Little bundle of joy

As you all know, I generally spend my Friday evenings with the scouts.

But not this week...

This week I have the great pleasure of meeting my new born niece for the first time. That's right... I'M AN UNCLE!!!

*tries to contain joy and excitement*

... oh sod it....






*brushes down clothes and straightens self up*

sorry for that little outburst.
Actually, that's a lie... I'm not sorry about it at all

So, yeah, I'm not going to be at scouts this week.

Drowning in paperwork

Or at least that is how it can feel...

The Child Protection Officer from the Salvation Army came down to see us this Friday (we're affliated with the Salvation Army if you were wondering why) and she came armed with a small forest of paperwork.

So while the sprogs were out doing urban tracking, one patrol would leave a trail for the other to follow... making the symbols out of stuff they could find, but making them stuble enough not to be trashed by the public... I was in signing my soul away.

The sprogs seamed to enjoy it, and we didn't have any hassle about any of them running away like the last time we let them out... so in my books that is a success. *woo hoo*

Mind you, I think it really surprised some of them when we told them that the groups that they had been working in for the evening were their new patrols! Awww, the shocked look on some of their faces was just priceless

Kind of like a shocked fish...

3Nations: Relocation Day

If you would like to follow the 3Nations posts from the beginning then head to the expedition page

Wednesday 22nd July 2009

Well, yesterday certainly threw the plan out the window!

I awoke on the floor of Ed's 'calm room' to realise that it wasn't some sort of dream... we really had been evacuated and our little bubble had not so much burst as decided that it would much rather do an impression of a snow globe.

The buzz from yesterday had started to die down a tad, everyone was safe, there were some that weren't exactly in good shape... but PJ (our medical wizard) was on the case and things were looking very positive.

A small group, made mainly of the expedition leaders and some of the Mongolians, ventured back to the site to check out what the damage was and to figure out what we should do to protect ourselves should it happen again. While we were doing that we were told that we could go explore Zuunmod.

A couple of us had decided that we should go on the hunt for a newspaper, not to get clued up on the news in Mongolia... or to enjoy the suduko or crossword (which would have been a tad difficult given the language barrier)... but so that we could stuff our boots and try to dry them out. We did manage to find plenty of shops, none of which had signs on the outside... or newspapers for that matter.

And to be honest, there didn't appear to be that much more to Zuunmod, that we saw that day anyway. Just a load of nameless shops, which you could easily walk by.

But it was time to start heading back up to the site. The kit was thrown (literally in some cases) back into the mini-buses and trailers and we hiked up to the site.

This was the storm damage to the site

It ripped right through some of the gers.

And the outside of the gers got pretty battered by the hail stones.

It had been decided that we should move the site, so that if there was another storm we would no longer be in the way of the run off water.

The way gers are supposed to be moved is to systematically de-construct them, load them onto either a vehicle or your cattle, move to new site and re-construct it. Which would be fine if you have one or two, we had 12.

If we didn't want to sleep outdoors then we were going to have to do things slightly differently.

3Nations Guide to Relocating Your Ger (the 'Quick' Method)
  1. Recruit about 20 mates to help you.
  2. Tie the door of the ger open.
  3. All but two of you go inside the ger.
  4. One person stand in the middle, two people grab the poles holding up the centre of the roof, everyone else lines the walls.
  5. The ones lining the walls crouch down, grad some trellis, and lift... you are now relocating your ger!
  6. The person in the middle, with the help of the people outside, are to guide you - remember you can only see out of the tiny little door at the front (so they had to be spun round first to go up the hill).
  7. When lowering your ger, make sure to push out on the trellis... or the roof will fall in on your head.
  8. It is also advisable to get another team to move the flooring while you are walking to ger up the hill, so that it will be ready for your arrival (good puzzle/jig saw experience may be required)
If you want to see this method is action, check out Marks video.

*waits for you to come back*

It always reminds me of the Luggage from Terry Pratchetts Discworld. But it was this method that we used to move all the gers...

One... one.

... single...
... one
 Needless to say, this took up about the entire day, and we were absolutely knackered. I remember having to curl up in a corner at one point and get an hour or so sleep... I think I was still recovering from the evacuation day.

Lessons learned:
  • Nowhere in Zuunmod sells newpapers.
  • The Peace Corp are everywhere... including the tiny town of Zuunmod.
  • Gers are designed to be transported a certain way, and it is that way for a reason.
  • Apparently Coca-Cola in India make a lime fizzy drink, which cannot be exported from India... because it contains cyanide.
  • Fishing for bones when preparing the groups lunch can be made even more difficult when you're trying not to loose any of the vegetables.

Thanks, again, go to those who I borrowed photos from!

Recycling Ideas

Us scout leaders like to recycle. I'm not talking about that plastic rubbish, or paper (you wouldn't believe the amounts of paperwork we have to do at times, definitely not environmentally friendly)

No, I'm talking about ideas.

They are as precious as diamonds and even more valuable. Hence why this week... what with the fact that we haven't sorted out the new patrols, or done program planning... I decided to re-use the Life Auction idea.

The results again were rather interesting:

well... I think that they are interesting.

*tries not to get too distracted analysing the results*

But this wasn't the only idea that we recycled this week. On Sunday we had good old bagpacking! *sarcastically waves hands in air in fiened excitement*

We've all been there, we all despise it.... but it gets money in, well it does when the public arn't being incredably awkward like they were this weekend!

District Camp

Apparantly I can't say or do anything about this particular event without putting my size 9s in it...

... so I'm going to keep my mouth shut

Sorry to all who wanted to hear about District Camp

Gilwell Reunion

Well I've already said about me arriving onsite for Gilwell Reunion, I suppose I really should cover the rest of it!

This was my first time ever going to Gilwell, yet alone Gilwell Reunion, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

I camped with Rosie, Rich and the rest of the Freespirit ESU gang from Wales; and after my late arrival the night before it was a pleasure to wake up the bacon butties (a pleasure purely reserved for camp)
And buying one of these... part of their fundraising efforts for the Jamboree.
Once suitably attired, it was time to explore the site. A big part of Gilwell Reunion is that they have a load of stalls to give you program ideas for your section.

"ooo, that looks interesting..." *picks up leaflet and shoves it in bag*

...*plods along*

"We could adapt that to work" *shoves more leaflets in bag*


*waits for freespirit people as they are selling stuff to random people*


"You heard of that before?" *grabs more bits of paper- which, if I am honest, I will most likely not look at again- and shoves into ever bulging bag*

But it wasn't just leaflets gallore, at a load of them you got to actually try out the activity as well.

Like making edable campfires....
Nom nom nom
Or tie dying, which unfortunately didn't have any gloves! thanks Lucy!
... and this was after me spending about 10minutes scrubbing them!
But it wasn't all work, there was Pimms on the Lawn

And a campfire... although it was a sit down one, didn't want any of the old dears to pop a hip now did we? The guy running it was brilliant tho, really funny
That and getting to see a load of my friends from past adventures again... some of which I havn't seen in about 3 years, which is just shockly long.

Was a fantastic weekend, lots of ideas on offer and some very very good company

Kandersteg 2010: Setting off

Well... I said that I would try to get this out on a faster timescale that the 3Nations posts... so here is the start of it anyway.

Friday 13th August 2010

Yup, it's Friday 13th.... and we are setting off on the groups first ever international camp, with 13 people. I'm just asking for trouble arn't I?

Given that the bus was supposed to arrive at the hall at 10:30, the sprogs at 10am and I wanted to make sure that I was at the hall in plenty of time to make sure that it would be open for them arriving... I asked Niall to give me a lift to the hall at 9am.

It was a good thing that the coach was early to pick us up. Tha Salvation Army (who we are linked with, just so that you know) was wanting to get into the hall to set things up for a funeral. So what is worse, setting off on a journey on Friday 13th or having your funeral on Friday 13th? Anyway, it wasn't long til we were on the road.

WOO HOO... Next stop Kandersteg.... err Essex? Ok, so we're picking up another group in Essex. Well, we all had our little mishaps with getting onto the coach, our was the funeral. Theirs was the fact that the heavens opened (it was actually a thunder and lightning storm) so all their stuff got wet. Including all the parents waiting to wave them off some were impressively resilitant.

Mim and Jo also got wet while running to the toilet while they were getting themselves onboard.Right, that's them all on board... let's go!

... let's GO!



*tries to move bus through sheer mental will power*

.... GO!

... crud

Our next set of bus drivers, the long distance ones, were supposed to meet us at this pick up and take us to Switzerland. But they were still way behind us, stuck in motorway traffic... so here's the kicker, we DOUBLED BACK a bit to a service station we'd already stopped at to collect them.

Sprog: "these service stations look the same"... *facepalm*

Right, now off to Kandersteg... Euston Station in London, awww man! Picking up another group, and what was their coach loading troubles I hear you ask (that is you isn't it? Would be bad if those voices are back again) well, their group was split between two coaches. And the other coach wasn't there!

The sprogs that were already on the bus amused themselves trying to get Londoners to wave back to them good luck with that girls while the leaders already on the bus were in awe. Every adult is usually put in awe when met with someone famous from their childhood, and what is more they were going to be sharing the coach with us!

Must try to contain myself!

Wait... you want to know who it is?
Run for your life!

Turns out that the ghostbusters failed to kill him... either that or it was Hollywood trickery. Mind you, he didn't seam that happy about being banished to the back of the coach.
Your choice Stay Puft, your choice...
Ok, So now that we're all on... can we head to Kandersteg now? WOO HOO

Next we find out that, what with all the delays, we've already missed the ferry that we were supposed to be on. And there is one more ferry tonight. And we might not make it, in which case we would have to wait overnight for the ferry (making our arrival in Kandersteg very late indeed). Pedal to the metal time... damn you London traffic!

We managed to make the ferry, with about 15minutes to spare. So it was very very close.

We all had to leave the coach once we were on the ferry, and while on board we gave the kids a packet dinner. Sausage rolls, juice, fruit etc. Certainly easier and cheaper than getting dinner on board like was suggested to us!
Bye bye UK!
I was going to finish this post with us leaving the UK, as the rest was just bus journey. But I do have to share this little bit of wonders from a sprog. While the air conditioning had been off on the coach for the ferry ride over, it had gotten rather hot in there...
sprog: "I'm roasting like a spit-roast"

ha-mphf.... must not laugh! Little sprog doesn't realise why it is so funny... must protect sprogs sweet and innocent mind... must... not.... LAUGH

*Bites fist*

Thanks to those that let me use photos. Obviously the image of Stay-puft belongs to who-ever it belongs to... basically it ain't mine. Hope you don't mind me using it. Please don't sue me!

And it all starts

Well it has all started now!

Not only have the scouts started back for the year, but Gilwell Reunion is now officially underway. And yes, I'm attending both.... In the same day

... And some people have the cheek to say that I should get my head checked!

But yeah, after scouts I headed down to Gilwell... which is a surprising first for me. So yes, that popping noise at 1:15am was actually my Gilwell Cherry as I arrived on site.

Rosie and Rich had been kind enough to stay up for me. I'm camping with them, ans frankly I would have never found them if they hadn't come and met me shortly after my arrival.That was your mistake Rosie and Rich!

I also get another first in today, first in-the-field (literally) blogging! Yup, am currently laid in my tent loving the fact that I am, yet again, back at camp!

And as it's now half two in the morning I'll bid you a good night...

Night night!

Location:Walthamstow,United Kingdom

New Page!

I've added a new page!

woo hoo

*villagers rejoicing*

what is it?... well its Final Thoughts. We decided to change the prayer at the end of the night to a more reflective quote/saying. Its a bit of an experiment, but hopefully it will work.

I know that the reflective aspect of the balanced program can be rather tricky to cover so I'll keep adding some of the quotes that we'll be using so that you can copy the idea if you wish.

Hope you like it, let me know what you think... and if you have any that I can add to the list.

Here we go again...

I don't believe that we are about to set off on a new scouting year ALREADY!

It only feels like we got rid of them the other week... oh wait, it was!

Not only are we starting again this Friday epp but we will be hitting the ground running. We met last night, us leaders that is, to discuss our plans for the coming year. This wasn't actually our program planning (we'll be doing that later with the patrol leaders), but there is a lot happening very soon that needed to be discussed.

The main thing is that next weekend will be district camp woo hoo with both the cubs and the scouts. So lots of organising details for that.

I also want to get my rear in gear with regards to the kids record cards. It's one of the bits of being a scout leader that I am awful at, but it's not going to go away (as much as I would like it to)... but with the work that I have already done on it, I have already figured out a load of badges that the kids are actually due! So my plan on for Friday is to go through these, one-on-one, with the sprogs so that they know where they are at with regards to their awards and challenges.

I would love to get some of them getting their Chief Scout Gold Award. Am sure they can do it... it'll just be getting that push now.

Note: I'll also be going to Gilwell Reunion this weekend. Feel free to say hi if you see me!

PS. I did a little search online for 'rear in gear' to see if I could get a funny picture... this is what I found.
I don't know what to worry about more, the fact that this exists or the fact that she seams so happy about the fact that her dog butt is covered at all times! I know it's completely unrelated to scouting... but it was too funny not to share.