Goodbye 2007

As 2007 closes, time to look back at the year. Only positive and good things I think, there’s too much doom and gloom around already!

2007 has seen a number of centenaries both personal to me and personal to everyone else.

My Mum’s parents were both born in 1907. It’s hard to think of them as being 100, although Grandma nearly made it to 92!

Grandma's 75th (Medium)

Grandma’s 75th birthday.

Mr. William Thomas Vickers and Mrs. Alice Irene Vickers

I could have got into real trouble for announcing to the world that Grandma’s first name was Alice! It’s a shame Grandad never got to see all the computer and interweb stuff as he would have been fascinated. The first radio (wireless) he had, he built himself!

Newcastle (Staffs and District) Camera Club was 100. Grandad and Mum were / are members and they had an exhibition to mark their centenary. Mum had a couple of here photos displayed.

Of course, one of the big events of the year was the Scout Centenary. Looking back at some of my scribblings from 2007 and looking at my Scout Group’s web site you can see some of the things we did. I think my highlight was restarting the Scout Troop after 18 months and investing the new Leader and new Scouts at our District’s Centenary camp.

The other two personal highlights were finally seeing Paul McCartney live and actually driving a real locomotive – albeit up and down the yard at Cheddleton a couple of times!

Goodbye 2007 and hello 2008.

Merry Non-Denominational Winter Festive Period

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive and gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practised within the traditions of the religious or secular practices or traditions of your choice or, if none, without regard to any religious or secular practices or traditions at all. We wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically healthy generally accepted calendar year 2008 with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make this country great (not to imply that this country is a country you are part of, nor that it is necessarily greater than any other country, or is indeed the only “your country” worth referring to) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual preference of the wishee.

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I think what I meant was Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It makes me laugh to think that we are not supposed to celebrate Christmas in case we offend other religions and non believers. This is despite the fact we are supposed to honour the festivals of other religions!

The leaders of the main religions have all said that they enjoy the Christmas festivities and respect Christmas. Even Richard Dawkins says he enjoys singing carols!

So stuff all the PC brigade, remember Christmas isn’t just about shopping and think of those who have to work over Christmas!


We've now completed the Scout's Christmas parties. Last week we took 30 or so Beavers & Cubs to see the Bee Movie at the cinema. They all had a good time and behaved really well, albeit a bit noisily (you have to hear thirty 6 – 10 year olds to believe it)!

Then last night I went with the Scouts bowling. Another good evening with some interesting new styles of bowling being exhibited by the Scouts!

But the thing that got me, was that one of the parents came up to all the Leaders and gave us all a Christmas present for looking after 'little Johnny' for the last year! I had to pick myself up off the floor!

In the 18 or so years I've been a Scout Leader of one sort or another, I've never had this happen. Normally, it's unusual enough to get a 'thank you' from a parent let alone a gift. Now of course, we don't do Scouting for personal gain, but the occasional Thank You is always appreciated. Especially after a week long camp!

Anyway, thank you to the parent for the most unexpected gift!

Explorer Scout Spends a Year Under Canvas

Just read this article in the Telegraph about an Explorer Scout who has spent one year under canvas to raise money for a children’s hospice.

Well done to him! I hope the Scout Association recognises him in some way!


I hate feeling ill. I’ve had a cough and temperature all weekend and still feel rough. Apart from the fact of actually being ill, I hate the time wasted! I had a few jobs lined up over the weekend, which now have to be done some other time. Oh well at least I can catch up on some James Bond films!

Special Needs

I was chatting to my sister last night and she asked me ‘what would you do if a parent with a child who has special needs came to you and asked if their child could join Beavers, Cubs or Scouts?’ So I said I have a chat with the parents, see what their child’s needs were, check with the District’s special needs advisors and then if the child was able to join us draw up a ‘contract’ between the Group and the parents stating what we can and can’t do, what help we’d need from the parents and reminding the parents that we’re not child care professionals, but we will do our best to get their child to join in and enjoy Scouting.

She was a bit shocked as a colleague of hers had been told by a client (they’re both psychologists dealing with children with special needs), that a local group had turned their child down flat!

As we’ve had two young people in the Group in the past who’d both had Asperger’s Syndrome I was a bit shocked. You don’t just say ‘No’.

Scouting should be available to all young people irrespective of their background or circumstances. Even if they couldn’t accommodate a young person with special needs, at least they should have tried and then seen if there were alternatives. Saying ‘No’ is just not on.

How Many Activities?

I’ve spent the last couple of days writing a newsletter for the parents of our Beavers, Cubs & Scouts. I got landed with, er, volunteered for the job at our Group Executive last week.

Now I’ve finished it (just a load of printing to do now), I’ve realised what a lot of activities we’ve put on for the young people in our Group over the last year. Even though it’s nearly the end of the year there’s still activities to come. The Scouts even had a martial art demonstration last night in which they all participated in as part of their fitness challenge.  In fact we’ve got loads planned for next year as well.

Warley MRC Exhibition

Dad and I went to the NEC on Saturday to visit the Warley Model Railway Club’s annual exhibition.

Very good it was too. It was absolutely packed as usual. Strangely they only seemed to use 3/4 of the hall, but there was as much stuff there as normal. Trouble was the hall was a bit badly laid out in places so there were a few crushes.

The 12 inches to the foot ‘models’ this year were a couple of industrial Hunslets.

100_2577 (Medium)

This one was built in 1971 (a very good year!) and the other in 2005.

I ended up with some Triang TT stuff and a couple of Video 125 DVDs. Good day out really!