A small problem at the start of a field trip to Burton Bradstock in Dorset on 29 April 2001 brought out the Field Trip Secretary’s leadership qualities . . .
The geo-tribe arrived one day
At Burton Bradstock’s shingly bay.
We hoped to search the fresh cliff-fall
To find the fossils – that was all.
The map displayed a thin blue line:
A stream. Our wellies should do fine
To get us to the other side.
Then someone checked up on the tide . . .
The tide was in; our luck was out.
There were no boats or rafts about,
No ropes to rig a breeches buoy,
No Bailey bridges to deploy.
The stream was running fast and deep;
Too wide, by far, to make a leap.
So we were stuck. But then appeared
A tribal leader with a beard.
With wellies off and trousers rolled,
Into the stream our Moses strolled:
“O Dorset waters, take ye heed,
A bit of dry land’s what we need.”
And did those waters take the hint
And open up? Well, no, they didn’t.
So Moses saith, “Pay heed to me,
We’re going to have to try Plan B.
“I’ll give you all a helping hand
To get you to that promised land.
No milk and honey, just a heap
Of virgin fossils, ankle deep.”
(He knew the thought of all those rocks
Would have us tearing off our socks.)
So jeans were hoisted, feet were bared
And knees exposed, but no-one cared.
We waded through that raging torrent,
Which prospect had once seemed abhorrent.
No money would have made us do it –
’Twas fossils got us safely through it!