Sunday, 8 June 2014

Big Brownie Birthday: Our Chalet at Broneirion Part 4

We had to wake the girls on Sunday, tiredness had definitely set in! After breakfast we packed and brought out bags downstairs, we had to be sure we were ready to leave at 2pm because we had a train to catch home!

The girls had to strip their beds, clearly something not many of them had done before! And of course, some started doing that while packing, so we had to call halt, get them to pack and then do the beds or there would have been teddy bears and trousers heading to the laundry!

Before lunch we also fitted in our final activity session, service, a key part of a world centres experience. Then there was a lot of clearing up - amazing how many different materials and art products we used over two days - and uniting girls with everything they had made. This was when we really saw how tired they were getting, one of our most sensible Brownies was in tears because everything she had made had disappeared and she was sure another unit's girl with the same name, who had had to leave early, must have taken them (in error of course, she did have to leave in a rush and the mum driving was having all kinds of bags thrust at her!). But actually, everything was still there, in the corner, clearly marked so she got it all back.

Together with some of the other girls who were all packed, our girls helped create a page in the Broneirion scrapbook about the weekend so that if they ever come back, they will be able to find themselves.

Lunch was a very filling roast dinner, the most food we had all weekend, and very tasty.

One tradition from Our Chalet is to have a group picture taken on the back steps. To recreate this, we used the beautiful sweeping Broneirion staircase to have a pic of everyone attending, then of each unit, a lovely memento.

All done and time to head home. Since our passports were stamped on the way there then of course they had to be stamped on the way back. So we queued up for passport control, returned our name and duty tags and signed the scrapbook.

Then it was outside to wait for our two minibuses to appear, dead on time, and off to the station, waving goodbye to the others.

We had no problem getting seated on the train and were thrilled to hear it actually went all the way to the airport again not the stop before as we had been told. As that got us one stop nearer to home, we decided we would stay on.

A relatively quiet journey back, the girls did sing a bit but they were definitely more tired. As were we!

Turned out though, it was a mistake to stay on our train for that extra stop. The trains were running a little late and then were held at the station at the stop before. We saw the train we had planned to take appear on the board and as the minutes ticked by, started to worry we wouldn't be able to catch it at the next station. It was only a 25 min wait for the next one but of course the parents would be waiting for us, and we all just wanted to get home.

By the time we pulled into the airport station we were 15 minutes later than expected and had two minutes to get 11 of us up the stairs, across the bridge and down to the platform. I led the group and we legged it as best we could! We could see our train on the platform and as we ran down, a strung out line of girls, the conductor put his whistle in his mouth to release the train. I shouted "no, please!" in my best begging voice and he said I needed to shove the girls into the corridor fast. I did, counting as I went, I knew we had nine girls but I couldn't swear they were our nine (joke!) and as I got on with the other leader he was whistling and slamming the door onto us. As the train was a few mins late already, and they don't normally hold a train, I know we were lucky to have been allowed to get on, and I know it had a lot to do with the power of a Girlguiding uniform! Big thanks to that Virgin Trains conductor.

We were lucky enough to find a relatively empty carriage where we could slump down and recover, then we were off just two stops later and handing back the girls, after filling in parents on the bumps and bruises!

An exhausting weekend - when I got home my husband actually followed me upstairs, took my bag away, ran me a bath and made me chill out for half an hour, so my tiredness was apparent! But a great weekend: the girls bonded with each other and girls from other packs, they learned new skills, they learned about Switzerland and WAGGGS and Girlguiding and just had lots and lots of fun.

15 months in the planning for us, from discussion about signing up to going for it, and it was worth it. 


K Ville said...

Marvellous, absolutely brilliant and I've enjoyed each write up of it. (I have commented on them all but I think some got eaten).

I would love to do this with Brownies. I wonder if they will ever do it again?

Jen said...

Thanks KV, I did publish all I received. I don't think they will do World Centres again but they do do Brownies holidays so I'd highly recommend it, especially using the train (and I kept the taxi number so I can recommend him too!)

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