Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gap-year student returns after controversial trip

A Petersfield teenager has returned from a controversial gap-year trip without calling upon the emergency services in any of the countries he visited.

Garstang Ponsonby-Landowner, 19, from Monks Vineyard, had courted controversy from the very first moment he conceived the gap-year trip to the Far East, as his father, Sir Arthur, explained.

"He eschewed all the accepted methods of travel," said an angry Sir Arthur.

"For a start he didn't send in a picture of himself to the local paper with an appeal for other people to fund his trip. This meant we, his parents, had to cough up - and it meant selling one of the Bentleys.

"Most people at his university tap up their wealthy parents for a stamp to send in an appeal to the newspaper and make gullible members of the general public cough up money so the students can enjoy a trip the plebs can only ever dream of.

"But not our son. Oh no! He wanted to be independent, so we had to fund it ourselves. And on top of that he didn't once get lost in a jungle or a desert necessitating a full-scale search by the local emergency services."

Sir Arthur's ire was echoed by Professor Mortimer Greeb-Streebling, Garstang's tutor at Moscow Top Spy College, Oxford.

He said: "I really can't see why anybody would want to go on a gap-year trip if they keep such a low profile. Surely it's all part-and-parcel of student life to take a gap-year trip, get lost, cause panic among friends and relatives, before being discovered after an intensive search.

"It's a British rite of passage. After all it's not our taxes that have to pay for the emergency services' time - that's why these youngsters always go abroad. Garstang really doesn't appear to have entered into the spirit of the thing.

"And to cap it all off, getting through the trip without an emergency meant he didn't get a free trip home in an air ambulance, and he won't be able to turn his story into one of those paperbacks you can get in Book Ends for £2.99.

"We may have to send him down. He's let down the entire education system."

An ashamed Garstang, who is studying to be a teacher, refused to be interviewed by Petersfield Newswire. Instead he issued a short statement which said: "I realise now I've let down my parents, my fellow students and my university - but most of all I've let down myself. After all, it's my time I'm wasting."

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