The Prescotian Webzine

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The Dent Experience, 1981, [Martin Riley]
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My "best" Dent experience was a field trip organised in I think 1980 or 1981 by Mr “Billy” Butler for the British Government and Politics A-Level Group.

It was a small group of about 6 or 7 and we stayed for a wet weekend in Dent (come to think of it I never went to Dent when it did not rain?) which was in retrospect very eventful. Key highlights:

Mr Butler when driving the school minibus side-swiping a stone bridge.

Alan “Asy” Smith bringing his WWII war surplus entrenching tool and cape on the obligatory half-hearted hike up some godforsaken local hillock (Al invented the concept of preparedness for a future zombie attack). The ever stylish Ian “Ainsy” Ainsworth almost died with the shame of it all.

An impromptu 5-a-side football match with the local “lads” during which Mark “Louty” Lautterbugh elbowed and dislodged the front-teeth of one of the local kids who then proceeded to spit the teeth out and carry on playing as if nothing had happened – hard as nails but luckily for us rubbish at football.

The local lads met up with us later in the pub and started a fight, in this endeavour they were ably abetted by Ainsy gobbing off – the local lads rather than take out their anger on Ainsy's perfectly groomed head of hair and his stylish brogues instead decided to beat me up (not that difficult a task then or now) which I thought was grossly unfair at the time (indeed the passage of time has hardly diminished my righteousness indignation)!

The fact that we did not get kicked out immediately from the aforementioned pub – highlights a number of issues: a) the leniency of old time landlords; b) the lack of an alternative tourist in Dent is the early eighties; c) the stupidity of young Prescotians in not taking the hint and getting out while we were still ahead. Sometime later I went to the toilet for a slash and to spit out some blood only to find 5 local lads had followed me in to the toilet (to reacquaint my face with their fists)– luckily swiftly followed by 5 Prescotians – only George Michael would have relished this situation. Thank god there were no automatic dryers in those days because if one had gone off accidentally this stand-off would led to carnage in there!

Later in the evening Mr Butler quite inebriated by this stage insulted one of the locals (I think word pleb married with an expletive and the word off may have been involved - the original plebgate incident) and ofcourse this re-ignited tensions with the locals – teachers eh!

Shortly afterwards the landlord finally lost patience with us (or realised we had run out of money) and asked us to leave the pub, we then ran around the village bottomless for a dare/bet, only for me to jump inadvertently into a patch of nettles to avoid the local lads (to crown off my evening of total enjoyment) who were still cruising around the village (either on an oxen or a tractor I can not recollect which) – no wonder the locals hated us.

Despite this catalogue of misdemeanour's no locals in those days thought to call the school, the local paper or the Daily Mail to complain about what had happened (the good old days). However the trip did prepare me for the big wide world and taught me some valuable life lessons!

1. All red haired teachers are quite bonkers.

2. Never leave home without a war surplus cape and entrenching tool.

3. Never stand next to someone who is far better looking than you because when a fight starts - you will always get hit first.

4. The effective reach of the average Yorkshire farmhand is 72 inches, the IQ of the average Yorkshire farmhand is 5.2.

5. You always bleed after being punched in the mouth much longer than you think you will.

6. It is very difficult to apply dock leaves to a nettle rash on your posterior without the use of a full length mirror.

7. Never go into a public toilet frequented by psychopaths unless accompanied by your own small army of psychopaths.

8. Field trips are more dangerous than base jumping.

Martyn Riley

Lambda 1974-81

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