Tales from the unit

Spring Into Easter

Spring Into Easter

It was not the warmest Vernal equinox and, as the last meeting before the Easter holiday, hiding inside and doing chocolatey Easter activities was always likely to be a winner.

So armed with sugar, sugary items, chocolate and some more sugar (sorry this was a fail as a healthy meeting), Eagle Owl rocked up to a hall of hyper Brownies.

Strangely, her suggestion that the leadership team would sit and eat the chocolate in front of the Brownies, to save them contact with a nasty sticky set of substances plus, of course, pass on helpful tips on the best way to eat a Creme Egg, was not accepted by the Brownies as a good evening, so back to plan A and allow them to have a go.

Showing them the “here is one I made earlier” selection, the gruesome mob started to tear off lumps of fondant icing as they decided on whether to make a chicken or pig (as shown) or go off on a creative route to make a unicorn or “thing” (end concensus was 1 unicorn and 3 “things” – we may never know what the “things” were).

The questions began, very random questions
– “how many legs does the pig need?”
– “does a chicken need wings?” (answer from another “no, they can’t fly, so make a hairbow instead………”)
alongside other intellectual questions and observations (if you are Brownie age)

“Eagle Owl my creme egg is damaged, I need another” met with “Why does the hole have your teeth marks around it then?” on 2 occasions and they were sent away to work with what they had!  Only one genuine broken egg and, with a replacement duly issued, Granny Owl took the hit for the team and ate the wreck!

Easter Day Gardens were also made and, as can be expected, along the manufacturing route for both, many Brownies managed to munch their way through biscuits, lumps of icing and score a few licks of their creme eggs.

And so, with surprisingly little mess (but that may have been due to the amount of munching going on),

plus a lot of concentration, every Brownie duly produced something to take home, with a long, long line of items appearing……….  and the only debate that was left to go on was “……… when can I eat it?” as they made their way home!

Mission (Im)Possible

Mission (Im)Possible

Ever had one of those days? You know the day where;

  • the planned visitor suddenly cannot come
  • Granny Owl is off on holiday with the Trefoil Guild
  • Crystal Owl suddenly cannot come due to “affairs of the heart”

and you recognise that plan B is just going to have to be devised and implemented at short notice?
Well yes, today was just “one of THOSE days”!

Charging the cup for coffee and a wander round the house to look at the various accummulated tat (sorry treasured and prized Guiding resource material) and an idea formed! It only needed a quick veer past a shop for one item as everything else was to hand and, so, with a bit of speedy typing, plan B was prepared.

After a warm up game of marshmallow relay – much enjoyed and utilising that random large collection of chopsticks, the spare dishes (and a quick veer to purchase marshmallows), the hastily prepared code-breaker sheets were produced …… and went down a bomb.

Cracking the code, the Brownies came to quiz Eagle Owl and obtained a teddy bear, newspaper, sellotape and such other random equipment, eg, scissors, as their six boxes could conjure up!

Not only were teddy tents produced, but bedding, eye masks and even a mobile phone!

The Brownie promise was made into code, the teddy bears were made an odd toy or two from the surplus plasticine (which has been nestling amongst the handbooks for over a year left over from… who can remember what).

So plan B was a great success and the bears were much cuddle – well it is not every day they get to see the Girl Scout of America BaB Teddy Bear Collection.

The whistle was able to remain the pocket and despite depleted leader numbers ie, Eagle Owl, 2 DofE and Rainbow Leaders next door, the Unit were pretty easy, albeit very noisy, going for the night (but not sure the parents will enjoy the manky plasticine that was taken home at the end of the night…… well no self-respecting Eagle Owl would have deprived them of it………. it was actually rather horrible!)

Mother’s Day Buttoned Up

Mother’s Day Buttoned Up

After snow inconveniently stopped play last week, the Owls started to worry when they heard quite a few Brownies would be missing due to illness – but why let down those members of The Unit who were bouncing?

And bouncing they certainly were! Those without the lurgy landed with an endless supply of energy and a new worry emerged – would they actually sit quietly for long enough to do a Mother’s Day Craft as had been requested some months ago????

It actually appeared the Owls need not have worried – glue, buttons, marker pens and the Brownies went uncharacteristically calm enough (if not quiet) to do their chosen craft justice.

With great focus, pencils and glue spreaders were wielded for long enough to make a creation their mums should (with any luck) love.

Of course, it could not last for ever and as soon as the craft was complete and carefully laid to one side of the hall in safety, the noise level rose and games were required.

The Owls expected a noisy game to follow so were astonished when Eagle Owl’s car keys were required and a quiet game was played!!!!

Will the new silent order continue?
Can The Unit really do extended periods of relative quiet?

We will see!

A Caribbean Thinking Day

A Caribbean Thinking Day

Rainbows, Brownies and Guides from across the whole of Burnley came together today to do a sponsored walk in aid of the Girl Guide Branch Associations in the Caribbean, so badly affected by Hurricane Irma last year.

It was a very happy, colourful event with quite a number dressing to the Caribbean theme with carnival masks, flowers and skirts, there were even one or two pirates as Guides walked 5km, Brownies 3.5km and Rainbows 2km. In total 20 Rainbows, 60 Brownies and 15 Guides attended with their leaders and lots of parents.

With refreshments donated by Tesco’s in the Community, a great day was had by all and 2 long service awards to Linda Smith and Nicola Mitchell were also celebrated.

She Wears???????????

The last meeting before the sponsored walk and the Unit needed to complete their costumes!

With garlands and t-shirts, only the hula skirt remained – no problem!

The Unit formed an orderly queue – no, let’s be honest, a disorderly scrum – and giggled as Eagle Owl dropped what seemed like several miles of elastic, watching in desparation as it snaked across the floor.
Waists were measured and elastic cut, the remaining several miles (it did not appear to go down in amount) being tamed back onto a sheet of card and put firmly away in a plastic bag before it could wreak more mayhem.

Yellow plastic was issued to enable the “grass” strands to be created and the noise level went through the roof as the Unit developed multiple new and unique ways of threading this onto the elastic – every Brownie blithely ignoring any instruction given by the Owls!  Knots of varying types were tied and scissors wielded to create skirts and, by some sort of miracle, some sort of creations emerged so it is safe to say the Unit will look unique this coming Sunday.

Games were played – at least one could not be understood by anybody over the age of 14 in the room (the DoE volunteers were as bewildered as the Leaders) but was pronounced to be fab.

And finally, some semblance of peace was brought to the group as we came together for a short thought of Thinking Day; to share out the Thinking Day postcards received and share badges around.
Some anxiety about footwear for Sunday ensued – oh the decisions between sparkly wellies, plain wellies, trainers etc……. this was deferred as quickly as possible to a decision at home and so, amid great rustling of hula skirts, the Brownies departed for home and the Leaders departed for a rest before Sunday.


Leader on Tour At A Guide Survival Holiday.

It may be half term but that is no reason to sit around and do nothing so, seeing for a bit of adventure, Eagle Owl set off with her friends’ units for a bit of half term fun at a Survival.

With foraging and building, both near and far, perhaps the most entertaining of all was the blindfold foraging for jewels in a bowl of out of date cookery ingredients!  Certainly a few faces were pulled at the strange texture of a custard, coconut, marshmallow medley ………..

 and the alternative of out of date Cuppa Soup was even worse.

But jewels were located and the intrepid adventures set off for target shooting and to build their water gathering equipment.

For a little quiet down time, an afternoon activity of slime making had ben factored in and this was proceeding, oh so peacefully until one had a slip with the food colouring and produced something rather more traumatic!

It eventually did form a reasonable slime, but the colour was always going to be disturbing.

A wonderful time was had by all and most were willing and happy to help (although little miss reluctant may have found out, to her cost, that hiding in your sleeping bag is a recipe for a bit of teasing when your beloved hat is spirited away by others………….)

Sunday morning saw a new sporting fusion – Olympic standard husky (oh Guide halled) slalom sledge racing, utilising the swampiest and muddiest field, with mole hills for that added take off factor – the parents were delighted at the coating of mud their Guides acquired.

Despite being busy, the team still managed to get a 1000 piece jigsaw completed before it was time to come home.

So after this refreshing change of scenery, and after a brief detour to run music for units elsewhere in the County, it will be back to The Unit on Tuesday!

Dare to Dye

Dare to Dye

Although we are famed for saying “never again” after so many of our artistic ventures (well the trauma of the glitter night will haunt us for a long time), an upcoming sponsored walk in fancy dress is just too good an opportunity to pass up introducing The Unit to a new skills – bleach dying.

So it was with great bravado that Eagle Owl rocked up tonight with a car loaded with t-shirts, stencils, sticky back plastic, kitchen roll, plastic, scissors and spray bottles of pre-diluted bleach solution.

It would be fair to say that The Unit had a great time! Free rein to design their Caribbean t-shirt and dye the same.  Some got going immediately, some needed a little natter and a wander and the less said about “the 3” the better.

The Owls and helpers wandered around providing assistance and coaxing the natterers and “the 3” to get going.

The time was pointed out repeatedly; the first ones were finishing and ready to spray, the natterers had commenced work and were making reasonable progress but “the 3” were still to make a start……….
Owls started to coax “the 3” who blithely responded they were on with it and it would be fine………..

The very large hall started to smell reminiscent of a swimming pool as the leaders applied their spray and worked on how they would like their finished product to look.

The concentration, not to mention the highly unusual posts adopted by some at this serious stage of the process all provided great amusement.

The clock ticked on! Barn Owl started to take the first of the finishers through to rinse their t shirts and “the 3” decided it may be time to make a genuine start ………………. the Owls got a tad vexed and gave them 5 mins.

Somehow, we may never be sure how, we got to the end of the meeting having, by a miracle of some kind, managed to get “the 3” to the finishing post and in a closing pow wow the Brownies themselves talked about listening to the leaders and it being more fun if you do!!!!

Sadly it was time to say goodbye to a number of people – our wonderful helper of the last year has completed her Duke of Edinburgh volunteering and has to move on due to other commitments.

A Brownie had reached 10 and is moving on to take up a place in a swimming club.

However, it was nice to know how much she had enjoyed her time with us.

Soggy t shirts which, despite a thorough rinse, still smelt reminiscent of a swimming pool were sent home in plastic bags for parents to give a thorough wash and next week a well deserved half term break.

So Shall We Simply Sew?

So Shall We Simply Sew?

Starting to prepare for the fun of a fancy dress sponsored walk, Granny Owl had come up with what she considered a fool-proof, simple to make method of producing some nice Caribbean garlands………..

Oh dear!!!!

The crepe paper was pre-cut……….
The needles had such large eyes………..
The demonstration looked so easy…………….

The Unit then set about proving the theory wrong!

Needles were threaded, unthreaded, and dropped and threaded, unthreaded and dropped.
Thread was tangled and broken and knotted and dropped.
Sewing was done in all manner of strange directions.

The Owls and DofE volunteers ploughed on with great courage – rectifying problem after problem, threading needle after needle until, finally, a garland was produced! Then, quickly several more followed and by some miracle most of the Brownies produced one.

The Owls had a cunning plan – if they were not finished, send them home to the parents to complete!  This was executed with solemn and straight faces – delivered in a loud enough voice to reach parents during our customary squirgle –  although it is believed several parents could see through the plan and it is expected that a raid for alternative fancy dress supplies may be occurring at a pound shop somewhere in Burnley!

So week 1  – “survived”
and week 2 – onwards to create some more costume – or mayhem – or both.

It’s A Small World After All

It’s A Small World After All

Ok, so it isn’t World Thinking Day until the 22nd February but sometimes, if you want to join in with a Region badge, you just have to roll up your sleeves and start early.

And, perhaps as we introduced the topic to the Brownies, it was good to note that a reasonable amount of why Brownies exist has stuck.  They knew an Agnes and a Robert were involved somewhere along the route – so we got the founders, even if a double barrelled surname was a step too far so the role of the Baden-Powells was introduced.  There was a vague recollection of birthdays in February being involved – they were happy to accept it was the 22nd and joint birthdays of Robert and his wife, Olave (even if they had forgotten all about her for a while).  But the bit that really mattered to us was that they knew Brownies had been around for over 100 years and exist all around the world!

So it was suggested we took part in the Region postcard exchange, to get to know other Brownies etc and this was greeted quite enthusiastically – so everyone got busy with templates and pens and, by and by, some lovely postcards were produced – even if the pens missed the table covering and meant some elbow grease had to be applied to move the marks!!!!!

Then came the moment of Crystal Owl, the LiT, taking sole charge for the first time in the leading of a promise activity.  After being fixed with the stare of Eagle Owl, the Unit decided it may be better to co-operate (as Eagle Owl could see the glimmer of mischief appearing in several sets of eyes).  So Eagle Owl stepped back to let Crystal Owl run, just in time to find Granny Owl doing a rather large wobble!!!!  Now Eagle Owl does not like wobbly, green around the gills leaders or children who state they are feeling very unwell – and look it!!!! Luckily a Rainbow Leader was available to run her home before things got worse!

However, having seen the excitement of a poorly Granny Owl, who could have provided entertainment by fainting or being sick, the mischief started to escape and it took quite a battle of wits to keep the Unit in co-operate mode for just long enough to allow Crystal Owl to complete her activity – well done for perseverance and completing when they were in that mode.  Doing a tidy up involving more than one or two of them was never really going to happen – it was visible with the twitching and even getting a game introduced was never going to be easy as very few games feature instructions that total less than 3 seconds in length.  But somehow, a game was kind of played and a tidy up was completed and a squirgle was formed to give out some Adventure badges which were due!!!!

It was one of those nights where Eagle Owl was glad to wave night night and bid the parents good luck  as they took their hyper-active charges home!

A Snowy Week

Saturday evening saw The Unit head to the theatre for the panto.  As the swarming throng took over the foyer, Owls had to move speedily to get them shifted to seats and the munching of the snacks commenced.

The Unit, apart from the singing and dancing, were unusually quiet – absorbed in a great performance and the munching of their many snacks (well it is hard work being entertained), only moving to demand the Owls gained familiarity with every set of toilets in the building.

The interval saw the marshalling of the mob for the great ice cream debate but they were moved through without too much delay, much to the amusement of many other members of the public.

And perhaps it shows how we can become, as leaders too concerned about how The Unit may impact others as compliment such as “delightful”, “amusing” and well-behaved” were passed along from many.

Tuesday came and the meeting saw smaller numbers than usual; a birthday party and heavy snow outside, both conspiring to keep people away.

However, with a little juggling of plans the new sixers and seconders were announced, new sixes formed and new names chosen!  A move back to the traditional with Imps, Elves, Pixies and Gnomes.

Fun with straws and elastic bands followed, taking up much more time than was expected as each Six attempted to build a freestanding tower, as tall as M (one of our smallest Brownies) and balance a marble on top.  M showed much humour and good grace as called on repeatedly to check tower height, a fact which much amused the Owls when she was being asked for comparison against a Tower barely higher than the height of their ankles; and so it was decided by all that M should look after the Brownie doll for the coming week.

So, hopefully (or not – as it was quite peaceful), back to our usual large numbers next week as we plough on with our adventures.

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