Tag Archives: scouting

Weekend Coffee Share…14th January, 2019.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

How are you and how has your week been? Are you settling in well to the new year? Or, perhaps you’re like us and still on holidays and haven’t had to face the real world yet.

This week, I’m back in my chair at home and I’m quickly belting this out before I get back to trying to salvage the house before the kids get back from the Australian Scouting Jamboree in the morning. I know that probably sounds rather confusing. What am I doing trying to clean up the house BEFORE the kids get back? Have things gone that topsy turvy, that the parents have messed up the house while the kids are away? Isn’t it supposed to be the kids creating all the mess instead?

Well, the trouble is that they and one in particular, left the mess behind and I made the huge, ginormous mistake of sticking my nose under the bed a few days ago. Let’s just say its become more of an intervention than a clean-up. This offspring will be read the riot act tomorrow and some new guidelines and will be receiving close parent intervention until capacity to manage room independently has been established. I usually have a fairly laissez-faire parenting style and haven’t really needed to be stand over Mum that often. However,  I can and I will. (Humph! Yes. This is also a pep talk to self. I can easily get derailed.)

 

Humph. I can’t believe I started this coffee share post off with a rant about cleaning the house, when we’ve just returned from a week’s holiday up at Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast. Well, to be precise, we were staying with Geoff’s sister and her husband at Newrybar about 15 minutes drive away in lush, green farmland. Concerned about home security, I didn’t post about our whereabouts while we were away and I’m  in the process of writing up abut our travels. So far, there’s been:

Saturday Night in Byron Bay

Byron Bay Markets

Main Beach Byron Bay

Macadamia Castle & Ballina

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading off to Bangalow.

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Nothing like being swept off the rocks to get that selfie.

While we were away, I managed to do a bit of reading. I finally managed to finish Raphaelle Giordano’s Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One. I highly recommend it, especially early into the new year. I’ve certainly been wanting to start start 2019 on the best possible footing and this book really walks you slowly through a host of strategies for pulling that off and converting your resolutions into realities. Despite being classified as a “novel”, it actually reads like non-fiction.

We had an absolutely wonderful time away. However, the night before we left, I was checking out my brother-in-law’s secret garden, when I stepped off the gravel path and through the leaf litter to photograph a bromeliad. In hindsight, this was just as stupid as that the guy perched on the edge of the rocks to get the ultimate Byron Bay selfie. Byron Bay is actually Snake Central and only that morning a deadly Red Belly Black Snake had been spotted near the secret garden heading for the wood pile. I should’ve thought about that before went out there still wearing my red sandals. Clearly, I wasn’t thinking about anything much at all. Well, that is except for taking photographs which is an activity that’s got me into trouble many times before and no doubt I still haven’t learnt my lesson…look before you click!

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Waiting in Emergency at Ballina Hospital. 

Anyway, I didn’t step on the Red Belly Black Snake or a Diamond Python, which is also a known resident of my inlaw’s place. Instead, and thank goodness for that, I stepped on a sharp stick which stabbed the arch of my foot through the side of my sandal. The pain was intense and when I looked down, I thought I’d severed an artery because not only was there a lot of blood but something was also sticking out. I called out to Geoff, who by the way, thought I must’ve stepped on a snake and was no doubt relieved only have a cut to respond to. He knew right away that it wasn’t an artery, but he could’ve told me that. Fortunately, my brother-in-law is a retired nurse so he was fetched for and bandaged the foot very professionally and dispatched us to Ballina Hospital for stitches and a tetanus shot. As you probably recall, I have some serious health issues so spending a night in Emergency was particularly annoying, although we did joke about extending our tour of hospital emergency departments. Indeed, in the interests of dramatic storytelling, I should remind you that when I took our son to our local Emergency Dept, I managed to write off the car in the multistory car park when I hit a concrete divider on the down ramp and cracked the radiator and goodness knows what else. So, you could understand why I try to stay away from hospital emergency departments. They’re TROUBLE!! Anyway, four hours and four stitches later, we were on the way home. On the upside, I must say that I felt very much loved and I had to feel rather sorry for Geoff as he held my hand while they jabbed the wound with local anesthetic. I have a reasonable pain threshold and that was a ten!

As I explained earlier, our kids get back from Jamboree at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. I don’t know how Scouting parents coped in the olden days when they couldn’t keep up with their kids on Facebook and they actually had to wait for a letter or their Scout to arrive home. Perhaps, they might’ve had a phone box or two to call home. I don’t know. However, our Scouts could phone home. Well, they could if they wanted to. We had two calls from our daughter and none from our son. According to our daughter, he’s become quite the celebrity at camp.

You see, for Christmas our son requested a Ghillie suit to take away to Jamboree. A ghillie suit is a type of camouflage clothing designed to resemble the background environment such as foliage, snow or sand. Typically, it is a net or cloth garment covered in loose strips of burlap (hessian), cloth, or twine, sometimes made to look like leaves and twigs, and optionally augmented with scraps of foliage from the area (Wikiupaedia). If you remember the kids’ show Sigmund the Sea Monster, he looks vaguely like someone wearing a Ghillie suit.
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Our son AKA Ghillieman looks about 10 ft tall and incredibly strong in this photo. What happened to our Little Man?

Anyway, it turns out our son’s been a bit of a hit wearing this ghillie suit. The first thing we got wind of, was that he won a dance competition and won six backstage passes to see a band, Justice Crew. That particularly attracted our attention as his sister is a serious dancer and we knew she wouldn’t be impressed. However, she was on an excursion at the time and wasn’t bothered. Indeed, I think she might even have been proud of her brother. The next Facebook sighting of Ghillieman, was at the open day when he was seen carrying another scout up on his shoulders walking around camp promoting their market stall selling bin juice. By the way, our kids troop had called themselves the “Bin Chickens” after an Australian Ibis which has moved into the cities and become a dreadful scavenger earning itself the nickname: “Bin Chicken”. Ghillieman was last spotted in a photo taken beside the River Murray with the heading: “Spot the bin chicken”. He was very well camouflaged and just asking to be left behind. It will be interesting to see how Ghilli man and Jane adjust to their return to civilian life. I am yet to hear any stories about what our daughter got up to at Jamboree. She left here with freshly manicured nails, which were painted pale pink so I look forward to seeing how they survived and reckon they’re a good barometer for how much she enjoyed and participated in activities at camp.
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Spot the Bin Chicken. Ghillieman strikes again. 

Well, I’d better get to bed before the Scout bus arrives back. It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for the whole family and I can’t wait to see the kids in the morning. Or, should I say, later this morning.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Ali.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

Australian Scouting Jamboree…Thursday Doors.

Happy New Year and welcome to the 1st Thursday Doors for 2019!

This morning, we were engulfed by a swirling vortex of emotion as the doors of this  almighty white coach opened and swallowed up our kids, along with a gazillion scouts and bags. They’re off to the Australian Scouting Jamboree 2019, which opens tomorrow at ‘The Bend Motorsport Park’ Tailem Bend, South Australia. That’s about a 20 hour coach ride away and they’re sleeping on the bus.

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Inside the bowels of the bus and behind closed doors.

Our kids are members of Broken Bay Scout Group, but for Jamboree purposes, they’ve now become part of the “Bin Chickens”. Well, at least that’s the name of their troop and the name on the corresponding badge I sewed onto their shirts.

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The kids with their scout bags. 

 

By the way, I should probably put you into the geographical picture. We live on the New South Wales Central Coast in Greater Sydney. Tailem Bend is in South Australia less than 100 km south-east of Adelaide on the east bank of the Murray River close to where the river empties into Lake Alexandrina. The Murray River (or River Murray[n 1]) (NgarrindjeriMillewaYorta YortaTongala)[1] is Australia’s longest river, at 2,508 kilometres (1,558 mi) in length.[2] The Murray rises in the Australian Alps, draining the western side of Australia’s highest mountains, and then meanders across Australia’s inland plains, forming the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria as it flows to the northwest into South Australia. It turns south at Morgan for its final 315 kilometres (196 mi), reaching the ocean at Lake Alexandrina.

Bin Chickens

I should also fill you in on what constitutes a “Bin Chicken” and recommend you view this highly informative documentary: The Bin Chicken

While coaches don’t usually feature on Thursday Doors, how could I not report on this beast, which has taken my children away? Of course, I was emotional, although much less emotional than I would’ve been if the kids weren’t more concerned about their friends, getting a good seat on the bus and all that lies ahead. That’s a good thing. It is. However, they could’ve given Mum just a bit more of a hug, because maybe I needed it. Maybe, I’m a bit more aware that things happen, and that you can’t take anything for granted. That you always need to ring and say that you’ve arrived safely, even though you know you’re okay. On this front, I also have to admit that I was thrilled and relieved that their coach was so big and looked so safe. It definitely had inbuilt bubble wrap. I’m sure it did.

Anyway, all too soon the doors of the coach closed. The engine rumbled and their journey began. By the way, you might also see through my cries of missing the kids. You could also say that we’re also spreading our wings, as we’re child-free for the next ten days.

While our kids are in transit and last photographed having dinner in Hay, scouts have already started arriving on site and pitching tents. Here’s some media coverage: Australian Jamboree 2019

I hope you’ve enjoyed dipping your toe into Australian Jamboree 2019. I must say it’s a very exciting experience and quite something when you consider that 10,000 scouts from around the world are all heading down to Tailem Bend. I can’t wait to hear their tales.

This has been another contribution to Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0. Why don’t you come and join us and share a few of your favourite doors. It’s a lot of fun and helps you see parts of the world you’ll never get to visit.

Best wishes,

Rowena

PS Here’s food for thought when the scouts arrive tomorrow and they’re pitching their tents in the dusty heat, especially if my daughter ruins her nails:

“A Scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances.”

-Robert Baden-Powell

Returned Scout: The Weekly Smile

When you’re smilin’ keep on smilin’
The whole world smiles with you
And when you’re laughin’ oh when youre laughin’
The sun comes shinin? through

 Louis Armstrong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOH_mioL3TU

Welcome to the Weekly Smile. This is a new blog share run by Trent over at Trent’s World

This week’s smile is brought to you by our son. The photo was taken just after he’d jumped off the bus returning from the Australian Scouting Jamboree. He’d been away for 12 days and was clearly pleased to see Mum and Dad and be back, even though he’d had the time of his life.

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Thomas Paine

We were full of smiles too and such anticipation!! Couldn’t wait to see him! Not only because we’d missed him but also because I was curious to see how he’d changed. After all, there was no way he could possibly go through all those adventures and not grow and extend himself.

I’m also really proud of that smile because things haven’t been easy for our son and yet he finds the strength and courage to rise above it all and get out there again. Sometimes, that’s as his parents, teacher or Scout leaders are giving him the proverbial boot. However, whatever happens, he eventually returns with that trademark smile and a personal warmth which is like basking in the sun.

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t thunder storms, bolts of lightening and torrential rain!

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

Walt Disney

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Mickey Mouse…all smiles!

By the way, that Walt Disney Quote really struck me because you usually associate Disney with huge smiles and cartoons characters like Mickey Mouse who epitomises fun and happiness. Coming from him, therefore, made the quote all the more powerful!
What’s made you smile this week? I encourage you to share your smiles over at the link and to give yourself a boost by reading the other posts.
xx Rowena

Coffee By Moonlight

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share!

How was your week? I hope you’ve had a good week but I also understand that many of you have a lot on your plate and things aren’t easy. That’s what friends and community is for. Somewhere to rest your weary soul and feel the tension release.

If we were having coffee this week, we’d be looking at the night sky and the stars and philosophising. I’ve been in a reflective, contemplative and even vegetative state for the last few days after the excitement of our son’s triumphant return from the Australian Scouting Jamboree. It’s been a welcome relief from the weeks of renovating and cleaning which went on while he was away.

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Of course, when you go into his room now, it looks like it’s always been this way. That we’ve done nothing, which in effect glosses over all our hard work. In some ways, this defeats part of the purpose of renovating his room. That is to show him we love him and for him to look at his room and feel loved, valued, special. At the same time, we didn’t want him to feel guilty or that we weren’t happy to do the work. It truly has been a labour of love where our hearts have been turned inside out and plastered to those walls. Will he still feel the intensity and purpose of that love if he can’t appreciate what it took? I don’t know.

Perhaps. we should’ve stuck post-it notes all over the place, pointing out all our many hidden battles. “Patched hole in wall here”, “This skirting board has been sculpted to accommodate crooked wall, poorly situated powerpoints and network cables”. Or, perhaps I should simply stick a post-it  with “OMG” in huge caps on there. There were also edges we went over and over with blue then white then blue paint as we kept wandering out of the lines. I could also write a note documenting how my husband was staying up really late working on the room every night after exceptionally early starts and doing overtime at work. Of course, through the usual twists and turns of fate, a really busy time at work just had to coincide with an urgent project at home. The endless days of very heavy rain also slowed things down.

So, we ended up having quite a tight deadline towards the end. Of course, we didn’t need anyone to tell us that our best intentions would be destroyed if his bed was still out in the lounge room and his room under construction when he returned.  After 11 nights of camping on a rough stretcher, we would have been done for. The absolute worst parents in the world!!

I should also add that just the whole prospect of painting the skirting boards for his room, triggered a terrible near panic attack where I became completely paralyzed by my fear of failure, making a mistake: Scaredy Mum!The boards were yet to be fitted so it wasn’t difficult. However,  as heavy rain prevented me from getting started, these fears really festered badly. Sure, it’s difficult to know what your capabilities are as a person living with chronic health and disability but that’s no excuse for dropping your bundle. Particular now I’ve been reminded about another aspect of Lao Tzu’s quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. At least for me, that first step is the hardest part and after that it’s smooth sailing. I did encounter difficulties painting the wall and became dizzy but I put in a respectable effort.

The dog had a bit to say about my efforts there and also wrote his tips for fighting fear: Dog’s Guide to Fighting Fear

In the end, we know full well that the lad won’t appreciate what went into fixing up his room until he’s a Dad doing the same for his kids. Then, he’ll know and we might even get a phone call.

That’s just the way it is.

So, now that’s done, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve hung up my paintbrush and handed in my resignation. No more renovating! Hey, who am I kidding? When you have an old crooked house, renovation is like the good old days of painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Once it’s finally over a one end, you’re back to the beginning again!

By the way, Mister did appreciate his room. No huge leaps of excitement but it was deemed “very good”.

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Also, he said returning home was “weird”. Weird to have electricity again after 12 days going without and it was also “weird” having somewhere “comfortable to sleep”. Not unsurprisingly,  since his return he’s spent much time playing on his iPad, curled up in his blanket in bed.

I should also add that after missing Mister all that time, the dogs barely spoke to him when he first came back and gave him the real cold shoulder treatment. By the end of the night, however, all was forgiven.

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Boy & Dog Reunited.

School goes back in 11 days so now this naughty, rebellious little night owl re-establishing something approaching normal sleeping patterns. Somehow, I need to acclimatize to waking up at 6.30AM to drive our daughter to school 45 minutes away. Instead of being able to have a daytime nap, I’ll be staying up there to bring her home in the afternoon. This is also going to dramatically play around with my writing and getting on with the Book Project, especially until I find a cosy nook where I can write and call my own. Once she’s settled, she’ll be catching the train and bus and I’ll probably just be dropping her at the station and picking her up. She might even become fully independent. I’m just playing it by ear.

Tomorrow, we’ll be off to buy Mister’s high school uniform. Not sure whether I’m truly ready for that either. That said, it would help if I got out of my pyjamas!

In terms of my writing in the last week, I’ve been rather inspired by Mister’s trip away at the Australian Scouting Jamboree and all his adventures. I had pretty low expectations of finding out much of what happened at camp and I was delighted to overhear him talking on the phone…his  Jamboree Tips. He sounded so grown up.These make for entertaining reading.

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As time went by, tales of Funnel Web Spiders began to emerge. These are considered the most deadly spiders in the world. Apparently, while I was concerned about him being out in a tent in the heavy rain, he was scared of Funnel Webs. It is mating season and the male funnel webs are out on the prowl in search of true love. A couple of funnel webs were found close to their tent and then a warning was issued that funnel webs had been found in scout’s bags returning home. Mister promptly ejected his bag out of his room and dumped it at MY feet. Perhaps, I should’ve been proud that he had such faith in his old Mum but not being the most attentive soul, I didn’t have a lot of faith myself. I have bifocals and sometimes they even miss the blatantly obvious. At the same time, I have  my self-respect and didn’t want to stoop to the “wait til your father gets home” routine. You can read the full story here.

book pile

I am also trying to reduce my book pile. After scouring the book shelves, however, I’ve only found 6 books to move on. For some reason, I just can’t find the heart to be ruthless to such good friends and good intentions. Perhaps, I’ll have better luck with the kids’ books. Trouble is, I like reading some of them too!

Anyway, thank you so much for joining me for coffee and I hope you have a great week ahead. This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share  and here’s the link up.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scout Backpack Warning! Funnel Web Spider Inside?

Putrid stench and enough dirt to start a veggie patch…that’s what you expect in your scout’s pack when they return from camp. Of course, you hope ALL their gear’s returned but are philosophical. It usually only takes a trip to the Scout Hall to find the rest.

However, I am fast becoming prepared for the unexpected.

That is, if you can ever be prepared for a deadly Funnel Web Spider catapulting out of a backpack and into your path.

Well, that’s only a possibility. However, after getting Mister home safe and sound, we received an official Funnel Web Spider warning from Assistant District Commissioner. It seems that the deadly venomous spider has been making its own exodus out of the camp grounds in search of electricity and a comfy bed. Uninvited guests, they’ve been found by two hapless local families while unpacking their scout’s bags.

Yikes!

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This is FACT and not the usual Australian hyperbole about our dangerous and deadly wildlife. Well, we’re not exactly exaggerating ALL of their deadly powers but you could say that myth and fact can become a little blurred.

While it seems most other families had well and truly unpacked by the time the warning was issued, of course, we were trailing far behind. After 12 days away, Mister had a lot of catching up to do… with us, the dogs, checking out his new room and making that all important phone call to his little sister and grandparents. So, somehow, the bag was still lying on the floor like a corpse this afternoon.

After I mentioned the Funnel Web warning, the bag was promptly moved out of the Scout’s bedroom and dumped beside my feet in the lounge room. Goodness knows why! I hardly look like “Spider Mum”, do I?!!

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Moreover, when I last checked my list of responsibilities as  “Scout Mum” there was absolutely NO MENTION of removing venomous Funnel Web spiders from backpacks or even checking the aforementioned backpack for them either.

That’s what Scouts are for. The only trouble is that a bite to a child is much more dangerous than an  adult and you could say that I might have a bit more “added protection” as well.

I’m not scared of spiders but the Sydney Funnel Web isn’t any ordinary spider either. Even the Encyclopaedia Britannica rates the Funnel Web as the deadliest spider in the world. I’ve never seen one outside a sealed specimen jar and I can’t say I’m disappointed either.

So, while the scout is supposed to pack and unpack their bag, I did offer assistance.Not that I expected us to find a Funnel Web. However, a Funnel Web warning is not something to ignore either, especially when No. 1 son has already told me that it’s currently mating season and the males are out searching for true love. Indeed, one of his leaders found two funnel webs before they left. Mister also told me that a scout had been bitten at camp (unconfirmed) and they even had anti-venom on site. So, that along with the two spiders found in packs, advises caution.

All this aside, I don’t know how I became the spider expert.

You probably haven’t heard about the nervous breakdown I had when a bird flew inside the house and became wedged between the window and a shelf. It’s constant flapping totally freaked me out!!! I had to get the neighbour to help. I was an absolute mess!! Mummy and the Bird

Spiders don’t have wings but they do scuttle and those Funnel Webs Spiders are so big and ugly, they look scary. After all, it’s not like they camouflage themselves as fairies to deceive you!

Yet, after our snake encounter at Byron Bay, I’m now an old hand dealing with deadly wildlife:  Snake Bait

My modus operandi is to tip everything out of the bag onto the back deck and make enough noise to scare it off. I don’t know whether spiders have ears or can even hear at all. But, if I was a funnel web, I’d runaway. However, I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I do end up with a Funnel Web at large in the backyard, especially with the kids and two dogs to consider. I really should have a glass ready so I can do a textbook capture if required. However, the concept of getting that close to a Funnel Web is more than I can come to grips with, even though the folk at  The Australian Reptile Park would ultimately take it off my hands. They milk spiders to produce anti-venom. So, you could say that catching this spider would be a good thing, although couldn’t someone else be the hero?

Mister empties out his pack.

I hold my breath. Seriously hold my breath. I have absolutely no idea how the contents of this pack are going to fall.

To be or not be?

Will a funnel web spider

be staring up at me?

Apparently not. Seems they weren’t too keen on his stinky socks either!

Phew!

We just threw the lot in the washing machine and pressed the magic button. Pretty soon all that stench will emerge as celestial threads!

Meanwhile, our son is adjusting to being home. No longer having to dodge Funnel Webs, he’s found it “weird” having electricity again and somewhere comfortable to sleep. Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from lying in bed playing on his iPad.

Happy at camp, happy at home.

So much to be thankful for!

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

xx Rowena

 

Life Lessons from A Young Scout.

Having our son back safe and sound from Australian Scouting Jamboree was only half of the equation. Finding out what happened at camp was undoubtedly more challenging, requiring great journalistic and detective stealth and all sorts of secret, underhand tactics. Bribery and corruption are just what I can mention in public. It gets a hell of a lot worse.After all, you have to be very sneaky to navigate your way around the hard and fast rule: “what happens at camp, stays at camp”. Not even the leaders dob.

While I’m a strong believer in giving my kids room to grow, you can’t blame me for being interested in my child, can you?

I’ve been secretly wishing I could somehow be that pesky fly following him around everywhere, driving him nuts all day without him actually twigging that it’s Mum still following him around with her camera.

For better and for worse, I couldn’t be that fly. Instead, I had to let both of us go so we could each grow and stretch our wings. That said, somehow I managed to fly into a paint tin and spent ten days renovating his room along with his Dad. But that’s true love, isn’t it?!!

This, of course, leaves me with a very fragmented, patchy and distant view of what he’s been up to. It’s going to take time for all the stories to percolate into conversation but I’m doing my best to help him capture these memories to last a life time.

That said, thank goodness, there’s been a Facebook page where leaders posted photos for the families. However, Mister’s been conspicuously absent. Well, not entirely but if you’ve seen me in action, it’s nothing for me to take 300 photos in a day, so there was always going to be “a gap”.

A gap I’m sure all parents know too well. It’s that automatic gap which follows a parent’s enthusiastic: “How was it?” There’s that silence which might, if you’re very lucky, be followed by a grunt or a “nothing much” as they find the real meaning of life in Minecraft.

Anyway, as other parents would appreciate, taking a direct approach, usually yields poor returns. Instead, you have to be devious. Eavesdrop. Ask their friends. I have found that even though “leaky lips sink ships”, someone is usually only too willing to share but it usually takes a bit of time.

I should add that the scouts weren’t able to take phones away to camp. Our son is yet to acquire a mobile so we weren’t used to being able to contact him any time any where but he did call me twice but these were brief 2 minutes snatches before the money ran out.We weren’t a local call.

So, you can just imagine my excitement when I overhear Mister talking to his sister on the phone  and I hear the words  “my tips for Jamboree are…”!!

Miss is currently staying with my parents to help Mister adapt to re-entry. We expected him to be pretty tired and that he might need some peace and quiet. Miss is a Cub Scout and was too young to attend this Jamboree but she has every intention of attending in 3 years’ time. Geoff and Miss went down to Jamboree for their open day called “Super Saturday”. She loved it!

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So when I heard Mister authoritatively sharing his”Jamboree Tips” with his little sister,  I was all ears. Better still, being the unashamed eavesdropper and reporter that I’ve always been, I instantly grabbed an old envelope and a pen and was clearly taking notes. How priceless was this? Big Brother giving his little sister advice. It really touched me somewhere deep inside my heart. It was one of those real gooey “ooh” moments where as a parent, you just glow all over with pride!

There were only two tips and I must admit I was hoping there would have been more. However, two life lessons was certainly way more than the grunt I’d anticipated from a very sleepy Scout on his return.

Mister’s Jamboree Life Lessons

Tip 1: Don’t leave wet clothes lying on the ground. They attract funnel web spiders. Put your clothes on something where they’ll get dry. (They did actually find funnel webs near their tent and I was told “someone was bitten” but very much doubt it.

I’ve since had word from the Scout leader on the subject of Funnel Webs:”Fortunately the funnelwebs only made their presence felt on the last day. Regards tip one with not leaving clothes on the ground wet or otherwise, it wasn’t so much the spiders, but more that the clothes will be, well, wet and you’ll have nothing to dry to wear, seemingly a worse fate!”

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Tip 2: Challenge your limits. I jumped off a board that was 20 metres high and you land on your back or it really hurts. (This was the Stunt Jump and apparently there is some debate about how high it actually was. Geoff thinks it was more like 10 metres)

However, while I thought he was giving these tips to his sister, he was actually talking to my Mum…his grandmother! My mother has certainly tried a range of new things since becoming a grandparent but I doubt camping is going to be one of them…especially co-habitating with deadly Funnel Web! Spiders!

That said, I shouldn’t  sell her short. Why shouldn’t she extend her limits as well? I’m not going to stop her. Yet, at the same time, I can’t imagine her trying out the stunt jump either. Go Granny! Who am I to decide how someone else constructs and re-constructs themselves? A few years ago, I went away on an adventure camp myself and went quad bike riding. Who would have thought? I’m sure the kids thought I was close to being a Granny myself.

No one is set in stone! Human beings are always full of surprises!

Later on, I also received tip number three:

Tip 3: Mummy, having a watermelon to yourself isn’t a good thing. I felt sick in my stomach after 12 bites but I kept going. Mummy , they had five crates filled to the top with watermelon. We took 1 1/2 crates and ate them ourselves.

Jonathon alone watermelon

I think all that watermelon went straight to his face!

I’m interested to hear what other life lessons Mister has picked up while he’s been away. Stay tuned!

While I’ve been thrilled that he’s been able to have this experience and  wasn’t worried about him at a conscious level, I was missing him. I’ve been a bit like the dog knowing he should be here and feeling a bit lost or out of kilter without him. That’s not a bad thing either because a bit of absence makes you appreciate each other more and helps to reinforce what’s important.

There are so many things money can’t buy and yet money also funds huge extravaganzas like Jamboree and helps the wheels turn round…a Catch 22.

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See! Drop Bears! I’m not imagining anything!

I also believe children need community beyond their own family. That they need to experience how different people live and that there’s more than one way to do things. That diversity is what gives our world it’s colour, vibrancy and texture. We do not want the world to be full of clones of ourselves. How boring is that? Yet, isn’t that what so many strive so hard to achieve? If birds of a feather only flew together, where would humanity be?

I don’t know AND I don’t want to find out either!

Yet, I still feel pressured to conform, even though I’m beyond the flow and there’s always some part of me sticking out of the box. Even I, with all my rhetoric about accepting and loving ourselves as we are, still instinctively reaches for the scissors to snip all those extra bits off. Don’t you? Even though, we know we shouldn’t because these beautiful “extras” are what makes us who we truly are…our identity. These are far too precious to simply snip off, throw out and yet that quest for “acceptance” can override all sense of accepting and being ourselves.

My son hasn’t mentioned that he felt accepted at Jamboree. That he made friends and belonged but he did. I don’t know how that environment differed to the playground but somehow it did. I don’t know if everyone got on as well as it seemed but at least in the photos, they were one big, extremely happy jungle of kids making the most of the sun, rain and glorious mud…

At least, that’s what I’ve eavesdropped from Jamboree.

Have you ever been involved with Scouts or Guides? Please share some of your experiences!

xx Rowena

Return of the Prodigal Scout.

The prodigal son has returned from the Australian Scouting Jamboree in once piece. At this point, it’s yet to be determined whether the rest of him has returned. However, pack, day pack and stretcher have all been accounted for. We’re letting him settle in tonight before further investigations begin in the morning.

Of course, right on pick-up time, there was a severe storm warning. Deep purple clouds invaded what had been an azure blue sky and Geoff even rang me from work asking me to get a lift up and he’d meet me there. He didn’t want me driving through it. When we pulled up, the rain was absolutely bucketing down with huge raindrops which had truly soaked up the moisture on this stinking hot day. Then, just when their coach appeared, the rain magically stopped. Amen to that!

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Geoff and Mister.

 

I don’t know what to expect at such “airport” scenes. Do you run towards each other having some kind of head-on collision… the hug to end all hugs? Or, do you go for something more restrained? Even give the lad a manly handshake? I usually go for the more enthusiastic, demonstrative: “Mum you’re so embarrassing” approach. However, what with the rain, a pile of kids getting off the bus and other parents and stacks of bags to wade through, in the end I was just grateful to spot our boy and have him back safely and sitting in the back seat of our 1963 Morris Minor…”Morrie”.

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Mother & Son

I’m sorry that you haven’t been formally introduced to Morrie. He’s my husband’s toy, bought while other families are trading up to larger 4WDs which can fit the kids, their friends, dogs, bikes. As you could imagine, Morrie is unfashionably small and very much a “one family car”.  As he’s a manual, I can’t drive Morrie and take it from me, the driving public is better off! Morrie’s something of a celebrity and it takes Geoff ages to get petrol. However, rather than being a babe-magnet like you’re usual midlife crisis vehicle, Morrie usually attracts seniors who learned to drive on one. Sometimes, Geoff’s been gone so long, I’ve almost filed a Missing Person’s Report by the time he gets back.

Anyway, picking up Mister was quite different to what I’d expected. He was a lot more awake and talkative. There were hugs all round, he posed for photos and collected his gear while we thanked leaders, exchanged catch up and renovation horrors with other equally mad parents who’ve spent what could have been a relaxing 12 days, painting and trying to tame domestic hell.

I don’t know what I was expecting. He sort of looked the same and yet sort of not. Has he grown? I mean physically. There’s no doubt after all those activities, which will no doubt slowly drip feed into conversation, that he’s grown exponentially mentally, psychologically and character-wise. I am incredibly intrigued to see quite how. But is he taller? I couldn’t be sure.

Aside from greeting the lad, there were two big questions:

  1. How would he react to his new room?
  2. How would the dogs react to seeing him at long last?

We gave him the option of room or dogs first and he chose the dogs.

Of course, I’d expected both dogs to jump all over him and almost combust with excitement. They’ve clearly been missing him and last night Bilbo was lying on his bedroom floor looking quite dejected. I thought they’d be thrilled to see Lazarus rise from his supposed grave and burst through the front door alive and well.

Lady, our 3 year old exuberant Border Collie x Cavalier is a real social butterfly and loves affection and company. Every morning, she bursts through the door and I can’t wait to see you. She jumps all over you, showers you with affection and you hear this tap tap tap as she whacks her tail on the floor. As you move closer, her tail even speeds up, which really is so endearing. Makes you feel incredibly loved and appreciated. Bilbo, our 9 year old Border Collie, is more of an introvert and definitely takes time to warm up to new people. He’ll wag his tail but he’s much more reserved.

However, having Mister arrive home from camp wasn’t supposed to be some kind of experiment or investigation into dog behaviour and it’s been quite awhile since I’ve really given the dog’s personalities a second thought.

BUT…The dogs weren’t combusting with excitement when Mister arrived home. Rather, they gave him the cold shoulder and all but ignored him completely. There was no jumping, tail wagging and barely a hello. After a very long, awkward pause, Bilbo unenthusiastically wandered off, retrieved his ball and finally gave Mister an extended sniff. It was almost liked he’d forgotten who Mister was and didn’t quite know who this new boy was. Where did he come from? Perhaps, Bilbo thought he’d seen a ghost!

Or, perhaps it was a case of: “Where have you been? I thought you were dead. How could you put me through such hell?”

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Dog with Attitude.

If you’ve ever read the Parable of the Sower, Bilbo was definitely playing the part of the aggrieved older brother …especially when I opened up a box of chocolates and we had pizza for dinner and the prodigal son ate up and the dogs missed out. “That’s some reward for being loyal,” they groaned,  muttering something about being unappreciated, exploited, neglected. I’m sure you get the general idea.

Anyway, now it was time for the big Bedroom Reveal. Mister said I should have had a red ribbon and a pair of scissors. Hadn’t thought of that. I’m sure I have some red ribbon and a gold pair of Eiffel Tower scissors somewhere but I’ve filed them somewhere safe, no doubt never to be seen again! We’d just have to proceed without ceremony. Well, I did remember to have his Ed Sheerin CD playing.

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Mister’s New Domain.

So, we opened the door and there were no jaw drops, leaping through the roof with excitement like he’d just bought a Toyota (Oh what a feeling!) but did say it: “looked good”. After battling crooked walls and misplaced power points just to retro fit the skirting boards, Geoff couldn’t resist pointing out the new white skirting boards. He also pointed out a certain hole in the wall, which had experienced a “divine healing”. Mister listened and knew we’d worked hard on the room but now that the work was done, it looked like the room had always been this way. The result looks so natural, that it doesn’t seem new. Now, perhaps the shock is looking back on how it was.

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How could we let it be for so long and yet did we have a choice?

So, how was Jamboree?

It’s going to take time for all the stories to peculate into conversation but I’m doing my best to help him capture these memories of a life time.

Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, it looks like someone found it in his furry heart to forgive!

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The Boy and His Dog.

xx Rowena