The coaches pulled off away from the school and everyone was excited to be away from home for the first time.
There was a couple of kids crying as they got on the bus and who cried a lot throughout the whole trip.
At the time we thought this was hilarious and everyone at the back of the bus was in high spirits.
We were all singing and taking the piss out of each other and it was a mixture of excitement and a little fear of the unknown.
We all had enough sweets to sink a battleship and I was also given a packed lunch from mum.
Sean Williams had a blinding idea and we all listened in while he explained the mechanics behind it.
Right everyone just eat your packed lunch now and save your sweets
Ok, why would we do that?
Think about it they will have food when we get there so if we save our sweets we can stay up late and have a midnight feast.
Sean Williams was a genius and we all agreed and put out sweets back in the overhead compartment and carried on singing.
A couple of hours later we pulled into Colomendy and it looked like an old WW2 camp. The place has been renovated since then and I believe there are many new buildings to accommodate more children but back in the 80s, every expense was spared.
As you can see in picture 2 this was very similar to our accommodation. The only difference being that we had bunk beds.
Normally we would complain about this but it was a blessing in disguise.
It was a lot colder than any of us anticipated so right away we all figured out that more of us in a room meant that we would be a lot warmer.
We dropped our bags on our bed and I had a sudden brainwave and took the bed close to the door.
We had all heard the stories about the ghost of Pegleg which I mentioned in the previous episode.
I figured Pegleg couldn’t get to us all and if he was going to do anything he would have to get one of us alone in the shower or the toilet.
So if need be I could make a run for it and if I ran past all of the sleeping children screaming then we would be safe.
Luckily for all of us, Pegleg never made an appearance on our trip but all of us had him in the back of our mind. Unfortunately, we would learn that it’s not the ghosts who are monsters.
Let’s be honest many teachers are undeserving of that title.
In Finland, teachers get paid the same as doctors and as a result, the profession attracts the right type of people.
I understand this was the 80s but still violence is never the answer and many of these people will have to atone for this one day.
So we dropped our bags and then we were ushered into a video room with plastic chairs and we had to watch a Colomendy safety video.
Oddly enough even at 9 years old, we knew we shouldn’t wander off into the mountains alone.
Nor should we follow the road late and night and get into strangers’ cars.
It was a real eye-opener that if we grabbed an electric fence we would be electrocuted
This video was being narrated by a man in a flat cap with his trousers pulled up to his armpits.
The more the video went in the more we were all screaming laughing it was ridiculous and then the camp manager stopped the video he was furious.
He starts flipping out on all the kids for not taking the video seriously and telling us this could save our lives.
In theory, he was right but it was about ten years out of date and giving us information which only a fucking idiot wouldn’t know.
Nobody has ever told me that I can’t shit on my bedroom floor.
I’ve just always known.
He then composes himself and starts talking like a maverick cop who sails on the edge of the law who has seen everything.
I think in hindsight we should have been more respectful as this guy had put in some years on the mean streets of Colomendy.
He saw after a while it was a lost cause and he stormed off. We took another bollocking from Phil the deputy headteacher and then we all left to go to the canteen.
The food wasn’t great but to be fair we were all starving because it was freezing. Granted we all had a mountain of sweets in our bag but that wouldn’t sustain us.
There was a shop where we could buy more stuff but it was only Mars bars and space raiders that type of things.
This was back in the old days when space raiders were ten pence.
After dinner, we learned what we would be doing for the rest of the week and even in the sub-zero temperatures, it was a lot better than being sat at school bored out my mind.
We went to the video room to watch a movie before bed then the genius Sean Williams came over with a new plan.
He was stood with Adam Shaffi, Peter Bell, Andy Edgar, and Chris Farmakis.
Adam, Peter, and Sean were not in the same class, as Andy, Chris, or I.
Phil the Deputy Head was their teacher and they would go on to pay for this as would many other children over the next few years.
The plan had been made a lot better now instead of a midnight feast we will wait for thirty minutes for all the adults to be asleep.
We would then take our sweets over to the girl’s block, have a huge pillow fight, and a party together.
We were nine we didn’t know hardly anything about sex.
We knew what it was but most people had at most kissed a girl on the lips and still in our mind girls were gross.
Although it seemed to be the norm when if one of the lads liked a girl he would be mean to her and pretend he didn’t like her.
To be honest that seems to go on when you’re an adult as well but as a kid, you are just on autopilot.
We all go to bed and by now this amazing plan has spread like wildfire. There are about 20 of us who are all game to do this raid on the girls’ accommodation and just to make the plan even more perfect we never told any of the girls.
We were all relying on the element of surprise and considering we were a bunch of nine years olds all jacked up on candy and coca-cola we did a good job of keeping this under wraps.
Bedtime came and Miss Hughes came round to check on us and she was amazed we were all in bed in our pyjamas ready to go to sleep.
Miss Hughes was confused as she thought it would be a nightmare to get us to go to bed and we fed her some bullshit that we were excited for the next day.
She nods at us flips off the light and says goodnight then leaves the dorm.
All of us are sniggering in our sleeping bag as she believed us and had no idea about our raid on the girl’s accommodation.
This was like a military operation that Sean had planned and I was so happy to be a part of it.
I got us and started packing up my sweets ready for the one hundred meter sprint behind enemy lines.
Arlo What the fuck are you doing get in bed
Peter Rowe was sat up in bed
What’s the problem, Peter?
Arlo if we go now the teacher will see us. Get back in bed and give it half an hour.
Peter was right I climbed back into bed and we were all whispering to each other trying badly to be quiet.
The more we tried to be quiet the funnier things were and the more excited we were to go on the raid.
Around 45 minutes later about twenty of us jumped out of bed and grabbed our pillows.
I had all my candy in a small rucksack and I knew it was a risky mission but the rewards were worth it.
We all sneaked out of the billet and got against the wall.
It was pitch black outside and the moon was even covered by clouds.
We all listened in for the final let’s go and we started making our way across the open field.
We get within 50 meters of the target and we are all so excited and there’s no way we can fail now.
We get within twenty meters we can hear the girls all talking in the blog we are all giggling like schoolboys who are up to no good.
Ten meters it’s on the door is in sight we creep forward about to open the door and the next thing the whole area lit up like a Christmas tree.
You boys stop right there stop what your doing
It was Deputy Head Phil running towards us. I don’t know how long he had been watching us but the fat bastard was running towards us now at full speed and he wasn’t happy.
Phil went ballistic on us all screaming at us about trust and how dare we go to the girl’s accommodation.
I felt like Steve McQueen at the end of the great escape. I couldn’t understand how this perfect plan could go wrong all at the last minute.
Looking back now I cant understand why Phil was so mad it’s not like he caught R Kelly in his 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom
What baffles me with teachers like this is were they not young themselves at one point?
I’ve suffered some horrendous physical abuse at the hands of teachers and I would dream of passing that one of these years later.
We were nine years old what was he honestly expecting?
I remember shivering outside and Phil told us all to get out of his sight he would deal with us in the morning.
As we are heading back inside it became clear what had happened someone must have snitched on us.
Phil made Sean Williams, Adam Shaffi, and a couple of others who I can’t remember stay back and we all went back to the billet wondering what fate lay ahead for our classmates.
A few of us grouped by the door as we wanted to make sure the lads were ok and then Phil spotted us.
Get back inside now or ill skull drag you outside so fast your feet won’t touch the ground.
We all went in and looked out the window and then Phil became very security conscious and marched the four lads behind another billet.
Thirty minutes went by and there was still no sign of the lads so I tried to get a couple of people to come out and check with me to see if they were ok.
Everyone was too scared to go out again as we were already in deep trouble. A couple of the lads were panicking as they knew Phil was a horrible bully who always bore a grudge.
Curiosity got the better of me and luckily I had chosen the bed by the door and I slipped out into the night like Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell
Nobody heard me slip out and I had no idea what I was going to do but I headed towards the last place where Phil had taken them.
I got closer and I could hear the three boys all in tears. The poor bastards had been out in the cold for over an hour.
Adam and Sean only had a pair of boxer shorts and a T-shirt and they were all in tears close to breaking down.
I got around the corner and was about to peep around to talk to the lads and I heard the voice of Phil.
Are you cold boys?
Yes sir we are sorry Sir
That’s good because if got something that will warm you up
I’m sorry Sir
Bend over now
All of the lads bent over and even though I couldn’t see this my imagination was running wild.
Ok, we were not having sex at nine but we knew what it was.
We would also insult each other called each other gay and other nasty comments as boys do.
In my mind in Panicking because why would he want to take the lads away out of sight of for those few minutes I was paralysed with fear thinking my mates were about to get shagged by this fat bastard.
Bend over he shouted and then I heard the screams of all the lads.
I found out later he battered them all with his tennis shoe and this went on for a good 15 minutes with the lads all crying saying they were sorry.
Luckily Phil was a fat bastard so he was out of breath after that so the beating did not continue longer.
Get out my fucking sight now he screamed and all the lads ran back to the billet.
Then I realised I hadn’t thought about my escape plan and how I would get back to the billet.
I also still didn’t have any confirmation of what happened to the boys so in my mind I was thinking wow I don’t want to get shagged by Phil as well.
I stayed stuck to the same spot for about 10 minutes and just when I thought I was clear Phil came back and lit up a cigarette.
He was literally 5 feet away from me and I was scared to move as he would hear me at this distance.
It seemed forever for him to catch his breath and fill his lungs with nicotine and he headed back to his block and I made a run for it.
I got close to my block and by sheer bad luck, Phil saw me.
For some unknown reason, he doubled back on himself and took the long way back to his block.
If he had done the logical thing and taken the shortest route he would not have caught me.
I’m about to go back into the billet and think I’ve got away with being outside and then I hear.
You boy stop what your doing
Phil is running towards me as fast as he can and this was the most exercise he had ever done in his life.
You’re for it now lad you’re in big trouble
Don’t you swear at me you’re already in big trouble?
As if on cue about 10 children all looked out the window to see what all the shouting was from outside.
They probably had been woke up by Sean and Adam and the other two in tears after their beating.
Now all eyes were on Phil and he knew it. He was looking at me and looking at all the kids. He was also exhausted from beating up all the other kids before me as he started to see his career go down the toilet.
Get to bed you little toerag and we will talk about this in the morning.
I walked into the billet and got back into bed and felt like I had just cheated death.
Many other kids in our school were not so lucky and luckily for me except the headteacher Mr. Owen I only suffered at the hands of one violent teacher.
The next week was certainly going to be interesting but I went to sleep relatively easy as I had avoided this one beating and Pegleg hadn’t come to murder any of us.
It was as if the gods were smiling on me that night.