camping & the genders

Dear friends

On Monday we dropped off our three eldest children at the church youth camps for the week.  (It’s quiet at home!)

The difference in the camps for the young women (YW) and the young men (YM)! Wow!!  This shouldn’t surprise me but it is enlightening to compare!  

First stop at a little before 10h was YW camp, to the north of home.  A beautiful green, well kept field, with new shower facilities, much to the relief of Daur1 who had already warned her sister, Daur2, “don’t shower barefoot!!”. Everyone worked together to erect large 6-8 man tents which the girls will be sharing in their age groups. A large marquee was also erected as a food tent, and each girl had been asked to bring not only secret sister gifts to share but also a camp seat/ chair (so they don’t have to sit on the ground).  As we hugged farewell Daur2 noted there’s music for the devotionals – a portable organ.

The kit list for the Young Men was similar, minus gifts, camp seats, and including tents. My dear husband and I picked up Son1 (and Son2, too young for the camps, having ate first lunch prepared by Son1) around lunch time and headed south, into the forest.  Following the instructions we pulled into a discrete car park behind a golf course club house.  A gate in a hedge met us and beyond a grove opened up – the leader greeted us.  As we entered the shady grove, several tents had already been pitched around a central area with rubber mats and a rope with a large knot hanging from a tree.  I made no comment on what this scene could suggest… There were a few ‘seen better days’ huts and Son1 immediately began pitching his 4-man (all for me) tent at one end of the tent round, closest to the fire pit.  I noted plenty of logs that could double up for seats.  Others arrived, tents continued to go up, each team of young men working alone or with who they came.  Help was not requested and when offered it was rejected – we’re almost there. It was such a macho scene!!  Son1 looked embarrassed as I helped with the tent – but I didn’t care, I’m his mother!!  We left as more young men arrived and I really wonder if they will all fit – I think there will be some tent sharing for Son1. I’m concerned that he seems to feel he’ll cope without a sleeping mat… night temperatures have dropped… but that was his choice, he refused to get one.  His sisters took the air beds/ mattresses 🙂

We left Son1 deep in the forest and headed to my mother’s house for lunch – Son2’s second lunch!  

I am absolutely sure they will have fantastic camps. Men and women are different in so many great ways.  We have to learn from and be here for each other.

summer

Dear friends

I started to write about a week ago, from my phone, then my phone broke.. well not exactly,  I can’t get it to charge! To be honest it’s sort of a relief, no children asking to use it to watch something online, no pressure to remember it in case someone calls (which only my husband or mother ever do so this has been a little frustrating for them, but nothing tragic has happened to the family so it proves my point that we can survive), and no way for work colleagues to contact me when I’m on leave  (which I’m sure certain ones would try).  So….

So the last couple weeks have been full of those activities that remind you it’s the end of school term.  We’ve had :

Long summer days: grass all around is looking like hay, unless it’s manually watered; yellow rather than green; the yellow and black caterpillars have appeared in the garden again and neighbourhood cats are found lounging everywhere!

School reports: “very honest boy” “distraction” “needs to focus more” “pleasure to teach”

School productions: does anyone else find Tallulah in Bugsy Malone a little disturbing, particularly for pre-pubescent children – “lonely,  you don’t have to be lonely” is what Tallulah sings!

School call backs: Sound of Music – “I only auditioned with a friend for a joke and got 4 call backs!” Maybe they want a black Maria?

Summer graduation: marquees, signs in town, lots of cars, lots of families in best clothes, generally lots of busy-ness

School prom: why do the girls dress so OTT!? Girls, you do realise that there are more exciting things ahead in life – this is not your wedding day!!

Sports Days: (I couldn’t make it this year) but two firsts for the family; and an upset head teacher over the inappropriate language of some parents as they ‘supported’ their off spring…

Work: none,  2 weeks! yeah! 🙂 so happy to put on that out of office message. And the euro tunnel awaits, a long drive 🙂 it’s the summer holidays!!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: