Gateshead Mencap Society
Our Summer Trip
by ace reporter Ivan Inkling

For our summer trip this year we hired a bus from the Bensham branch of Ivan Oldrek Motors and set out on our journey. We got almost as far as Backworth when we had our first breakdown. The driver, Andy Mann, thought the engine had fallen out but the man from the RAC said it was just the gearbox.

We were able to take a look round Backworth Cathedral while the bus was being fixed. They have a lovely cafe in the cloisters so we all had coffee and cream cakes. Faye McAdimmy bit into a huge chocolate eclair but the cream spurted out and shot straight into Emma Wroid's eyes. Emma lost control of her coffee and drenched the people on the next table. Cannon Fadge eventually managed to break up the fight that started and luckily only four people needed hospital treatment. When we got back to the bus it was all mended and we continued our journey.

When we got to Cullercoats the driver could not find anywhere to park the bus so he left it on the beach. Everyone rushed out with their buckets and spades and started building sandcastles. Young Chris Cross was in a playful mood and started to cover his sister Victoria in sand. She was up to her neck in it when the tide started to come in. Fortunately their father George saw what was happening and managed to pull her out just in time. Everyone thought George Cross should get a medal. Some people thought Victoria Cross should get a medal too.

Later the sun came out and we all removed our shoes and socks and went for a plodge. The sea at Cullercoates is very cold and when everyone's feet turned blue we went for fish and chips at Phil Yertum's Chippy on the cliff top. We were all getting stuck into our meal when Frank Ferter looked out of the window and saw a very funny looking boat. Everyone laughed at the strange sight except Andy Mann the driver. "That's not a boat" he said, "That's our bus!"


The tide had come in and the bus was completely surrounded by the sea. Iona Bigyot shrieked "My husband, Ivor, is asleep on the back seat!" Avery Niceman got on his mobile and called Mr. Aaron C Reskew at the local coast guard station. He sent a lifeboat which arrived at the scene promptly. They searched the bus for Ivor Bigyot but he had mysteriously disappeared. Then the helicopter came and searched the area but there was still no sign of Ivor.


We had all finished our fish and chips and made our way back to the beach while the drama was taking place. Iona was very upset and wondered where on earth her husband could be. Then Jacqueline Hyde saw a man walking along the beach with an ice cream. She couldn't tell who it was at first but as he got nearer she realised it was Ivor Bigyot.
Jacqueline shouted at the top of her voice "Its Ivor".
Iona was furious. "Where have you been, you great wassock", she yelled.
"I've been for an ice cream", replied Ivor.
"I can see that, but how did you get off the bus?" Iona asked.
"Oh, that was easy." said Ivor. "I hitched a lift on a passing pedalo."

By this time the tide was going out again and it wasn't long before we could get back on the bus. Andy pressed the starter button but nothing happened. Unfortunately, water had got into the engine and it needed to dry out. The man from the RAC only took an hour and a dozen cans of WD40 to get us on our way.

We were all singing "The wheels on the bus go round and round" when we had our next breakdown. Actually it was more of sabotage than a breakdown. We were passing Backworth Cathedral again. The people we had the fight with earlier had scattered tacks on the road. Luckily just two of the tyres were punctured. Andy Mann only had one spare wheel so he had to call the garage in Bensham to bring another. We sang more choruses of "The wheels on the bus" while we waited two hours for the new wheel to arrive.

It was midnight when we got going again and everyone was feeling sleepy. The loud bang that woke us all up was the result of our bus colliding with a pile of rubbish. Andy Mann had also dozed off and managed to drive into the Seghill council tip. We all ended up covered in rotten fish and other disgusting stuff. We got off the bus and started to pull it out of the tip but Andy Mann thought we should just leave it where it was as it was a load of rubbish too.

Everyone thought it was the greatest day out ever despite the long and very smelly walk home.