Just before school broke up for the Summer holidays the LoveliestTeachingAssistantEver (LTAE) arranged for the cricket club members to go watch a County level 20/20 cricket match. This was back when the weather was stupidly hot. As in 30+ degrees hot. And humid. And as it is the UKwhich meant, as it always does, that it felt five degrees even hotter than the thermometer; except in Winter because then everyone is just curled up in frozen balls trying to remember what 'not frozen' felt like.
Just before school broke up for the Summer holidays the LoveliestTeachingAssistantEver (LTAE) arranged for the cricket club members to go watch a County level 20/20 match.
He borrowed the minivan from the secondary school, he had permission slips from all the parents and monies to cover tickets and travel costs. And he asked me to go with him as the other 'responsible adult'. So we left school at about 9 o'clock on a fabulously hot Sunday morning and headed South.
Time was on our side, we would be there in plenty of time to purchase all paraphernalia and get the kids settled before the match started. Time for wee breaks and ice-cream runs. Time to get a hold of those stupid blow-up clappers and origami cricket helmets. Time to just drink in the atmosphere of a professional sporting event. It was hot and quite boring in the back of the bus so as is my 'travelling with other people's kids' tradition I kept sending over regular tranches of Sherbert Lemons and Murray Mints. Halfway down the A303 the van felt a bit wobbly and just as the LTAE said "Does that feel a bit wobbly to you?" I saw, via the wing mirror, a trail of black smoke on the rear tyre.
With unbelieveable skill and quite a large dash of effortless grace and absolutely NO element of panic the LTAE slowly braked and manouvered the van as far off the road as possible. Which wasn't very because the A303 is famous for minimalist hard shoulders. With traffic whizzing past us in the one and a half lanes remaining this is what I saw when I got out.
We called the AA, explained the situation and where told to evacuate the 15 10&11 year olds to a place of safety. When we stopped laughing she explained again that someone would be with us within an hour and a half.
So we opened the passenger door and half the back doors and watched the traffic speed toward the cricket oval and the children slowly melting while doing stupid thing like waving out the little windows at the traffic whizzing along. We even saw a police car go past. He was obviously busy because 10 minutes later we saw him head Northwards with sirens and lights going full pelt. The kids were nearly beside themselves when he came back toward the van with sirens and lights still going full pelt. He had come back to rescue us.
Our whole crew were squeaking with excitement because once he had put up signs warning other drivers and properly coned off the lane we were obstructing he chatted with them. He was so lovely; answered all their questions, demonstrated his walkie-talkie, handcuffs and whacking stick (or whatever its real name is) and generally made positive representation of his county's police force.
Did I get his name or badge number? Noooo, that would have been sensible but I still contacted the Comm Rels Team and let them know how great he had been. Once the old was off and the new was on we packed ourselves back into the van. With excited waves and loud goodbyes to the policeman and the very nice man from the AA we set off to what remained of the match.
We arrived just in time to watch Northants carve a clever victory in the second innings.
This I would be happy to never have to live through again.