Any Liverpool schoolchild of about my age, or pretty much any age
, will almost certainly have had The Colomendy Experience.
This local authority managed centre (read: "camp") in the North Wales hills is basically a shrine to everything bad about institutionalised services in Britain in the cash-strapped 1970s and 1980s. Lime Green paint on the walls, dripping with damp and flaking.
And the food! The canteen was actually investigated by the International Atomic Energy Agency who, whilst confirming that it was largely intendended for civilian use, did comment on a number of safety breaches.
And that's why we love it. It was at Colomendy that I first discovered that when someone says "If you keep walking to the top of the hill there's a chippy at the top and we can all stop for a half and half with curry sauce" what they actually mean is "I wonder how gullible an eleven year old can be when they're really hungry and all they've eaten all day is a banana".
Go to Liverpool and tell a 10 year old there's no Father Christmas - no one will be overly bothered. Tell them there's no chippy at the top of Moel Famau and you'll be run out of town(Don't tell me you can't see the chippy!)
But more seriously it was often the most exciting thing that happened in the year to a lot of the kids in my school. I saw lads who would have kicked my head in for looking at them a bit funny crying their eyes out when they were told some indiscretion had cost them their place on that year's trip. And it was genuinely educational - our biology and geography classes for weeks afterwards would be filled with things we'd seen, caught and all too often pulled the legs off whilst the teachers weren't looking at in Colomendy.
Which would explain why everyone's favourite Lib Dem council
is determined to make such a pig's ear
of sorting the place out.
not good enough.