3Nations: Stadiums and Palaces

WARNING: This was a particularly busy day on the trip and this will, undoubtedly, be a stupidly long post. Stretch your legs, feed the cat, go to the toilet and make yourself a cuppa just now... you have been warned!

Saturday 18th July 2009:
*posh announcers voice* Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for yesterdays unscheduled change in programming. We are glad to inform you that service should return to normal, I repeat we have normality... anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem

Today is the first day of the program as it should be, unfortunately it is also the last day in China (for a while anyway), but we could tell that today was going to be a good day as breakfast had a special guest star... bacon! It's the little things that make me happy

The days schedule involves a lot of sightseeing, I'll try not to bore you with all the stories from the sites we saw... I'll just bore you with some of them

First stop of the day was at the Olympic site (as it is on the way to our main destination for the day).
The Birds Nest... (did you know that there was another building called the Egg?)

The Swimming Pool (which was open to the public, and was very tempting in the heat)

These two iconic buildings of the Olympics were actually directly across the street from each other!

Ok, this building wasn't so famous... it generally wasn't shown on TV cause it was the one with all the TV cameras and presenters inside it (so that they could have the birds nest stadium in the background)

 These mascots were just sat at the side. Beth went over to get her picture with them, a couple of us followed suit (including myself as you can clearly see). By the time we left them there was a small queue of Chinese people wanting to do the same. Beth, she's so cool she is setting trends.

As you can tell by the photos, the Olympic Village was not a small place by any means. And we would have happily have spent hours wandering around it. But this is a whistle-stop tour my friends.

Total time allowed at the Olympic village: 15 minutes  ... yes running was involved ... hey I can run when I need to you cheeky beggar!

And so onto the main attraction for the day, the Summer Palace. Up until now we had been wondering where all the millions of Chinese people were. The streets had been a lot quieter than we had expected (although still rather deadly). Turns out that they are all hiding out in the Summer Palace.

The place was so busy that our guide Serena had to bring out The Flag to start off the classic tourist game of Follow the Flag. (it's pretty self explanatory)
 There she is... don't let her get too far ahead!

The Summer Palace is ginormous! I mean HUGE! 2.9 square kilometers (or so wikipedia tells me, and why would it lie to me?). The Palace does feature some highly functional buildings that frankly no holiday home should be without, including: The Cloud Dispelling Hall, The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity and the Oriole Listening Hall. That last one being a building specifically for listening to singers... remember these were the days before ipods, otherwise there would probably be a building for that too.

But those buildings aren't the main attractions. In fact some of the main attractions arn't even buildings!

Heres a quick run down of them... (I'll try to keep it brief ha!)

And if you look on your left we have the Thunder Stones (roughly translated... I can't remember the actual name). Called Thunder Stones because they apparently look like thunder, these stones (which apparently bring good luck etc) actually bankrupted three Emperors before actually getting into the palace!


Next we have the Marble Boat. An ancient analogy says that the Emperor is like a boat, and his people are the sea; a sea that could potentially become turbulent and capsize (or overthrow) the Emperor. The Emperor who built this boat wasn't a particular fan of this story, so this is his version of a boat that is impossible to overturn... showing those plebs once and for all who is boss. nice eh!

While traveling between the two of them, why let this pesky thing called the sun get in your eyes. Why not build a corridor, but it's got to be pretty so lets paint all of it... with each and every beam unique... in the longest corridor in the World.





Yeah, that aught to cover it!

Now to just jump on a boat so that we can cover the huge lake in this Palace.
Boat trip= win. Mexican wave with all the passengers= epic fail
Stunning isn't it

I just want to squeeze in this other picture of that building... I don't know what exactly the building is in the Palace, or its fancy name... but I just love this picture:
Please note the blue sky: this was one of the few times in China we saw a blue sky!
The boat took us over to the 17 arch bridge (no prizes for guessing why it's called that):
 Anyone else noticing the complete lack of railings etc?!

You can see the Longevity Hill in the background

The island at the other end of this bridge was quite interesting. It was built by the order of the Empress, purely for her enjoyment, and it was designed to mirror the Longevity Hill (shown in the pictures from the boat).

But these things don't build themselves (you know what I mean) so the money had to come from somewhere, so it was craftily taken out of the Navy's budget on the proviso that they would use the island to inspect the Navy from. Not surprisingly, the Navy was crippled by the cost!

End of Part One...
It's at this point that we went to lunch, yes lunch... we're only half way through the day people (I did warn you!). I recon by now your cuppa is getting cold, so I'll leave the afternoon for another day.

Don't say I don't do anything nice for you!
Again, thanks to all those that donated photos to the cause

Purple Curly Wurly

... right, there, I've said it!

You can stop asking now...

...

alright then...

"There's been a murder"

....


you done laughing at my accent now? Can I get on with this?

Thanks... who would have thought, a group of Welsh people finding MY accent funny

This weekend, the circus skills went on tour. Sunday evening we were to run the circus skills for 80 (yes eight zero!) kids, half of whom were from the Czech Republic and their english wasn't fantastic. mind you a lot of people say that about me.

Unlike our usual gigs, after this one was over I didn't head home... instead I set off straight away to Youlbury, near Oxford, to meet my mates Rosie and Rich. They both live in Wales and were in Englandshire for their Explorer Scouts summer camp. Unfortunately one of the activities that they had planned suddenly canceled on them at rather short notice... hence my visit.

Can you tell they're Welsh?
FreeSpirit Explorer Scout Unit... seriously check them out

I arrived onsite shortly before midnight, just when the last of the explorers were getting the final shove into their bedrooms, which meant that, at breakfast in the morning (full greasy fry-up, a camp classic!), I got a number of odd looks from the explorers. I was, apparently, going to be a surprise for them.

I took small groups of the explorers to do circus skills with while the others did pioneering. They made a rather impressive platform (am sure that they have pictures of it covered in sproggage on their website)

That evening was to be the campsites campfire, so Rosie and Rich asked me if I wanted to hang around for it. Being the type of scout leader that is addicted to camp fires, I readily said yes! *bounces slightly with excitement*- I love going to other peoples campfires, you get to learn new songs

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Free Spirit ESU, they made me feel incrediably welcome for the day (and the food was gorgeous!). This is definately a group I would happily go and help again.

... and before I go, I just have to share this with you...
No, she is not hurt... and yes, she was laughing about it when I took the photo

Scouts out for summer...

.... Scouts out for ever (ok, not quite, but hopefully you get the song stuck in your head now... just as it is stuck in mine)

Friday marked the end of the scouting year and to celebrate we decided to have a BBQ for the entire group... and parents... and leaders, basically anyone that showed up! In all, there was about 50 odd people there.

We didn't actually plan any activities for the kids as we wanted the evening to be very laid back and relaxed, which in my opinion was achieved. I had taken along my circus equipment and I put some of the less dangerous stuff out for the little darlings to play with. What I hadn't counted on was the sprog spawn (beavers).

Never.....EVER..... underestimate the destructive powers of sprog spawn.

I actually had to spend a chunk of sunday repairing a lot of the equipment after the beavers had done playing with it. I think my circus equipment can easily relate to the catapillar room in Toy Story 3 now (and if you don't get that reference get your butt to the cinema NOW... ooo and grab a pack of hankies on the way)

Mind you, there was a couple of more formal things to get sorted out that night aswell. There were 2 investitures at the BBQ, one scout and one beaver. And if that wasn't exciting enough we also had to announce the winners of the Patrol Competitions.

Throughout the year I have been collecting points in my little black book for the patrols; from inspections, games, bonus for being particularly helpful etc. At the end of the year the winning patrol gets a decend prize... this isn't a pat on the back, bar of chocolate and a certificate job. This year the prize was:
a Lifeventure Thermal Mug
a Camping Stool
and a Survival Whistle .... and that was all for each of them

The Wolf patrol were the winners, but I have to admit that it was close between the three patrols!

We also had a secondary competition with the patrols, all the points from the market nights throughout the year. The winners for that would get a Phlatball... just something fun for that prize. And would you believe that the Wolf Patrol were, yet again, the winners!

Congratulations Wolf Patrol, and darn you sprog spawn *shakey fist*

3Nations: Silk Road

Friday 17th July 2009
Wakey wakey rise and shine, its 7:30am and it doesn't matter if you have jet lag you've got to get up... you've got a country to explore!

  
Breakfast, I'll admit, was a bit of a culture shock. Yes, everyone who travels abroad expects the food, especially the breakfasts, to be a tad different. And you usually expect your international breakfast at a hotel will contain certain staple elements; toast and cereal and the like. What we weren't expecting was stuff like: corn on the cob, dumplings, watermelon, steamed celery, egg fried rice and beef in black bean sauce with onions and green peppers. Not that these things are bad! I think most of us have had these as cold left overs in the morning when hungover, but having it hot and freshly cooked just seamed somehow... weird.

It was during this more-Chinese-than-we-had-expected breakfast that we were told that there was a slight change in plans due to the weather. Given that it was supposed to rain we were going to go to swap the Silk Road and general tourist days. So this afternoon we would be heading out to the Silk Road market, but the morning we would have free to explorer/settle in.


Please note: our plans were changed because of the rain, but being from Britain we're used to rain! We're weren't going to let a little bit of precipitation to stop us exploring Beijing...


 
ok... maybe we should of! Who would have known that waterproofs don't like acid rain...

In fact, none of our waterproofs worked, and this on day 2 in China. It no real surprise that there was so many locals either laughing at the wet white people or trying to sell us umbrellas. So it was with failed waterproofs and a rather soggy outlook we retreated back to the hotel to try and dry off before the afternoon.

It was back at the hotel, sitting in the foyer to be exact, that we were introduced to the wonders that is the doobb. It's a cartoon in China, about beansprouts that fall in love.







Look, we can be Doobb too...
The most worrying thing about this photo is that it's not the only one with us in this pose!

After getting suitably dried and amused by Chinese cartoons we set of by coach to the Silk Road market. This was to prove to be full of surprises; first off... its not a road! It's actually a huge 6 storey building.

Before being ushered in by our tour guides we were warned that the sellers would be pushy and that we should barter for everything, never accept the first price. We'll I doubt I have been more complimented in my life, ever... or ever will be again. Mind you, them asking me if I wanted to buy stuff for my wife was a tad off putting!

'Pushy' is what Seriena our guide said... 'pushy'... I would have loved pushy. The Chinese stall holders would actually reach out and grab our arm to try to direct you into their stall; which is not too bad until you take into account that there are about 1000 stalls in this building, each vying for and literally grabbing your attention.

But once you got used to it, it started to become fun bartering with the stall holders and working on a price for something.
 
It really was a little treasure trove of wonders

Pretty much, if you wanted it then you could find it in this building. I personally got offered everything from designer watches, to suit cases, bags, and even Cashmere and Armani. There were several guys that got suits, made to measure... some of the girls got dresses made too.

Dinner was something rather special, as we were treated to a Chinese Hot Pot. Take any illusions of a dish with meat and potatoes right out of your head.
To start with, this is how your place setting was.

The bowl was kept with a literal 'hot pot' of boiling stock. That is because the food was served in the middle of the table like this:
yup... that is waffer thin RAW meat people!

We were to pick it up with the chop sticks, bung it raw into our pot of boiling stock, wait about 30seconds, fish it out and enjoy! (you can actually see my claw like hand doing just that in the photo above) 

 This also awaited us... no, I am assured that it is NOT poo. It is actually satay sauce

... or so I am led to believe!

Note: I've actually ran a meal like this for COLDnet for their Chinese night. Everyone had eaten Chinese food before, but no one had even heard of a Chinese Hot Pot before. I would highly recommend this as an activity!

Things I have learned today:
  • The Doobb are fantastic
  • The Chinese don't do breakfast like we do, in any way shape or form
  • "Waa Eye Knee" is Chinese for "I love you"
  • Scary begger boys only know one phrase in english... "F**k you"
  • Starbucks are everywhere, and they are all the same
  • In the battle between acid rain and waterproofs, the acid rain is going to win... every time
  • Calculators are a God send when bartering
  • Colgate makes fruit flavoured toothpaste (including watermelon)
  • There is such a thing as pineapple flavoured milk... and it comes in a bag!

 Again, thank you for those that helped by donating photos

A camp with extras

There were several reason why we went camping with the scouts at Laughterton this weekend:
  • We had been asked to do circus skills workshops for a cub camp.
  • Saxilby scouts (from whom we are 'borrowing' a leader) were potentially needing more leaders to meet their sprog to adult ratios.
  • We wanted to do a small weekend camp before we broke up for the summer.
  • please note that the weather forecast was not one of the reasons- the past so many weekends have been glorious, and we had to pick the wet one!
And I would like to say straight away... before I forget... THANK YOU to Mim (my GSL) for organising it. I was far too busy running round like the proverbial decapitated poultry getting everything sorted out for Kandersteg.

We had a total of 8 sprogs attend the camp and our program for them was simple enough.
  • Friday: pitch site, wide game, supper and bed
  • Saturday: route cards and plan hike (while some of the leaders ran circus skills with the cubs from another group), the actual hike in the afternoon and a campfire that night
  • Sunday: some pioneering and then strike camp
Apart from that it would be free time for the sproggage to play. Simple enough you would have thought?

Friday went pretty much to plan... apart from me only having 15minutes to actually pack my own kit! mind you, I didn't actually forget anything. We thoroughly annoyed the sprogs with the Train Game at supper, it's a puzzle game where they have to figure out the rule behind what you are doing... none of them got it so I suppose it will run over to the next camp.

Saturday, well... that is where our first little extra surprise came in. I hadn't long returned to the site, from collecting the circus gear (there wasn't enough room for it and the camping equipment) when the site warden walks up to us and tells us that we have to move! Apparently the plot we were on is actually owned by a group, and they were on their way to the site for the weekend.

*argh*

With all hands to the pumps, and a bit of help from the cub camp leaders thank you! we managed to move our entire site - mess tent, tables, stoves, tents and all in 20-30mins.

Our second little surprise came when we were driving out to the checkpoint to meet the sprogs on their hike. I had noticed that a sign saying ZHP Polish Scout Centre. Turns out that there is actually another campsite, just 2minutes further down the road, that is run by the Polish Scout Association... and no body even knew it was there!

We stopped in to check the place out and the facilities looked brilliant, I currently have plans for some things to do with that site buzzing round my head at the moment. But how could this little gem of a place not be known by anyone? Laughterton was mobbed with groups this weekend, and the Polish place was deserted (purely cause no one knew about it).

... it's a strange World I tell ya

... anyway, back to the camp.

I managed to get 2 of my new starts invested at the campfire infront of all the other scouts. One of the cub leaders and myself ran the campfire... and there was only two things that I thought we wrong with it. Firstly I wanted to keep going longer (but cubilly-winks need their sleep). And secondly, I was the one doing all the running for Cecile the Caterpillar.

running.... *shudder*

Unfortunately the pioneering on Sunday didn't really happen, mainly because the sprogettes didn't finish making breakfast til 11am. (and before you say anything about me being sexist and getting the girls to do the cooking, the boys had done it the day before...*so there*)

Some funny quotes from camp:
  • when heading up to the campfire: "Are they going to dim the lights when you do the fire poi?"
  • Leader: "Stop being things I can't call you"
  • Sprog while walking out of toilet, added humour in the fact that a boy she really fancies was within earshot: "Going to the toilet is fun"
Camps little lessons:
  • How to move a site- quickly
  • pretending to flick someones blister is a bad idea... you might accidentally hit it Sorry!
  • Sprogs can take forever to cook or wash up at times
  • Cub leaders are usually packing sweets/cake
  • Coca Cola burps can be the cause of hilarity for several reasons

I can't believe I'm missing out...

Every two summers, in the hills of Perthshire, in the grounds of Blair Castle, scouts from across the globe gather for two weeks of sheer joy.

... and this time I won't be with them!

*sniff* I know, it's so upsetting

Give me a moment to sort myself out.... *sniff*...

...

Ok, I think I can carry on.

If I was still living in Scotland then I believe that I would currently getting all excited about seeing all my friends again at the Blair Atholl International Patrol Jamborette. In fact, the staff... a lot of whom I consider friends, will be arriving on site TOMORROW.... mind you, I am going to be going to Switzerland in less than a month so I can't complain too much!

I've been to Blair 4 times in the past, once as a scout and three times as staff, and it was at Blair that I was bitten by the Jambo-bug. Shortly after attending Blair as a scout I applied to the World Jamboree in Thailand... and I've been doing international scouting ever since.

Blair has a lot to answer for!

At some point I'll hunt out some of my old photos so that you can get an idea of how unique Blair Atholl really is... even on the scale of Jamborees its fairly unique. But until then I would recommend that you visit the website linked above and check out the galleries.

To all those that are going to Blair, I know you will all have a wonderful time... enjoy it and treasure it.

Fun days and not-so-fun days

I recently said that we had a fete coming up on the circus skills circuit. It was infact the Fun Day for a local football team.

The Fun Day itself looked as if it was a big success, there was loads of people there (I would say about 300 people easily) and I know that things like the BBQ and bar were selling out of some things nearer the end of the day. This was probably helped by the fact that the weather was so glorious.

Circus skills wise... the day was a flop! We had hardly anyone come to take part in the circus skills (even after me walking around in the bouncy stilts). Turns out that most people, were expecting it to be free and were turned off when we asked for 50p for about 10-15minutes. Its not as if anything else there was free... or that we were being particularly strict with the times! Frankly I'll be surprised if we raised anything above £5!!

There is always that consolaton prize of "well you promoted scouting to the public"...

... not that that helps us get to Kandersteg!

Talking of Kandersteg, I've been buzzing around like the proverbial blue bummed fly getting stuff organised for it. I do believe that some stuff is now late... so I will be throwing myself at the mercy of one or two individuals in scouting that I need the signatures of. I can see myself driving round the place to get paperwork to people.

On the plus side the program is now completely confirmed by KISC. woo hoo!

*villagers rejoicing*

Red wire or blue wire...


... which one do I cut? This bomb is going to explode if you don't tell me quick... RED OR BLUE?*

Now us scouters know the answer to that straight off. Just remove the ball from the tube!
D'uh

Or depending on the activity; the scissors from the ball of string, the peg from the pot or even the glow sticks from the other team... simple really!

But for todays proposes it's the ball out of the tube model. And of course, with all these risk assessments and health & saftey etc etc... I couldn't let my poor defenceless sprogs anywhere near the actual bombs now could I? (can you imagine the paperwork?!)

So my bomb disposal sprogs had to contruct something to get the tennis ball out of the tube and back to them without moving the rest of the of the bomb. All they had to do it was:
Broom handles (cause we can't find traditional scout staves), rope and a cup of water

In reality, this was my ploy to get them to practice the sheer lashing.
Not quite tight enough, but a decent attempt

So close!

Where as this was one of the other teams...
It didn't really get anywhere near

There was a third team, and if I am honest (and you know I do try to be honest to you all) they did get closer than the second team. But their contrapion was so flimsy it actually made an arch to get to the bomb.

There isn't a photo as I was too busy... laughing... I then of course pointed them in the right direction. They took it apart to try and fix it, but we ran out of time.

Surprisingly, what with all the water being held at a distance, the floor didn't actually get too wet!

*I never understood this; why handily colour code the wires so that it can be disarmed? Surely they would use all black wires... cause you know, black goes with anything. Why hasn't Hollywood thought of this? Or am I just being a tad too scarey just now. Ok, I'll shut up.

Poi Scouts

I'm pretty sure that I have mentioned it in passing before now, but recently the leaders and I have been undergoing a little experiment to raise some money for the scout troop.

One of my hobbies happens to be circus skills (a tad strange I know... but its better than hanging around on street corners so I am sure that my parents didn't mind too much the odd bit of damage here or there!) Over the years I have collected a good sized pile of equipment, and every now and again I would take it to scouts for them to have a go.

... this is where the fundraising comes from. Basically we've said that for a donation we would go to other scout troops and run a circus skills evening for them. I wasn't even sure if people would even be interested!

So far, so good. All the groups that we've been to so far have really enjoyed it (or seamed to at least), heck some of them are even asking us to come back again for camps etc... we even have a fete on the books.

Some of the stuff that we've been doing with the sprogs:
Poi
Devil Sticks
Diabolo
Juggling (scarves, balls and clubs)
Staff Spinning
Unicycles
Plate Spinning
Bouncy Stilts!! (aka. Powerisers)

There also some other odd and sods for the kids to play with.

If I'm honest I'm rather chuffed with what we've managed to achieve, its fundraising that is a bit different, it provides a service for those we are getting money from and most importantly... it doesn't require us to stand for hours packing other peoples shopping!

Oh and by the way... if you check out the new Scout Handbook, there is a page about circus skills with a big picture of someone doing fire poi (swinging balls of fire on the ends of chains).... THAT'S ME! That's right, I am actually in the Scout Handbook!!

Jamboree Badges

Well, I promised that I would post this when I had images ready for the Jamboree Unit Badges...

You'll remember that it the design drawn out by one of the members was this:


well... after lengthy discussion with the badge company (believe me, it was a LOT of emails and I may have made the poor man develop a tick) this is what they produced

  This is the Unit Member version

and this is the public version that we'll be selling as part of our fundraising!

I will, of course, be letting you know when they are available for you to buy... you will buy one won't you?!

3Nations: Arrival in China


Background: A while back I said that I would try to post some diary snippets and random memories from scouting adventures in the past. 3Nations, an expedition to Mongolia and China in the summer of 2009, was possibly my biggest adventure to date. (it was originally going to include Russia, but due to airlines etc... it had to be cut it from the trip)

Wed 15th July - Thurs 16th July 2009
After leaving Lincoln at 8am, I arrived in Heathrow Terminal 5 rather excited about the forthcoming expedition. Eventually we got on the plane at about 16:30, which was later than was expected.
As we started to descend we tried to look out of the windows to catch our first glimpse of China... something that we had been waiting for for about 2 years... but for all the damn clouds are in the way!

"Katy, you going to be okay for the landing?" (she isn't particularly good in a plane)
*THUD*
"okay... never mind"

When people talk about the smog in Beijing, it's no lie. We couldn't see the runway until we hit it, and believe me I was looking for it!

And now we were in China! Well... after we got through: filling out customs forms on the plane, quarantine (it was the time of the swine flu after all), temperature readings, immigration, baggage claim and customs... then we were in China!

Before heading to the hotel we were treated to our first Chinese meal. All I can tell you is this. I don't have a clue what I ate, we were all tired (it was Thursday lunchtime by this point), it tasted better than the plane food, and most importantly, the head waitress woman scared the bejabbers out of me what with all her shouting and there was no way in hell I was going to not eat and potentially incur her wrath!
It's guess the food time!
Foreigners that are loud and p*ssed off... especially when they have access to your food... I generally always do what they say gesture.

Something that we weren't expecting was for everyone, and I mean everyone, in the street stopping whatever they were doing to stare at the strange white people going to the hotel.

Now for some exploring! We didn't go too far away during this initial exploration, but we did manage to find the Forbidden City... and what was good after a day traveling/exploring DINNER.
Please note the classy plastic covered table... and the vast quantities of Coca Cola. No matter what country you're in, waiters understand the phrase Coca Cola.

 
The international method of ordering food... point at the pictures and hope for the best!


Following Dinner we went across the road to sit by the moat of the Forbidden City, chill, and watch the bats fly overhead.
 
Lessons learned from today (including exploration)

  • A fist full of sleeping pills won't always get you to sleep if you're wound up about flying (sorry Katy!)
  • The green man lies- it only means that you are slightly less likely to die when crossing the road
  • Old people like to practice calligraphy on the pavement with water


  • Old couples like to sing in the subway
  • Random dumplings filled with what can only be described as "something" can be tasty after all
  • Mannequins apparently deserve their own shop
  • Beijing may have 18million people living in it, but so far they are rather good at hiding.
  • Katie Melua lies!... there are actually 10 million bicycles in Beijing!
Thanks to all those that donated photos!

    On the sidelines

    Sometimes you set challenges and you really aren't entirely sure if the sprogs are ready for it... but you throw it at them anyway just incase.

    Well, I had challenged the patrol leaders to run the entire night, and I said that all I would do is stay at the side and only step in if I really had to. Personally I had thought that they would not have planned anything. Given that last week they had forgotten about the challenge, my expectations for a program weren't very high.

    In fact, I even had an alternative plan...

    ...cleaning out the store cupboards.

    I know it sounds boring, but that's my point! Why should I give them a really fun night to reward the patrol leaders lack of planning? It would also mean that next time I set a similar challenge they would be even less likely to bother, given that they would know they would get a load of fun.

    My cupboards are still in a state.

    In fairness to them, they did a good job. They did run out of program about 45mins before the end of the evening (we meet for 2hours every week), but they managed to blag the rest of it. It was really really strange to be at the side while they just got on with it! But somehow I am prepared to get used to it, especially given that the patrol leaders have said that they enjoyed it and would do it again! woo hoo

    I would say that the experiment was a success!

    Infiltrating the GSL meeting

    "Scotland, what are you up to tomorrow evening?"

    Why is it that any time I get asked this loaded question a tiny wee alarm bell does off in my head? I can just picture the Homer Simpsons control desk type set up in my head with an alarm going off in the background... unfortunately, like Homer, the wee guy at the controls is usually either asleep or preoccupied with doughnuts (but he spells them doughnuts and not donuts because he isn't American!)

    Mind you, if I am honest, I wasn't actually that bothered about being asked this by Mim this time... she has been exceptionally helpful to me recently so I owed her a favour (and if we're counting I probably owe several more- thank goodness we're not counting).

    So on Wednesday I set off to take Mims place at the Group Scout Leaders meeting being held by the district. It was rather long, and I am sorry to say Mim... but I have about 6 or 7 pages of notes that I am going to have to go through with you.

    The last part of the meeting had to be the most interesting, it was covering the District Camp to be held in September this year. I don't want to give too much away ahead of the game... but it sounds AWESOME!!!

    I so want a go of a load of the activities!

    ooo... and I forgot to say, on Monday we had a mammoth circus skills session with the Scothern Scout Group. We did their Beavers, Cubs and Scouts one right after the other! It was a long, but enjoyable 4 hours. And I have to say, they are probably the most talented (circus wise anyway) so far

    Dunhome Fete

    What better way to spend a hot summer day than at a village fete?

    *ignores answers of swimming in an outdoor pool at a tropic resort with a load of models, and other such mental images*- I'm talking about realistic ways to spend a hot summer day.

    Anyway...

    *looks vacant, thinking about those models*.... no Scotland! must keep mind on track.

    Well I have to say that I really enjoyed my day at the Dunholme Fete (even given the lack of swimwear clad models). The sprogs going to the Jamboree from Lincoln District had managed to get a couple of stalls at the Fete and they had invited me along. I happily accepted and took along something for their cake stall.

    Mind you, they had LOADS of cake!
    nom nom nom...

    Unfortunately Bob was very happy. I should explain... Bob is my podge; and I figure that it might work like my fish, if I name any of my fish then the named fish will die. And don't get me wrong, Bob must die! Just a case of waiting is all.

    It may look a lot in the photo, but this was part way through the day, so they had already sold a load, and they still had more hidden under the table!

    I've yet to find out how much they raised, but I'm sure that it was a lot!