Gangshow Week 2022

A few weeks ago, I helped out with my districts gangshow. The following is what I got up to over the week helping as a member of the backstage crew.

On the Friday, I helped with the get in process. This required moving all the scenery from the districts hall into a lorry which would then be driven to the theatre. We had lots of Timbits to keep us motivated before then driving to the theatre to unload. I then helped the scenery crew completing some laminating (to make smiley awards) as well as tying lots of paper cranes onto string. At the end of the day, I had blisters after tying over 300 knots!!

On the Saturday, I helped to tie the previous paper cranes with string onto another piece of string in order for them to hang in rows on the stage. I then started helping on the stage where I found out my role was to move backstage staging and scenery – whilst also checking the staging was secure with tight clamps. We went through all the sets to check there positions with the producer and chair of the show, and when we were given the all clear, we marked the position of the set with tape. When setting hanging scenery, I got to help screw some wire rope clamps onto the metal wire which would be hung from the bars via. a carabiner: we had to make sure that this set hung evenly and was not wonky. At lunchtime, we had Chilli for helping out all day.

Over the Sunday and Monday, it was dress rehearsals with the cast. I became an honorary curtain puller, due to the designated curtain puller being unavailable. Luckily, I only went wrong once during the two rehearsals. On top of this, I helped to move set and was given a radio where some funny radio chatter happened.

The Tuesday consisted of a crew only rehearsal, where the musicians practiced whilst we quickly changed sets to become more efficient. It was a lot more relaxing during the practice and so we could get away with messing about in between.

Wednesday through to Thursday was the full show and it went well without running too far behind. On the Wednesday, I was given my new gangshow red necker which I was very excited for. I missed the Friday due to my university friends coming to visit however, this was when I made my gangshow newspapers gossip columns debut – all for hanging up some of the fallen set backstage in the wings.

Saturday was the longest day of the week but Blue came along for the shows. It consisted of two shows with a dinner break in between. We got free ice cream from the local ice cream factory during the break which was very kind of them. During both shows they were filming and so at the end we had to go on stage for our bow/ wave. The final show was the best show as we hid a pineapple during each singing number – it was a tradition dating back older than me. After the final show we had to have the get out process where we removed all the items, loaded up the lorry and unpacked at the districts scout hut.

Overall, it was a very fun week volunteering and I am already looking forward to next year!

Chaotic Week

For today’s blog, I will give you an update on my chaotic week. From no water due to a busted gas pipe to an exec meeting, I have experienced an untypical week.

Monday:

Last weekend, I went home to celebrate my mums birthday as well as to visit my cats. I returned on the Monday to celebrate one of my universities friends birthday. I caught the train home at midday (which was lovely and quiet) before making coffee cake and investigating the busted gas pipe which had happened over the weekend. In the evening, I headed out to Spoons to celebrate the birthday. I also had a district executive meeting which I attended.

Tuesday:

On this day, I woke up to no water due to the roadworks having hit a gas pipe, they needed to turn off our water supply to fix it. However, we got water around 5pm again which was pretty quick. I had badminton in the afternoon, so used the Universities sport centre to have a shower as well as claimed my free hot drink from Costa due to the inconvenience it had caused us.

Wednesday:

This was a fairly chill day, I visited the Universities archives with BUSAG to learn about the societies history and the surrounding area Scouting history. It was a very fun meeting. I also had my weekly shop delivered from an undisclosed supermarket where we had issues getting our shopping. We were told that you needed to be 25 for the delivery which was confusing as we had ordered previous deliveries with no issue. After speaking to customer services, our delivery was reunited with us.

Thursday:

Thursday was a fairly calm day with Beavers and Scouts in the evening.

Friday:

I had my only lecture of the week at 9am for Computing – due to it being Maths consolidation week. In the afternoon, I watched the new Batman movie which was amazing!! I then went to Nandos for dinner before heading back to my friends flat party.

Saturday:

Without going into too much detail Saturday was chaotic. I had a friend ill from midnight where, I managed to get 5 hours nap time as I was looking after them. Eventually we called 111 to ask for advice and they advised heading to A&E. Eventually they were seen and my friend and I headed to grab coffee before I went to my friends before going out clubbing.

Sunday:

After waking up on 6 hours of sleep (pretty good compared to the previous night), I ate some breakfast before attending a BUSAG event to cook a roast dinner. The roast dinner was divine, I helped to carve the chicken, peeled carrots, put Yorkshire puddings in the oven and did some washing up. Whilst the food was cooking, I nipped to Tesco to grab a chocolate twist and some orange juice. In the evening, I cooked fajita pasta before heading for an early night.

hi 2022.

So a new year, a new resolution. I would say my resolution for 2022 would be to be more frequent in my blog writing but with university exams throughout January, I knew this would not be the case. I do not really have a resolution for this year other than to wake up earlier and be more productive during the day. My university semester starts back on the 31st so I currently have a week of ‘freedom’ and during this I am exploring the city.

This past week has been semi eventful. On Tuesday, I had the last of my exams after which I had my booster jab (as an end of exam present). On the Wednesday, I went on a walk along the local canals before starting season 2 of Cheer on Netflix (and subsequently finishing it by Friday). (see photos of canal walk below)

Catapult

Thursday was a quiet day, however in the evening I had Beavers and Scouts. The Beavers learnt all about Australia to help them with their international badge whilst the Scouts made their catapults in their patrols. I made my own catapult at the same time (which worked better than the Scouts’ catapults!). I was then invested as a leader into the Scout Group which I definitely was not expecting – I now have another neckerchief to add to my collection.

On Friday, I choose to go on a mini hike around Lickey Hills where I walked over 22,000 steps (around 15km). It was a very therapeutic walk even with the strong winds and in the cold. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to wander around the woods and find look out points to try and spot my University’s clock tower (Old Joe). As I was returning back onto campus I was proud of myself as pre-WSJ, 84 would never have done anything like this. (see photos of Lickey hills walk below)

On Saturday, I tagged along to visit the Guide shop. I found some old badges in a lucky dip bag as well as the county Guiding badge which I had to buy. I avoided saying the banned word Scouting in the store – though it may not actually be banned, I didn’t want anyone catching on that I was an imposter! I got back to my flat and one of my flatmates had returned from the Christmas break. We caught up before going out shopping to grab some food before watching the Incredibles 2 (I worked out the villain within the first 30 mins – my flatmates can back me up) and an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

Winterbourne House and Gardens

On Sunday, my flat and I headed to the Winterbourne house and gardens; where Blue has previously gone on a Bear hunt. We then ate some food before tidying the flat to have a small party in the evening. Look out for Blue’s blog where he heads on a Bear hunt!!

BLOGMAS ’21 (day 2)

Today has been a very long day. I woke up for my 9am lecture on Algorithms where the lectures spoke about SatNavs before learning about integration. I then ate porridge for my mid morning snack before completing some coding.

During the evening, I helped at a local Beaver unit to make Christmas decorations before helping at Scouts where we played the peel game. This was learning about capitalism and the unfair trade market. I then headed back to my flat and it was snowing.

BLOGMAS ’21 (day 1)

As usual, I am going to try and blog every single day leading up to Christmas (we shall ignore last year as I may or may not have given up on day 3/4). I will explain my chaotic day below:

Salem with their Christmas hat

I went to my SSAGO meeting and we made Christmas hats for our pom-pom duck. I then went back to my flat to write up my maths work before heading off house hunting with my future flatmates. We found a lovely house which we are gonna reserve for next year. After getting back in the rain (near hail), we cooked dinner (where Ella, nearly almost poisoned herself). Following this, we watched I’m a Celeb before dragging George out to game with Ella. For supper we ate garlic bread, opened our advent calendars, defrosted tomorrow’s dinner and listened to Christmas music.

Bonfire weekend

On Friday the 5th of November, it was bonfire night. Last year I wrote a blog about the history of Guy Fawkes which you can find here. As I am now at university, my weekend has been very different compared to if I was at home.

Friday 5th November:

Tori, George and I went firework hunting around the posh, upper class area around my university. We saw a few fireworks in the sky but we were more exploring the local area before stopping at Morrisons to buy Parkin cake to have with custard. On our way back to my accommodation, we saw a dinosaur outside the Botanical Gardens. Later that evening, we watched Paul the movie (about an alien who wants to return home) and played with George’s NES gaming system.

Saturday 6th November:

Tori and I were going to go find some sparklers however, xe did not wake up in time – so we did not buy any. In the evening, we headed towards Edgbaston Cricket Ground to watch the fireworks. We stood in a nearby field, with torches I bought with me. The fireworks were very beautiful and after the display, we headed back to my flat. We played Solitaire, Blackjack, ate food (inc. churros) and watched a horror movie (called Hereditary – a psychological horror) on a projector.

Sunday 7th November:

I caught up on some work and completed some assignments. I also did some meal preparation as well as cleaning the flat. In the late afternoon, I went on a short walk (but saw no fireworks).

A Month In

Campus (including Old Joe with clock hands)

Today marks one month since moving into university and I have been busy settling in. I have been enjoying having independence, yet it was nice to see my family last weekend. Together we went out for a meal and did a small bit of shopping where I got a blind to go in my flat’s kitchen window (thank you Will) – this replaces the makeshift clothes line which dried our tea towels. Around the flat I have been doing lots of small DIY with string/ rope in order to create innovative spaces.

Blue with Monkey Bread

I’ve been baking a lot in university and have been making banana bread (also called monkey bread), ginger snaps, coffee cake and oat biscuits. I watched the Addams family with my favourite flatmates Ella and George over the weekend which was very nice and we have started hanging up Halloween decorations around the flat.

Vibing Swans

This weekend, I am going camping with my university’s SSAGO group which I am really looking forward to. It’ll be the first time I will’ve gone camping in nearly two years due to the pandemic disrupting various camping opportunities.

Cricket grounds where I got my second vaccine

I am enjoying learning lots of new concepts and have recently started learning how to code in Java – which is quite difficult but with a bit of rubber duck debugging it is going swimmingly! I still have not caught freshers flu, instead I became very ill from my second vaccine (which I got at a cricket stadium).

As you can tell, I have been very busy but I will definitely blog about camping – so look out for another blog in a week.

Blue gets freshers’ flu!

Blue in bed with Freshers’ Flu

Well, what a busy week, it has flown by. I’ve done lots of things and met loads of amazing people.

Blue has been busy too, so busy out partying until the small hours that he has freshers’ flu.

I’ve tucked him up in bed with a hot water bottle, the fan on and plenty of bear snacks on the bedside table.

University Move in weekend

On Saturday the 18th of September, Blue and I moved into university. We arrived at our accommodation at 16:30 and were greeted by older students volunteering to help us move our bags. At first the locks on the doors were confusing to open but shortly I got into the swing of it.

When I entered my flat, E was already there and she had unpacked most of her belongings. I found out that her mum works near where I live – showing just how small the world is. After unpacking some items and meeting W (another flatmate), it was time to head to Sainsbury’s to do a quick shop for some food essentials and a rug.

Dinner – a cheese and egg omelette in a bagel

After arriving back at my flat, I said goodbye to my parents and sister before heading to play some card games with E, W and G. We wrote down when each others birthdays were on a chalkboard and made small conversation. We then headed to bed at around 22:30 so I finished some of my unpacking before heading to bed.

On Sunday the 19th of September, I woke up and made myself some breakfast. I started to set up my laptop and TV (which would act as my second monitor). I then went on a walk around campus to get some fresh air before walking back via the cannel. We then made lunch and chilled out.

Later in the afternoon I met with Z (someone I knew from primary school), we both walked together to a high street of shops to gather some extra items. It was nice to catch up after a few years of not seeing one another as well as being able to talk to someone more familiar.

After our walk, I headed back to my flat. I then went on the hunt to find the laundrette before heading to grab free pizza and talk to new people who were in some of the flats around me. I then made some dinner before watching some Netflix with E.

What does the Fleur De Lis mean to me?

The following blog has been sitting in my drafts for a few years now. I still agree with what I have written so it is as below.

The three leaves of the trefoil represent the threefold Scout Promise – Duty to God and Country, Duty to Self and Duty to Others. To me they also represent the 3 sections of Scouting I have already been through – Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.

The two small five-point stars stand for truth and knowledge but to me they also represent the two hours of volunteering I participate weekly.

The reef knot represents the strength of World Scouting but to me this also represents badge work such as the pioneering badge where I first learnt all of my knots.

The rope around the Fleur De-Lis represents units but to me it also represents the beginning and ends of the meetings where we face the flag and perform flag break.

The ring holding the petals together represents the bonds of brotherhood and so to me it represents my Scouting family. Hence all the friends I have made and met through Scouting.

Simple views but with my own personal connotations. What does the Fleur de Lis mean to you? let me know in the comments below.