"Go where?", I sez, as I stomped into front room with mi clogs on.
"Get those bloody clogs off. Put em in entrance porch where they belong!", mi mum sez.
"Go where mum? Where are we going next weekend?"
"You won't be going nowhere if ya don't get those clogs off inside house. Ya sound like a bleeding draft horse stomping around place."
With mi clogs off, I make me re-entrance.
"Where we going mum?" I sez.
"Ya dad and me are thinking of going to Bellevue next weekend."
"What d'ya mean 'you and dad'? What about me?"
"It depends on your behaviour lad.", she sez.
"What's Bellevue anyway?"
"What? We're going to zoo?", I sez with great excitement. "How we all getting there? On mi dads' motorbike? there's only room for 2, 3 at most."
"Sometimes Richard, you make me bloody wonder.", she sez."We're going on a coach for the day."
I was beyond miself now, with excitement. BelleVue Zoo! All those animals. I loved animals very much as I'd grown up with farm animals mi whole life.
The following week, I was on mi best behavior. Nowt was too much trouble for me. I done all mi jobs on time and even asked mi mum,
"Anything I can do for ya mum?"
"What the hell has come over you?", she sez. "Have you gone looney or aren't ya feeling too well?"
"I'm alright. I just thought I might be able to help a bit."
"Maybe we should go to BelleVue every weekend."
I didn't fall for this one as I knew she couldn't possibly have meant it.
The week seemed to drag on very slowly. I kept asking,
"How long before we go now?"
This was starting to bother her so I had to drop it, for a while.
At last! The day finally came. Saturday morning, the morning of all mornings. No more school for two whole days. I hated that place now, with a passion. The school Xmas party had a negative affect on me for my entire school days.
Dressed in Sunday best, armed with a thermos of tea and packets of sandwiches, we all walked down field and made our way along lane to church at end. It was Saturday morning and very early. Except for the mooing of cows, it was very quiet.
I saw one of neighbors, Spencer Sharp, walking his milking cows along the road. He did this most mornings. Once milked, he would march them back up road and put 'em in field with most grass.
"Don't get in way.", mi dad sez. "Stand off to side a' road."
Too late! One of old cows dropped a' squirt of sloppy cow clap. It splattered on mi sisters' new dress. Well that was it! Best behavior or not, it was just too much for me to handle. I cracked up laughing so much so mi belly was aching and mi eyes were drowning in tears. So was mi sister, but not tears of joy, hers were tears of disappointment.
"Stop that bloody laughing Richard or you'll go right back home this instant!", sez mi mum.
Threats or no threats, it was too late now. I was beyond the point of no return. It was so perfect that it would have been hard to imagine. Mi mum set about cleaning it off with handfuls of wet grass but it was no use. The more she rubbed the more it spread, the more mi sister cried, the more I laughed!
"Morning George. Off with the family for day?", sez farmer.
"I'y.", sez mi dad. "Just waitin' on Sherabang to come."
"It's no use.", mi mum sez. "Come on Sandra, we'll have to go back home and change that dress for you."
With that, mi mum and Sandra go back along lane. Mum flat out, dragging Sandra behind like a dog who doesn't want to go somewhere. Mi mum yells out to George,
"Tell driver to wait for me. I'll only be a few minutes."
My laughter subsided for a minute or so, then it would erupt again. Even mi sister Sheila saw funny side of it. All mi dad could say was,
"That boy's village bloody idiot!"
Luckily enough, mi mum and Sandra were back in time for bus.
"Here it comes!", I sez, as the double-decker Sharabang pulls up outside graveyard.
"Morning everyone.", sez bus driver. "All aboard for BelleVue Zoo!"
"Sit where ya likes, there's plenty of room. Some people didn't show up."
We all sat upstairs so as to get a better view. Soon as we were well on our way, I started to tease mi sister about cow clap, telling her,
"I can smell cow muck somewhere!"
"Keep that up lad and I'll have ya put off bus. You can walk home then!"
Mum gave up with her threats as she knew that I knew she couldn't do that.
Over the hills and far away, traveling in style we were. Dad was reading a newspaper he found on bus. Mi mum was trying to sleep but to no avail. Four hours later, bus driver yells,
"Bellevue Zoo, coming up!"
Out of window, I could see lots of different-looking Sharabangs' single and double-deckers. All sorts of different colors, red ones, blue, green and white ones. It was a very colorful site. I read the names on front of 'em. Some came from Sheffield, Bradford, Huddersfield, Liverpool and Blackburn. Every major town seemed to be represented. The bus driver pulled in to parking lot and we took our place right alongside of other coaches.
"Back at 6 O'clock everyone. Those who are late'll get left behind!"
Bus driver kept shouting his message out as we all got off bus. As I was getting off bus, he winked at me and said,
"Don't get left behind lad. It's a long walk home."
"Least I'd get some peace and quiet for a while!", mi mum sez.
Soon as we were off a' bus, mi mum gave us a message,
"Listen to me you three and listen good. First time you misbehave and show me up, I'll tan your backsides and back on bus you go."
With that word of warning, off we go on a bright and clear day, Mum, dad and 3 kids! Through turnstiles we go. There were hundreds and hundreds of people milling around. The place was noisy and full of excitement! In contrast to where we came from, it was like a looney bin. We followed the crowds to where the animals were and soon came to first cages. I was excited to see them all but not behind bars.
"Why do they have 'em all behind bars?", I said to mi mum.
" 'Cause some of them are dangerous."
"I don't like seeing them behind bars.", I sez.
"Nowt ya can do about it. That's what Zoo's are like."
After I put the bars outof mi mind, I started to enjoy misen. We saw Giraffes, lions and tigers. We even got to go on an elephant ride. That was good fun as the elephant got to walk around outside same as everyone else. This was good fun too.
A sign read, DO NOT FEED THE MONKEYS. Mi sister Sheila saw that some people were leaning over the railing and feeding the monkeys peanuts. She decided to go under the railing and give her sandwich to this big old monkey. As she held out the sandwich, the monkey stuck his arm out of the bars and grabbed the sandwich. At the same time, he grabbed her hand and tried to pull her into the cage!
She let out a scream. Just then, one of the groundsmen run up and grabbed hold of her. He tried to get the monkey to let go. The monkey seemed to like mi sister better than her sandwich. After her had was freed, the groundsman gave me mum a right telling off for not watching her kids. This pleased mi mum no end. Mi sister got a few good cracks on her bare legs and was made to hold mi mums' hand for the rest of day.
"Hey mum, look at that monkey sat over there? Why is he playing with his willy mum?"
"Trust you to see something like that Richard! How the hell do I know? Just be careful he doesn't grab your willy!" she sez as she took a swipe at me and missed.
"Let's go over and sit at those tables over there.", sez mi dad.
We all sat down and mi mum gets tea flask out. As she starts to pour, mi dad sez,
"I'll be back in a minute wench, I'm just off to toilet."
"If you're not back from that bar by the time were finished George, me and kids are going back to bus. I've had enough of this today, already!"
It was a long day and quite hot for that time of year. As we were walking around, I heard some music playing. I sezs to mi mum,
"What's that music mum?"
"It's coming from over there. Let's go see."
It was a sight to behold! There were crowds of people standing around in long rows.
"Lift me up dad so I can see!", as mi dad hoisted me up I could see.
A band of men in red jackets with gold trim on their sleeves and collar. They were wearing black trousers with a red stripe down the outside of each leg. On their heads they wore big furry hats with a gold and black braided chin strap. Each one was playing an instrument.
"What are those hats called dad?"
Just then, one of them caught my eye. He was on the front row and fairly close to me now.
"What's that instrument he's playing dad?"
"It's called a Trumpet."
All the way home, I could think of nothing else but that trumpet!
"Do you want some pop and crisps at the half-way rest stop Richard?", mi mum asks.
"NO! I want a trumpet!"
"I'll trumpet you in a minute. I'll trumpet you all the way up those stairs to bed soon as I get you home mi boy!"
"I don't care how many thick ears I get from now on, just as long as I get a trumpet!"
When we got back home to Parrok Nook, Inngs Farm, as I was getting off a' bus, I said to bus driver,
"Thank you Mister. I'm getting a trumpet for Xmas."
He gave me a smile and a wink and said,
"I hope you do Sunshine. I hope you do!"