For me this Winter's Lg Camp somewhere in South-East England started a bit earlier than most with the exception of three US guests who naturally had to fly in and Sammy who had other things ™ first, I set out by bus and rail to GHS to be picked up by Matron who does a super job of looking after me.
Stopping overnight meant I had to take a bit more stuff than I normally would but by the power of Middles power packing and added compression, I managed to get everything into two Tote bags and a small wheeled suitcase including Maddie the rag doll.
As I think I wrote sometime around of November last, Matron had kindly given me a grey tunic (aka pinafore dress/gymslip for Brits) that fitted me well so noting she said she'd like to see me in it, naturally I wore it on Friday and when travelling down Saturday morning.
After getting dressed Saturday, brushing my hair back properly with a wooden hair brush and fixing some breakfast, Jennifer, Susan and I made our way down travelling through the delights of Dudley, home to a great Castle and Zoo and South Birmingham before getting to Leicestershire enroute to our location, a big place for fun.
Because the place is one you have to fix stuff like food and play activities for yourself, we had to carry quite a bit of stuff outside of our cases like a film projector and a consignment of Staffordshire's finest pies that was around the trunk and right next to me in the rear passenger seat. That made for a really well packed car!
Upon arrival, we emptied the car in a systematic way with help from the others as two of us have physical disabilities, putting food into the kitchen area, games in a room and our cases in our downstairs rooms to be emptied.
Something shocking emerged from one room downstairs in the late afternoon: a black tunic'd Catgirl complete with black ears and a Junior Prefect badge who roamed from room to room meowing. How had something that belonged to F.A. gotten in the building? Better ask Matron.....
Most people placed an order by the wonders of the internet for various Curries from a Indian Takeway locally that two people went to pick up while we cooked a large meat pie with potatoes and vegetables for the three of us which was done and consumed before everyone else's!
Every meet, different people come depending on their schedule (that's pronounced with a K) some from the past and others perhaps for their very first time so among the many attendees, so many every room was fully booked, Karen, America's answer to me (a uniformed schoolgirl), Ruffles and Beth were present.
Starting on Saturday, we began work on completing one of two large jigsaws between ourselves collaboratively on the lounge table surrounded by Jelly Babies and other assorted candies as people who weren't just chilled out.
By Sunday as if by magic the Camp chores Rota appeared as until then nobody who wasn't actually organizing an activity knew what they were doing as the idea is ensure everything like getting things set out for meals and tabling clearing isn't kinda left to a few who tend to the sort that already have things to do that make camp happen as well.
This year Greenlands High, the bestest school in Staffordshire I'm reliably informed, did the catering providing midday salads and cooking two evening meals using fresh ingredients for the most part with some help from Karen and Suzy plus the odd other whose name escapes me.
The first part of Sunday having gotten up was a more do your own thing so I played with some Duplo, making buildings and did some colouring which I find very relaxing before midday. As well I played with a Town and Country wooden train set and had my photograph taken outside. The lens didn't shatter!
In the afternoon we had the Colour Quiz, it maybe an invention of Sammy's I'm not too sure but the theme was Disney Princesses and having gotten in teams you have to find in strict order pictures of them, each giving you a clue to next to find until you finish.
I teamed up with Jennifer as we ran around the building up and downstairs looking through every public space for them sometimes for what seemed like ages several times over.
Eventually we found ours and so had our Chocolate Egg.
We had a full-blown Chicken roast that night complete with 'Pigs in blankets' plus stuffing balls followed by either Raspberry or Strawberry vanilla ice cream which was scrumptious.
Later on that Evening, Jillian held her Big Quiz with lots of general knowledge questions and a name the person in the photo section and Mr Paul's team (which also included Sammy, Fudge and I) came second in it.
Monday saw something unique emerge around 7:10AM, a pink gingham'd Catgirl modelling something she apparently bought from Jillian the day before but didn't let on. Sneaky...
Samantha R had organized a marvellous arts and crafts event where people could paint (finger or brush), draw, make things (Cut out Dollies to dress anyone?) or colour with Sammy kindly drawing some unique pictures using her amazing drawing skills just for us.
I coloured two pictures which like everything else was photographed for the groups private use.
The afternoon of Monday saw a traditional all analogue Film Show that Jennifer had spliced together (there's a dying skill) that amongst other things featured the 1933 Disney version of the Three Little Pigs and Speedy Gonzales in Chilli Weather from 1963, a documentary on the English Inland Waterways from 1968 and Laurel and Hardy in the 1935 short, Tit For Tat which was most enjoyable especially when Ice Cream was served as it was when many of us went to the movie theatre as kids.
Rachael joined us for the evening talking away to various people as we ate traditional British Fish and Chips that had been ordered earlier with Alice and Samantha R collecting which the Catgirl soon got through, licking her lips.
In the evening Daisy and Sally~Jane performed songs and Jennifer read a bedtime farmyard story very much in the South Staffordshire Black Country dialect that I'm very familiar with even if with the exception of Auntie Andi no one else is.
I was feeling rather tired as I'm prone to unfortunately so had to bed early having missed my afternoon nap after part packing to save time the next day.
I got up the next morning more relaxed putting my Green pleated skirt and red sweater on cos I love the colour and I know Matron loves me in green.
Tuesday was the last full day with having to vacate Wednesday by Twelve Noon so after breakfast we watched and laughed with each other looking at pictures set to music of what we'd been doing.
After Midday, Alice had organized her Surprise Event, that involved drawing a Pictionary entry for something based on what we'd been doing people had to guess, a make, decorate and fly paper Airplanes competition and a “Chinese” Whispers activity where two phrases were to be exchanged between two groups and we were to see if the message delivered really was the same as the one the first person gave. It wasn't by a long shot!
After Bostin proper butchers own Steak & Kidney or Stake and Ale pies that we'd brought with us, a large bowl with cream arrived at the table and was given to the Catgirl to lick!!! Everyone had either Lemon cheese cake or Chocolate cake.
It wasn't to be the only crazy thing that happened that night for, during the Evening Disco Mr Paul had set up, a Catgirl started Catgirl dancing something Bruno Tonioli didn't teach her with Beth complete with paw actions to the Cure's Love Cats!
Wednesday saw us finishing off the last bit of packing before tidying up, getting the vacuum cleaner out and packing our Car where if it wasn't for the observant Catgirl we'd of left our notice board behind!
Driving back toward the Midlands we encountered heavy rain although it didn't hinder the journey significantly although as you'd expect their were a few minor delays along the M6 with lane closures before unpacking, fixing a hot drink of tea, munching through Roast Chicken flavoured crisps and getting the coal fire lit.
We had Steak and Kidney pies later on, watching the Midsomer Mysteries on tv as we relaxed from what had been a busy day before we went to bed as I had to leave in the morning to catch my train home and get a cab to the front door.
This years camp felt different, had more things taking place you could take part in compared with the last two February's with people interacting more with each other which is really what it's meant to be about a place we can let our little more 'child-like' side out amongst friends sharing in the excitement of it all and it was great to see a good turnout including one who hadn't been to a LG Camp before.
Making this happen takes people who need to work on things such as booking our accommodation, fixing our food and organizing activities both before when they may have other things to do and while we are there. We all need to get involved if this is to happen so people don't feel burnt out as after all it's everyone's break so why we shouldn't leave it to a faithful few volunteers? I'd like in that spirit to thank in no particular order Suzy for taking care of the bookings with other odd things together with Susan and Jennifer for doing the catering with some help in addition to the film show, Alice, Jillian, Samantha R and Paul for your activities and Daisy and Sally~Jane for their performances.
It was a pleasure to see Karen and Ruffles for the very first time, having fun.
On a personal level I'd like to thank the Matron of GHS for looking after me during the entire six days where I did manage to be good throughout helped by her ongoing guidance and we'll have to see about the tie!