Saturday, December 20, 1980

Friday December 19th

An air of resignation about today. First lesson was English with Mr Giles, but not unexpectedly he let us go after about a quarter of an hour. Lee, Duncan, Jeremy and myself helped carry microphones etc into the Girls Sports Hall while everyone else went up to the Common Room – when we got up there, the two girls were waiting. They gave us all a card and a present – making me feel awful. I didn’t know what to say. All I could manage was “You shouldn’t have.” From Claire we all got five different pencils, some felt-tips and some liquers and from Deborah one of those orange flavoured chocolate eggs. The next hour-and-a-half was spent really enjoyably, talking etc., with everyone. There was general amusement when, after Lee opened his felt tips, he discovered that two had no insides. They could hardly do a thing for laughing.

At eleven, Lee and Deborah went home to pack for the Bulgaria trip – we all paid our farewells, and it was tentatively talked about that we should all meet up after Christmas. (It was also discussed that we could go Youth Hostelling next summer).

We all sat around until about half-eleven when Robin Quinn came across and asked us if anyone wanted to go on a trip to the Lakes this weekend with Clough and him (Adrian Westcott having given backword) just to walk and generally mess around. I expressed interest, as did Claire, so at twelve we went down to the Design Block to see Clough. He said that it would be a bit awkward for a girl, as the rooms are mixed, and Claire seemed to go off the idea. He looked at us, one to the other, for ages and then said; “I suppose you two want to go together.” It must’ve been obvious what he meant because we both realised. Claire said that we were only friends and I said that there was no romantic involvement.

She laughed about it on the way back up to the sixth form block, and we all expressed amazement at the way teachers seem to expect promiscuity among youth whereas in reality it’s rare. She must have really stewed it all up in her mind, thinking her ‘reputation’ had been tarnished, for suddenly, after dinner (as we all discussed it once more) she burst into tears! I hate to see anyone cry, moreso her, and I felt really rotten. She went to the toilet and obviously cried in there, because she came out and her eyes were all red and watery. That really put a damper on things as far as I was concerned, for I felt strange all the rest of the day.

I told Claire she ought to go home and at about one, she went, pleading with me not to tell Clough why she didn’t want to go: “Say I haven’t got any boots.”

At half-past one, we all trooped across to the Sports Hall for another epic assembly, totally uneventful.

At two-thirty, I collected Robert’s radio and walked home through the snow (which didn’t settle) and sleet, and packed when I got home. Robin told me that he was taking loads of food so I took along a few tins of beans and things.

They were to call for me at five so I sat around impatiently all evening. Just after I got in at three, Claire rang up, again telling me to say that the reason she wasn’t going was a lack of hiking boots – it must’ve really worried her and upset her. I reassured her and said she had nothing to worry about.

Clough and Robin eventually arrived at nine o’clock after I had rung Robin up several times with classic lines like; “This is getting bloody silly” and “It’s inconsiderate of him.” In fact, I was on the verge of saying don’t bother when they came.

We got to Coniston at about midnight after a hairy car journey along pitch black roads. I spewed up twice, decorating the verges with my tea. We stopped at Staveley, near Windermere, to see a friend of Cloughs, Bren Foster, and his wife Linda. The bloke was a real loony mountaineering type, who I learned later, had been deported from E. Germany for being there without a visa. He had a really loud, extrovert laugh, but seemed a good enough bloke.

The roads and countryside were under snow, and the drive up to the Miners’ Cottages was really bumpy and icy (we had to get out once when the Renault got stuck).

I had a bit of a shock when we got in, for the place was quite spartan, freezing cold and bare stone walls and floor. There were no comfortable chairs anywhere and upstairs, the bunks had foam mattresses which were really damp. Robin and Clough had some baked beans to eat – I declined.

Soon however, we moved through to the members’ end (the cottages are owned by Yorkshire Mountaineering Club). Outside, the valley (“Coppermines Valley”) was quite narrow with huge snow sprinkled mountains towering all around.

We all hit the sack at about one – it’d been a long day. I was cold (I didn’t have a sleeping bag) and so I went out to get one from the car.

Today I was much more involved with everyone at school – sounds corny – although the circumstances left a lot to be desired.

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