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16 May 2017 19:37

CS3’s D of E practice expedition went well – they reached the finish point at about the right time, didn’t get injured, and the group didn’t fall out with each other. They also discovered a horse skeleton, which seems to have been the highlight of the weekend.

Overall, she really enjoyed it – even if one of the other girls “sounded just like my big sister – I didn’t like that”. She suggested we do an expedition just for fun in the summer. I pointed out that they’ve invented hotels, but she wasn’t impressed. Nor when I suggested we camp near a pub for food, or pitch the tents first and walk from the campsite so we didn’t have to carry tents – “no we’ve got to do it properly”

Packing the bag on Friday evening was painful – for those of us watching. She started at about 2030. At 2140, I told her she had 20 minutes left as she needed to get to bed in good time. She finally finished at 0015. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “how can it take almost four hours to pack a rucksack for a 24-hour expedition”. I have no idea.

It didn’t help that the sleeping bag and carry mat alone initially took up nearly all the space in the rucksack, until I showed that by packing small items separately you can fill the gaps round the bigger items. She was also advised by me, her mum and her brother (all of whom have done this sort of thing before) that she didn’t need to take that many clean clothes, and certainly not a nightie. “I didn’t need the nightie “she told us on the way home – and one of the other girls had admitted she had also taken too many clothes.

A rucksack is a luxury. In my day, we had an aluminium frame, wrapped our belongings in a groundsheet and tied it on. It was a trade-off between tying the parcel so tightly that you wouldn’t lose anything, and loose enough so you could open it at the other end.

After picking her up on Sunday we stopped at a pub for a drink. We had been going to go straight home but “I thought you’d have planned a treat for me – that’s what kept me going for the last few miles”. We really should consider these New Forest pubs when we want to go out for a meal. It doesn’t take much longer to get there than to Southampton – and you can park outside,

Meanwhile I avoided the Eurovision Song Contest by clearing and tidying CGF’s kitchen cupboards. Several boxes of redundant items were taken to the tip the following morning. It’s all good practice for when I get around to tidying out my garage.

Saturday morning we went in to town for brunch – trying a place we’d not been to before. Someone we know was also in there, having breakfast. That’s the sort of thing that happens often in Smalltown where there is only one coffee shop, but not often in Chigley where there are dozens.

Anyway, I need to go and buy some milk or won’t have any breakfast in the morning. First-world problems.

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