All the best things are inflatable

Some things are just better for being inflatable...
(before any of you dirty minded people go there... no I am not talking about dolls!)

Like castles...

... or beds...

... or even a Church...
This church blows... (up)
What has this got to do with scouts I hear you ask, well, I arrived at the hall on Monday to see this:

And what the bejabbers is that I hear you cry?! (you're just full of questions today arn't you)

Well, the explorers asked to do some star gazing while we were program planning with them. Unfortunately, being in the UK, the weather doesn't generally help with the whole scheduling to go out and look at the stars thing. Actually, the weather in the UK has generally been messed up of late (late week the temperatures were about the 20C mark, this week we have snow... go figure). So instead of taking the kids out of the hall to see the stars, we brought the stars into the hall.

That's right, it's an INFLATABLE PLANETARIUM!

How cool is that!

Once everyone had entered through the tunnel, we had a short slide show about the universe. Apparantly there are an extra 4 planets that I didn't even know about, it wasn't that I had forgotten their names... I had never actually heard of them!

Had you heard of Ceres, Haumea, Makemake and Eris?!
 I'll excuse you while you take that in.

Ready to carry on? Good.

After my tiny little mind had popped in the presentation, we moved onto a tour round the stars in the planetarium. The whole of the inside of it was dotted with the stars (and the planets, which were set up as that there were actually outside) and we got to watch as they spun round through a 24hour cycle. It was beautiful, and I wish I would have been able to take a photo or a film without my phone lighting up and screwing with everyones vision.

To make it up to you for not having a video of that... here's a little song that I pops into my head whenever I think about the universe:

Note: Obviously a number of the pictures (and the film) don't belong to me... please don't sue me


Before you say anything, no I have NOT just turned thirty... I have years between now and becoming old

The biggest change that I have found in moving to the explorers has to be the number of them.

For the past couple of years, while I was with the 9th Lincoln, I was dealing with about 9 kids... the explorer unit has 30. Thirty, three zero, that's a lot of bodies. And it's taking a while to get used to handling that many. I'm seriously having to think more about exactly how everything will run just because of the increase in people.

Suddenly having 30 explorers also means that I have about 30 names to learn, and about 30odd nicknames to boot. Unfortunately I am not one of those people that can just pick up names really easily. Give me at least a year and I may just be able to remember that your name starts with a J... Jim, James, John?... oh sorry Brian!

Regardless of the size (THIRTY!), any new group of scouts will react differently to the same activities. Which has been my next biggest change. I've had to learn how this set of 30 teenagers will react to activities. How would they be with Global issues? Crafts? What sort of games do they like? So, how better to find out than to try some different activities with them.

We've had a variety of different activities over the past couple of months. Everything from disability awareness nights, to market nights (which I have covered on here in the past) to egg drops, cake decorating and even a pub quiz.
They had to ID different muppets in the Pub Quiz picture round... this one is apparently me
... try not to laugh too hard
These, I will admit, had varying degrees of success... the disability night, for example, was a nightmare (but a valuable reminder on practicalities of running activities for 30). So, I'm not going to go into that really, there were plenty of other nights that were a success that I can talk about instead.

We had some interesting methods employed with the egg drop challenge.

We had crumple zones, and parachutes and shear dumb luck in abundance.
The drop zone... I was stationed under the stairs, like a egg craving troll
The cake night was, for obvious reasons, one of my favourites. But boy did it require a lot of prep! They all got 2 cupcakes to decorate each, we also did a team challenge where they had half an hour to decorate a 6inch cake, the winning team got to take home all of the 6inch cakes. Which, when you factor in that it is for 30people, makes for a LOT of cake. 60 cupcakes and 6 6inch cakes to be exact, and all home made (by me) to try and keep the costs down. We also got them making hot chocolate spoons and funnel cakes... mmm funnel cakes *drool*....

ahem, excuse me

Don't know what came over me there.

Anyway, here's some of pictures that I managed to grab between being coated in icing sugar!
The Guns n Roses 6inch cake... All the team cakes had to be covered in fondant

The team working on the Field of Sheep/Pandas

A yellow mothers day cake

This team tried to curry favour by making a scotland cake... they didn't realise that the other leaders were being independant judges

Some of the cupcakes

The final cakes, the green one won the challenge
Not that all the nights are messy. This week we had a Skills Night. Each of them had to teach a skill to everyone else.

All I'll say is that the demonstration on how to mow the lawn using another explorer as the lawnmower was PRICELESS!

Obviously, muppets etc don't belong to me... please down sue me!

My money is on Noddy

New year... new house... new scouting role

nothing like jumping in at the deep end!

Sorry while I compose myself, I find that picture hilarious

*bites fist*

... sorry, I got to look at that picture again....

Right, what was I talking about... ah yes, me starting explorers. And what a way to start, before I had even been down to a normal meeting night I was away camping with them at Gilwell Winter Camp. I've been to Gilwell a couple of times now, but this was the first time I was at Winter Camp.

The weekend wasn't exactly wintery, but it was a grand opportunity to get to know some of the explorers. Like how they had a competition to see who could pull using the line "Do you like apples?"
Who would have thought that they would be Good Will Hunting fans?
And being mildly disturbed when one of them actually succeeded!

Or how one of them had a random dream, an extremely random dream, it was about a fight to the death between the Hulk and Noddy... he subsequently ended up with the nick-name of Noddy.
Personally, my money is on Noddy
Winter camp also gave me the opportunity to catch up with some mates from previous events. In some cases instead of 'catch up' read 'bother'... as in the potter puppet pals.

I literally bothered one of them like this. The other I joined on the leaders pub quiz and we came joint 7th out of 39. I think I know who got off lightly.

The day after the camp I got to actually start explorers officially, with my first meeting at the hall. It wasn't much to write about as it was program planning... so I'll skip a week, to when we did the life auction.

I did it a while back with the scouts, but as there are more explorers I added some more lots to the auction: like a house of your dreams, being a trend setter and travelling. The explorers seamed to really get into it and there was even some fights for some items.

All in all, a good start I think!



It's time for a blackout people!

You shut those curtains Margerie

Okay, maybe not the type of blackout where you have to paint your cow...
Nice brush strokes... but no, not this type of black out Debra

I'm talking about the internet blackout.

That's right I am (kinda) joining the internet blackout for the protest against SOPA/PIPA... if I knew how to actually black out my website then I would for the 24hours. But seeing that I lack that knowledge you're going to have to put up with a post by my good self.

Mayeb I should invest in one of these...
Wikipedia handily has some information about the whole thing if you want to learn more about it... right here

If you're in America then PLEASE contact your Congressman to let them know that you are against SOPA/PIPA. With the number of pictures that I borrow for punchlines and jokes I would be shut down... even though I don't make any money from this site! If you are not from the US, like myself, then try contacting your Ambassador in the US... they are there to represent you after all.

So concider this site blacked out, and close your eyes or something!

UPDATE: Here's where you can add your name to the petition:

ANOTHER UPDATE: The blackout is now over... you can have your links and buttons and other useful stuff back now!

Times they are a changing

Well... just about everything has changed over the past month. I think if any more was to change then I could seriously rival this guy

And no comments about me being two faced.... okay?

The biggest change has to be that I have FINALLY moved house!

HUZZAH- *villagers rejoicing*

And what is more I actually now have internet in said house. I have got an app for blog posting from my phone, but I hate using it as it isn't really user friendly, especially for adding photos/videos etc.

While I was moving I was also finished up with the scout section. We had finally managed to get a hold of the Lincoln Mountain Activity Team to run a session for us at a climbing wall. The sprogs absolutely loved it, some of them were up there like a shot, as spry as monkeys they were... and about as loud


Yes that's nice, now get out of the way of that other line...

... I'M AT THE TOP!!!

I can see that, now be careful when you set off as you'll swing into that overhang...

... *THUD* ...

... *sigh*

I got to have a couple of goes myself, just to remind myself how long it has been since I climbed, and they had this automatic belay device which frankly scared the bejabbers out of me. Normally you have a person at the other end of the rope that would control your decent should you fall, decide you can't go further or even reach the top. Which is comforting cause they can talk away to you and they support you the entire time. This thing doesn't kick in until you reach a certain falling speed... and it's useless at conversation.

But generally a night that ends with the sprogs asking if they can do that activity again is always a winner.

My last week with the scouts was another Cinema night, like last year. We got a projector and screen and a choice of DVDs and they got to pick a film to watch... and periodically someone would pry the pringles away from my hands to pass them round the sprogs.

They have a good taste in films those sprogs, we watched How To Train Your Dragon... but this was partly because Jo (one of the leaders) vetoed all the Muppet movies. Apparently they scare her for some bizzare unknown reason. I mean seriously, how can you be scared of the muppets?!
Rizzo is, of course, my favourite.
I mean, if it was something like Mimic with mutant cockroaches start attacking people just for the fun of it then I could totally understand (ok, I'll admit that I only got about 5minutes into that film before giving up), but this is the Muppets! Well, I suppose that we'll accept all sorts to be scout leaders.

But Muppet-haters is getting close to the line...

And that was my last night with the 9th Lincoln Scouts!


I've had a brilliant time with the sprogs of the 9th Lincoln Scouts. They are a fantastic set of kids and I wish that I could take them with me... and I've told them all that I expect to see them at future explorer events.

I was going to put in about me starting with Dodgers Explorers, but quite a lot happened and this post is already rather long so I am going to be kind at cover that later.

And given that I didn't put up a festive message, please accept this little video (except if you're weird like Jo... )

... Don't say I'm not good to you!