My (French) Scout Camp: Part 1

Last weekend I went on a french scout camp.  This was a new experience for me as, before this, I had only been on English scout camps.  Before I went, I received two bits of bad news.  First and (in my opinion) most importantly my best friend Arthur couldn’t come on camp because he had to study for some very important exams he had coming up.  And second, my other friend Aymeric couldn’t come either.  But there was to much good news to worry about the bad news. Here are just a few pieces of good news I received before I even arrived at camp:

  • My other friends at scouts Gabriel and Christopher were coming
  • It was going to be based on video games which is a topic I really like because I don’t have any (Mum’s fault)
  • I heard it was a chance to make some new friends (which I found was true)

When I arrived I found out it was going to just be me and Gabs in a tent together I was really excited because the tents were meant for four Scouts so me and Gabs had all the space we could ever hope for.  And even better we were really experienced at putting up tents so we had our tent up in about ten or fifteen minutes.

We were sorted into teams.  I was put with Gabriel in team Mario (I wanted to be in Minecraft but their result changed my mind for me).

The first activity was based on Call of Duty.  We were in pairs and in defense or attack.  That was where I met my two new friends Alexin and Juliette.  Me and Gabs got them out of danger from an enemy defender (they were on the Mario team too).  It was a close call because our hands were tied together.  When we were in defense, one of us was blindfolded and the other was gagged so we had to find a solution for that problem.  For me and Gabs, the gagged one stood behind the the blindfolded one with their hands on the other’s shoulders and turned the blindfolded one to face the attackers so the only thing the other person had to do was shout SSSSSTTTTTOOOOOPPPPP!! VERY LOUDLY

Dinner was spaghetti bolognse and for dessert a chocolate biscuit and a raspberry yogurt which was disgusting (but the biscuit was great).  The spaghetti was also great.

That evening, I taught the French scouts Kumbaya and Ging Gang Goolie with Christopher on the guitar and Alex on the drums which were both popular with the French scouts (the songs I mean, not Alex and Christopher).  Then after each “campfire” they had a mass which went on for a very long time and we had to listen to this boring guy drone on and on and on about how we should be good people and respect God.

The next morning we had a small breakfast of baguette with either strawberry or apricot jam on top so I was very hungry for the rest of the day.

The first game that day was based on Minecraft and in my opinion was the best game of  the entire weekend for two reasons: firstly because it was so much like the real thing (and all my friends will know that I really like Minecraft) and secondly because it required a huge amount of teamwork.  There were four teams (the ones like Mario) and one big one which represented the mob army (like creepers, zombies, spiders and endermen).

Oh so quiet…not been much on the blog

I was looking through my photos and saw all these cool things that we have done since the Summer.  And it made me realise how few posts we had done since the Summer.  And part of the reason for this blog is a memory bank for our time here as well as to share with friends and family what we have been up to as we don’t get to see people so regularly.

We ended the last school year on a lovely high with Creagh finishing CM2 with an award for best effort of which were all so proud of.  A great end to a pretty tough year for him at school.  Moving country and school with a new language to learn in the last year of primary is no small feat.

We had a great trip to Edinburgh in July with Mum and Dad the photos of that made a really cool photo album for a Christmas present for them.  We had another a superb holiday in Brittany before heading back to school in September.  The benefits of 10 weeks of summer holiday – we even squeezed in another camp with Hannah’s 4th Beaconsfield Scouts!!

Big jump up for Creagh now in college with different subjects and a complex timetable to get his head around.  But his effort with FLE (French as a foreign language) and in his lessons have landed him a really great report – felicitations no less.

Creagh has finally written about Gayle and Adam’s wedding which was such a good time and did a great post about carrying the flag at Notre Dame for Remembrance Day.  But we still haven’t posted pictures of our trip by train to Barcelona – so many awesome photos to share from that.

Christmas was fun (and Star Wars) filled and filled too with lots of travelling and time with family and friends with visitors for New Year.  So maybe we have a bit of a New Year’s Resolution – to catch up a bit with our memories of the last half of 2016 here in France and to be a bit more regular even if we just post a few photos!

So Happy 2017!  Wishing everyone all the best for this year.

I was flag bearer at Notre-Dame

I am really happy because I got to be flag bearer at the British Legion Remembrance service at Notre-Dame, one of the biggest and most famous church in France!  Out of all the scouts Gillian (my scout leader) picked me because I was the second oldest scout, the oldest had done it last year and the flag was very heavy and I was strong enough.  I was very nervous when I first found out and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be it.  But being nervous soon turned to being happy when I decided to do it.  I had to walk down the aisle with all the other flag bearers, some old veterans both french and British and this Marshal, then stand by the altar for the whole service and then file out and parade outside for bit.  We even got our hands shaken by some important people wearing medals.

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Afterwards, we wandered back to the station and found an epic Lego store!!  I wanted to buy the shop.  What made it so special were the most amazing lego sculptures – one of Notre Dame itself where we had just been and the Arc de Triomphe amongst other things.

Centenary Camp in France

The Centenary Camp happened a few months ago now but I can still remember it as though it was yesterday!!  It was so brilliant!!!  When I finished school on the day that camp started, I was really excited about it all.  I was going with my friends, Ewan and his brother Joseph, because Mum is a leader and she went early to help set up.  After watching a bit of Pink Panther in Ewan’s car we arrived.

While we were there we did all kinds of stuff including:

  • orienteering
  • backwards cooking
  • cooking
  • putting up tents
  • taking down tents
  • hiking
  • den building (me, Gabriel and Aymeric added this one) 

The drive wasn’t very long.  When I arrived I thought that the campsite was more of a museum because there was a big chateau at the gate.  But behind all that was a really big campsite with a big grassy area and a huge amount of forest.  I loved it.  It was a perfect balance between open space and forest.  There was a tree-house and a “haunted house” and a big thunderstorm while we were out orienteering (annoying) and when we got back our coats were soaking.  That was my least favorite part.  My favorite part was when me Aymeric and Gabriel built a den.  It was so good, you could sleep in it if it hadn’t got broken.

Floods in Paris – some pictures of the Seine

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It didn’t quite get to the levels seen in 1910 where the river was 8m above normal levels but the 6+m was enough to have La Louvre and Musee D’Orsay closed and moving art works to higher floors.  Luckily the Seine is dropping quickly but we are forecast a lot of rain this week (currently not raining so maybe we will be OK).

Definitely quite a sight.  For pictures of Maisons-Laffitte see the previous post – Crazy Weather.  Please, please could we have some spring/summer like weather!!  Soon.

The Crazy Weather

So we got wet at Easter after amazing weather for Euan’s birthday weekend.  Then we went on holidays.  We went to Greece for 10 days…..

…we had beautiful weather – unseasonably warm so we are told by the locals.  More about that in another post!!

Then we went to the UK where we had to have the heating on it was so cold.  There was sleet and hail and hard frosts……and we went camping.

That was the frost on mum’s tent in the morning.  Brrrrr.  So cold but at least the sky was blue and the sun came out. Again, the camp deserves a separate post!!  We had a great time.  Despite the cold.

When we arrived back in Maisons-Laffitte it was incredible.  We went from mid winter to mid summer in a train journey.  The sun was out, all the horse chestnut trees in our car park were in full leaf and green, the flowers in our garden were incredible.

 

 

 

It was amazing – the colour and the scent of the flowers was superb.  And we had some crazy alien plants growing in the lawn – like mutant grass.  Dad and me we had to do battle with it!

 

But it didn’t last for long.  The rain started.  And didn’t seem to stop for most of May.  Maisons-Laffitte was flooded.  The Seine was at its highest level for years and years.  Here are some pictures of the once in a lifetime scenes…

These pictures are of the Hippodrome in Maisons-Laffitte before and after!  Any races here would need the horses to swim.  And playing in this play park was more for the ducks!!

We were spared rain for our camp – hooray!!  And last week we had some respite but the forecast for the week is not great – lots of rain.  The School fair had to close early on Saturday because of a torrential downpour and it rained loads on Sunday.  The river level has gone down and we can nearly see the hippodrome completely.  Fingers crossed the river doesn’t rise again.

Easter Weekend – Bike rides and Paris landmarks

The weather began to show us what it would have in store for a lot of the Spring at Easter although we had a nice day on Easter Sunday and went on a bike ride but oops – it didn’t start well…

…..can you spot the problem??  No chain!!  We were a little way away and snap goes Dad’s chain.  Mum walked the bike back to make a yummy Easter dinner and we went back to the lake we have been to before.  It was a a lovely ride.

After dinner we had special pudding – nids de paques or Easter nests.  They looked pretty
but they were soooooooo sickly sweet.  None of us could manage more than a quarter of one so next year we will skip them!

In France, we don’t get Easter Holidays – there is no day off on Good Friday just Easter Monday.  We missed our cousin’s 18th birthday in Gloucester because we couldn’t miss school.  I hope Kieron had a fun birthday – we were sad to miss it..

So on Easter Monday, we went on a trip into Paris to see something new.  We went to see very famous Parisian landmark – Le Sacre Coeur.  This beautiful white church sits on a hill and can be seen from all over Paris.  The part of Paris that it is in is called Monmartre and it is also very famous and very pretty – even in the rain!!  We got very wet as we walked around and very cold when the wind blew, it was very windy up there that day.

Here are some pictures of a very beautiful, if a bit wet and windy, Monmartre.  The sun did come out in the end and the Sacre Coeur is beautiful with a blue sky background.

We walked up and down steep hills and stairs.  We found art on the walls – this area is famous for the street artists and all the famous artists that hung out here.  We found a tiny vineyard nestled in amongst the pretty buildings and round the corner from the Sacre Coeur there was a lovely old church that was empty of tourists (the Sacre Coeur was full to bursting!!) – really special little church with a statue of the saint who despite having his head chopped off carried on preaching until he reached the site where the church is now.  The grand doors in the picture above is of this little church.

We watched the rain fall on the Eiffel Tower and it was ghostly sight through the rain.  Despite getting a bit wet we had a fun day.