What a week that was!
It’s always great to get away from the city every once in a while. Whilst I can’t speak for the rest of the team, for me, being in sunny Shropshire in the middle of nowhere was a faint reminder of my adolescence. For those of you who know me, you’ll understand why. For those of you who don’t; I’m a countryside girl. I loved being in Shropshire – I even got a tan (more lobster tan than anything else!)
Not sure I could say the same for the thirteen hour days we had, it’s something I’m still recovering from. Yes, nanna naps are helping.
Proof, you say?
These are going to be some blog posts if proof is what you’re after, ladies and gents. You’ll have to bear with me on this one.
Before I begin properly, here’s a disclaimer: I can’t guarantee that this is going to be funny because this what I’ve been duly informed. As you read through these blogs, you’ll realise I’ve been told I’m a lot of things in recent weeks, being funny is one I’m not used to. You’ll see what I mean. Honestly, if it’s funny it’s not on purpose. So if it’s not funny enough, I can only apologise in advance.
I fought with my suitcase before turning up at our team’s base later than planned. Don’t look at me like that, I was hardly going to turn up looking like I was off on holiday for a fortnight, was I? Even if I did return with the lobster tan to prove it!
Between 10am and half-past the minibus arrived. It took about 1h 30 to get to the place we were staying in. We stayed in a manor house with views of the British countryside (for those unfamiliar with Shropshire, it’s on the way to Wales).
When we got to the manor house, we chose the rooms we would be sleeping in and dropped our bags off, carried the shopping up the Hogwarts-like stairs, helped put the shopping away and made our beds. I’m just glad my Mum wasn’t there to see the bed linen (sorry not sorry Mum – in fact don’t even ask).
After meeting our instructors Martin and Rich, we were allowed half an hour for lunch but some of us missed it entirely. At 1pm, we started with building stretchers to carry an individual with a back injury around a 100 yard perimeter. We could use anything to hand, inclduing rope and special stretcher bags. We were split into two groups. One group finished in 6 minutes, the other took five times as long. The group who built the stretcher in 6 minutes beat the other team even though we got stuck at the half-way point.
Then there was the human crane which we all participated in. We all had to hold a piece of the rope and then use the contraption which can only be described in layman’s terms as a metal picky-uppy-doofery-thing. You get what I mean?
We managed to get all the wooden blocks stacked on top of each other, although, by the end it started to resemble a game of Jenga.
Carpet Island came next – don’t even get me started. The whole concept of the game was to get from A to B but it was to test stress levels under pressure and frustration. At first, they rose but once we got into a repetitive pattern of getting it wrong and then working out how to put it right, they started to go down. By which point the other team who had lost the stretcher race beat us to the finish line.
Yeah, it was Karma.
Earlier that morning, everyone had silently mutually agreed that the group I was leading would be cooking that night. Although I enjoy cooking anyone who knows me, knows I’m rubbish under pressure in those sorts of situations. Of course, it all went wrong from the very beginning. I was still hungry from lunchtime and I forgot to sort out the stuffing first thing. Yes, I am a nincompoop.
We managed to make food just before the Night Walk, strangely I was rather calm about it all. I genuinely thought that I was one of those terrified of the dark, ashamed to realise that I’ve been fobbing myself off for this long. There were a couple who were scared of the dark and one (Hannah) clung onto two of us for dear life. We tried to keep her calm, poor chick. She’s alright now.
When we got back to Walcott Hall, I made my lunch using some of the leftover veggie burgers (why not, leftovers has become my nickname/jokey middle name – it’s just the kind of thing my family do) for the next day and I went to bed. By 10pm I was ready for sleeping.