This week we had our first cook-out of the term. It’s one of the simplest meetings to run, and one of the most enjoyable for everyone.
A leader in our division kindly let us use her garden, which is large, a bit wild, and has a good supply of wood. I got there early with Unit Helper and we started turfing out fire pits and beating down the stinging nettles around the wood pile.* Other leaders arrived with tables, camp chairs, newspaper, utensils, food, foil, damper mix, hair ties, buckets, and other odds and sods. The Guides arrived with their food, drinks, plates, foil, utensils, wood, waterproofs, and again other odds and sods. Each patrol chose a fire pit, we gathered everyone together and brief them, and then we all got going.
I was impressed with the patrols’ fire-building skills. We must have taught the older ones well in past years, or else they’ve picked it up somewhere else. The younger ones seem to have learned it in Brownies, which is fantastic. It helped that it was a fine evening (mainly – we did have a couple of very light showers) without much wind, and the wood was perfectly dry and crackly. As usual, most groups needed encouragement to keep gathering wood and make a wood pile – some would have blithely sat around while their fire went out! – and to wait until the flames had died down into embers before cooking their meat. But that’s all part of the learning experience.
I was also impressed by the array of food. There were lots of sausages, burgers and marshmallows, of course, but also some sweetcorn, salad, bananas with chocolate, pitta bread pizza and I even found one patrol toasting crumpets! Most of the girls tried dampers, which went down well.
All in all it was a lovely evening, and I’m looking forward to the next one in a few weeks’ time – who knows what culinary delights await us then?
*My favourite laugh of the evening: Unit Helper has just come back from holiday in Australia. When the Guides arrived and found her shovelling the fire pits, they said “You’re back from Australia!” and she said, deadpan, “Yes, but I’m digging my way back there.”