Each year for quite a number of years now we have had a christmas camp with friends in a youth hostel. There is never all of them attend, for various reasons or other, but it is nice that spouses often attend [including me as a non hone educating spouse!] . So, to those of you who planned to be there, or those that never could come but have come previously and are part of the fabric of the thing, you were missed . thus ends my disclaimers we had a really fab time!
Camp preparation consisted of making lots and lots of cake, and lots and lots of tablet as well as some soup and some puff pastry pizza swirls and a quick scurry wrt music for camp. Luckilly some cyberfriends as well as real-friends-in-cyber-land came up with some links and an email that got the ball rolling I was most grateful. I love the excitement of camp prepartion, hearing what everyoe is planning, and stressing about being ready, and wondering whether it will snow [it did] etc etc .We set out on time, and the giggle that we would have to return home and try again proved clairvoyant, as we had forgotten to drop keys at neighbours for rabbit feeding – doh! but at last we were off and headed for a church in sheffield as our first stop.
journey to bethlehem: As we arrived at the church they diverted us to the side of the carpark due to imminent arrival of sheep !! and i was a bit worried not to recognise any cars. a quick phone call and we were united with loads of friends and went into the church to start the celebration. they had made lots of paper stars, a cheap but hugely effective decoration and it looked fab. if had time off between now and xmas would consider trying to recreate.
Sb and lots of the other kids did some dancing with the dancing ladies, i had tea and chatted with friends and the minister. all very welcoming, especially since we were so early. They were very interested in the fact we had come so far tho! we got going and it was really lovely, a lot of thought, effort and joy have gone into the making of it, and me and my girls were really appreciative. i liked the break in the middle with the market/crafts as well. poor bb was a bit tired and got flustered with the photo, so was wailing, but i sorted out the problem, and she carried on happily. loads of ppl shouting bb at her made her feel in trouble! back on track she loved the end of the journey, and we swept both off to the youth hostel, greeted there and shown where to park and got stuff into hostel and prepared to have fun
food: first night was soup and stuff, so made it to kitchen to start helping out. DH and i took turns to be kitchen elves through the week – he got to do the dumpling tossing this year, including new modifications from bfish! he also made an utterly fabulous roasted veg in filo pastry parcels [with help] . i made the traditional camp curry and helped with chopping and roasting veg for xmas dinner and last meal. so we both saw a fair bit of kitchen. the prob with the kitchen was that it was so cut off from the rest of the world so you didn’t get popping by helpers as previously as it was v easy to not notice ppl were missing for great swathes of time, and also carrying the food across was a bit of an effort. we knew the kitchen was a bit of a problem when booking, so decided to make the best of it, and we soon got used to the difference. still prefer an integrated kitchen tho! i think over the years we have gradually perfected the timings and getting on with the food, so that this year we were mostly on time! cooking for 50 has its challenges when you rarely do it. ringing my mum and getting her rice advice was a good plan tho, and now feel comfortable with cooking rice for loads! As always, the food was good, hearty and plentiful
games: i think being in the kitchen i didn’t play quite so many games as planned, but did get in quite a few!! mostly with kids as well as adults it has to be said, pandemic, settlers, carcassonne and alhambra and did like the playing with various groups and chat . didn’t get to caylus with the babs, but must fit a games weekend at some point! lots of the kids played the games tho – we are raising the second generation of gamers! A hit for camp [adults] was the camp top trumps as invented by the lovelyem and then giggled over endlessly. Although there was some contentious scoring i don’t think anyone saw it as being anything other than fun.
craft: a fair bit on offer for when kids were exhausted, needed a chill out or fancied it, and the same for adults we made a christmas banner, and hopefully can add year on year, did needle felted star decorations for the xmas tree, stained glass window pics and felted dreadlocks for most ppl – channelling our natty-ness [i think we were scary in the end!] . it was lovely sitting in various groups chatting to adults and kids as things were being made and displayed. I spent some time with kids i don’t usually – like n and J, talking about dinosaurs and fish and the burgess shale whilst felting ammonites etc.
music and entertainment: em and i did manage to play our trio together once, but accretions of children collected, so it turned into a runthrough of xmas carols. we did several runthroughs with various kids and adults and a bit of rejigging of arrangements until all were happy and were part of a singalong at the christmas day. it was fab. the kids are all improving on various instruments, and more adults joined in, so it actually sounded good!!! Em brought bells, which always sounds really beautiful, and was again practiced a couple of times, and then the kids played after xmas dinner. unfortunatley em missed it, but they did you proud other entertainments were a magic show [2ce!] with BB, C and B which was best the first night, and they did have to put up with a great deal of heckling. courage under fire and all that! the weds had a cabaret with sb dancing [v nicely] magicking and playing a piano duet with me [which i bodged as the keyboard threw me a bit - tho lovely keyboard ] Jan and I also duetted, and the keyboard gave us a really surprise by having a life of its own midway thro!! lots of good solos/jokes etc by other kids and v enjoyable [whereas sometimes it can be a bit...] . was glad to know what the real words were for one of the songs… Also on offer was xmas line dancing . Music degenerated into karoake carols including the rhythm generator on the keyboard and conga around the hostel. whereas the earlier carols had passers by stop and look in the window as generally beautiful, i think this had the hostel staff in fits of giggles behind their desks!
kids: they had a ball, sb had a varying group she played with, and it was all v flexible based on what ppl fancied doing rather than who they fancied doing it wth. BB was playing ninja/kung fu/spies etc with J and X and they were inseparable for most of the week . they really had a fab time and thought it was wonderful. what was also v nice was there didn’t seem to be any ggrumps or grouches that needed a parental intervention to get things back on track so a v happy camp for parents too.
secret santas: the christmas day and secret santa at camp is always magical there is a made/second hand or cash price limit, and we do try and stick within it and do home made we all loved preparing our secret santas to give out, and hope all were appreciated – galokas usually are and I know bb’s was too. the girls had spent ages trying to get theirs perfect. We all loved ours. SB was delighted with her bag of goodies including an apron as she loves baking, bb adored her dinosaurs – fimo and knitted, i loved eating all my chocolates without help and will enjoy the chutney and DH has made an inroad into his custard creams . thankyou everyone
educational stuff and outings: the first outing was a short multicache around town led by MDJ mwah ha ha in best voice!! having realised that took us straight up a cliff into the snow, so we did an ‘alterntae walk’ which turned out to be walking up a stream/waterfall with not all kids in perfect clothes for the task! however, it was a beautiful walk, and most kids raced up and down the rocks. bb raced once too often, and after comforting we found we had been abandoned! we pushed forwards, but she was disheartened, so only a couple of hundred meters sort of the goal we turned back. ah well!! The second outing was to eyam plague village. sb and some friends took turns reading out the info boards [good way to know they read them ;)] whilst bb was trapped in the stocks. A short walk round as a v v cold day, and the museum was shut. A peer in the church and look at the story in stained glass, and the mediaeval paintings in the upper church before looking at graves and the saxon cross outside listening to jan educating us. the final bit was the fossil activity put on by the youth hostel themselves. this was rather fun, we went and saw all the fossils in the walls, learnt abit about the geology of the area but rather more dreadful jokes! then the kids made fossil imprints and one with plaster of paris. a nice easy way to spend the day
it was a really lovely camp. a few initial stressy moments about sleeping arangements etc were all sorted out with the minimum of fuss using good old fashioned direct communication techniques and from then on there was lots of laughter and jollity. quite my most favourite ppl to go away with . * . lots of drinking [diet coke for me], cake eating, chatting, merriment, late night [ and all day] laughter. some of ‘the men’ even did a pub run! thankyou everyone. somethings we never got round to – we never did spray glitter in snoring mens’ beards
I may come back and add highlights etc and photos