Prince’s Trust: Day 21 (Wednesday 26th April 2017)

Hey everybody,

Another short blog post from me today.

We managed to apply two coats of magnolia on the kitchen walls. Honestly, walking into the kitchen was like walking into a freezer and that was down to the really British weather we keep having. British summer is here because it keeps snowing! It’s been so cold that my nose could have run the London marathon all by itself, or at least the distance from where I live to where the project is.

This afternoon, some of us managed to start on the artwork side of things. I need more practice and that means less opportunities to nanna-nap when I get home. When it’s finished I’ll post pictures of what we created and you can make the judgement for yourselves.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 7 (Tuesday 4th April 2017)

Hey everybody!

As I recall, the weather was freezing cold we had no choice but to hunt for firewood to warm ourselves up with. With the help of the brief gusts of wind, (stop it) the fire took hold whilst we were all playing a game of Crocker. Crocker is an African version of cricket, so I’ve been told. For all of you reading this saying “Oh cricket’s boring”, you’ve obviously never seen a T20 match. Having not played cricket since I was about 14 years old, it’s safe to say I was more than a tad rusty. In fact, that’s just me being nice – I was awful.

Gutterball involved guttering pipes and a tennis ball from A to B in less than 7 seconds. We failed so many times before we even got close to 7 seconds. Each failure made us more determined to get it right the next time around. We didn’t stop. Those who are determined and competitive made sure that nobody stopped until we beat the 7 second target.

5 by 5 involved moving 5 tyres onto another post without putting big numbers on top of small numbers. There were three posts in all. I forget just how quick the time was but it was less than 5 minutes.

Triple Barrel involved three barrels and two planks of wood and we had to get the entire team from one point to another in less than 12 moves. I think we managed it in about 10 moves.

In the muddy sludge, Tyre Gap was horrible in terms of trying to deal with the mud and close for comfort at times. On the plus side, the body heat made the cold more bearable. The awkward laughter allowed the entire group to bond. There was an awful lot of awkward laughter and people holding onto heads and shoulders. For those who aren’t so touchy-feely (there are a number of us in the group), we had to let go of our insecurities somewhat.

After lunch there was the crate stacking, I lost count how many times I hid behind the trees to avoid climbing those crates.

Why? I’m terrified of heights. Some of the other members of the team were the same but they still did it. “It’s the adrenaline fix I want” one of them told me. I don’t mind adrenaline but I still felt peculiar after that morning.

But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t help others who attempted to try and beat each other in how high they could get. In the end the highest anyone got was two columns of 17 crates. Besides which I had already passed out earlier that morning from cutting my finger whilst looking for my deodorant. If it had happened again that afternoon, I dread to think what sort of state I’d be in. In fact, the people who know me could very well imagine just what sort of ungainly picture I’d have looked like. What can I say? I’m the biggest klutz going. For the rest of you, you really don’t need to know.

Just before dinner we did ‘desert island’ where Martin and Rich got us to list 20 items that we could have on a desert island. The instruction was to create a list of the most important items and get rid of the five least important. The aim was to see whether we would pick items that would aid survival or items that would help us get noticed and rescued.

Dinner was spag bol, although most didn’t realise that we were actually eating lamb mince rather than beef. Whoopsie. It had been a long day for all of us and the amount of us suffering from fatigue made us drop the clanger. No-one objected.

‘Observation lane’ involved us observing the items in the corridor of the place we were staying in.Then a five minute break and then another observation of the corridor and we had to record which items had been put there. Being as tired as I was, I felt like I let the team down.

That evening was a struggle to stay awake. Old age must have finally come knocking,  or all the sleep I lost during those all-nighters I pulled whilst at university finally caught up with me. We had to make shapes out of the ropes with half of us blindfolded and the other half had to give us the specific instructions. Irrespective of whether I had the blindfold on or not I really struggled to stay awake.  I think we all did.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 6 (Monday 3rd April 2017) 

Hey everybody!

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.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 4 (Thursday 30th March 2017)

Hey everybody,

Just a short blog post from me today.

Blighty is famous for its torrential rain; this morning was no exception. Even though the weatherwoman on the telly said it would be ‘very warm’, I predicted it would rain. By heck, did it rain!? I was soaked by the time I arrived at our team base. On days like this, I really wish someone had invented mini-windscreen wipers for people who wear glasses.

We arrived at the care home which I had missed out on yesterday when the rest of the group were briefed on what we had to do. We had to remove all of the weeds from the plant beds. We got stuck into the task despite the rain. Although an hour before the lunch break was called I was told off for working too hard and many didn’t hold back in telling me how knackered I looked. I appreciated their honesty but ploughed on regardless. I like to work hard for my lunch, it makes me appreciate it more. I took my break – a coffee and homemade energy bar (again another of my mum’s recipes – if anyone is interested in making them then comment below, and I’ll post them here on my blog) and was mercilessly ribbed for trying to hide from my duties. There’s so much sarcasm in our group that it just makes me laugh, and if it could fill a swimming pool we’d all be swimming in it. In jest, they even started calling me ‘Mum’. What can I say? Being one of the eldest, most mature individuals I feel large responsibility for everyone.

As a ‘thank you’ from the care home for what we did, we were given doughnuts. I can’t even remember the last time I had a doughnut.

Kelly told us that prior to this one-day project, they would be looking at who would be good at leading which activities throughout the course. I was told I’d make a great leader if only I was more vocal.  Well to that I say, let’s just wait for ressy!

A funny thought to end today’s blog post: as I was walking home I recieved a lot of weird looks from passers-by. It wasn’t until I got home and washed my hands that I realised why. I had inadvertently painted half a beard of mud on one side of my face!

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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