Tag Archives: fire

Dens and marshmallows

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Back in the summer term, the Rainbows did a spot of “camping”.

In the garden behind our meeting hall, we toasted marshmallows over tealights. This only just worked – it was hard to keep the little candles lit in the breeze, and their flames were barely strong enough to toast a marshmallow unless the Rainbows were super-patient (most weren’t). Next time I might use a disposable barbecue or mini-marshmallows instead.

Then the Rainbows got into groups (with an adult to help) and made tents with chairs, sheets and blankets. I got some lovely photos of them hanging out in their dens. Some Rainbows found them so comfortable they almost went to sleep!

We had time for a few “campfire” songs, then it was time to strike camp for the day. If only real camp was so easy to clear up!

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Summer cook outs

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It’s another flashback to last summer, since I got out of the blogging habit then.

As usual, my Guides did two cook outs in the summer term. They enjoy them, and it means on the second one they know what they’re doing, make their fires more efficiently, and get more adventurous with their food.

Actually I do my Guides a disservice. This year especially, I was very impressed with them even at the first cook out. Usually they need lots of reminders to collect wood and make a pile (“that fire’s not going to feed itself”), but this time they pretty much all just got on with it. And some of them were already cooking fancy things alongside their burgers and sausages – like wraps and pizzas.

For the first cook out we met at a leader’s house not too far away. Not one of our leaders; she’s the commissioner of another District in our Division, but she’s lovely and generous and has a big garden that she doesn’t mind us turfing up holes in.

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The second time we met at one of our Guides’ houses. It’s up on a hill above town, and they have a paddock behind the house that, again, her parents didn’t mind us making holes in. This Guide was really excited to have everyone over to visit, and we all enjoyed meeting her pets and horses. We were very lucky with the weather here: it’s an exposed place so it could have been miserable if it was windy or rainy, but instead it was a glorious still sunny evening. Oh how I miss summer.

The girls brought their own food and cooking implements, but we have Unit Leader to thank for bringing everything else we needed, from turfing tools and tables to sauces and spare hairbands.

Sparkly new Rainbows

A sparkler, but not one from this meeting

A sparkler, but not one from this meeting

The week after half term, I did my first guiding thing in my new town. Woohoo!

My Rainbows had a joint meeting with another unit. They rotated between doing sparkers outside, making edible sparklers (chocolate fingers dipped very quickly into hot water to melt the end and then dipped into sprinkles), and making firework pictures with chalk on coloured paper.

I was on sparkler duty as I’m always happy to play with fire, along with another leader and a mum. It was slow going because the lighter I as given had run out of fuel, so we had to use matches to light the first sparkler. And most of the Rainbows didn’t have gloves, so we had to share the few that we had, so only a few girls could sparkle and a time. Still I think they had fun!

I didn’t work out which girls were my new Rainbows (not many, I think, because it wasn’t their usual meeting night or place) and which were from the other unit, but hopefully I’ll recognise a few next week when the unit meets as normal.

Bonfire night

Normally this is a glorious view. Today it was just very foggy

Normally this is a glorious view. Today it was just very foggy

My first “back to guiding” activity was with my old district. We had our annual bonfire and I went back to do the singing with QGB.

It was on that day when it was really foggy. I walked up to the place where we were having the fire, and as darkness fell it was…atmospheric. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it if I didn’t know the route well!

It was a good night as usual, lots of girls from all sections, lots of enthusiastic singing, sparklers and tasty sausages, and it was nice to have catch up with people and find out what my Guides have been up to. Their recent highlights include epic amounts of cake baking and fundraising, and the BIG GIG.

Pancakes 2015

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Pancake night is something we do at Guides pretty much every year. Last year I missed it, but this year I was there to join in the fun.

We asked the girls to bring along a clean empty tin can with one end intact and holes punched into it. I suggested about 10-20 pencil-width holes, but I should have specified they needed to be in the curved side, because one Guide came with lots of neat holes punched into the flat end – not so useful, because that’s where the batter goes. Well, we’ll know for next time.

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The leaders brought spare cans, household candles, tea lights, matches, hair ties, oil, batter, and toppings. We set the girls up at tables with big plates or baking trays in front of them, and melted the household candles onto the plates/trays so they stayed upright.

The Guides lit their candles and upended their cans over them so the flame heated up the flat end of the can. They put a spoonful of oil on the flat surface, let it heat up, then put on a couple of spoonfuls of batter to make a little round pancake. When it was cooked, they ate it with toppings and repeated.

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For a bit of variety, Unit Leader also brought along some foil jam tart cases which the Guides picked up with clothes pegs to make a mini pan that they could hold over their candle.

NB your average household candle is too tall to fit under an upturned tin can, so the Guides found they had to either break off the bottom of the candle, or let it burn down a few centimetres (meanwhile, they could use the foil tart case and clothes peg), or stand their tin on top of something (e.g. tea lights) so it would fit over the candles.

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It was a good evening, not only because it resulted in tasty pancakes all round, but also because it had the Guides thinking about way to overcome the various problems they encountered (flames going out, candles falling over, batter spillages, pancake stuck to the can, etc. etc.), experimenting with fire and cooking (we had some marshmallows as toppings, and it wasn’t long before a couple of Guides tried putting them on top of their pancakes while they were cooking; soon everyone was doing it), and working together (“Could you hold my tin steady while I scrape off the charred remains of this pancake?”). As usual, some of the girls who were most squeamish about lighting a match at the beginning of the meeting were happily playing about (safely!) with their lit candles by the end. Blog Pancakes (8) - Copy

Glowsticks, candles and torches

Last week at Guides we had a night in the dark (intentionally, not a power cut!) which we billed as “glowsticks, candles and torches night”.  Actually, we didn’t really do much with glowsticks in the end, so we have quite a lot of uncracked ones spare.  We’ll certainly find a use for them at some stage.

We played some games by torchlight: traffic lights (with leaders shining torches through red, white or green paper to indicate whether to run, walk or sit down); “hide your partner’s shoes in and get her to find them with a torch by saying ‘warmer’ or ‘colder'”; and wink murder with the Guides lighting up their faces when they were still alive, and switching their torch off when they were murdered.  It would have been a bit spooky if they’d done it in silence, but with all their nattering and giggling it wasn’t spooky at all!

Then they got into groups and made quick shadow puppet plays, and showed them to everyone else, with some leaders shining a torch through a sheet.  They came up with an impressive range of shapes, including rabbits, butterflies, dogs, llamas and crocodiles.  Most of them seemed to meet violent ends in the plays!

Finally, they toasted marshmallows and veggie-sweets over tea lights.  It was a fun, loud, fairly active evening, which was just what they needed after a couple of weeks of listening carefully about first aid.  Having got that out of out systems, we continue the balanced and varied programme with some Christmas crafts next time, huzzah!

District bonfire

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The district bonfire is an annual tradition, stretching back…hmm, at least 11 years that I can remember, but it might well be longer and I either didn’t go or don’t remember!

We meet at a hostel/study centre up on the downs above our town (the same one where I led campfire songs for another district in the summer), where the views down across the vale are glorious by day or night.  At night, it’s much easier to locate all the towns and roads, because of the lights, and at this time of year you can sometimes see tiny fireworks going up in the distance.

The evening is quite a smooth operation by now.  Some volunteers build and light the fire; others bring sparklers and water buckets; others bring flasks of hot chocolate, trays of sausages and rolls, ketchup (very important!), tables, cups, napkins, and serving tongs; Queen’s Guide Buddy and I lead the singing; and everyone looks after their girls.

This year, it was the perfect night for a fire: cold, dry and clear.  Everyone met their girls in the car park, then we gathered in a semicircle round the campfire and sang for about half an hour.  Then everyone got a hot dog and hot chocolate, followed by a sparkler, then we said goodbye to the Rainbows, did another half hour of singing, and rounded the evening off with Brownie Bells and Taps.

I was really pleased with the singing this year.  I think the Guides, especially the older ones, can set the mood, so when they’re a bit don’t-want-to-join-in it makes the whole thing less fun, whereas when they join in enthusiastically, the younger girls respond to that (and so do I).  Luckily we had some nice keen ones bouncing off each other!

At the end, I showed another leader around the hostel (it felt sneaky because we didn’t see anyone inside) – it was a good chance to get an idea of it, as we’re helping to plan a leaders’ sleepover there in a few weeks.

All in all, it was a lovely bonfire night, and I’m sure it’ll be on the cards again next year.

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