Sailing to Amsterdam



Best School Trip

“Imagine you are doing karate and make a noise when you breathe out and then pull.” Sandra demonstrated, pulling on the rope that would hoist the heavy foresail, and Valerie helped her. Valerie was nineteen, and tough as nails with one side of her head shaved. Sandra was as tough as nails too, but also gentle, jolly and unflappable. She had the tanned face and horizon-scanning eyes of a sailor. Three days later, when the students were grappling with the ropes in the wind and spray, they seemed less effective and I didn’t hear many karate noises. Although, for teenagers, they were impressively willing.

Somehow, as a parting shot to a job I was leaving, I had managed to arrange my perfect holiday as a work trip. I hadn’t intended this, but here we were in an old flat-bottomed sailing ship, on our way to Amsterdam in the mist and sun and sea. Even Scott was there to test out if Manc-skills included able seamanship (they did), and Werewolf (they didn’t). The exchange was eleven teenagers who are so great they give teenagers a good name.

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