GlosCamp 2010

When this blog was still fresh in 2006 I wrote 6 entries about my time spent at the Gloucester County Camp in 2006. Eventually it merged into the longest entry on this blog and is simply called GlosCamp. Four years and many, many posts later I have attended GlosCamp 2010.

Last time I attended as Service Crew and between meals was able to get upto some mild antics, this time I attended as Staff and had more responsibilities and less freetime so this post will be short. For GlosCamp 2010 I edited and designed the daily camp newsletter called The Gloscamper. The newsletter needed a name since I didn’t want it to have long website address adding an “er” to the end kept it fairly short and still Newlettery.

To produce this fantastical newsletter I was joined by the brilliant and decorous Helen, we were a brilliant team and once we had a full arsenal of equipment we were legendary.

For the first issue there wasn’t much material floating around so the letter was quickly thrown together (I didn’t even justify the text) with content from myself, Matt (one of the organisers) and the Leader of the Danish Contingent.
(The Danes have a long history with the North Cotswold District dating back to 1985 it was their turn I believe to visit us so they were invited to coincide with the grandest event available.)

On the next day Helen appeared so more content could be generated and organised so a folded A4 booklet was made. Unfortunately we were using a very nasty HP printer that stopped every few pages and required a panel be opened and closed to continue! When we finally managed to get enough copies of the second issue out Helen and I literally walked half the site handing out the Paper and as the sun was setting put her tent up. Then completed the distribution in the dark seeing a lot of gateways decorated with twinkling candlelight.

Not wanting another printing fiasco I managed to get Lesley Herbert’s amazing HP 4050 printer going, I tell you it was more than double the effectiveness of the HP 2200 we had been using :P. At this point we were still struggling for excess content so generating articles slowed us down a bit, but rather than distribution at 21:30 the faster printing allowed us to get newsletters out at 8pm.

I think it was Tuesday when the Newsletter was finally getting an audience, we had the record 22 different people come in with cameras to copy over photos and several young Scouts writing articles. Somehow despite their young age their writing sometimes read better than that from Explorers, difference being the Scouts simply wrote what they wanted and the Explorers tried to show off to no avail!

The next few issues had a lot of momentum behind them making them get distributed earlier and earlier which was great as we both got to attend the camp-fire promptly on the Thursday.

Friday was difficult. Helen had absconded to Cardiff and I had the intention of making 2 issues today, one for the closing ceremony and one for the next morning’s departure. However, without Helen and the need to make a Photo montage I didn’t quite make it. The video got made and was shown on loop with its rather awesome Trance soundtrack and the newsletter along with remastered back issues went out in the morning with the departure rush.

Of the 6 issues I think #4 is my favourite but the best frontpage belongs to to the last day (Friday the Thirteenth!) You can see all issues on the gloscamper download page.

Go Jamboree Service Camp 2009

Two years ago Go Jamboree went to a Build Weekend for the World Scout Jamboree, we arrived Friday, worked all-day Saturday, went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in the Evening and went home on Sunday. This weekend we did something similar, unfortunately there isn’t another WSJ to help out with so I picked us out a campsite and cinema for Mary to get us booked on as service crew.

We arrived at Danemead Campsite from 7pm, we had originally planned to be camping but due to the silver tongued efforts of Colin and Dave we managed to get use of a building (which as it turns out was built by Italian POWs). The motives for this weren’t entirely altruistic as there were several jobs for us to do in and around the building! It turned out to be a blessing though as the wind and rain weren’t the kindest this weekend and we were certainly aching by the end of the Saturday.

Once we’d settled in we started cleaning the kitchen, which involved Spoon, Knife and Fork soups! With the cooking equipment and CD player clean we made a start on supper and began to wind down with some Monty Python Fluxx; a game of cards with a changeable ruleset. Its surprising how much I’d forgotten about MP, lucky The Meaning of Life was on the Movie channels on the Monday for a refresher course, coincidence?

Saturday, 18th June 2009

Mary and Dave Painting Wagons and Trailers at Danemead Campsite

We all emerged from the dorms at around 7-8am, Dave was cooking us all a wonderful cooked breakfast to start the day with. We expected the Warden around 9am so quickly sent out the fetchers for supplies, for those left behind we finished off some tidying and Colin and I introduced the Explorers to the game.

Danemead Campsite Car Park before and after Go Jamboree

Started off branding the sites new Trailers with paint and quickly moved on to trimming the brush from the Car Park, not an easy task (photo right). It was a little weird because most Leaders would avoid giving sharp implements to their YP but we gave them scythes and the Combustion Powered Quad-Blade Rotator (or Brushcutter for Short).

Rather than leaving the brush were it fell we were asked to burn it which we grudgingly accepted. 😉 To get it there we had to transport it to the new Fire circle, later we would find that the old one was under 4 feet of shrubbery! Anyway, getting it to the campfire was going to be difficult as all the trolleys/trailers were flat beds, seriously what sort of campsite doesn’t have them with sides? So we ended up going back and for a bazillion times with Wheel Barrows.

Mike and Colin's Shrubbery Burning Campfire

Team Scout started the campfire with 1 match, having lost two to the wind, honestly the wind caught them, I forgot to light from an up wind position! When the fire reached a sufficient heat we piled on the vegetation and put the entire campsite under cover of smoke which made for some spectacular photos one I’ve used for the title image.

After breaking for Lunch and continuing more of the same all afternoon we sat down to finalise the plans for watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Considering the amount of hard work during the day we decided that stenching out the cinema wouldn’t be the kindest thing for the other patrons so we opted out. Instead, with a little jury-rigging we fed the Xbox phonos through the main deflector and into the Pig Music Box. This enabled us to watch, for those following my tweets, Keeping Mum but due to unforeseen technical difficulties and a Moth we changed the in hut première to Kiss Kiss Bang Gang.

Sunday, 19th June 2009

Sunday was like most last days of camp, we very slowly packed up our own kit and began scrubbing the hut down behind us. Leaving the building a lot cleaner than when we arrived was a very satisfying experience, Fred and John, the Wardens were very pleased with our work and gifted us some site badges aswell.

I thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing with my Fellow Go Jammers and I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much. The comments and suggestions have been positive that we will attempt to do something next year, probably not to the same site but it would be nice to come back some years later to see how thing have changed.

Colourful Campfires

Everyone knows that you get yellow fire from burning wood, depending on what you add to a fire you can change the colour of its flame. The reason particular colours are given out is due to the energy level the ‘burning’ happens at. Remember the old period table? (or if you had modern enough science teacher; a periodic galaxy?) well its all down its arrangement.

The Sciencey Bit

(Skip this if you really don’t want to know why) The reason different compounds or elements produce different colours when burnt is the oxygen combines with them changing the arrangement of the atoms electrons.

Electrons form orbits or ‘shells’ with higher levels of potential energy for each one in each each orbit, filling up the bottom orbits first. When an electron is exchanged from one shell to another light (photons) must be emitted with an energy matching the change in ‘height’ (potential energy) to maintain balance. The energy of a photon is determined by the Planck constant multiplied by its frequency (E = h×?) which means that different energies result in different frequencies some of which can be seen as a colour.

The Example Bit

The most readily known examples of coloured fire are interstellar stars, although in all honesty they’re not really balls of fire but energy releasing spheres of luminous plasma. Anyway, they come in a variety of different colours depending on there temperature which is based on there dominant fuel, in the The Sun’s case it is 75% Hydrogen and 24% Helium giving it a yellow colour from our atmosphere. As the Sun ages the Hydrogen will become Helium through fusion and it will appear red, just like the the Sun Krypton orbits in Superman and it is called what is known as a Red Dwarf. As the Helium ‘burns’ together into even denser materials it will eventually change to White Dwarf.

Another example that is slightly more down to Earth is the use of different compounds for stunning sky bound effects called fireworks. To produce the most brilliant colours other elements are used to enhance the colour produced from burning, usually Chlorine, which is toxic in large amounts.

The Safety Bit

WARNING: I wouldn’t suggest acquiring any of these elements and trying it out for yourself, especially since some of these substances alone are radioactive, toxic or both! This is intended as a reverse lookup; you see the colour then work out what made it. I’ve not listed every substance just the ones I could find any information on.

The Referencey Bit

Name Metal Image Flame Notes
Lithium
Li   3
Alkaili Lithium suspended in Oil in Test tube by BioNerd Red to White Lithium Flame by Metal Chem White Fume
Strontium
Sr   38
Alkaline Earth Strontium in Radiation Container by BioNerd Red, Crimson Strontium Flame by V31S70 Violent Reaction in Moisture, White Fume
Calcium
Ca   20
Alkaline Earth Calcium in Test tube by BioNerd Brick Red, Orange Calcium Flame by Metal Chem  
Iron
Fe   26
Transition Iron (filings) in Test tube by daynoir Gold Easily Magnetic, Symbol from the Word ‘Ferrum’
Sodium
Na   11
Alkali Silvery White Yellow Sodium Flame by Metal Chem Easily Cut with Knife, Reactive with Water, White Fume
Manganese
Mn   25
Transition Silvery Metallic Yellowish green Poisonous, esp. if inhaled
Molybdenum
Mo   42
Transition Grey Metallic Yellowish green May have facilitated multicellular lifeforms
Barium
Ba   56
Alkali Earth Barium in Radiation Container by BioNerd Pale/Apple Green Barium Flame by Metal Chem Mades rare Gem Benitoite
Boron
B   5
Metalloids (Deep) Brown Bright green Used in Scientific Glassware
Thallium
Tl   81
Poor Silvery White Pure green Highly Toxic
Antimony
Sb   51
Metalloids Antimony in Test tube by BioNerd Pale green antimony Flame by Metal Chem  
Tellurium
Te   52
Metalloids Lustrous Silver Pale Green  
Phosphorus
P   15
Non Dull Red with White Sheen Pale bluish green Reactive when Cut, therefore used in Matches
Zinc
Zn   30
Transition Zinc in Test tube by BioNerd Bluish Green Zinc Flame by Randeeryan White Fume
Arsenic
As   33
Metalloids Arsenic in Test tube by BioNerd Blue Extremely poisonous
Bismuth
Bi   83
Poor Bismuth in Test tube by BioNerd Blue Slightly Radioactive, Very Low Toxicity, Yellow Fume
Caesium
Cs   55
Alkaili Caesium in Radiation Container by BioNerd Blue Slightly Radioactive
Copper
Cu   29
Transition Copper in Test tube by BioNerd Blue Copper Flame by Randeeryan Black Fume
Indium
In   49
Poor Light Grey Blue Used in Liquid Crystal Displays, Toxic
Lead
Pb   82
Post-transition Lead suspended in Oil in Test tube by BioNerd Blue High Density, Toxic, Stops Xrays Easily
Selenium
Se   34
Non Dark Grey with metallic sheen Azure blue Key Ingredient in Head’n’Shoulders, MacGuffin in Evolution
Potassium
K   19
Alkali Metal Silvery White Purple Potassium Flame by everyones idle Highly Reactive with Water
Rubidium
Rb   37
Alkali Grey White Red-violet Rubidium Flame by Metal Chem Highly Reactive with Water OR air
Aluminium
Al   13
Poor Aluminium in Test tube by BioNerd White Common Use, Very High Strength:Weight Ratio
Magnesium
Mg   12
Alkaline Earth Magnesium in Test tube by BioNerd White Magnesium Flame by I. Gelgard White Fume
Titanium
Ti   22
Transition Titanium in Test tube by BioNerd White Food Colourant E171 (Titanium Dioxide)

Photo credits:

Wood in the UK and Campfires

Since Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and given it to man we have used it for both work and pleasure. A wood burning campfire is one of my favourite ways to enjoy this privilege and since being taught in (Cub) Scouts I’ve made quite a few. There are a variety of different ways to set one up and each has it uses, for instance a Jamaican-log-fire or Cross-fire (2 logs parallel with tinder between them and kindling ontop) maximizes heat retention and is best for cooking whereas a log cabin or pyramid/teepee is best for emanating heat for warmth. Whilst I know several ways to set up and light the wood I find that I know very little about the wood itself so I started gathering lists of wood/trees in Britain. It became obvious that I wouldn’t want to just stop at names so I’ve put some other bits aside for future posts.

It’s not been easy gathering this information, so many species and variants in so many places the only exacting way to keep track was referencing each by its Latin name instead of it common name.
For those of you without a photographic memory you may need to work at remembering all the flat information. One of my favourites is Fraxinus excelsior or Ash, which as the name implies is a good fire wood and helps me retain the knowledge by association.

English and Latin Wood Names and Family

Family Name (Britain) Name Elsewhere Latin
Alder (Common) Alder Alder Alnus glutinosa
Alder Alder Buckthorn Black Dogwood Rhamnus frangula
Apple Crab Apple Apple Malus sylvestris
Ash (Common) Ash White Ash Fraxinus excelsior
Beech Copper (European) Beech Fagus sylvatica
Birch Silver Birch Gray Birch Betula pendula
Birch Downy Birch or White Birch White Birch Betula pubescens
Box Box Boxelder Buxus sempervirens
Cherry & Plum Wild Cherry Prunus avium
Cherry & Plum Bird Cherry Prunus padus
Cherry & Plum Blackthorn or ‘Plum’ Sloe Prunus spinosa
Blackhaw (European) Cranberrybush Guelder-rose Viburnum opulus
Blackhaw Wayfaring Tree Viburnum lantana
Dogwood Common Dogwood Cornus sanguinea
Elder Elder Sambucus nigra
Elm Wych Elm Slippery Elm Ulmus glabra
Elm English Elm Ulmus procera
Hawthorn Common Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Hawthorn Midland Hawthorn Crataegus laevigata
Hazel Common Hazel Corylus avellana
Hornbeam European (common) Hornbeam Ironwood Carpinus betulus
Holly European Holly Holly, American Ilex aquifolium
Ditypic or Soapberry (Common) Horse Chestnut Buckeye Aesculus hippocastanum
Juniper (Common) Juniper Juniperus communis
Family Name (Britain) Name Elsewhere Latin
Linden Small-leaved Linden/Lime
Large-leaved Linden/Lime
Basswood Tilia cordata Tilia platyphyllos
Maples Field Maple Acer campestre
Maple Plane Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus
Oak English Oak Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur
Oak Sessile Oak Quercus petraea
Oak Turkey Oak Quercus cerris
Pine Monterey Pine Pinus radiata
Pine Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris
Poplar Aspen Populus tremula
Poplar Black Poplar Cottonwood Populus nigra
Rose Pear Pyrus communis
Rowan & Whitebeam European Rowan or Mountain Ash Wiggen Tree Sorbus aucuparia
Rowan & Whitebeam (Common) Whitebeam Sorbus aria
Rowan & Whitebeam Service Tree Sorbus domestica
Rowan & Whitebeam Wild Service Tree Checkers Tree Sorbus torminalis
Bittersweet Common Spindle Tree Euonymus europaeus
Strawberry Tree Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo
Willow Grey ‘Pussy’ Williow Salix cinerea subsp. oleifolia
Willow Bay Willow Salix pentandra
Willow Crack Willow Salix fragilis
Willow White Willow Willow Salix alba
Willow Almond-leaved Willow Salix triandra
Yew European ‘Common’ Yew Yew Taxus baccata
Walnut Walnut Walnut Juglans regia
Family Name (Britain) Name Elsewhere Latin

Key

2 Sources 3 Sources 4 Sources 5 Sources

Swansea “Under the Sea” SSAGO Rally

I’ve been looking forward to this rally ever since I learnt that we would be going to the beach, there was the opportunity to go to during the first Welsh Rally back in 2005 but my club and I overslept missing the coach and being left stranded on camp site with few others around. It was fun though, and we made the best of it was we could. Anyway this rally Continue reading Swansea “Under the Sea” SSAGO Rally

Scout Network Gathering 2008

For the Milton Keynes Scout Network, the Network:MK, this is the one time of the year we can expect to see all our members. Whether it be University, work or disinterest that stops a member coming to the weekly meetings they are almost sure to turn-up for the Long Easter weekend in West Lancashire. It’s hard not to understand why; drinking, food, adventure, fun, friends and tents what more could you not possibly want from a weekend?

As such there is usually a major effort to co-ordinate transport, this year 8 cars full of people, equipment or both made the expedition. My chariot, the Aluminium Falcon, would be transporting the cheerful Faye, the cherubic Lisa and the tempestuous Kat. Originally I would’ve had Matt as well but a reshuffle meant I didn’t so there was more room for everyone else.

With my trusty Sat Nav I set off for Great Tower Campsite, however that is not where it was taking me! Luckily I corrected this problem mid journey however the arrival time I had told the passengers was much earlier so I had to bare the brunt of their dissatisfaction. I probably would’ve been able to get away without a sully to my character if I hadn’t lost faith from passenger doubt on the last leg; I turned the car around and asked for directions! Yes, I know, a bloke asking directions, but if I had just kept going for 100m I would’ve made it and no-one would’ve thought the less of me.

Most of the first day we just spent catching up with each other, you know how it is when you’ve not seen your closest ‘old skool’ friends in months. We kept to our own little site on the first evening, with beer flowing, good music and old friends why would you need much more? Although we weren’t on our usual site with our own private ‘lake’, admittedly we couldn’t fit on it anymore but it really was a nice site, the new tenants certainly seemed to be enjoying it.

Saturday, Day Two

The second days tends to be a lazy one, I was originally going to do Wii games in the morning just because it would be nice to play against some similarly aged Scout that most likely play a lot more than me, I figure even if I get my butt whooped at least I might pick up some tips. In the end I opted against this for a lay in instead, Saturday night always has the big band that you stay up for.

My afternoon activity was Horse riding, I can’t remember ever doing it before so this would be something new. I was expecting a quick introduction course, a trot journey seeing the local countryside then perhaps a little cantering or galloping back at their pasture. With a quick get to know you we went for a trot around the local village and we were done. It was a pleasant experience, I was riding a 15 hand tall Stallion called Father Ted (there was a Dougal in the herd too). He was well behaved and I enjoyed several conversations with him during our time together.

During the wind-down before dinner, we gathered wood and relaxed around the campfire waiting for our hiking team to return. There was a slight unease in the camp as the whether can gotten colder than expected on the hilltops and winds were picking up. They made it home safely and with a few picture of them hiking on snow laden footpaths. To distract ourselves there was some larking about, particularly with my camera, which is why I’ve got some awfully bad artistic shots, but you have to take some bad shots to learn what your doing wrong!

After dinner and a quick change into our fancy dress, between us we had a Traffic Warden, a Jedi Knight, Pirates, Optimus Prime, a 90s Scout, a Pilot and a whole lotta in between. The costume seemed to get us a lot of attention at the Bield, were the band was playing. The band are rather awesome, I particularly look forward to their With or Without You and I’m a Believer each year.

Sunday, Day Three

Every year we make our own little trip offsite, we did consider going further a field than Ambleside Park but considering how late it was when we finally got our arses into gear the journey time just didn’t leave us with long enough there to be worthwhile. We had a lot of fun in the snow, making snowmen, chillin’ our drinks, climbing the mound and in the children’s adventure playground (naughty us!)

I pretty much handed over my camera to Abby that afternoon, she wanted to get some practise in taking shot with an dSLR camera before she starts her course in the autumn. Her shots weren’t half bad, she tries as hard as me to get some artistic ones, I think she does a little better, not sure if that’s luck or me being over critical. I don’t think I’m a natural for that sort of thing, I’m naturally oriented to take photos with purpose not creativity so go for her and her raw talent.

With the full moon this weekend I was hoping to get some lovely campsite landscape photos, particularly from the top of Tower rock, but I didn’t want to go all that way on my own just for some photos and nobody made a point of going up all that way so I didn’t. I did get this cracking shot from our site, I’ve embellished it a little with photoshop but its a nice one nonetheless.

Monday, Day Four

We wanted to make a quick getaway with a meetup at the M6 services, I wasn’t too keen on this as I’m not one for driving fast which meant I was likely to be getting some stick for everyone seeing my car occupants walking in rather than us watch everyone else.

We did alright for time on the journey home, taking a scenic route around the first part of the M6 out of Lancaster, a longer route but with a higher constant pace. I’d rather be driving slowly for longer than crawling for shorter. Overall the return journey was the same as the full voyage time home.

This was another fantastic Gathering weekend, unfortunately I pushed it this year being ever so slightly too old to attend but luckily the organisers didn’t mind so much seeing it was my farewell to Network event. I’ve got the option to go next year as staff but I’ll make my mind up on that one closer to the time.