In Brief: Two boys play truant and lie to their parents to get back an historical artefact they saw on a school trip; their parents, teachers and a policeman are understanding while pointing out what is wrong.
Published in: 2001
Age Range: Young Teens
Tony's best friend at school has learning difficulties, problems at home, and is adept at getting himself into and out of trouble. Tony's parents are getting into financial difficulties with the magazine his father runs and they may have to sell their house. In the middle of all this, Tony & Michael on a school field trip, discover an antique drinking mug which they take to the local museum expert who realises it has an interesting local connection. In the background, the head of the school governors owns the construction firm which is building over the heathland where the boys found the cup.
Despite their various difficulties, both boys are interested enough in the cup which they catch a glimpse of on a school trip to cycle the thirty miles back in order to collect it. They play truant and Tony in particular lies to his parents several times to cover up their (innocent) activities.
The boys get a better insight for themselves of their teachers when the teachers take an obvious real interest in things the boys have found.
The chairman of governors is a pompous and patronising man, painted as the villain of the piece both for his inability to understand the minds of the children in the school he governs and also because he owns a construction firm which is building over an area of local heathland.
Tony has sufficient trust in his parents to explain to his Mum about his truancy and so on and indeed Tony's parents, when they discover what the boys have been doing and why, are very supportive of their decisions even when this means rejecting an offer of help which might save their house and their magazine.
On one level, this story threatened to turn into a kids-versus-developers story, but then that became merely a backdrop for the interactions between the boys themselves and their parents and teachers. A policeman who stops the boys and discovers their truancy, is nonetheless very friendly towards them and offers them good advice.
As the car swung left and then right up Weston Hill, he'd explained what had really taken place during their field trip, how they'd been pushed into the pond and how they'd got the blame for Delaney's actions. How they'd decided to ride back to Ailsworth Heath on Friday because there didn't seem to be any other way of recovering the tankard that they'd seen.
Tuesday 1st January 2002