Saturday, 19 November 2016

It's a Fair Copse, Guv

5th portsmouth scout group milton st jamesOccasionally in my life I have such a run-of-the-mill day that I have to record that I did fractions at school, or I found a leaf in my sock, or some banal observation on the weather, with only a funny picture of a cat with a tin of cat food on its head and a promise that the next day might be better.
And on other days, I make up for it.
I have acting lessons on Saturdays and therefore sit naked watching TV until I am told to dress, and eat, and get off my bottie etc. But this time we nipped out early to go to church. But that's against your religion, I hear you cry, and yes it is, but the church have these little fairs and tabletop sales and my Scout group attends and it's only polite to go and show your face, donate some money, meet the people and wear the magic Scouting neckerchief that gets you in free.
We got there as the bell was tolling (apparently it tolls for thee, don't ask) and there was an actual queue to get into church, first time since the 2nd coming, although a larger (hoho) proportion of the queue was for the Weight Watchers meeting upstairs. I bought a Minecraft book (20p), had a go on the raffle, the lucky dip (DVD of The Jungle Book - already got it), did an unpaid modelling job for an Asian priest who wanted a picture of a kid at the face-painting stall for his website, and played 'Tickle the Tinsel' which is not rude at all: the Scoutmaster drops a bit of tinsel down a drainpipe and you have to bat it with a rounders bat when it exits the tube. In other fairs it is called splat the rat.
Well, I certainly tickled his tinsel and won some sweeties, and I spread joy and happiness using only my smiling face. Then we scarpered. But while I was viewing the Tombola prizes, Bud had been cross-examining the Scoutmaster.
bransbury park southsea 5th portsmouth scoutsYou see, a few days ago he posted on the closed Scout Group Facebook page a challenge to find a memorial stone that they had planted 6 years ago to mark the centenary year of Scouting. And to make it easy, he said what town it's in - that's all. The stone mentions that a coppice (I think he meant copse) was planted to commemorate the centenary, and in the picture he posted, it had some leaves on it and was surrounded by grass.
So there's your piece of cake challenge, first to take a selfie by the stone gets a small prize and kudos, and the chance to use "It's a fair copse" as a title. My assistant spent 4 hours searching for it (he has a lot of time off at the minute) and with the extra clues gleaned from the naughty Scoutmaster we just hoped that Flynn wouldn't get there first.
Then Sydney arrived and we went to acting in which we rehearsed our Festival of christmas play many times and we ganged up on the little loud kid by pretending he wasn't there. Afterwards we took Sydney home and went to Bransbury Park where my class used to walk to the swimming pool and wandered around in the woods for 20 minutes in the rain before we found the stone, stuck out in the middle of the field.
And we posted my selfie first, hurrah. This allowed me some free time on the X-box before the annual Scout swimming gala. Jof went out to her work quiz so us chaps headed off into the squally night with hope in our hearts. The Scout Swimathon has been a favourite event for a few years now and last year I failed in the backstroke final because I slipped when pushing off the wall, and I was determined to banish the ghosts.
mountbatten centre swimming pool alexandra park portsmouth
On the first race (breaststroke under 9s) someone couldn't swim and the lifeguard had to dive in and rescue the sinking contestant from 6 feet from the edge. My first event was the backstroke under 12 (even though I'm 10) and I came first, even though my name was spelt wrong in the programme. It is another tradition to count the number of spelling mistakes in the programme, and there were many. Then Robert came first by miles in his freestyle race. Johnny's name was also spelt wrong in that he was labelled as Iona Focaccia, some kind of Scottish herby bread product. He came second and then I came second in the next race under the name of James T (not Kirk) who was out with a chest infection.
scouts district swimming gala prize plaqueAnd my Scout group scored points variously (but not as many as the JBs group) until the backstroke final in which I won the title, exorcising those ghosties forever. Robert won his freestyle title by miles, his secret is to leap off so far he only has to swim a bit more and he totally spanked the opposition. Then James T Me came 4th in the freestyle final behind Johnny and well whatever. Lots of points were scored, and points mean prizes. We all had a splendid time and it was great fun, but I didn't win the Jeroboam of Lambrini in the raffle. Or the chocolate. But I feel victorious, I am the Backstroke Boss. Home for hot pizza, I had my Minecraft videos and Bud curled up on the sofa with a hot pint of wine, this is the life, srsly.
And then, just before bedtime, the naughty Scoutmaster posted that the team points we had scored were sufficient to win us the District Trophy for the year. My chest swelled so much I busted my shirt, like the Incredible Green Hulk. Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about, and why I insisted on staying up so I could tell Jof, stuff bedtime. But by Midnight I lost consciousness and she returned to say she'd come second in the quiz, raising £1,100 for charity!

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