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!


Barbara Eads said...

What a great story and what a great guide you were. What fun your girls must have had under your leadership!

Ginger said...

Oh My!! That is very funny! Loved this story :)

BTW - I have been to North Battleford many times on my way to and from my parents! So nice to see someone who knows where it is too :)

Ladkyis said...

Ginger, next time you go past Battleford wave and shout out "Hello Pete Gibbon!"
I am sure he'll hear you.

Abi said...

Ha ha I was laughing out loud at this. A very well told story

Sian said...

Magic story!

and I'm buoyed by the thought that you have many more in reserve..