An exciting journey by J. Sanderson (Form 2A)

Our school party, which was cycling through the mountainous district of Eifel, in Germany, came to a halt when one boy’s tyre was punctured. This was awkward because it was very late in the afternoon and we had a long way to go. Because of this it was obvious that all the party could not stop, and so another boy and I were detailed to stay behind. The sensible thing to do was to first of all ask a teacher as well, but our destination was a youth hostel and the teachers had to arrive before seven at night to make necessary arrangements there.

The last of our party has just disappeared when it started to rain. We were not worried; we would mend the puncture quickly and catch up with our party. Donning our capes, we started. Things were easier said than done. With the rain had come dark clouds that were even now lowering over the mountains that surrounded us. The clouds had made the mountains even blacker than usual and they looked forbidding and unfriendly as we gazed up at them. The bad weather also brought the prospect of darkness falling early. We struggled on. The rain had made the surface of the tube wet so that the patch would not stick. Eventually is was mended and we scrambled on our machines in spite of our awkward capes. We rode swiftly in the hope that we might catch up with our party. The thunder rumbled across the darkening heavens and the grim mountains were briefly illuminated by flashes of lightening. Night was fast approaching and it was going to be an abnormally dark one. This did not worry us particularly until we entered the forest.

It was typical of all German forests in those regions and consisted of thick straight fir trees. Such a place is very interesting and pleasant to pass through in the daytime but now it was a different proposition altogether. It was transformed into a black and fearsome place. We had our lights but their beams were insufficient to ward off the gloom. By this time we were beginning to wish that pneumatic tyres had never been invented. Riding for an hour, our fears steadily mounted. The lashing of the rain on our capes and the dreadful moaning chorus from the tall dark pine trees, all helped to make us more fearful of that black and ominous mass. My friend suddenly cursed. I. being in front, turned round surprised and then groaned. The lad’s front tyre was as flat as a pancake. What a predicament, and the three of us in the wood - a sinister black mysterious place - soaked to the skin and no hope of repairing the puncture! There was nothing for it but to walk. We trudged along in single file, talking loudly to keep up what was left of our spirits.

A hand clamped down on my shoulder “ Look, Sandy,” gasped one. I whirled round, gazed at his face and from that startled countenance into the forest. The object of his dilemma was a light, a small pin prick weaving through the forest on our right. We all stood transfixed, the rain swilling down our strained faces. It came nearer and nearer. My brain was racing. I could not think what is could be. All sorts of ideas flashed through my mind. They were fantastic but none of them logical. The light burst through the forest and on to the road. Behind it was the small, old, figure of a German woodsman. He beamed at us from beneath his dripping felt hat brim. I, for one, nearly collapsed with relief.

“Gute Nacht”, he said. This was ‘good night’ in German and I answered with thje same words.

I then asked in German the way to the Youth Hostel.

“Ein kilometer, Garadeaus,” he replied.
We almost danced with joy to think that the Youth Hostel was only one kilometer away. We exchanged ‘good nights’ again before trudging on very much elated. At last we could see the Youth Hostel lights and our exciting journey was over.

Impressions of the second year boys (penned by a first year admirer who prefers to remain anonymous)

The boys of the second year have a very good reputation for being smart in appearance. There is much competition among them with regard to hair styles. Many have ‘crew cuts’ and some have types of haircut called ‘Tony Curtis’. One has wavy hair giving the impression he must use ‘curlers’ every night. One lad wears black jeans, while another out to carry a violin as his hair is so long.

At first the second year boys seemed very rough people but I think that was only fun. One of the second year boys, known as ‘Bimbo’, saw a blind man safely across the road; another helped an old lady on the bus. So their habits are quite good, except for ‘Tosh’, who comes to school late, looking as if he is just out of bed.

They also take a big part in the social life of the school. They are keen to be in the football team or in the cricket team. They all enjoy and look forward to the ‘field’ on Thursday afternoons. Each week, one class has a chance to go to the swimming baths, where awards can be gained. One of the boys is a very clever swimmer and has gained many awards and holds many records.

Most of the boys are quite intelligent but some are as dull as ditch water. Asked one of the boys what was four squared and his answer was eight.

When the present first year is the second year I think it will be a far better form.

Preserving the countryside by W Edgar (Form 2A)

At all costs we must preserve the countryside and if possible make laws with this is view. This is a serious problem in Britain. Everyone must be able to enjoy the fresh air and the scenery. Buildings cover much good soil which could be used for growing crops. The need for houses is a big problem and where houses are built land must be used.

Hikers and tourists litter the countryside with paper and other refuse. Fires are also caused by throwing matches and cigarette ends among dry leaves and twigs. Whole woodlands have been destroyed because of this. Animals too can cause damage in the countryside. Electric pylons and opencast mines can be very ugly. The chalk, gravel and slag heaps cover the fertile soil and so waste good crop growing land.

Smoke from trains and chimneys make the countryside gloomy and unhealthy. Sparks from passing trains set crops afire in dry seasons. Oil from ships make our shores unpleasant, as well as destroying birds and fish.

It all makes my blood boil and I am glad the government are taking steps to preserve our animals and birds. Since the Wild Bird Protection Act came into force there has been a big increase in the numbers of many species.. Again the government are making huge areas of our countryside into National Parks or Nature Reserves. All lovers of open-air, all lovers of wild life, whether bird, beast, fish or plant welcome these advances.

A strange meeting by C. Hudson (Form 2A)

It was closing time at the local public house and I had had a night out with my pals. Walking along the main street and down the rather dingy side street where my lodging house was, I heard the sound of footsteps behind me. I did not look round for I thought it was just an ordinary passer by.  I walked for about a quarter of a mile when I realised the footsteps were still behind me, the same distance away. I stopped, they stopped. I began, they began. I began to feel uneasy. My flat was in sight now and I began to hurry. I reached it and went upstairs, and switching the light on I sat facing the door.

I heard the footsteps mounting the stairs. I sat eyes transfixed on the door. It opened.

“Hello Chris,” he said. It was my uncle - my face whitened. He sat down and produced a bottle of whisky and poured the glass full to the brim. “want some?” I shook my head unable to speak. He talked. I said nothing all night - I could only stare at him. He talked all night about our relations. About three he stood up and said he must go. He said goodbye and went. I cried with fright. I could only stare at his empty seat. You may not think it is unusual for my Uncle to come and see me but it was. You see he was hanged for murder three years ago.

Canoeing by J. Gelstorpe (From 2B)

Perhaps the time will come one fine summer evening, when homework will appear more of an evil than a necessity. Think then of canoeing. These is the quiet, the gentle exercise in the sunshine or even in the starlight when homework ‘fades far away and dissolves’. There, along some quiet part of the river, or in some back water, will be found all the delights, not to say the romance that a canoe can bestow.

Yet, if the would be canoeist wants to return home in safety he must know all about water and all about canoes. He must not go out in a canoe until he knows how to swim well. A beginner should wear loose shoes that he can kick off in an emergency in the water. If the canoe overturns, he must not try to right the craft and get into it again - he must simply lay his hand slightly on it let it float to him. He may then take his time and kick out for the shore, pushing his craft before him.

Canoes are fairly easy to build and mine is fifteen feet and cost about £12 to make. It is a two seater although I’ve had five people aboard it.

When one goes canoeing on the sea more care than ever is required. On the east coast I look for a westerly wind. I put the canoe on the trailer and load up the necessary gear, i.e. two life jackets, three double paddles, two oilskins and an anchor with plenty of rope. The secret of not finding oneself ‘in the drink’ is to keep the canoe dead square with the waves.
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