July 2012

Whilst Matthew and Chris were busy enjoying the QinetiQ family fun day, Cassandra and Megan were having a great time at Brownie Camp. Megan has been helping out as a leader at Brownies for a few months now and volunteered to do all of the cooking for the 24 girls and the other leaders. Often, she would be 'helped' by a small group of girls but - truth be told - she much preferred having the kitchen to herself whilst the girls enjoyed another activity - ideally out of earshot so Megan could turn the music up loud.
The girls did grass tobogganing, pond dipping, all sorts of games and a whole host of art and craft stuff related to the weekend's theme Carnival.

The following weekend, it was Matthew's turn again - a Beaver's Fun Day in a muddy field just south of Farnham. They got to try air rifle shooting, archery and water rockets as well as etching wood and cooking some sweets. There was also an 'aerial runway', a bit like a flying fox but with human power needed to hoist the kids up the rope to the top before letting them zoom back down. This is where Chris spent most of the afternoon along with a couple of other Dads hoisting kids up a tree. The Beavers weren't so bad but some of the cubs and all of the scouts took a lot of effort.

At the end of the day, the Dads and Lads were joined by the Mums and Girls for a barbecue and a sing-song around a camp fire. There were a few breaks in the rain but amazingly a good number of people sat stoically through some pretty torrential downpours and carried on singing.

The rain didn't stop for days. The weekend after the Beaver Fun Day, we visited the Farnborough Airshow which was a very wet affair. At least half the aircraft intending to fly didn't bother because of the rain and in many parts of the site the ground was seriously boggy. It was all a bit of a let-down really - even the Red Arrows, normally a firm favourite, seemed a little underwhelming performing with only seven aircraft instead of their usual nine. That's Matthew in the photo on the right watching the Red Arrows engineers (in blue) go through their final checks whilst some traditional 'wing walkers' entertained the crowds on antique biplanes.

Another Beavers event next - a trip to Legoland. The kids very much wanted it to be a parent-free-zone so we dropped Matthew off at the start of the day and picked him up at the end. Instead of going home though, we let Cassandra have her choice of rides and she was really pleased to have passed another height threshold that let her go on several of the rides all by herself. We might as well not have been there at all!

The kids are growing up fast though. Just a couple of days later, we attended Matthew's Leavers Assembly which proved quite an emotional event for some of the children and some of the parents. It was mostly a song-and-dance event and here's one of the better ones. Watch out for Matthew's appearance on the screen at the back right at the very end of the song.

Matthew Leavers Assembly

One week to go until the start of the London Olympics and we joined 25,000 people for a party in the park in Guildford to cheer the arrival of the Torch as it neared the end of its 8000 mile journey around the UK. It was great... lots of sponsors giving away free stuff (as much Coke as you could drink), opportunity to try a host of different sports and the obligatory craft tent (which Cassandra found and made herself an olympic torch). There was also live music, though none of us would rush back to see Hip-Hop group Rizzle Kicks again in a hurry...

After a huge build-up over several hours - including a number of mentions that this really was a once-in-a-lifetime event, the flame was carried up onto the stage by an old-timer called Austin Playfoot. And what was his claim to fame? Only that he carried the flame back in 1948, demonstrating quite clearly that for some people at least this was far from a 'once-in-a-lifetime' event.

The flame was transferred from the torch to a large cauldron on stage where it burned happily for another hour before being transferred again to its flight-safe mode ready to be airlifted to central London by a fleet of four Royal Navy helicopters. All in all a nice afternoon out.

Just one more snap for this month - a memento from Cassandra's first proper sleepover. That is, a night of snacking, karaoke, make-up, hair, chatting and nail painting. This was the result of one of the 'treatments' ... a mud pack facial, for nine year olds. What have we created...