Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Alternative Guider's Saturday Night!

Kelloggsville is better know as Barn Owl in my life! Guiders Saturday Night is how she spent last weekend.

This photo shows how I spent the same Saturday night!!

I was fortunate enough to go to the Centenary Camp at Harewood House last year and met some fantastic people - yes they are in the phonebox!

We have all kept in contact via Facebook and have talked a lot about getting together - last weekend was the first time we had been able to all get the time to do it - although one of the crowd was unable to make it at the last minute :(

6 of us made the convoluted trip to Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday afternoon/early evening and one even brought along Centenary Bear which she bought at Harewood. He was lucky to travel with us for the next 24 hours!

Lots of girly talk, laughter, food and of course alcohol later we left the pub at kicking out time and decided to see the sights of Stratford by night! Centenary Bear got to visit lots of areas too and we had great fun trying to find a different place each time!


We of course went back in the daytime and behaved much more respectively!

We all had a fantastic time and plan to meet up much sooner this time rather than leave it for 15 months!

The plan is to meet up in the Spring but maybe we may be able to meet up for Thinking Day in London -maybe even be lucky enough to get tickets to to Westminster Abby for the service - fingers crossed.

Yet again it  makes me realise how much Guiding has given to me and how lucky I am to have met so many people while travelling along the great Guiding highway!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

What has Guiding done for me?

I have been involved in Guiding since I was 7 years old when I became a Brownie. I spent the next 3 years as one then moved onto being a Guide - this is where I had a slight difference of opinion with the Guide Captain and left when I was 13 years old! Because I wanted to stay I managed to persuade the Young Leader coordinator that I could start as a Young Leader then instead of waiting until I was 14. I was a Young Leader when we celebrated our 75th anniversary of Guiding and was chosen to meet the Guiding light which was making it's way around the country when it arrived at Exeter - that was a great experience.
While being a Guide I started to help out at a local Brownie pack and have never looked back! I gained my Young Leadership Qualification with them, and then became an Adult Leader. I left my home town when I was just 20 and moved up to the Midlands which is where I live now. I took a break for 6 months to settle into my nurse training and then contacted County HQ to see if they could put me in contact with a unit in the city. I was lucky - there was an inner city Brownie pack who needed help. I started to help them and gained my Adult Leadership Qualification and also my Pack Holiday Licence. I spent just under 3 years with them but then due to moving I had to leave them and look elsewhere for another Pack.
The village where I live now was where I moved to and they had a very large Brownie Pack - 48  and girls in total. They welcomed me with open arms needing as many adults as they could persuade to join in.
I stayed there for approximately 3 years when because of work commitments I had to leave. When it was time for me to return there was no longer a place for me - a long story, upsetting, not worth sharing really! - so the then District Commissioner found me another Brownie Pack in a village about 5 miles away who were just starting up and needed experienced leaders to help them out. Off I trotted - 2 Brownie mums who were doing the daunting thing by starting up the pack - they thought I had been sent along to check up on them! After much reassurance, they welcomed me with open arms, we went on Pack Holiday and generally had a fantastic time.
Then I became pregnant and once monkey had been born I took a few months out but eventually had to leave as his tea, bath and bedtime fell at Brownie time - first time mum, slightly anal about sticking to times to get him into a routine!
Fast forward 6 years later - monkey is starting Beavers and I have decided to improve my computer skills by doing a course - meet the Brown Owl of one of the Brownie Packs in the village - the big pack of 48 had divided into 2 - who after she found out what I had done in the past asked if I would be interested in running the other Pack who were just about to loose their Brown Owl.
Of course I said yes! And I haven't stopped since!
Our unit when I took it over only had 12 Brownies in it, so we had our work cut out to get the numbers up! We had a bring a friend night and put out adverts in our local paper and we got the numbers up. 6 weeks after starting with them I had to take them away on a Pack Holiday which had already been arranged by the previous Brown Owl - even though I had my Licence, I still asked the Division Holiday Advisor to come out and visit to check that we were OK! It gave me the opportunity to get to know the other leaders too!
Since then, we've done scavenger hunts around the village, visited the Fire Station, Police Station, had the Teddy Bear Hospital Visit us, as well as the Animal Hospital, we've written to Brownie Packs in New Zealand and Ireland, make pancakes on the top of baked bean cans, we've done chip and welly walks in the winter in the dark and in the spring in the lovely sun, we've had bonfire parties with edible fireworks and  sparklers, numerous Christmas Carol services at the local church, carol singing at a local nursing home, celebrated the Pack's 35th birthday, created individual time capsules for the girls, marched proudly through the village on Remembrance Sunday, done time travel (!), looked after our hearts, made Mother's and Father's day cards and presents, learnt about the stars, line dancing, to play the ocarina - ear plugs definitely needed! - visited our local windmill - not to be done again I might add - had a go at archery, had swimming parties, roller skaing parties, created a centenary collage, hama beading, peg knitting, made tiara's, had a go at hula hooping, had a scooter and bike race night, been on Pack Holiday 5 times and slept at the National Space Centre, and our best experience so far, visited London - No.10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace!
As a Guider I have become a mentor, Brownie Holiday Advisor, District Commissioner, Division GO! advisor, been part of the staff at the Centenary Camp and most recently been a first aider at Charnwood International camp.
Despite all  of these things - the one thing which will stay with me for ever are the friends I have made along the way. There are 5 of us who regularly run the Pack - me and one other every week, the other 3 pop in and out to help keep the adult : child ratio correct but have also done their fair share of every week as well over the years, but now due to proper job and life commitments, have had to reduce the amount of time they can share with us.
I have been away with them with the girls and without the girls - county training weekends, Centreparcs - we have been out for drinks and meals. We have had great times, panicky times, chill out times! But all of them have been times not to forget!
When I look back on my life, Guiding has been a big big part of it. I have done lots of other things in my life which have been just as memorable - meeting my husband, getting married, having monkey, my nursing career, the friends I have met and made along the way - but Guiding for me has given me so much, that I'm not really sure I will have enough time in my life left to repay it!
I will do my best though to give it a go!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Guess where I am??

This is me on a recent trip to London - it took a lot of hard work but we managed to get permission to stand here!!!

This is one of my proudest moments

I have another photo of somewhere else we visited but I am not allowed to show it as it should not have been taken - naughty Guiders :)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Things I have done since Feb

I have done lots of things since I last wrote a post - this cake is my favourite picture of all the things I have been to! This was the cake at my baby brother's wedding April - the theme was Alice in Wonderland and instead of a traditional wedding breakfast we sat down to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party - much to my husband's disgust - "where's the proper food?" he muttered under his breath as they brought out sandwiches, finger food and scones and clotted cream!

I came to the conclusion that my baby brother must love his wife very much to have this as his theme! The day was great - my new sister-in-law is Italian and so there was a lot of family and lots of Italian traditions throughout the day and it was a one of the best - and weirdest - weddings I have been to.

The little man has been all over the place with Scouts - he has been on a walking holiday over the Breacon Beacons, several night hikes, he had a practice camp in May half term for a local competition camp which was to be held in June - last year they were the worst performing patrol and did not even gain their camping standard! This year they were 3rd in the competition out of 12 patrols, gained their camping standard and were even congratulated on going from last to 3rd by the District Commissioner! My son has worked out that he will be the PL for next year's camp and is determined to win - "we will beat the girls next year Mum!" He was also made a Patrol Leader at Scouts in January - he is only 11 - and has become very keen to try and get his Patrol to work well together as a team and so then enjoy all the activities.

The big event in his calender - and mine - is next weekend. We are both off to Charnwood 2011. This is an international Scout and Guide camp which is held in our area every 5/6 years depending on what is happening elsewhere! I will let you know how that goes but I am hoping that it will be as good as the Guiding Centenary camp I went to last year!

I have spent Bank Holiday Monday with one of my closest friends who has moved away to Suffolk about 3 years ago and although we don't see each other very often we keep in contact via text, email and Facebook!We had such a lovely time - lunch in the local pub, then went to a vineyard and just had a lovely day all round. I wasn't able to stay so had to drive there and back in the same day but it was well worth it!

As a family we have had our first weekend away in just over 5 years! We went to Centreparcs and even though we haven't been to one in this country before as a family - I had been to this one with Guiding in January as a chill out weekend post centenary - we had a lovely time. Hubby and monkey went and did the high ropes activity, as a family we spent about 3 hours plus each day in the pool - monkey mainly on the rapids! - and we played crazy golf on the Sunday. The holiday could have been very expensive but we managed to keep a sensible eye on the money.

A cousin got married about 6 weeks after my brother - a totally different wedding. This was mainly due to the fact that my Uncle is quite unwell and the decision was made to do it quickly and quietly, but it was lovely and we were able to get together as a family and enjoy all of our time together.

Work remains frantic at the moment but that is more to do with the fact that out of 12 staff with annual leave, maternity leave and sickness we never seem to have more than 8 people available to work at any one time and so we are busy. Luckily, we have not had many patients through so things haven't been dangerous!

I have met up with friends for meals and evenings of lots of laughter, I have also supported another friend through the death of her partner's best friend and even went to the funeral to hold her hand while her partner was carrying the coffin in for the service. Even though I had never met Daggy, I was very touched by the funeral - it made me think very hard about what I would like - he was only 45 years old.

We have been to see Harry Potter - both parts of the Deathly Hallows - as a family and we have now seen them all - how sad it has finished! I am sure we will start to watch something else!

Now we are in the second week of the school holidays - monkey is at Mum's until next Thursday and then will be back to go to Charnwood. After that we have another week together and then he goes back again! And then we are in the last week of the holidays and then he moves up to Big School - it only seems like yesterday that he was off for his first day in Reception - not 7 years ago. Time is definitely flying, it needs to stop now!

I promise - fingers are crossed though! -that I will try and write more often, I just need to find a bit of time in my life! See you soon

Friday, 22 July 2011


I have been away for a long time since my last rant!
Life has been so busy and even though I have had lots to write about I just haven't seemed to have the time to sit and write about it all.
I plan this weekend to sit and write about some of the things I have been doing and then maybe actually try and start writing again!
See you tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

A letter to a colleague

Dear K,

I have worked with you now for 4 years and I have finally realised how selfish and spiteful you really can be.

We clashed from the start - you disliked me as I threatened your position on the ward even though I was a band below you - and I disliked you because I could not believe how incompetent you really were!

Over the past 4 years we have had to deal with every family crisis as a ward - we have had the bad heads, the constant phone calls from child/husband - whoever the crisis was occurring to at the time - leaving the ward in tears because you should be on holiday but because your selfish husband tore his Achilles tendon you couldn't go!!! the child who has abdominal migraines - our professional opinion on the ward is that this was just to get some attention as you were told she will never grow out of them, but lo and behold 18 months down the line now she has changed schools and is no longer a social outcast they have disappeared!!!

We have been supportive of you when you have had to have 6 months off sick to cope with said child and her condition which included the same child being crowned a carnival queen and going on a 3 day trip to Euro Disney during these 6 months off!

We have supported you when your husband became ill and of course nothing went right and you were off for almost 4 months then - can you see a pattern forming by any chance?

The past 6 months have been relatively quiet - maybe I should have taken this as a warning of things to come?

Our boss went off sick with stress in December - please note, this is proper stress not just stress from not going on holiday! and since then you have tried to undermine me at every corner.

You are not aware of it as I do not bring my personal life to work and share with everyone and anyone who will listen, but about 3 weeks ago I suffered a miscarriage. I have continued to work even doing some double shifts to cover the shortage of staff due to the boss being off sick and another on maternity leave. Have I once taken time off work or walked off the ward for some quiet time - no. I have left my problems at the front door and got on with the job in hand.

You have tried to wean your way into the acting HON good books by being all nice and helpful - what would be helpful K is if you could actually learn how to do the reports that need to be submitted every month regarding finance, sickness, HR issues etc, maybe even do the allocations on a Friday for a change and look at how many patients we have coming in the following week and check that they are appropriate for the ward. Maybe even - god forbid - you could do the off duty! The only problem with asking you to do any of these things would be that you would need at least 3 days to achieve them all when in actual fact they could be done in half a day if all the data is there!

This week is half term, one member of staff is on annual leave, one is off on sick, one is off on maternity leave, another is having 3 days annual leave and I am on a first aid at work course in a neighbouring town 45 miles away for 3 days.

Your weekend didn't go to plan - some argument with husband to the best of my knowledge, so you arrive for work on Monday saying that you haven't slept because of it. You then proceed to spend the whole shift trying to find people to cover the shifts we are short for on Wednesday. Because you can't find anyone, you trot off to the HON and say that I will have to come off of my course - the ward is safely covered it just means that you would have to work just that little bit harder for once in your life!

The course I am doing involves 3 days teaching with written exams at the end of each day and a practical assessment and a multiple choice exam on the last afternoon. Attendance and passing is mandatory for each day/exam! This has cost my ward £200. If I do not go on Wednesday, then I have failed the course and wasted £200 and two days of travelling 90 miles each day!

Today I receive a text from M - you are off sick and I have to come in on Wednesday. This really is the final straw - I am developing myself and trying to ensure that I do not stagnate in my career and you try and sabotage my every move!

This time of year is bad for me with lots of emotions running high, combined with the recent miscarriage, this really has been the last straw!

I have been asked to think about a Thromboprophylaxis nurse job which has just been found funding in the Trust and the way I feel today, I would snap it up without a backward thought. I would miss all of the girls on the ward and I would worry about how they were coping with you in charge, but at the end of the day, it wouldn't be my problem anymore.

So my final thoughts on the matter are this - get a grip woman, the world does not revolve around you and your tragic life. We all have better things to do with our lives and would rather not have to listen to you bleat on again.

Please sort yourself out!

Regards A

PS: I feel much better for getting this off my chest, but I should apologise to anyone who has been unfortunate enough to bother reading it!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Post traumatic!

Well, Saturday night saw me returning to the National Space Centre for my Division's Brownie sleepover. I vowed that I would not return to another one, but having promised to organise it for our Division Commissioner in a weak moment while being the Brownie Holiday Advisor my hands were tied!
This time, I didn't get to sleep under the world :(
I got to sleep by the entrance to the Space Theatre - right in the line of all traffic to and from the toilet throughout the night - joy!
By 2 am the words " walk don't run, this is the last time you need to go to the toilet, go back to bed, switch off your torches and GO TO SLEEP!" had been said so many times I felt I was saying them in my sleep :)
We took 106 Brownies, 2 Guides, 6 Young Leaders and 24 adults - way too may adults but to be honest you can never have enough at a sleepover on this large scale!
We had a competition to design a badge for the event - every guide loves a badge - which we have had made up and given to all who came for the night.
All the girls left with their Stargazer badge - not sure we really completed the full syllabus but you can't sleep at the National Space Centre and not get your Stargazer badge!!
We arrived at 6.30 pm - having had tea before getting there, then after a quick safety chat from the 4 staff who would be staying with us for the night, we split into 4 groups and went around the galleries - exhibits - and completed a trail. Then we went into the space theatre and saw a film about the astronaut's body. Then we came out and had our packed suppers and then went into the big craft rooms and split into 2 groups - one made alien face masks and the other made rockets which they then went and fired at the planet earth - photo at the the top! Last time we did it we went outside, but the staff thought it was too cold! Then the groups swapped over and did the other crafts.
Then we went back into the space theatre to see the sky at night film and then it was time for bed - it was 10.40 pm already!
You sleep in and around the exhibits - they are turned off at night so you don't get them talking to you!
Girls can only bring sleep mats, adults can bring air beds!
Lights are switched off at just after 11 pm and then the torch games and fun begin!
Don't bank on sleeping if you go - you may be lucky and only doze
Lights come back on at 7 am and then it's a quick wash and change, pack up your bags, breakfast - provided by the Space Centre - and then into the shop - this takes a bit of time when they all have £5 to spend!!!
Parents collect at 9 am
Adults go home and collapse at 9.15 am!
I've had to take my large scale licence to do this - lots of paperwork to organise, but you provide a pack for each unit going and they do all the hard work!! It's really all about organisation and getting people to stick to deadlines about payment. I made all of mine pay up front - the Space Centre don't invoice you until after the event. That way cheques have cleared etc and you can pay their invoice quickly.
Things I have learnt:
People are never as organise as you are!
Give people deadlines at least 4 weeks before you need them!
If you tell the units they need 1 adult to 8 children make sure they bring the correct ratios and don't promise to cover the cost of the extra adults if they have more adults than children!
Be nice to your Division Commissioner as she will pay your overspend!
Brownies scream alot in the dark!
Did I enjoy it - yes. My report and evidence are completed and I just need the invoice from the Space Centre so that I can complete my accounts and then I can hand in my portfolio and get my large scale licence!
Parting words to the Division Commissioner - "of course we can come again in a couple of years!!!!"

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Sleepover at the National Space Centre - part 2

Well, tonight it is my turn to run the sleepover at the national space centre.
I have 106 brownies, 2 guides, 6 young leaders and 26 guiders plus 4 space centre staff coming along!
I am hoping that things will go much better than the last one - these brownies will be much better behaved!
The weather is behaving - we go outside for part of the evening - and I just need to pack my bag, and a packed supper and I will be there!
Report back tomorrow - excited - yes - panicking - oh yes!!!

Sunday, 6 February 2011


For the past month I have felt different - not really sure why but just different!
The past 7 days I have now found out why!
To the best of my knowledge I have just had my second miscarriage. At the end of the day, I wasn't really pregnant, I was only just there - 5/6 weeks possibly?
But the physical pain I have endured these past 7 days was unbelievable. My hormones have been all over the place and and I haven't really functioned well at work - things have started to get past me, I am usually spot on with all things!
I had my first miscarriage when I was 16 - almost 25 years ago now. I was in the middle of my O levels and had just broken up with my first serious boyfriend -we had been going out for 6 months and I thought things would continue for ever! Same situation again really, not even realised that I was pregnant but my GP helped me through it all.
I managed to get through that just - failed most of my exams and ended up having to do retakes the following school year when also starting my A's.
Hubby and me managed to get pregnant really quickly with our son - now 11 and a half - but since he was 2 we have been actively trying to get pregnant with no success.
I suffered - and I mean suffered - 18 months of IVF with no luck and the emotional toll on both of us was beyond belief.
We don't talk about it at all - I have no idea how he feels nowadays - it is a totally taboo subject. I get so upset when I see babies, I usually have to leave the room and take a long walk until I can control my emotions.
So to realise what has happened this past week, is now a total shock to me. I need to somehow get my head around things - do I tell hubby or not? Do I try and go to counselling and maybe somehow start to come to terms with it all over again or put the brave face on it that I normally do and just go ahead?
No doubt I'll take the second option and just plod along. This time of year is a bad time for me I lost my nan and grandad in different years but ironically within a week of each other and I start to become quite introverted - this is now a third blow!
I will get there I know - I have a very good support network in my friends if I let them in!
Things will improve I just need to give it some time.