Prince’s Trust: Day 30 (Thursday 11th May 2017)

Hey everybody,

Just like I warned, Karma came knocking in footnote form. I’ve spent an entire morning correcting bad footnotes from high ranking academics. No-one likes footnoting but equally no-one likes bad footnoting either. I can’t talk though, footnotes and I are a bad match, even when I was at uni.

I’m keeping busy with copyediting and also researching into the audio software in time for tomorrow’s podcast. Still not telling you exactly what I’m doing, but maybe tomorrow I’ll give you a cheeky nudge about the organisation Ash is in charge of.

I met Lianne, she works with Ash too. She’s asked me to do this database for her and send it back to her by the end of next week. Again, I can’t tell you because it’s highly confidential and let’s face it I’d be for the high jump. No-one wants to see that!

I love a challenge and am happy to get stuck in – besides which, I’ve been told there’s no rush for the database.

Towards the end of today, Ash, Andre and myself sat down and discussed the programme and how to use the software for the podcasts tomorrow. The last time I used it, I was still at school (around about a decade ago… brrr – sorry, that was a shiver going down my spine). My knowledge of how to use it is quite foggy (it’s like training a muscle, the more you use it, the easier and the quicker it is to pick-up). It’s still a work in progress but we managed it between the three of us – just about.

After the day was over, I stayed behind to do yesterday’s blog and to have dinner with the local community. Of course, me trying to upload a blog post amongst distractions, it never actually came to fruition.

All in all, a good productive day.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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P.S. Note to self: Must take more breaks.

Prince’s Trust: Day 22 – Day 25 (Thursday 27th April 2017 – Wednesday 3rd May 2017)

Hey everybody!

I’m back – apologies for being away! I was slaving over my artwork and now it’s finally finished (or at least as finished as it can be given the time constraints) I can finally talk to you about it.

First of all, I must say how proud I am of the group for what we have achieved in these past two weeks. None of us are professional artsy-painters although some are better than others, we’ve created artwork we can be proud of. Those who turn up at the door asking for help will be accepted and welcomed here and we helped to provide that. It was a challenge and test of our skills, our patience, and determination but we smashed it (figuratively of course, it’s a common British phrase).

On a personal note, whilst some of you might decry “But Lexi, don’t put yourself down, you’re creative and artsy too!” Honestly, I’m better with the written word than paint. 

This couldn’t have been finished on time without the help of some of team at the last push. I want to take the time to thank them. It was greatly appreciated. You know what they say, ‘Team work makes the dream work!’ Never has it been more true with Team 125.

The last time I made anything remotely artistic on this scale, was in Year Nine (aged 13) when I made a wooden sculpture from lopped off branches off the trees in the garden and other scraps of wood destined to be incinerated. At the time of finishing it, I was accused of cheating but refused to pay the accusations any attention. Luckily, I didn’t have that problem this time around. Just like then as I am now, it made me feel full of pride. Having tried something new, it reinforced the desire in me to create irrespective of what form it came in.

We still have the sculpture ‘Woody’ (I know, genuis name or what – you can thank my Dad for that one). He sits on the balcony and keeps look-out – when his head, arms and legs don’t keep falling off due to the rot!

I’m not a painter and not a good one at that either, but I’m up for the challenge and I’ll always try my best to do a good job. It’s pretty much how the rest of the group have approached the project too. This has made the process personally, both exciting and infuriating in equal measure. It’s been a work in progress because most of the time I had no idea what I was doing – I guess you could say it was well worth the jubilation and torment. This is why I have waited until it was finished to show you what I’ve done. It’s not my best and it’s not my worst, but nor was I expecting to produce something so abstract looking. It’s not how I pictured it in my head, I’m not sure I have the talent to have pulled what I had in my head off. It’s rather quirky. It works. Sort of.


As you can see I’m not a half-arsed woman and when it comes to being on a level playing field, I have to work twice as hard as everybody else. I’ve been so dedicated to the task I spent the entire day today (Wednesday 3rd May 2017) working and not stopping for a break nor lunch. Not only did I lose energy but almost forgot my marbles when I lost track of what day it was (I thought it was Thursday – trust me, don’t ask).

In terms of the picture, it is what it says it is. A snapshot. A recreated photo using paints and personal artistic interpretation.

Why did I choose the place? Well, it fits in nicely with trying new things and visiting new places. On the other side of the abstract wall, is a phenomenal restaurant (predominantly fish restaurant) serving fresh fish from the sea which is a stones throw away from where the original photo was shot. I tried octopus carpaccio here, and half expected it to be rubbery but it was de-lish and I’m glad it was my first experience of it. I’d go again just to relive it. I went to Dubrovnik Old Town on holiday with Mum and Dad, the last family holiday I took with them. It’s a place and a holiday that will remind me of ice creams, exploring as the three little ducks (inside joke), amazing food, great company and a lobster tan that made me itch and could only be soothed with coconut oil. 

As for the quote? 

Over the years, Mum has always been in our corner motivating and encouraging us (Dad too, but Mum in a more emotionally vocal capacity) so asking for help from her with the quote made sense to me. Sorry it took me so long to ask for your help, Mum. She is fiercely protective of both of her kids and we’re fiercely protective of her (don’t say a bad word about any of us – trust me, don’t even go there). I’m sharing this with you but nothing more. There’s so much admire about her, for one thing she doesn’t mince her words when it comes to telling others what she thinks. Great mums need to be appreciated and not just on their birthday or on Mother’s Day but every day. It’s highly likely Mum will be eye-rolling at this right now thinking “why are you telling people this?”. Well who better to encourage others, than someone as wise, resilient, and incredible as your good self Mum? (Am I right Dad?) 

Yeah… eye-roll and tut at me all you like, Mum, I’m sorry not sorry. 

This artwork has knackered me out. I’m off to make tomorrow’s packed lunch and then to bed to read for a bit. We have our handover tomorrow at 2pm BST. I’ll take some photos of the rest of the team’s work and post them here tomorrow. Who knows who will be there? General public? Press? Police? I’m hoping all of the above. Keep an eye out on for ITV News Central Six O’Clock news bulletin, you might see a few familiar faces. 

This world needs more goodness right now.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

x

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

x

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

x

Prince’s Trust: Day 5 (Friday 31st March 2017)

Hey everybody,

Another relative short blog post from me.

I woke up aching from all the weeding we did at the elderly care home on Thursday. I made it into our base though. Just about. You should have seen me at lunch-time, there was so much lactic-acid build-up I thought I would need a Zimmer frame at one point!

The first thing we did was our first weekly diary in our folders. There’s another good reason for why I do these blogs! I was getting asked questions about what we did from everybody.

Then we did our Level 1 Food Safety exam. We’ll get the results and the certificate in the post.

In the afternoon, we finished our weekly diaries and went back to the college to pick up our college passes. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a student, I kind of miss using it an excuse (mainly to eat as much as I want – don’t get the wrong idea, I didn’t starve myself as a student).

After that we went to the city centre to go shopping-shopping (a.k.a. clothes shopping- my worst living nightmare) for residential purposes. Things we wouldn’t mind getting dirty: trackie bottoms (gym pants?), hoodies, long sleeve shirts and a pair of shoes.

I went and bought myself a solid pair of multi-activity shoes and then went home.

Sorry it’s been relatively short these past couple of days. I promise, next week will be much more livelier and exciting. Don’t forget to check back to see what we have been up to!

 

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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