaning less minutiae that Anon will probably rip to bits, was the fact that Switzerland was very clean, you could get by with speaking English without any need to learn the language and the food was not one might be used to back home. We've all changed our eating and drinking habits, of course, but has much else changed.

The trip back included a nauseous channel crossing, and buying a paper at dover to find that Lancashire had beaten Gloucestershire in the Gillette Cup, at Old Trafford, the night before - literally.

If anyone who was on this trip recalls it, please leave a reply. If Des, Harry or Dougie read it, thanks for my first trip abroad -it was 15 more years before I made another!


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