Prince’s Trust: Day 9 (Thursday 6th April 2017); Day 10 (Friday 7th April 2017)

Hey everybody,

Another short blog from me today.

If I had to sum up the day, I’d call it a learning experience. We went wrong so many times but in those moments we pulled together as a team and managed to make our way around the course. We finished close behind the team who had completed the course in just over three hours.

Below are some of the activities we did during ‘The Great Escape’:

  • crossing the river by plank bridge
  • climbing hills
  • climbing walls
  • Floating downstream by canoe – quite a few fell in. The rest of us faced the consequences – a wet muddy bum.
  • Rafting
  • Finding blue gems

The views from the top of the hills were breathtaking. If you’ve never been to Shropshire I highly recommend it. We stayed in Walcott Hall.

Afterwards we did ‘The Spider’s Web’ where the smallest of us went through the biggest holes at the top and the largest went through the holes at the bottom. It took us a while to finally work it out. We were only allowed 5 lives – we used up 3 in our final go.

Thursday night was focused on packing up our things and cleaning. We were to leave the place in similar condition to the way we found it or better. I mopped the floors.

By 1o:30am we had to have left the following morning. We arrived at our base at around 12:30 – 1pm, carried in the left over shopping and went to get our bus passes and go home. I was so happy to be home. The sun was shining and warm. Life was great but I spent that weekend trying to recover from the 13 hour days.

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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Prince’s Trust: Day 3 (Wednesday 29th March 2017)

Hey everybody!

As I was playing catch-up with my two blog posts yesterday morning, it left me running a fair bit behind schedule. Whilst I was  doing this, the group went to see the elderly care home not far from our base, as tomorrow we will be doing some gardening for them.

When they returned, I caught up with what I had missed that morning. It’s safe to say the group held the two of us who were late, accountable for our actions. They were right to do so. We apologised and blog-post-wise I’m not going to make the same mistake again. Instead, if I can manage to pull myself away from the nanna-naps long enough, I’ll write them as soon as I get home. You’re probably thinking but at your age you’re too young for nanna naps. Well, when you choose to walk more than 5km every day like I do, nanna-naps are inevitable! Plus nanna-naps have been scientifically proven to be good for both mental and physical health, I wouldn’t have them otherwise.

The first thing I caught up on was writing 4 different potential career paths. I chose the following:

  • Social Media Manager
  • A published novelist
  • A literary agent
  • An editor/ manuscript reader in a publishing house

I also wrote down the recipe I am referring to is in the prior blog post to this, we’ll need it for the meal on residential next week. I’m so excited about it I literally can’t wait. I’m in charge of cooking in our small group, so I’ll be delegating tasks for the other two in our team to do. I’ve no idea what I’ll be doing – I’m sure I’ll find something to do. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

In pairs, one person was given a laminated sheet of A4 and the other a piece of paper. With our backs to each other and those who had to draw, our aim was to replicate what the person with the laminated sheet. I can’t draw to save my life so I let Gavin (the guy I was partnered with – more on the names update later in the blog post) down. Sorry mate. However, in the second half when we swapped roles, we made amends and I realised I am much better at giving instructions than taking them. Whoops.

Then we were literally made to jump through hoops for each other in two teams. Our team managed to beat the other one by a second.

We did a write up about all the different groups we could help from all the work that we did on Tuesday.

We discussed potential venues for where to hold our end of course presentation. Obviously the place that we finally decide to hold it will determine the dress code, although, I’m almost certain it will be posh. It almost always is and the prestigious-ness of the event and who it is run by calls for it to be a posh event.

We discussed and signed up to our job roles for the entire course. I have doubled up because there aren’t enough people to meet demand for how many job roles there are on the course. I’ve decided to take up two roles; one of which ties in well with the blog posts because it involves writing reports and makes my job so much easier. But there’s more pressure to deliver. The other is rather straight-forward and self-explanatory: accountant. Thank goodness for the unexpected ‘B’ grade in IGCSE Maths.

We had a visit from a construction company in the afternoon. When asked if any were interested in applying for placements, a few hands shot up. For obvious reasons and no disrespect intended but I won’t be applying for any.

Just before I leave you, more on that naming members of my group thing. Remember in one of my prior blog posts, when I told you that I would be asking my group out of respect if I could use their names? They gave their permission, providing I gave them the link to my blog so they could read it. We’re working on that at the moment.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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