Sunday, December 16, 2007

Xmas Party

Above : "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down"

The weekend of the annual Fordell staff party, a chance to relax and enjoy some fine food and entertainment after a busy year. This year, a few different events had been arranged and things kicked off saturday morning with a thorough testing of the new sumo suits / inflatable gladiators arena / giant boxing gloves. These had arrived the weekend before and obviously needed to be extensively evaluated before being used for paying customers.

Above : Some of the staff looking a bit bloated after eating too much at the meal

After lunch the first ever Fordell Xmas Archery Competition took place. Around 15 took part, and after an hour of intense competition and underhand tactics, Ali was declared the winner overall. The event looks likely to take place annually, giving the less-gifted ones a whole year to improve or work out how to manipulate the scoring system.

A quick trip to Dalgety Bay followed for the actual Christmas meal, which was attended by over 20 and judged a success by all. After returning to Fordell, Pete Merckel (site quartermaster) gave a great slide presentation on his recent trip to Everest basecamp as part of the 7 summits expedition, after which he was presented with a few gifts to mark his upcoming retiral from his role at the site in January after many years of service.

The rest of the evening/early morning was spent with the traditonal socialising / music / karaoke (playstation-style) and pretending to be a guitar-hero with the amazing Wii (with various degrees of success).

A fairly relaxed sunday (although some crazy explorer scouts wanted some outdoor activities which had to be provided despite the freezing cold), and it was time for a few weeks break for most and chance to recover before another busy year.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Above : Annual Fordell silly grin competition winner.

Several days of torrential rain led to the difficult decision to cancel one the of the main events of the year, the 'Final Countdown'. This was part of the '12 camps of 2007' and had been intended to be an action-packed weekend camp for Explorer scouts from across the country; however due to the weather it was decided that the camping areas were far too wet to host the event and it was cancelled midweek. A few local explorer scouts did come in for the weekend, however, and ran their own activities from the relative warmth of the Richmond Chalet.

Above : Dave, Ginga and Stevie playing Giant Jenga

The weather was fairly dry on saturday, although the fields were waterlogged, and the staff spent the day carrying out a number of tasks on site (moving wood, trimming trees). Things got much busier in the evening when the heavy rain returned and an SOS was received from the Explorers in the Richmond Chalet that they were being flooded out. A crack response-unit was despached from the staffhut armed with spades, torches (well one) and sandbags (well bags of rocksalt), and an hour later had managed to clear up the flood and divert the water elsewhere.
In restrospect, it was realised that the correct decision had been made to cancel the camp, as it would have been chaotic if there had been hundreds of people camping on the saturday night.

Above : Emergency Response Unit in action. Bright light at top RHS is Ali - as the only person with a headtorch, he was assigned the role of Emergency Lamppost.

Sunday was altogether more relaxing with no major incidents and the only drainage problem being a significant leak from the staff urn during the day of approximately 10 cups/hour.