Wednesday, 28 October 2009

World Heritage

OK, not strictly Guiding, but we had such a good family day out yesterday I need to pass it on!

We visited a World Heritage site. Though there are 890 of those across the world, and much as I would like to see the Great Barrier Reef or the Great Wall of China, we stayed local and went to Ironbridge Gorge.

Potted history: The world's first cast iron bridge was built over the River Severn at Coalbrookdale in 1779. The designation of the Ironbridge Gorge as a World Heritage Site recognised the area’s unique contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the impact of which was felt across the world.

Ironbridge has 10 museums, if you want to see the lot you really need 3 days, though most people would probably find about 2 days worth of interest and skip a few. You can buy admission to each museum, but if you go to more than two, a passport is better value. Why am I bothering to tell you that?

Three reasons:
  1. to save you money if you are thinking of going
  2. because we were so impressed - the passport lasts 12 months and you can go back to any of the 10 museums as often as you like in those 12 months
  3. because I am a crafty crafty woman and even though the passports are great value for money I managed to save us even more money by finding a "Buy an Adult Passport, get a Child passport free" voucher for each of the kids on the Heart of England website. If you visit the West Midlands or live in the area, you really should check that site out before going anywhere, pretty much everywhere we visit has some kind of voucher on there.
On this trip we went to:
  • Enginuity - a kind of science museum (reminded me quite a lot of Snibston) where as well as Son pushing a steam train just by turning a wheel and Daughter trying a range of blades on a wind turbine to see which was most effective, they also got to make boats from scraps of plastic bottles, binbags, straws etc then sail them in a test tank. This was Son and Husband's highlight of the day.
  • The adjacent Museum of Iron - ok, I confess we didn't actually go round this museum, just went into the cafe and had some lunch.
Then we got in the car (the museums are scattered over 6 miles) and drove down through Ironbridge to:
  • Jackfield Tile Museum - This place is still working and produces tiles for many London tube stations, and also had very interesting displays and videos about producing tiles (yes, the kids were interested too, it was that good!). The highlight here for Daughter and me was decorating our own tile - not just a ceramic tile with ceramic pens, this was way better. You were given a blank clay tile, having just seen them being made in the factory. You selected a design (or drew your own) then traced it onto the tile. Then you got a bag of piping clay and piped that on to the design, then pots of coloured liquid clay to fill in the colour of the tile. Son did a dog (heavily helped by his dad), Daughter did an owl and I did an Art Nouveau style. You have to leave them to be fired, then they are mailed out, so I will add pics when we have them.
A quick drink from the cafe there and we headed off to the actual Iron Bridge and a visit to the Tollhouse.

An excellent day out, 80 mins from home. Next time it will be so much cheaper, as we will already have our passports so admission won't be a cost, plus we plan to take a packed lunch and extra drinks with us.

Next time, probably around Easter, we plan to visit:
Oh, and steering everything back to Guiding, there are two Youth Hostels in the Gorge, plus a shuttle bus around the gorge...I'm thinking a Brownie weekend in Ironbridge maybe this time next year?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I got snippy

You saw the great centenary events we have planned?

I sent out a sheet listing everything we were doing, the cost (nil in some cases) and asked parents to return it the following week.

Of 24, 16 did so.

I sent out a gentle email reminder and of the remaining 8, 4 got in touch with their yeses and nos.

To the remaining 4, I sent another email after a few days saying we really needed to know for planning reasons so anyone who didn't reply by 5pm 2 days later, I would have to count them as no for the first two events since we needed to issue consent forms for one and pay for the other.

One got in touch, with 3 minutes to go on the deadline :-)

So three girls won't be taking part in the first two events, at least. A detailed note and two emails are all I can manage, I just don't have time on top of everything else to chase and chase and chase. Sometimes I just have to say no.

Shame though.

Friday, 16 October 2009

So good!

The asthma night last night at Brownies was so good. I recommend this resource so highly, both our Brownies and our Guides have done it now and they all enjoyed it and learned practical tips from it. Even though it was part of Changing the World and that has finished now, you can still get the resource pack here, you'd have to ring Asthma UK to see if you can still get the specific asthma badges, though since they don't have a trefoil on, I would guess they probably still have some so they can offer this to other youth groups in the future.

We started inauspiciously: one leader ill so off, one leader recovering from illness (me), one leader off because her daughter was ill, one young leader missing because her school football ran over. Still, we co-opted two parents to stay and we managed it all just fine.

I started with the girls in a big circle and we talked about asthma, what it was, inhalers and what triggers were. We also tried breathing through a straw, then breathing through a straw with noses pinched. While we were doing that, the two remaining leaders and the two mums set up a table for each six with kitchen roll tubes, cotton wool and elastic bands.

Then the girls moved to each table and while on the table they made a breathing tube, named it and tried breathing with the tube, then with cotton wool in, then with elastic bands round the tubes too. The adults talked them through how each stage related to asthma, an attack and relief after taking an inhaler. They also went through how to help someone who had an attack.

In the meantime, the YL and our Guide helper (called a pack leader) were reading sheets for two games and prepping for those, and I was sorting out sheets and cheques that had been returned for our centenary events.

Then the YL played the first game with them, about mucus and airways (much more fun than it sounds but really helped them understand) then the YL and PL took a parachute each and played a parachute triggers game. The rest of us were clearing up the discarded cotton wool!

Finally we got them back into circle and they each had a flapjack (a snack with no asthma triggers) and we had a quiz to make sure they had taken in what asthma was and how to help someone.

Then it was giving out a badge each, plus a First Aid Advanced for a girl who had already taken First Aid a couple of years ago so had done a little extra at home to earn the advanced badge this time.

And that's it, we have 2 weeks off, and we're back on Nov 5th - not doing fireworks though, we're doing Marie Curie Daffodils because otherwise we won't have time to get them planted this year.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Strictly sickly

Boy was ill Thursday night until Sunday. I've been ill since Monday night and am improving now but some way to go. Daughter and husband both fine so far.

I'm missing District Meeting tonight in the hopes that I will be well enough to do Brownies tomorrow night.

But now that I am improving, I want to play on Facebook. But I can't, as I am linked to 7 or 8 colleagues. My work has been very sympathetic about me being ill, since I so rarely am, but I am pretty sure that sympathy will disappear if I beat a colleague at Cube Crash or Combine.

For those of you that read this AND know me on Facebook, that's why I am not commenting on anything you have posted. :-)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Here's hoping it sticks

Our Brownies have completed the First Aid badge. Out of 24, 19 got the badge. They worked hard and I'm very proud of them, I really hope that the information sticks!

We're rounding off the half-term with a session on asthma next week. While informative, it's also great fun! Here's the plan:
  • 10 mins welcome and go over what asthma is and what can trigger it
  • 5 mins breathing through a straw, 1 min at a time, including with nose pinched shut
  • 10 mins creating an airway from a kitchen roll tube and putting cotton wool in and trying it then
  • go outside
  • 15 mins play open airway, where some Brownies are an airway and other Brownies are mucus(!) trying to block them
  • 10 mins play swap triggers - 2 parachutes, a few girls are a trigger and they swap under the chutes
  • back inside
  • 10 mins Polly's Day, where each six has a girl assigned a word and when they hear it in a story, they have to run. 1st girl back gets a point for her team
  • 5 mins snack - flapjacks, no triggers in a flapjack (flour can be a trigger)!
  • Last 10 mins - recap and badge presentation
This is all from a pack created by Asthma UK, we made a donation and received badges for each girl in return. It was part of Changing the World, a Girlguiding UK initiative in the run up to the Centenary year, we already did a Changing the World activity earlier this year - with the British Red Cross - but this pack was so good, we saved it to do as part of our First Aid initiative.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Before and after his promise

Before (showing me the magnetic fishing rod he'd made)
And after - he knows his promise but still finds it hard to hold his fingers in the right position!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Brownies and Beavers

First, the newest Beaver is now invested (fast, huh?). As the only one who had the trifecta to be invested - his jumper, a necker and the promise in his head - he was super brave but he managed it. I will add a pic when I find the cable that connects my phone to the computer.

Secondly Brownies. Soooo excited. We've worked out what we want to do for the centenary year and now the girls get to take those plans to their parents and see what they can sign up for. We're doing:

  1. November - Remembrance Sunday
  2. January - Panto
  3. February - Thinking Day at a regional event
  4. March - a weekend in London!!!!
  5. April - regional carnival in Birmingham
  6. May - Brownies Take Over The Tracks
We'll also squeeze in a swimming event and (maybe) a local sleepover for the newer girls before we wrap up next July but basically, that's it outside normal meetings.

Excited? Me? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS
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