Saturday, 29 October 2011

Back with the Boys (Lucy's and my first week in France)

When Lucy and I arrived at Bel-Air, we spent  a couple of days just chilling out around the house, and enjoying all the newly done bits of it, such as Dad's work on the patio round the back, and Ken's finished shed...
...and Dad's newly made table and benches (made from wood that was being chucked out when Nottingham 1st Ward's chapel was being refurbished!) Also, all the new pointing in the brekkie room.
We dragged out the old rusting motorbike which Ken had suggested might feature in a gate (for the back garden) made from scrap metal. Dad hoisted it up on display! (Some of us are slightly less keen on the scrap-metal-gate-idea, it has to be said...)
Me enjoying the new patio! It feels very Mediterranean!
Lucy messing around on Dad's latest toy - a unicycle!
Scott doing the puzzle with the evil sky (nobly completed later by Mum)
On Thursday 11th August we set out to complete Task One of the treasure hunt devised by my brother-in-law Dan. He spent ages planning it all out for us, after spending time out here just before us. We followed some directions using our compass, (cycling miles - Harry and Tom did brilliantly!) and then had to search for something hidden at the top a hill...
Eventually, we found a tower hidden in the woods! Very exciting! I'm really thankful to Dan for doing the tasks for us - it really made us explore so much more of the countryside round about us, and see new places.
Cycling back through our nearest village, Billio - full of gorgeous flowers (but never any people!!)
 The boys are very fond of our new neighbours' pets!
Oh, my favourite flowers in my favourite place... blue hydrangeas in Yvon's wood...
 Dad's latest project - building a wall along the back of the kitchen.
 And more of our neighbours' pets!
The boys with their new friend Benjamin. He was staying with relatives living near to us. It didn't matter that they know almost none of each other's languages! (I did make them a sheet though with a few simple words and phrases - 'play', 'bike', 'how do you say...' etc.)
 Sitting in the sun

Off to France

After Camp, Lucy and I had a fairly quiet weekend, recovering from camp, going to church, getting all our stuff washed, and repacked for going to France (As well as hand luggage, we only had one case between us, and it started off weighing about double what it should - we had to do a major chucking out of stuff to take!)
On Monday 8th August, Lucy and I set off to Stanstead airport. Scott had pre-booked the car park, and tickets etc for us, and everything went smoothly, though we had quite a long to wait, wanting to be on the safe side. This was Lucy's first ever flight. On the flight, I was sitting next to a guy to who had just qualified as a lawyer, and we had a really good conversation about the church. Lucy seemed quite happy with her first experience of flying. I'm not so keen, and have to distract myself from thinking about it.
We got through Dinard Airport pretty quickly - we could see the boys through a little window, while we were waiting for our case. It was nice to all be together again, and driving back to Bel-Air.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Last Day of Camp

On Friday the 5th, we went to The Heights of Abraham - a cable car system, with park, caves and centre at the top. Some of the girls drove, and the rest of us die-hards went by foot with Jim. Bearing in mind we were only camped about a mile away, it took us an hour and a half - I think Jim took us the scenic way (ie. to nearly the top of the hill with Riber Castle on it, and down again!) Anyway, we made it, and had fun going up in the cable cars.
View from cable car - it was pretty high up...
On the tour, down in the caverns.
View from The Heights of Abraham, over to Riber Castle (and the hill we walked up on the way!)
After The Heights of Abraham, we all waited in the car park of Matlock Bath train station, and got driven back to our site in shifts. We packed up camp when we got back (I was rushing round like a loony, and some of the girls were so sweet, and packed up all my own stuff, and took my tent down for me - I was really touched), then we had an award ceremony, and bid fond farewells to everyone. 
I was so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know the girls better, and also the leaders who came. It was a really special time, and the thing that was really nice for me, was that I had a few leaders say they had been reluctant to come beforehand, but had ended up loving it so much, that they volunteered to come again and help next year! 
Lucy, Jim and I stayed on till the last, checking the whole site, and clearing up. Lucy and I finally left at 7pm, and drove the two hours home. I was a strange mixture of completely exhausted and euphoric! Lucy too had really loved being with all her friends and had a good week.
My poor leg after camp...swelling gone down, but somewhat bruised and sore!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Camp Day 4

On Thursday 4th August, all the girls camp headed over to Chatsworth House. We had a great time just messing around in the beautiful gardens and enjoying the scenery. It was our only damp day - just a bit of very light drizzle - we were SO lucky with the weather on this camp. We all got wet anyway though, in the fantastic water feature!
Lucy and some of her best friends.
In the evening, we went on another stroll (hike) with Jim - this time badger hunting... we saw neither hide nor hair of one, but decided it was probably a good job, after Jim's tales of how ferocious they are!! More gorgeous scenery.
Back at camp, we had skits... here is one group of girls doing their 'Yoga' skit... this is the 'Sister Cryer position' (where you slowly hold up your camera, then fall backwards into a hole...) All of the skits were genuinely hilarious... I laughed to the point of tears!
Following skits, we all went and sat round the camp fire, and had our Testimony Meeting. It was truly the highlight of camp - girls and leaders alike got up one after another for nearly 2 hours, each sharing their individual beliefs and thoughts about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit was there so strongly, it was like there was a force-field around us. A very, very special time.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Camp Day 3

On Wednesday 3rd August, we met up with the boys again, and did an all day hike with about 150 of us, starting off along Curbar Edge. We had glorious weather again, and fabulous scenery.
At the park where we stopped for lunch.
After lunch we stopped at the nearby river, and got well and truly soaked! It was a welcome refreshment.
I'd also hurt my leg earlier on the hike, getting it stuck down a crevice on the cliffs. It swelled up beautifully!
At the very end of the hike, we walked from the level of the river, right up to the top of Curbar edge again! I think quite a few people found it tough going!
As I got back to the carpark where everyone was meeting, one of the girls was very ill, having what seemed like a fit. We called an ambulance, and I followed behind with the girl's sister and another friend. The girl recovered OK - they think it was something related to her heart, which needs to be investigated further. We spent several hours at Chesterfield Royal Infirmary - President Hirst had come along too, and after we knew the danger had passed, was highly entertaining. After a while the girl's parents came and took her and her sister home. I got back to camp at about midnight, and raided the kitchen for a midnight feast.

Camp Day 2

We met up with the Young Men's camp at Carsington Reservoir for the day, and all did some water sports - great fun!! I really enjoyed raft building, and Lucy did windsurfing.
Our lovely hall.
 The view next to our camp site.
In the evening we did some camp crafting with our camp warden, Jim, who really wanted to get involved. It didn't turn out exactly as I'd anticipated (!), but the girls were great, building dens, fires, learning about poisonous plants etc.
I had suggested to one group of girls that they should build a bridge over the stream on our site, and was really delighted at their planning and teamwork, and perseverance - moving half a TREE through the woods, and getting it in place etc. I loved how proud if it they were!