Friday, October 31, 2008


Above : Bob receives a card to commemorate the 50th time he has told the story about the donkey and the well at flagbreak this year.

Well, what a busy weekend that last one was. Not only the were the usual groups and activities to be looked after, but there was also a top-secret mission to carry out, along with a huge amount of work on site.

Bob, as you might be aware, is having an enforced 'holiday' after having an operation on his dodgy knee - so it's now up to Claire and Stevie along with the volunteer staff to look after things for the next few weeks. Last weekend also happened to be Bob's 50th birthday so secret plans had already been made up to have a surprise party on site on saturday evening. Despite a few problems caused by his appointment being moved forward by a week (meaning he wouldn't be around on site on his birthday), things were swiftly sorted out on saturday morning. Most of the staff headed outside (despite the horrendous weather) to continue moving the mountain of tyres from the old quad track and carry out a few more pre-winter jobs including dismantling the gazebo on top of the new stage. Meanwhile Chef Ramsay (aka Ginga) and a small but talented team of cooks were busy buying and preparing food for the party.

Above : Trying to hoopla Calum

Above : Stevie practising his fancy dancing before the party.

Above : Auditioning for a part in Still Game.

Everything ready, all that remained to be done was to come up with a cunning ruse to lure Bob out of his house (where he was sitting watching 'Zulu' for the umpteenth time that day) and up to the conference room where everyone else was waiting. A quick phonecall from Claire informing him that there was a water leak in the conference room roof did the trick surprisingly easily, and he was driven round by Morag to see what the problem was. Despite the Scout rule that 'A Scout is to be trusted', it was soon revealed that Claire hadn't been telling the truth at all and instead of finding water gushing from the roof there was instead a rabble of hungry staff members waiting for him to arrive so that they could get on with the buffet.

Above : Bob's old shrapnel wound from the Boer war starts to play up.

After a great/embarrassing slideshow featuring old photos of Mr Bob, it was time to open his presents which included...a huge framed photo, a hat and pipe, a Leatherman multitool (so that he doesn't have to keep borrowing Ali's) and lots of Tiso vouchers (so that he can buy another Leatherman when he loses the first one). A fun night was had by all with a great attendance from staff - and a good rehearsal for the Christmas night out which is not too far away at all.

This weekend's again a really busy one - both GNAS archery course and First Aid course running as well as a few groups - more news about them soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jamboree on the Air

The radio club (KARS) have added an update on the JOTA event which was held at Fordell a couple of weeks can read all about it on their website here (no point repeating everything on this site!)

( in case that link doesn't work)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting ready for winter

Above : Local explorers suddenly realise that there are slightly more tyres to be moved than Barrie had told them about...

Hopefully we should have an update and photos from last weekend's Jamboree On The Air very soon, but in the meantime here's a quick review of the past few weekends.

The winter's definitely well on its way and with the reduction in campers there's been a wee shift from all-activity weekends to maintenance and project work. There's been loads going on both outside and indoors, including...Dingly Dell being reclad in the same style as the staffhut and reception (see below), ongoing work in the staffhut and the biggest task - moving all the tyres from the quad track.

Above : Taking no chances in case the trailer gets a puncture on the way to scout camp

Although the centre has been running quad bike sessions for a few years now, it's been decided to stop offering this due to the high maintenance costs and problems with both reliability and the state of the quad track, expecially in bad weather (plus the rising fuel costs!). The plan now is to turn the quad area (next to the zipline) back to a camping area, which should be very useful for big events. Last weekend, phase one of the project was started when a big group of local explorers led by Fellowship member Barrie popped along to help out as a service project. Phase two will involve working out the best way to either use or dispose of the tyres in the best way, and we're already talking to a few local companies about the options.

Above : Add your own caption

Another task which needed to be carried out before the winter was the annual turning-off of all the outside water taps in the field a few weeks ago. Armed with radios, a crack team of staff were sent out to all the taps in the site to make sure all the pipes were properly emptied. All went well, except for Ali who (accidentally of course) was sent to the only tap which wasn't connected to the same water system as the others, with a radio which didn't work. After standing for well over 15 minutes with his tap still pouring out torrents of water, it became apparent that something was wrong as the rest of the staff had long since disappeared back to the hut to get a cup of tea.

Anyway, more news very very soon but here are a few photos for now...

Above : Nice new-look Dingly Dell

Above : Huge new notice board or small Craig?

Above : Britain's inflation problems start to hit Fordell after the global credit crunch

Above : Rare photograph of cloud-to-cloud rain refuelling phenomenon