End of Centenary Celebrations

Yesterday I attended a service of thanksgiving for 100 years of Scouting at Lichfield Cathedral organised by the County. It was a nice way to end the year’s celebrations on a slightly more formal but relaxed note. This compares with the camps and other events we’ve been on!

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The Cathedral at 16.30

Here’s to 2008!

Scouting Blogs

I’ve been reading the blogs of the three Scout Leaders linked on the right for a while now and very interesting they are too. I can’t remember how I found them initially, but they are worth a read. The only thing is, I can’t seem to find comparative blogs from UK Leaders. Now, the three Scouters in the States only talk about their Scouting on their blogs, where as I go on about anything that comes to mind, but still I can’t find anything comparable in this country.

I do find it interesting to see the US perspective, but I would like to see what my fellow Scouters in this country have to say!

New toys from Microsoft!

Instead of writing this directly into my blog or using the Firefox plugin Deepest Sender, I’m using one of the new Widows Live tools, Windows Live Writer. And so far, I’m impressed!

Microsoft have released a whole load of tools under the Windows Live banners – Mail, Messenger, Photo Gallery, Writer, Toolbar and OneCare Family Safety. Best of all, they’re all free. Now that’s quite impressive from the company often known as M$! A lot of their products can be quite pricey at the best of times! Well done MS.

Different Country, Same Problems!

I’ve just been reading this article (sorry it’s been removed) on the CBC website about the joys of ringing call centres in Canada. Now considering they’re at least 3000 miles away, it seems that they have exactly the same issues as we do.

What is worrying is that despite being two separate countries, with different companies and an ocean apart the same problems happen! Don’t these companies realise that holding on the phone for yonks is the best way to upset your customers?

There is a story on the BBC today of a man who had an issue with BT. It took months for him to get nowhere, so he posted a video on YouTube, told BT and hey presto, the issue was sorted! Companies don’t like bad publicity.

Another trick is to write directly to the chief exec of the company and demand a personal reply (you wrote to them so why get a customer service assistant’s reply?). That normally works! So, Mr. Dunstone, I’m waiting!

Another trick is when the company offers a phone number that costs you for the privilege of being on hold, use the Say No to 0870 website to find a free number. Make them pay to have you on hold!


After the Remembrance Day service at Church on Sunday, which, incidentally was quite well attended by the Beavers, Cubs & Scouts, I got home and after lunch got a phone call from our Assistant Cub Leader.
His Dad had shown him some photographs of some old Porthill Scouts, who were distant relatives of his, and were not mentioned on the Church's war memorial. It seems that our Troop had, in effect, two Troops. Our Church had a daughter church at Longbridge Hayes and the Troop had a patrol, Bulldog, based there. The two brothers in the photograph were both in Army uniform. One was killed in 1916 and the other in 1918. From what I've been told so far, all the members of Bulldog Patrol died in the Great War. All their names are listed on the old Church's war memorial and this still survives. If fact, I believe that the names of the dead are listed in the Book of Remembrance that is displayed in our Church.
As the Beavers & Cubs are meeting at Church tomorrow night, I think I will pop in and see if I can borrow the book. I'm pleased to say that I've found the two who have been brought to my attention on the Commonwealth War Graves website, Once I've found all the info on Bulldog Patrol, I'll be adding them to the Scout's Remembrance website.

Remembrance Day

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Old Camera

While Mum & Dad were in China they took my digital camera! So on the day we went to Blackpool I didn't have a 'proper' camera to take with me (I have one on my mobile phone which I did use, see Blackpool post, but that doesn't count!).
Luckily I'd been clearing out some of my stuff at Mum & Dad's and found an old Kodak Retina 1 camera that used to belong to my Grandad. It's a pre-war design, although I think mine is post war, is manual focus, manual appature settings and you even have to set the shutter! 
However, I used it at Blackpool and at Kibblestone last weekend and got some good photos. Luckily when I guessed the settings, I nearly always got them right!

Camping with Cubs

Just back from a weekends camping at Kibblestone with our Cubs and those from 99th Berry Hill. We stayed in the Cub Lair (it’s too cold for Cubs to sleep in a tent at this time of year) which I haven’t been in for years. I managed to go in the sleeping / activity area before the kids arrived and it smelt like it did when I was a kid of 3 when Mum & Dad took me to District Cub camps! Can’t beat a good wooden polished floor!


The classic Cub Lair in the Autumn shot!

We had a good weekend and the kids were a good bunch and generally well behaved, well as much as 28 Cubs can be! The only exception was that they didn’t go to sleep properly until 3 am on Friday night! No such problems on the Saturday night though!

As we had a bit of a past, present and future theme going on, I finally got to wear my original 1930’s Scout hat I bought earlier this year.

Me in Scout hat

I had been feeling a bit jealous of BuffaloEagle, the Lone Star Scouter from Texas in the USA, as I’d been reading his Blog last week and in all of his photos there is a clear blue sky! All the times I’ve been camping this year, it’s rained! So of course as we were sleeping indoors this time, the weather was lovely, clear and not a drop of rain. It was a bit chilly, bit it is November after all! See here for all the photos.

There was a ceremony at the camp to commemorate an old District Treasurer that I went to while we were at camp. The District had donated some money in his memory to do up the archery area. Very nice it was too. While I was there though, I saw one of my old primary school teachers and his wife. I haven’t seen him for a good few years. He was taught at school by my Grandpa, he taught me and my sister and then some years later moved into the house next door to my other Grandma and Grandad! Small world really!