Saturday, 16 June 2012

Something I made earlier

A post from another blogger made me remember a little album I made a few years ago - 2006 actually. The Lifeboat (RNLI) produced some cute little Paddington Bears and as a competition asked us to photograph our bear in unusual places. We have always supported the RNLI as we think they are the bravest of the brave and they don't get paid either. They get no Government funding and do everything from donations. They save hundreds of lives every year and... well, let's just say we give as much as we can to them.

Where was I?... oh yes. I had far too much fun thinking of places to go to photograph Paddington and even managed to rope in some other people. I forgot all about the competition and made a little album to remember the fun. I thought I could share it now. I will show the photographs and write what is written on the pages. This is because there are names and stuff on the pages and it is easier to simply put the pictures on here and tell the story than to faff about erasing or covering names and things.
Then they said wait by the door so I found one and waited by it... I hate waiting
Then they said "Can you map read?" well it's a map and I am reading it!
Then they said "Navigate" (I am standing on the dashboard because Mr M drove through a ford. I had to hold on with my paws because he drove very fast)
Note from Mr M: "ten miles an hour is fast when you are a bear on the dashboard of a Jeep"
Then they said "Would you care to go for a short holiday with M and J?"
(I packed my bag!)
Note from Mrs M: M is my eldest son and J is my daughter-in-law

This was our first stop... A duffle coat is very warm in California, it makes you go all fuzzy
Wow, you should see what I am looking at!
See? I told you, WOW!
Then we came here... It's very high, and there are bears... big bears, but it does have hot and cold running water... sometimes squirting too, straight up into the sky. I hid in M's pocket
Behind me is Palm springs, so they told me... we were very high.
I saw the racoon stealing food through the fence. M and J were eating so couldn't take a picture. They made sure it didn't steal me. I am a very small bear, but smart!
I am clinging on very tightly because behind me is the Grand Canyon. M wanted to take my picture in the helicopter but I hid in his pocket and clung to the lining and he couldn't get me out hehehehe. (We were very high)
Then they brought me home and Mrs M asked "Do you like music?"
I said yes and packed my bag.
I went to New York with Mikhail (That's what Mr and Mrs M call him). He goes every year and stays at the YMCA and goes to concerts and operas At the New York City Opera
And at the Met. We had breakfast in Central Park every morning and I went to the Opera inside the pocket of his Tux! I am a small bear but I am very lucky and well travelled

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Revenge on the tent droppers

Several people asked what happened to the girls who were responsible for dropping the tent in this post. I was going to save the story for next month's Storytelling Sunday, but I counted the list of stories - yes I have to have a list, it's my age - and realised that even if I don't add another event I have enough stories to keep my Storytelling Sunday going for 14 months..... and then I added another that happened just yesterday evening and it makes me giggle out loud when I think of it. So here is the tale of how we took gentle revenge on the Tent droppers.

First I'll set the scene.

1977, Silver Jubilee Guide Camp at Rockfield, Monmouth. 18 girls aged from 11 to 17, divided into 3 patrols. Their accommodation - three 15ft Islandic Ridge tents with wooden poles.

When the dropped tent had been put back up and the girls settled Viv and I returned to our own tent and fell asleep pretty quickly. The next day dawned bright and sunny and the patrols were quick to understand the routine and to complete the chores required.
We had a series of challenges mapped out for them, some observational, some handicrafts and there was a code making challenge. We always had a code-making challenge, it became an expected part of our camps to have a code-making challenge, although nothing ever came close to this first one.

The challenge:
Devise a simple code and write a note using it.
Give this note to another Patrol and ask them to decode it.

washing up at Clytha Camp
This particular patrol chose to give their code to the guiders. Viv looked at it briefly, turned to me and said "You can do this I have a Dutch oven to create." I spent every spare minute during the day looking at the code and trying to get a handle on it. Eventually I got it and decoded the message as we were finishing our cuppa and the girls were washing up and clearing away the evening meal.
"Beware of things that go bump in the night"
I showed Viv and we laughed and said "well done" to the patrol. We had our songs around the campfire and taught them "My Aunt Went To Paris" and soon a country silence flowed over the campsite. We could see the occasional green glow as a girl switched on a torch because some girls find it impossible to talk in the dark.
We went into our tent, and then she said it, Viv, again with the "Well, nothing else can happen now"
I groaned and fell into my sleeping bag. If I hadn't already got my pyjamas on I would have stayed in my clothes. We soon fell asleep.
At Midnight the Hobs of H*ll came galloping through our tent! I may be exaggerating a bit here but when you are warmly and comfortably asleep it is a bit of a shock to suddenly be awake and automatically trying to stand up and give the Guide salute because someone is singing the National Anthem.
water collection and washing up
Yes, it was THAT patrol again. Viv and I crawled out of our tent to find them all in full uniform - and Guides only wear full uniform for ceremonial stuff at camp - standing straight and proud and singing God Save The Queen..... two verses because we are outdoors!

We stood in our pyjamas and joined in the singing. Thanked them for their time and trouble and watched as they ran back up the field laughing at their triumph. We plotted, we planned and we chuckled. We now had a way to get revenge for the tent and a way to allow the little girls to have some of the same fun. Viv set her alarm for 5am and we went back to sleep.
At 5am we crept silently out of the tent, gathered some saucepans and lids and a variety of spoons and crept up to the two other patrol tents. We carefully and very quietly woke the girls and whispered our plan. They chose a pan or lid and a spoon and tip-toed with us to THAT patrol's tent. On a silent count of three we all began banging pans and lids with spoons and I shouted
"Good-morning, this is your 5.30 alarm call!" We then gave them a rousing version of "If you're happy and you know it" and informed them that breakfast was in half an hour and they were colour party so could they be with us in uniform please.

As they had kept themselves awake half the night with the adrenaline from their own escapade they were a wonderful sight to see traipsing out of their tent with bags under their eyes and hair all over the place.
So there you have it. A good revenge that included the rest of the girls. everyone had great fun and no one got much sleep. A perfect Guide camp!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Jubilee story

For this month's Storytelling Sunday, created by Sian over at Fromhighinthesky I thought I would give you a Jubilee story about our Silver Jubilee Guide Camp way back in 1977. When you've read it you can go take a look at all the other wonderful stories that are part of this fantastic project.

a 15ft Icelandic Ridge tent with sides lifted 
Way back in 1977... several of you weren't even born yet and more of you were between the ages of eleven and sixteen so could have been on your very first Guide Camp. We took 18 girls to camp at what was the Gwent Guide campsite at Rockfield, just outside Monmouth. By we I mean me as Guide Captain (the title we had in those far off days) and my assistant Guider, Viv. That was her title, Assistant Guider, but she was so much more than that. I'll tell you about her one day.

We supervised the girls putting up their tents, three patrols of six girls so three tents. Here's the statistics so you can hold this image in your mind.
They were 15ft long Icelandic Ridge tents. The poles are 3inch round wood with quarter inch thick steel sleeves to join the pieces together each pole being 6ft tall they came in two pieces. The ridge pole was in three pieces.The fabric of the tent is your genuine tent canvas. Sturdy, thick and weighs about two hundredweight, taking all six girls to carry it. The above picture is of the same tent but a different year - they were far more experienced by then. So this is not one of your namby pamby modern tents with lovely   lightweight carbon fibre poles and fabulous waterproof nylon. No this was a tent that meant business, mess with it and you would get both wet and crushed.
Most of the girls had never camped before and several had never been away from home before, so the day was spent calming the over-excited and channelling their energy into the challenges we had set for the patrols for the week. More of those another day.
It is usual at a Guide or Scout camp for at least one of the tents to "fall" down so Viv and I were prepared - we're Guides for goodness sake! We sat around our campfire, played the donkey game and sang several songs. I remember "If I were not upon the stage" and "You'll Never Get To Heaven". Then we sang Taps and watched as they traipsed off to their tents, then traipsed down the field to the chemical toilets - all in a huddle because it was dark and the night monsters were going to be out in force. Their torches swinging wildly and lighting up everything except the path to the toilets. Soon they had all put on their pyjamas, snuggled into their sleeping bags and the torches were turned off after a reminder that we were on a campsite with no spare batteries.
OH, I should say at this point that our tent was a good 25 yards away from the girls. Far enough for them to feel all on their own, but close enough to still hear them in the night.
The murmer of voices dwindled to a whisper so Viv and I got into our pyjamas and as I crawled into my sleeping bag she said it
"Well, nothing else can happen now"
You can hear them can't you? those Karma Pixies, all turning their heads at the same time and staring in the direction of someone who could throw a temptation like that in front of them.
"That's tempting fate", I said, crossing my fingers and hoping that Fate was busy happening to someone else.
I was woken by the strange sound of someone knocking on the tent and the squeak of a panicky little girl
"Captain, Captain, oh please come! The tent has fallen down and I'm the only one left alive!"
As my daughter and one of Viv's daughters were two of the occupants of that tent she had our full attention. In fact I went from horizontal in a snug warm sleeping bag to to upright with my wellies on, running up the field in 5.6 seconds. I know because Viv told me later and she knows about such things. In fact she swore that she didn't have to move a muscle and the vortex I created by my speed swept her out of her sleeping bag and into her wellies.
When we reached the collapsed tent two of the other girls were outside clinging to each other and sobbing. I found the front pole, found the guy rope and confirmed my suspicion that this tent had been delib  assisted in its downfall by one of the other patrols, and I knew which one. I handed the torch to Catherine - the one who had knocked on the tent - and said
"Shine it on the ground to find the pegs".
Viv and I pulled up the posts at each end of the tent, using the guy ropes and it was easy to find the pegs, still in the ground, where the ropes had been simply lifted off them. I bent to put the rope on the first peg
"Catherine, shine the torch on the pegs, not on my face please. Thankyou."
I moved to the next peg position and reached down
"Catherine, don't shine the torch in my face - thank you"
Now to the side of the tent where there were four ropes.
Rope 1. "Catherine, PLEASE don't shine the torch in my face"
Rope 2. "Catherine, PLEASE DON'T shine the torch in my face"
Rope 3. "Catherine DON'T SHINE THE..... thank you"
Rope 4. "Catherine, GIVE ME THE TORCH!"
I went into the tent and hurriedly shone the torch on the recumbent figures within. They were still asleep. I gently woke them - in Charlotte's case I had to bellow in her ear to wake her but they were not unconcious or concussed and hadn't heard or felt a thing. We straightened out the groundsheet and put the other three back into the tent inspite of hints that they would prefer to sleep in our tent. We returned to our tent discussing how to deal with the tent droppers as we knew exactly who had done it. We got into our sleeping bags and Viv began
"you can stop right there," I hissed, "don't say another word unless it's goodnight"
"Goodnight, God Bless" said Viv and then we began to laugh.

If you enjoyed this story then take a look at all the others that can be found HERE

If you want to know how we got revenge then look at this