In my quest to make pages for my BOM I was looking through old photos and found yet another photo of me stood by the apple tree in our front garden. It seemed to be the place to stand - I have a variety of photos of me with every length of hair, wearing new school uniforms, trouser suits, emerald green hotpants, yellow T-shirt and matching knee length socks (nope never going to share that one!) and also me in my Guide gear:
I loved being a guide and worked towards several badges for baking, local history, path-finding, sewing etc. I remember one of the most exciting things about our weekly meetings was being in the school building in the evenings! It had such a different atmosphere at night: all those echoing corridors and tempting cupboards! The really brave amongst us even peeped into the boys' toilets!
Guiding also gave me the opportunity to go camping. My family had long ago decided that they preferred proper beds, rain-proof roofs and indoor flushing toilets so I had never been camping before. I went away with them for a weekend camp first to make sure that I could cope with life in the wild and happily signed up for a week long camp near East Grinstead (my friend Claire may well be revisiting the very same site this year with her Guide troop). Back in the day there were fewer rules and regulations about health and safety and so some of us were transported, along with tents, cooking equipment, food and bags in the back of a furniture removal van! We all thought it was very exciting but my present day self is aghast at the thought of it!
The high spot of the week for me was falling asleep under the stars when it was our patrol's turn to sleep outside the tent. I also enjoyed tying sticks together to build "tables" and "shelves" for inside the tent - they generally collapsed if you walked too close to them or lashed out an arm in the middle of the night but it was something to rebuild during the enforced post-lunch rest hour: we didn't have to sleep but were to stay in our tents off our feet! The latrines were at the other end of the field and, while not off-limits during this time, crawling across the field was a bit of a nightmare as the cows had only recently vacated, leaving surprise packages here and there! Wellington boots were required footwear as they didn't let the ooze anywhere near your skin and were quickly rinsed clean if you missed a step.
Less happy memories include the rain coming into our tent on the first night - nobody had told us NOT to touch the inside surface and we thought it was strange that the more we touched the bigger the drips of water ... until it was practically raining inside the tent and we had to decamp (literally) into the First Aid tent for the rest of the week. The weather improved, allowing us to sleep out, get stung by wasps that crawled inside our wellies and dried off the top of the cow pats making them less gooey to tread on. Unfortunately that also meant that they could be picked up (exposing the still oozy, smelly under-surface) and flung at other people, sometimes rather too accurately - I never have quite forgiven a certain "friend" for aiming at my head instead of my boots! YUK!
Want a less filthy tale? Have something
P.S. The page prompted by the photo is already done, but has to wait a while as it's using the only-just-announced-outside-the-Master-Forgers February Counterfeit Kit!
P.P.S, It's now up on my blog here!