I’m in London, staying with my Uncle and Aunt, for the model railway show at Alexandra Palace. I was chatting to my cousin yesterday and we realised that it was 90 years ago that our Great Grandfather was blown up and killed in the First World War. It was 1 day before our Grandpa’s (his son’s) 5th birthday. I realised that she’d never met Grandpa as she wasn’t born when he died. He knew she was coming, but that was it. Shame really as she would have really liked him.

Oooo, it’s snowed & the tent is on my face!

We took the Scouts to Consall camp site over the Easter Weekend. The weather forecasts were causing us some concern as it was said to be very cold and continuous rain and snow. After some umming and ahhing we went.

Now Consall is a rather exposed site and cold wind can blow through. However, we were in a more sheltered bit, so it was too bad and it didn't rain, but it was cold! However, we did have to nag the Scouts about putting more clothes on to keep themselves warm. We would see one looking cold, so we'd tell them to put another shirt, jumper, whatever on. They'd go away and we'd see them a bit later still shivering away, so we'd ask if they'd put extra layers on and the reply would be 'no'! So again, they'd be told to put some more clothes on and they would go away but not put more on and later complain that they weren't feeling well!!!! So we made them put on more clothes, a hat and gloves, gave them warm drinks and off they'd go. A bit later they'd be running around as happy as Larry.  Sometimes I think we might as well talk to the tents!

Anyway, on Easter Sunday morning, the Scout Leader woke up at about 6.15 and said to the rest of us in the tent 'I think we have a problem'. So I wake up and think 'what's that weight on me', open my eyes and notice the tent is actually on me! Someone else said 'it's snowed!' and it had!

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After pushing the snow off, the tent popped back to its correct shape and we got up. It was a complete contrast to the previous day and everywhere was white. We got the fires going and eventually the Scouts woke up and got up quite quickly once they realised there was potential for snowball fights!

I have to admit that's the most snow I've ever seen whilst camping. I have woken up some mornings and had to scrape the frost off the inside of the tent, but this is different and it looks prettier!

Of course, by the time we were due to go home after lunch, there was no sign of the snow as it had all melted! Good while it lasted though.

The Alcock Trophy

Last night we were emptying our gear store in preparation for the building of some new storage cupboards. These are being professionally built so they stand a change of lasting for more than 5 minutes! Hopefully they’ll be Scout proof!

Anyway, amongst the stuff I found the ‘Joe Alcock All Round Sports Trophy 1958’. This was awarded annually to the Troop that won the District’s sporting competition. We were the last Troop to win it in 1986. I vaguely remember winning it at a cricket match – shame I can’t remember which Troop it was we played against.

I wonder why it wasn’t contested again? I guess that the District forgot about it when our District, Burslem, merged with Hanley in 1990.

Funny how the only time we win it is the last time it’s contested!

Anyway, I’ve polished and cleaned it up and it will go on display in the refurbished gear store in a couple of weeks. Perhaps one day Troops will contest it again.

Centenary Badge

We’ve just had the proof for the badge we’re having made for the Scout Group’s centenary.

1stPorthillStAndrews 100 white background

This was designed by two of our leaders. I think it’ll look good as a badge.

The image shows up better if you click on it!

Windows 98

Sorting through my cupboards at work the other day, I found a load of still sealed Windows 98 discs along with some Windows 95 licences!

I haven’t played with Windows 98 for ages now, so I took one home, installed it on an old PC I’d got lying around and had a play. The thing I found was once it’s up and running and updated, it’s still quite useful! AVG anti virus and Firefox run happily as does OpenOffice (along with older versions of MS Office). So if all you need to do is surf the net and type a few letters its great.

The other good thing is that I have a couple of old games that won’t run on XP, so I can resurrect them!

I also tried Windows 95 on Virtual PC which was interesting. This was the operating system on my first PC bought in January 1999! I think the only things I have left from that PC is the speakers and the floppy drive!

One thing I won’t be trying is Windows ME (Mistake Edition!).

Military Wearing their uniforms

There is a story in the media today about service personnel in the RAF being told not to wear their uniforms in public to avoid abuse by civilians. What narrow minded fools these civvys must be.

It shouldn’t matter what you think about the armed forces serving in Afghanistan or Iraq or whether or not you approve of the reasons for them being there, these people are doing very dangerous jobs and need everyone’s support.

It’s very different in the US. Returning military personnel wear their uniforms with pride and people support them irrespective of their views on various campaigns.

90 years ago in the First World War, young men who did not wear uniform out in public were given white feathers by women as it was assumed that they weren’t in the Army etc. This did cause some problems with young men back from the Trenches whose uniforms were being washed and deloused!

Traditional Scouting

This weekend I’ve participated in two events that could be considered as traditional Scouting. Events that the original members of our Troop from 100 years ago would recognise.

On Saturday we went to a small wood in Audley to teach the Scouts how to light fires and to set up shelters. We were allowed to use the wood by a local farmer who is friend with our Scout Leader. We were very lucky in this respect as you just can’t turn up at any bit of countryside and start lighting fires! The land owners tend to get a bit upset if you do!

Fire lighting was extremely difficult as it had rained heavily the night before and it was extremely windy. In fact despite the fact there were three other experienced leaders there, we had great difficulty get things to light. The wind was helpful once the fire was lit though.

Anyway, we persevered and with our help the Scouts got four fires going and they were good enough to make some tea and cook burgers, sausages, bacon and beans on.

Then yesterday as it was Mothering Sunday, we went to Church. I’d like to say that the same amount of Scout who went firelighting came to Church, but I can’t! It’s amazing that other activities (football, swimming, seeing Dad, washing the goldfish) always take priority over things they’re not interested in, but mention camping etc and they’re all there! I’d like to use the carrot and stick approach, but that doesn’t work! Ho hum….

School 1978 v School 2008

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1978 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.
2008 – Police are called, Armed Response Unit arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. Mobiles with video of fight confiscated as evidence. They are charged with assault, ASBOs are taken out and both are suspended even though Johnny started it. Diversionary conferences and parent meetings conducted. Video shown on 6 internet sites.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't sit still in class, disrupts other students.
1978 – Jeffrey is sent to the Head's office and given 6 of the best. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2008 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Counselled to death. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra funding because Jeffrey has a disability. Drops out of school.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbour's car and his Dad gives him the slipper.
1978 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2008 – Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. Psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mum has an affair with the psychologist. Psychologist gets a promotion.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover fireworks, puts them in a model plane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.
1978 – Ants die.
2008 – MI5 and police are called and Johnny is charged with perpetrating acts of terrorism. Teams investigate parents, siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated, and Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during break and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.
1978 – Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.
2008 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.


Many a true word spoken in jest!

This was lifted from a post on the Edugeek site.