Thank God It's Friday

23rd July 2004 at 01:00
The weather holds no terrors for Jacky King's class of hardened campers

Monday Before setting off for the Wells Cathedral leavers' service, I am reassured that the bad weather forecast is an exaggeration. It will be fine to camp on Exmoor for three nights, s;City Diarytarting tomorrow. At the cathedral, we act. Two hundred Philistines shout at 200 Israelites: "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!"

Tuesday The infants lean over the wall and wave goodbye to 17 pupils from Years 5 and 6 and our valiant parent helpers. Clouds are amassing. As we reach our high altitude venue, horizontal rain sweeps needle sharp and gale force across the land. We put up the tents and in minutes everything is soaked, even our knickers. We escape to Lynton and drink cocoa in a cafe before pebble skimming into a menacing looking sea. We cook supper inside a shuddering communal tent. We sing, and defiantly yell at the skies: "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!"

Wednesday No one has slept - except the children. At dawn, I take tea to the fathers in the communal tent, but as I reach them a gust hurls it on to an expensive car. Every sheep on Exmoor races to have a look. The sky is black. We hire a room from the outdoor centre and decamp. We're asleep by 9pm, on the floor, boys on one side, girls on the other.

Thursday A perfect day. We walk for eight miles, play in streams and learn about wildlife. We read maps, stroke ponies, eat ice cream. We sit round a fire singing songs before retiring to cosy tents.

Friday Another perfect day. After a short walk, we pack up before river dipping. Then home. "What did you like best?" I ask. "The storm. Like, it was, like the end of the world." I know what you mean, Liam.

Jacky King teaches Years 4, 5 and 6 and is joint deputy head at Charlton Mackrell CE primary school in Somerton, Somerset

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